An estimated 79 percent of marketing leads never convert to sales, with failure to nurture the lead a top reason for losing out on the sale. Once you understand the buyer’s journey, which is the path potential customers take from awareness to the moment of purchase, you can always provide the right information to leads. Follow along on the buyer’s journey to understand how this marketing strategy can boost sales and revenue.
Why Use the Buyer’s Journey in Marketing?
The buyer’s journey has three phases: Awareness, consideration, and decision. By focusing on each phase and targeting marketing materials toward customers in that phase, you can increase trust and position yourself as an authority. When the customer is ready to buy, they will turn to you.
By understanding the buyer’s journey, it’s important to point out that you can deliver the right information at the wrong time. If your marketing communications, product/service experience, or other organization touchpoints are not in step with the buyer’s journey, you risk delivering information when they aren’t ready for it. This could overwhelm a customer, delay their purchase, or turn them off of your brand.
When you let the journey guide your marketing materials, you increase the odds of answering the customer’s questions at the precise moment of inquiry, which builds trust.
Continuing to provide accurate information at the moment of need increases the likelihood of customers passing through to the next phase of the journey. The more customers graduate through the journey, the higher your conversion rate and the greater your revenue.
What is the Awareness Phase of the Buyer’s Journey?
Awareness is the first phase of the buyer’s journey. Here, potential customers first become aware of their problem or need and are introduced to your company as a solution. At this phase, customers perform initial research to understand better their problem and what might relieve it. Their need is thus to gather as much information as possible.
For example, someone might have bad back pain.
- They are aware of the problem: back pain, but don’t know what is causing their back pain.
- They have limited knowledge of back pain solutions.
- They might be researching medical conditions that cause back pain or looking for complementary therapies, such as acupuncture or sports massage.
Marketers can guide customers during the awareness phase with educational information.
- With back pain, this might be blog posts that look at causes of back pain
- or videos that demonstrate stretches to relieve sore back muscles.
The information here is general and intended to help users reach the next phase rather than promote a specific product or solution for the underlying problem.
Companies can win by sharing helpful resources that educate consumers and demonstrate their authority on the topic.
Qualitative research methods can be useful at this stage to gather insights into how people think about and organize their initial information gathering and education into solving a particular problem. Leveraging online focus groups or discussion boards allow for a more effective way to explore all possible options, choices, and, and motivating factors influencing buyers do than online surveys at this stage.
Marketers get it wrong in the awareness phase by aggressively pushing the product or brand. Remember, customers don’t really know or trust the brand in this phase, so why would they want to buy?
Customers graduate this phase when they understand the problem and want to explore a specific solution.
What is the Consideration Phase of the Buyer’s Journey?
After exploring the general overview, customers will narrow their options. In the consideration phase, customers will hone in on a few potential companies who may help them and look for more in-depth information. With back pain, that might be sports massage studios in their city. The user has identified the problem and found a possible solution (sports massage).
Their need now is to determine which service provider is the right one for them:
- Of all the sports massage studios, which masseuse is best for back pain?
- Which massage studio is on their way home from work?
- What clinic offers additional therapies that could help them?
Here, branding becomes more important as it helps to differentiate your company from a competitor. The consideration phase of the buyer’s journey calls for specific, detailed information on how the solution solves the problem. This might include podcast episodes, videos, webinars, testimonials, white papers, or demonstrations.
The goal here is to provide buyers with the information they need, build trust, and cement their desire to buy from you. Buyers may look for pricing, customer reviews, testimonials, or social proof to decide on the best solution. Thus, you’ll want to have rich material to keep them interested in your company until they are ready for phase three, the decision phase.
What is the Decision Phase of the Buyer’s Journey?
In the last phase of the buyer’s journey, customers evaluate the remaining products or services, compare their needs and budget, and make a decision. While buyers began to show interest in your brand in the second phase, here they will rely on your branded information to finalize their plans.
During this phase, customers evaluate the pros and cons of your product or services over remaining competitors. They may ask for references or call with questions on costs, customer service, support, or policies.
While every customer’s need in this phase is personal, marketers can drive conversions by providing in-depth information that shows how your brand has helped customers with similar needs and tells the story of what makes you unique from other companies offering the same service.
Marketers can paint the picture of the value of the service or product, overcoming reluctance to buy. Using the back pain example, they can share before and after photos or client testimonials about how massage relieved pain and increased mobility to spur conversion.
When you pay attention to the customer’s needs in every phase of the buyer’s journey, you will get a better return on investment and close more leads. When customers understand the value you offer and trust your brand, they will tell others, helping you grow exponentially.
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