The process a customer goes through in deciding when and where to purchase an item they are considering is called the buyer journey or the buying cycle. This journey is a multi-step process that encompasses the entire process from awareness of the need, through the consideration and exploration phase, and ultimately to the decision phase where the final purchase takes place.
Understanding the stages and the technologies used during this process will help your company strategically place your best foot forward along that path as the customer is becoming a customer or loyalty member. Knowing when and where to place your marketing efforts throughout the journey creates the opportunity for them to notice your brand in a meaningful way.
The awareness stage is when your potential customer becomes aware of a particular need or pain point. This awareness can happen through many channels, including an event, their peers, direct marketing, or social media. At this phase of the buyer’s journey, the company is responsible for being present when the customer begins to search for a solution and to provide relevant solutions to your audience.
There are several ways you can build brand awareness:
- Use marketing techniques such as direct mail, email marketing and social media campaigns
- Publish educational or informational materials
- Participate in trade shows and conferences
- Offer free samples of your products
- Create a word of mouth or referral program
- Make sure your SEO and your Google Business Profile it up to date
Brand awareness can be difficult to achieve without paid advertising because it requires that people see your product or service often enough that they begin to recognize it and associate it with quality or value. Consumers must also be able to recall your brand when they need it. Without advertising, it’s difficult for consumers to see your product frequently enough for them to feel that sense of familiarity with it.
Advertising can help create brand awareness by placing your logo in front of consumers repeatedly until they begin to notice and recognize it. Also, advertising can help create a memorable slogan or catchphrase that consumers will remember and use when referring to your company or product.
The consideration phase is where the consumer is actively looking for information, a solution, and a reason to buy within a certain time frame from you. They are open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, but they have not yet made up their minds about you or your company. The buyer is looking for a solution.
This is where you will do everything you can to stand out as the best option for the potential customer. Through your efforts, you are looking to encourage them to learn more about your product or service by providing them with relevant and useful information. The potential customer is comparing multiple companies to see what these companies can do for them, how it will make their lives easier, fulfill a specific desire, and how much it will cost. In this information you will need to present solutions that are persuading to them that your company is exactly what they need.
In this phase, the buyer will narrow down their search by eliminating potential vendors based on things like price, reputation and availability of product. At this stage of the process, most buyers will only consider companies who meet certain criteria such as their consumer reviews and online reputation, and being able to deliver quality products at a price point, or fulfilling a need within a certain time frame.
Online reviews play the most crucial part in the phase as these reviews are written by customers who have used a company’s products or services and have posted their thoughts on the web. Consumers use these reviews in order to make decisions about what companies they should buy from.
The more positive reviews that are found, the more trust that people have for your business. The better the online reputation found through online reviews on sites such as google and social media sites impacts this decision. It can help improve sales by influencing potential customers to buy your products or services because they trust what others have said about you.
It can also help prevent potential customers from buying from your competition by having negative feedback associated with them. A poor online reputation can also cost you money by affecting your search engine rankings. The more negative reviews that are found in your search results pages, the less likely people are going to click on your website link and make a purchase from your company. If a business has no or few positive reviews, then it will turn away potential customers due to fear of poor service or quality products/services being sold.
To improve your online reputation or to increase the number of reviews your company has online there are several strategies that you can implement to help automate the process while improving the available information that is found online about you and your business online.
The decision stage is the point where the buyer has seen all of the options for their needs and are in the process of evaluating these opportunities to decide which product or solution they want to buy. At this point, they will compare and contrast different solutions in order to find the one that best suits their needs. Their final decision will be based on a variety of factors: price, quality, reputation and more.
The best opportunities to improve the likelihood that a customer will choose you include a thoughtful and robust website reengagment strategy where you are able to drive home the value of working with you over your competition.
Successful businesses need to understand the psychology behind their buyers and how that affects the buying journey.
The buyer journey is a great way to understand how people think and make decisions to build your marketing strategy. By understanding where your customers are in their journey, you can adjust your marketing strategies accordingly so they reach them at just the right time when they’re ready to buy what you have on offer. By understanding this framework, you can tailor your marketing efforts to each stage in order to increase awareness of your product or service and drive more sales conversions.