Whenever I begin planning an inbound marketing strategy, I think about the buyer’s journey and what approach I want to take to nurture every stage of it. I think about where the consumer may be starting in their purchasing journey, where we want them to go from there, and how we want to accomplish that.
Many businesses approach marketing from the company’s point of view, rather than thinking, “what is my ideal customer experiencing right now?” This is where considering the buyer’s journey is so valuable. The buyer’s journey helps you to identify and understand what your potential customers are thinking at each stage of their purchasing process. It also enables you to provide the right targeted content at the right time to nurture them into trusting you enough with their business.
Here’s an inside look at how I approach the buyer’s journey and how you can apply this to your company’s marketing strategy.
In the Awareness Stage, consumers realize they have a problem of some kind but are not sure what that problem is. Think about it this way. If you were sitting at home and heard an odd noise coming from your plumbing, what would you do? Would you immediately call a plumber? Chances are, you would have no idea what was making the sound so you would hop online and do a little research first. This is the Awareness Stage, and many of your potential clients are following the same pattern before deciding on calling a professional.
At this point in their journey, consumers are typically unaware of their need for a professional. So, be careful not to try and “sell” them too much! Your job is to educate consumers about their problem by crafting unique, high-quality, and well-researched content and resources.
How can you use this to your advantage as a business? Well, a plumbing company could write a search engine optimized blog on such an issue. That way, when someone searches for what their plumbing noise problem might be, they would land on the website of a local plumber to read about the noise issue and solution. Then, that would move them to the next level of the buyer’s journey, the Consideration Stage. See how this works?
In the Consideration Stage, consumers have done their research on what their problem is, but now need to find a solution for it. This is usually where a consumer would do more research on potential fixes. Let’s stick with the plumbing noise problem as an example.
Now that you, as the consumer, were able to identify that the noise in your plumbing could be one of two options, where do you go from here? Well, you would research solutions for Option A and Option B. The Consideration Stage is all about lining up your options and researching everything you can before making a decision.
Say Option A is a DIY solution and Option B has to do with calling a professional plumber out to your home. Most likely, you would try the DIY option first. You would, yet again, search for how to perform the DIY fix and try it out (if you are brave enough to do it!).
Okay… Option A may not have been the best. Now what? Option B, find a plumber. This is where you do even MORE research about what you want in a professional and begin narrowing down the choices, based on those preferences.
How can you use this stage in your business? At this stage in the buyer’s journey, your job is to continue to educate your potential customers, so they see you as a trusted resource. The more helpful information they can find on your website (such as all of the examples we discussed above), the better they will feel comfortable with you and your business.
If you were to choose between one professional whose goal was to educate you and let you make your own choice, and another professional who only talked about themselves and what they can sell you, which would you prefer?
When targeting the Consideration Stage, think about providing more detail and value to help leads decide on their own. This can include detailed information on pricing, specs, warranty, and other industry-specific data that will show why you may be the better choice for them.
By the Decision Stage, your leads are ready to choose a professional to work and invest in. While you might think the deal is done at this point, there’s still more of the journey you need to nurture your leads along!
Now is the time to get specific about your brand and products when it comes to your content (they are ready for it!). Use customer testimonials and calls-to-action to show your leads why they should purchase with you. You can also create a follow-up email nurturing program to inform customers of other services and updates so that they continue to remain happy customers and promoters into the future.
Attracting, nurturing, and retaining consumers is at the heart of what every business wants to do. Considering where your potential clients are within their buyer’s journey helps to target and nurture leads more intelligently. You are not here to sell them, anymore! You are here to nurture them, and by doing so, you will boost sales, brand recognition, and customer satisfaction now and into the future.