It’s never been a better time to be a consumer. Technology makes it easier than ever for people to compare their options and decide where to spend their money. The power lies with the consumer, and modern marketers need to understand that. They need to understand the buyer’s journey.
Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
Understanding the buyer’s journey may be the most essential part of inbound marketing. It is the only way to strategically offer the right information to the right person at the right time, to convert them into a customer. By creating personas to exemplify the different types of people who embark on a specific buyer’s journey, we can anticipate how they will navigate the process.
You’ve gone through the buyer’s journey countless times. Everyone has.
It begins with awareness.
Consumers start by looking for more information about a problem they need solved or a need they want fulfilled. They’re troubleshooting and diagnosing. They’re seeking resources. They don’t want ads; they want information. “Selling” to a person in this phase of the buyer’s journey is, at best, a waste of advertising dollars. Meanwhile, providing them with useful information can put you on their radar.
Importantly, it is at this stage that buyers could conclude the issue isn’t worth pursuing. The job of a marketer is to provide the information the prospect needs to move along to the next phase of the buyer’s journey.
In the consideration stage, buyers are surveying their options. They’ve made up their mind to do something to address a need they’ve identified — they just don’t know yet exactly what they will choose and from whom they will get it.
This is the due diligence phase, where consumers find what they need to make a decision.
They note the specifics of each option for later comparison, such as the price, time investment and effectiveness of each.
This is when you must convince a buyer that what they need is what you provide, and the content you offer should steer them in your direction.
The decision phase is when you “close the sale.” This is when deals, specials, coupons and the like can tip the scales in your favor. It’s at this stage — and only here — that you toot your own horn and show that you’re the best.
Understanding the Buyer’s Journey is Essential
The buyer’s journey is the bedrock of most buying decisions. We might not use it when we decide which sandwich to order for lunch, but we do when we choose a new vehicle, or home appliance, or even when we figure out what to buy at the drugstore to feel better.
The buyer is at the helm of all of these decisions, not the salesperson or the marketer. That is why HubSpot calls the journey “problem-specific, not product-specific.” Smart marketers offer prospective clients content that fits that description.
Need an Effective Inbound Marketing Strategy?
The job of a marketer is to give the buyer information they need to make a decision. Purchasing ad space and hoping you catch prospects at the right stage of their journey doesn’t cut it anymore. And why should it? The internet has made it much easier to be a consumer, and it’s also made it much easier to be an effective marketer.
Inbound content marketing is at the core of our work. We understand how to connect with the consumers that our clients are seeking. We understand their journey — and that is why we’re successful.
Want to talk inbound marketing? Want us to build a strategy to catch your prospective customers in their journey? Let’s talk.