Increase Sales In Your Business By Understanding The Buyers Journey (With Examples)
Digital platforms have changed everything.
They’ve changed the way we socialize, how we shop and even how we engage (ever noticed how people spend time scrolling their phone when out at a restaurant).
But one thing that digital platforms cannot change is the fundamental process on how human beings ‘think’.
Many marketers have understood this and use consumer psyche to their advantage.
How you ask?
Let me walk you through a typical persons-day
Apart from the essentials, most consumers don’t wake up in the morning thinking that they’re going to buy something today.
In fact, the majority of people are just not ‘sales-ready’ at any given time.
But most consumers are subconsciously compelled into buying stuff by ads that create an emotional dissonance inside them – a dissonance that gets created when the consumer is shown marketing messages that pull at their emotional strings – compelling them to take action.
So, how do marketers do it?
In this article, I’m going to give you the marketers side of the story.
A side in which you understand how marketers think and how they use marketing techniques and consumer psyche to compel people to buy.
Understanding the Buyers Journey
If you’re a mobile company, you want people to sign up for a subscription to your service; if you’re Disney, you want to impel people to book flights and hotels and come spend money at your park; if you’re a non-profit you want to move people to make a donation.
Whichever of the above cases may apply to you – typically a consumer researches a product online, compares costs, reputation and more, and decides what solution is best for their needs.
This progression—from becoming problem-aware to making a purchasing decision—is called the buyer’s journey and was made famous by legendary copywriter Eugene Schwartz who thought marketers that their copywriting (& marketing) needs to resonate with which STAGE a buyer is in.
While Eugene Schwartz broke down a buyers journey into 5 stages (see image below) modern marketers break down the journey typically into three stages (also called a funnel).
What is a Funnel?
A marketing funnel is a metaphor that marketers use to illustrate the process of progressing through different stages. Stages are typically broken down into three phases: awareness, consideration and decision (purchase).
Why is it important to grasp the concept of a Funnel?
Because understanding how a funnel works makes you realize that people are at different stages of awareness when it comes to buying a product and drives how you should communicate with a prospect.
Ideally, your creative should vary depending on which stage of the buyer’s journey your prospect is in and understanding the funnel dictates the different types of marketing creative needs to be created for a prospective buyer.
So, how do you use this in your business?
Well, the first step is to identify your prospective buyer’s journey.
Now, a potential buyer’s journey can last anywhere from three months to a year and the buyer’s journey can be different across multiple marketing channels. For example, if you’ve listed your product in Amazon and a person finds you there, the prospective buyer is already at the end of the funnel so there’s not that much work for you to do.
However, if a person is just learning about your product and they find you on Facebook then that buyer would be at the beginning of their journey and would have a more elaborate series of steps to follow.
Here’s a breakdown of WHAT you should create and be concerned about at the various stages
Marketing in the AWARENESS stage
In the awareness stage, prospects are not aware of your company and in many cases, they have no desire to buy anything (including your product or service).
This means content needs to be very general in this stage.
These are early stages of your marketing message and so it’s important for you to pull at your buyer’s emotional strings by being generous, informative & funny.
Be everything that you enjoy in other human beings.
I would recommend that you avoid selling at all costs to an audience at this stage.
The reason for this is because you want to make prospects feel like they can trust your brand and product before the hard sell comes in.
It’s more important that a consumer knows, likes and trusts your company than it is for them to buy something from you right now.
Type of creatives at this stage :
- Blog Posts (Like this one!)
- Social Media Posts
- YouTube Videos
- Informational webinars
72% of buyer’s turn to Google during the awareness stage, so it’s important not to neglect the importance of Google to create awareness for your brand.
On Google Analytics, the metrics to monitor at the awareness stage include:
- Sessions: This is especially important if you’re driving traffic to product pages on your site.
- Percentage of old visitors vs. new visitors – Are prospects returning to your site, thus, becoming more familiar with your brand?
On Facebook, the metrics to monitor at the awareness stage include:
- Estimated Ad Recall Lift – The estimated ad recall lift (people) metric is available for ads using the page post engagement objective, the video views objective and the ad recall lift optimisation within the Brand Awareness objective. The estimated ad recall lift (people) metric shows how many people Facebook estimates would remember seeing your ad if asked within two days.
- Engagement – Put simply, are readers opening and clicking through on your campaigns? If so, you’re obviously doing something right (well done, you!).
Examples of ads in the Awareness Stage:
Pro Tip: With enough quantitative and qualitative responses, recurring patterns will (hopefully) emerge in your data. With that information, as well as your own understanding of your market, you can create buyer personas for each of your ideal customers.
Marketing in the CONSIDERATION stage
Otherwise also known as the evaluation stage, In the consideration stage, prospects are considering ALL OPTIONS for solving their problem including yours, your competitors, and other alternatives that may NOT be a product or a purchase at all.
Type of creative at this stage :
- Free Trial
- Free Consultation
- Live Demo
- Carousel Cards (On Facebook & Instagram) offering different solutions
This is the point where one of my favourite ad strategies comes into play – Remarketing.
Now remember, your not asking for a purchase, yet. You’re simply inviting further engagement (example – a visit to your website, your email id) albeit with more investment from your potential buyer.
Anyone who’s clicking through to read about your products or attend a webinar is more likely to become a customer.
Metrics to monitor closely at the considerations stage include:
- Returning visitors – Are certain recipients opening and clicking through on consideration emails more than others? If so, that’s a good indication they’re close to moving down your marketing funnel.
- Webinar registrations – If you’re running an evergreen webinar, the number of registrants should be consistent, if not increasing over time (providing you’re continuously capturing and converting leads, of course).
Examples of ads in the Consideration Stage:
Pro Tip: In the consideration stage, it’s important to position your solution as better than your competitors while the buyer is considering all of their options.
Marketing in the DECISION stage
The final stage is the decision stage.
By this time, you’ve got your prospects attention, built trust, and fostered a relationship with them.
It is here where a prospect is just about to make up their mind about which option they will go with.
It’s time to give your prospect a little push over the fence.
This is the perfect time to show them your hard sell and get them over that initial inertia.
Type of creative at this stage :
- Free shipping
- Bundled Offers
Metrics you need to pay close attention to include:
- Customer lifetime value (LTV) – Knowing your customer LTV will allow you to make irresistible offers (such as free shipping), thus, getting to yes quicker and more easily.
- Customer cost per acquisition (CPA) – This is especially important if you’re using paid traffic as an acquisition channel (e.g. Facebook Advertising).
Examples of ads in the Decision/Purchase Stage:
Beyond the Buyer’s Journey
It’s tempting to believe the buyer’s journey ends when a prospect becomes a customer, but the reality is you need to continue delivering value after they purchase.
Because at this point, you’re no longer just a company selling to them.
You are now their preferred provider of goods or services.
And VALUE is one thing that will ensure your customers keep coming back for more.
Type of Creative:
- Maintenance Plans
- Customer loyalty programs
- Cash-back rewards on
- Discounts for existing customers
Every business has a unique sales funnel, sculpted and designed around their buyer’s unique journey.
It’s a recipe that can’t necessarily be replicated from one business to another.
When creating your own buyer’s journey, there are a number of factors specific to your business to take into consideration.
That said, the general approach remains the same: Understand your audience, develop your funnel around your industry and audience intent, and create custom content specific to each phase of their journey through the funnel.
Do it well, and this process will have the greatest possible impact on your customer relationships, as well as the greatest possible lift in your overall conversions.
I'm a Freelance Web Designer & Digital Marketing Specialist. I enjoy writing posts about Digital Marketing because it allows me to go 'in-depth' and understand marketing from the inside out.
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