Imagine that your website is your best salesperson, working around the clock, every day of the week, even on their birthday (shock horror!), all to give your customers a great first impression and provide value to prospective buyers. Sounds like an overdue meeting with HR if you ask me ...
But seriously! You give your website so much responsibility to provide the right information, to the right person, at the right time, on the right device. Let's give your website some help, by building a digital marketing strategy that nurtures prospects to becoming buyers! We will have to start by understanding the buyer's journey - a fancy three-step process that contextualises how we can help people who are in a pickle, offer recommendations and provide a solution!
What is the buyer's journey?
The buyer's journey is the process buyers go through to become aware of, consider and evaluate, and decide to purchase a new product or service. The buyer's journey is a lil' bit spesh because it will help you attract, engage and delight your customers, by meeting them where they are and providing the needed guidance and value they're seeking. A bit like that friend that drives all the way to you just to give you advice - a true BFF.
Let's break it down.
The Awareness Stage
This is the point that your prospect is experiencing and expressing symptoms of a problem or opportunity. They're all a dither, trying to decide whether or not the goal or challenge should be a priority. To help you understand, let's imagine that the prospect is 21 year old, Jenny. Jenny forgot about her mum's birthday, and has left buying her a present to the very last minute (*rolling my eyes too*). She hops online to find her mum something nice, only to be met with really dodgy wifi connection.
She thinks about going to the shops instead, but nope. How could she possibly flaunt her millennial prowess without her precious internet?
So she takes matters into her own hands and google searches what to do.
After reading some articles, Jenny starts to understand possible reasons the connection has dropped (it's not just because the world is against her). With this understanding, the next step will be for her to consider the different options available.
The Consideration Stage
During the consideration stage, buyers have clearly identified the goal or challenge and are committed to addressing it. In doing so, they evaluate the different methods and approaches available to solve their challenge or pursue their goal.
In Jenny's case, she has a few options, but is starting to get frustrated. She just wants it fixed! So she starts searching for 'how to fix wifi connection', 'best ways to go about fixing wifi' and instructional videos on the websites of various IT specialists.
The Decision Stage
Finally, in the decision stage, buyers have decided on their solution strategy, method or approach.
So now, all the effort she put in has finally paid off, Jenny has a list of potential IT handymen who can come and help her out. She knows she wants someone with proven expertise, a good price point, and understands her. So she does a bit of digging into some of the case studies, success stories and 'about' pages on their websites.
Once Jenny has had a good sticky-beak and built enough trust and confidence in a particular business, we come to the end of her buyer's journey because she's made her decision! Jenny can go back to live-streaming her salad worry-free and mum gets her present! Good old Jen.
Most websites are just set up for this decision stage, when buyers are pitting you against your competition. But, those earlier stages are imperative to getting buyers to move swiftly through the buyer's journey and on their way to raving about their online experience with you to their friends! We can do this by effectively employing the following helpful digital marketing techniques:
1. Developing content around the buyer persona's intent and their position in the buyers journey
The early stages of the buyers journey are an ideal fit for blogs, where you can produce heaps of educational content that will help you become a great resource and a thought leader for your buyer. Lardy-dah! So during the awareness stage, you want to provide stuff like industry reports, guides or infographics. In the consideration stage, you could offer some more technical blog articles or product feature videos. Finally, when customers are making their decision, they'll love free product trials or live demonstrations.
But hold up, it's also super important that you have content available for each buyer persona you target! If you can, try making it clear on your website where each buyer persona can get the info they need. Make the user experience as seamless as possible!
2. Creating effective Calls to Action that move users through the buyer's journey
The buyer's journey is not just about the content you produce, but the experience you provide. It would be too easy otherwise! It's important to help guide prospects from one stage of the buyer's journey to the next by having clear Calls-to-Action (CTA's). But remember, where you place a CTA will depend on the type of content you're delivering. For example, you could use a CTA at the end of a blog post to guide the viewer to a more in-depth bit of content for their 'consideration'.
Boom! There you have it.
Understanding the buyer's journey will seriously help your prospects, and when you help them, they'll help you!