Planning Your Buyer’s Journey

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One you know the customer’s persona you start find out the steps they would take to become a customer. This is the buyer’s journey and it will teach you how to make the best marketing plan possible.

There are three stages in the buyer’s journey. They are the awareness stage, the consideration stage, and the decision stage. These portray the experiences your potential customers go through.

Everybody has gone through the buyer’s journey. You can think of it as the path you take when you have a problem to solve. Starting from understanding you have problem, to researching potential solutions, and then purchasing.

The buyer’s journey should address customer needs and concerns before they arise. You want to be able to answer questions before a customer asks. Affirm that your service will help. And help them evaluate your product vs competitors. Building your website and marketing around the buyer’s journey achieves these goals.


Awareness

Before you know what you want, you need to want something. This could be a problem you are having or an opportunity you know about. It is also the most important part.

At this point you would you start trying to name your problem. Not your problems, but the problems your business solves. You’ll look on Google for general idea you have. At this point you starting to become aware of the products and services you offer.

Building awareness is two things. It is getting external attention to your product. It is also making sure your messaging on your website is clear. If your business solves a problem it should be the first thing a reader sees.

If what you’re offering is brand new or niche this is where direct marketing is most effect. You are offering a solution to problem people don’t know they have, so you need to get their attention to the issue.

You will find there is more information about building awareness for your business here than the other steps. This is because building awareness happens on and outside your website.

The other stages of the buyer’s journey are addressed in more detail in my guide for building your website.

Here are a few examples of how to build awareness.

Web Content & SEO

Most options to build awareness are cost versus time. You build awareness for cheap but it is time consuming. Or you can build awareness fast but it will be expensive.

You can write good content about your business on your website and SEO for cheap. But in order for that that to be effective you need enough searches for the terms your website ranks for. It can also be very hard to rank your website if you work in a competitive market. Last if the content is not good or you can’t find a cost effective model to get it, this method is a huge time sink.

Contributing Content and Guest Blogging

Contributing content to websites might help could get you lot of attention. But it can be very mixed bag. Getting webmaster to get back to you can be hard and do the research on them time consuming. You can also do a lot of this and have it yield very little results. Also any website that get a lot of traffic might want you to pay them for this and there is no guarantee of the results. That is not good.

If your product or service work in conjunction with other popular programs, you are in luck. Getting opportunities to contribute will be much easier and almost always free. As opposed to wanting to your content put in HuffPost or Wired.

Direct Marketing

Is the most efficient way to bootstrap your business awareness. It has a good balance. of time and cost investments with returns on investment.

You will be finding partnerships direct, so there is no luck. People are interested or they are not. If your people are good they will be able to message hundred of people a day. You’ll be honing your message and generating leads. All the while, you learn more about your potential customers and what works.

If sales and business development is commission based, it is cost effective too. But this is very dependent on who you’re selling to and the goals of your business. An efficient sales pipeline can take months to build. And depending on what and who you sell too, closing a deal can also take a long time.

You might think, “I have a ecommerce store, this doesn’t help me.” You would be wrong. If you want your business to succeed you should be open to all to types of sales or partnerships. For example you use direct outreach to contact distributors and setup larger purchases. This will be much more lucrative than individual sales and will get your product in front of more people

Press Releases

Press releases are worthy investment. They can get your business picked up in major publications like Forbes or newspapers. They can direct traffic to your website. You can use PR to build links outside your website and share in social media. And press release provide social proofing for potential customers.

Press release can be expensive and like most other things based on luck. If your content isn’t on point or you don’t distribute it to the right places it can be a big waste.

Paid Display Advertising

Display advertising gets your business right in front of people’s faces. You can use your buyers personas to target people before they even know they need your solutions. You will get lots of data to make your marketing always more effective. And it lets you A/B test to let you know what works and what doesn’t.

But it also requires the largest upfront investment. Google might tell PPC managers there is no minimum amount you need to spend to get sales with AdWords. And that is true to an extent. But if you’re only launching, it is unlikely ad campaigns will be immediately successful.

It will take time and money to get to point where you consistently get conversions at a rate that is profitable. On the long enough timeline you will get there. But if you don’t have the funds to last that long, it is a waste with unpredictable results.

Paid advertising also share many of the same pitfalls as SEO. If there is not enough search volume for what your are selling, the investment will be great than the reward. Same is true if the keywords you target are very competitive.


Consideration

Consideration stage is when you know exactly you are looking for. You are researching how you can approach and/or solving the problem or opportunity.

This stage strongly relates to the content on your website. What it is that you offer. Does it solve the problem of the visitor? By creating content the expounds on the feature or services you offer you help aid in the consideration phase.

Focus on the features that match who your customers are. If you only want enterprise business, focus on features that services them. If you want people to know your solutions are for both big and small businesses; then state your business helps everyone. Do not forget to include features that reflect both.


Decision

Consideration stage is when you know exactly you are looking for. You are researching how you can approach and/or solving the problem or opportunity.

This stage strongly relates to the content on your website. What it is that you offer. Does it solve the problem of the visitor? By creating content the expounds on the feature or services you offer you help aid in the consideration phase.

Focus on the features that match who your customers are. If you only want enterprise business, focus on features that services them. If you want people to know your solutions are for both big and small businesses; then state your business helps everyone. Do not forget to include features that reflect both.

On-page decision making

Consideration stage is when you know exactly you are looking for. You are researching how you can approach and/or solving the problem or opportunity.

This stage strongly relates to the content on your website. What it is that you offer. Does it solve the problem of the visitor? By creating content the expounds on the feature or services you offer you help aid in the consideration phase.

Focus on the features that match who your customers are. If you only want enterprise business, focus on features that services them. If you want people to know your solutions are for both big and small businesses; then state your business helps everyone. Do not forget to include features that reflect both.

Off-page decision making

By creating external content about what you offer, you help customers make a decision on your product.

Like when building awareness, networking with other websites good at doing this. You do this by having review of your product and partnering with a website to promote your content. This can have the added effect of helping your SEO and generating more traffic.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to do this. Affiliate marketing is partnering with websites to promote you. It’s usually on commission based structure so there is not upfront payment.. If you have ever been to top 10 review site, chances are this is some sort of affiliate marketing website. Of course the more popular the partner, the great the cost either upfront or from the commission.


Examples of the Buyer’s Journey

Here’s a real life example of the buyer’s journey. Have you ever planned a vacation in the winter? You likely knew you wanted to go away but was not sure where yet.

In the awareness stage you’re experiencing symptoms or having a problem. In this case, you want to take vacation.

You ask “Where is best to travel in the winter?”

In the consideration stage, that’s when you’ve given a name to your problem and now you want to figure out your options. You find out the Caymen Islands is great winter destination. Now though, you want to know your for getting there?

That’s where the decision stage comes in, this is when you decide on your approach to solve the problem. If you wanted to go to the caribbean you could fly but you could also take a cruise.

You might decide that the cruise that is all inclusive and it has great reviews. If would cheaper outright to fly but then you would need to book hotel and would have a less reliable experience.


How This Relates to Your Marketing

That’s how one could go through the buyer’s journey – it’s from the buyer’s perspective.
But imagine you as the sales person.

A good salesperson will typically listen to a leads problems, provide options solution. But what if you went to store, paid no to what you are looking and just gave you some something immediately. Not a pleasant experience.

This is what often happens to marketing and website. Instead of trying a customer’s problems, go right to explaining our products or our services and why they’re the best option.

Website visitors might come to your website for the first time in any of the different buyer’s
journey stages, but you need to have content prepared for each and every stage.

For example let use a website blog.

Your product or service will most likely help solve your persona’s problems, but that doesn’t make this blog post awareness stage.

Your product and service will be some form of solution, but in this case, your blog post is talking
all about you. So this would be a decision stage piece of content.

But here’s the thing – blog posts aren’t really for the decision stage. When you’re creating content, specifically blog posts, keep it educational. Not educating them on who you are and what you do, but educating them on their problems and solutions. This build trust with your company.

For example let use a website blog.

Your product or service will most likely help solve your persona’s problems, but that doesn’t make this blog post awareness stage.

Your product and service will be some form of solution, but in this case, your blog post is talking
all about you. So this would be a decision stage piece of content.

But here’s the thing – blog posts aren’t really for the decision stage. When you’re creating content, specifically blog posts, keep it educational. Not educating them on who you are and what you do, but educating them on their problems and solutions. This build trust with your company.

But here’s the thing – blog posts aren’t really for the decision stage. When you’re creating content, specifically blog posts, keep it educational. Not educating them on who you are and what you do, but educating them on their problems and solutions. This build trust with your company.

Planning Your Buyer’s Journey was last modified: June 27th, 2017 by Timothy Solomon

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