The key to effective marketing is understanding the buyer’s journey by understanding the process they go through and what drives them to make their decision.
The buyer’s journey is an important part of the marketing strategy that marketers need to understand and develop content for each stage in the process.
The journey is typically a linear process. But, some steps can be skipped or reordered.
Before we dig into these steps, let us be clear about what a buyer’s persona is and why it’s crucial that you understand them if you want to ensure your marketing efforts are not wasted.
What is the buyer’s journey?
HubSpot describes this as follows:
‘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 reason this is so important, if you as a marketer doesn’t know where your audience is on their journey and what stage of the decision they are in, you will find it almost impossible to create content for each stage, which will not allow you to create an emotional connection between your brand and customer.
So many companies waste countless hours creating content, only for it to fail to get any attention and more importantly, it doesn’t lead to conversions and new revenue.
By the end of this article, you will know how to create content for each stage of the buyer’s journey and the best practices.
The step-by-step process buyers go through.
The buyer’s journey is a step by step process that buyers go through before they make their purchase. It can be segmented into three stages.
The first stage, known as the awareness stage, is when buyers become aware of the product or service and start paying attention to it.
The second stage is called the consideration stage, and it happens when they start researching the product or service and look at reviews to see if it would be worth its money.
During this stage, if they are not satisfied with what they find out about the product or service, they will go ahead to the third one, which we call the decision-making stage, where they will decide whether to buy that product or not.
The most important thing for marketers to know about this journey is that there are different.
What are the three stages of the Buyer’s Journey?
Awareness: This is when the buyer becomes aware of the need or problem they have. They will start by researching and exploring their options, and this is when they’re introduced to new products, services or brands.
This stage typically lasts a few days to a few months, and it can also overlap with the consideration phase.
Consideration: The buyer has narrowed down their choices and will now compare different brands to find which one best suits their needs.
This stage typically lasts a few weeks to a few months, and it can also overlap with the decision phase.
Decision: The buyer has decided on which brand they want to purchase from and are ready to make an upfront commitment.
Knowing your buyer’s persona and at what stage in the buying journey they are in helps you to identify what problems they face, what’s stopping them from achieving their goals or causing friction in their life.
Identify where your buyers spend their time.
The next thing is to consider the best way to reach these buyers and identify which channel they use.
For example, if a company wants to sell hair care products for women, an advertising agency might use Facebook ads because of its targeting capabilities.
In this case, advertising agencies will create a campaign on Facebook that will have features such as images, text and video clips that are targeted towards females with specific interests (hair products).
With this information on hand, you can create incredibly helpful content, content that could be in the format of paid ads, videos, blogs and pretty much any other medium.
How digital marketing has changed
Marketing is not about selling a product anymore. Now it’s about selling more than just a product and creating a relationship with the customer.
Companies need to be more honest with their customers and focus on what they can offer them instead of what they want from them.
Traditional marketing was designed without the consideration of human experience. For example, they don’t create customer-centric marketing that is not designed to be easily understood by the customers.
Most marketing is often based on the old “push” model. It focuses on broadcasting information to potential customers.
The problem with this is that it’s not as effective anymore because customers have many things competing for their attention.
In the digital age, many companies are adopting a “pull”-based marketing strategy that provides products or services that match customer demand and solves problems consumers are facing.
Traditional marketing in the digital age looks very different than it did decades ago, where there was no such thing as social media and targeted ads all over the internet.
In digital marketing, the consumers’ matter
Companies are now spending more time listening to customers than talking at them about their products. They can use traditional marketing techniques like advertising, public relations, and event planning but must also find ways of building a lasting relationship with consumers to stay competitive in a noisy world.
Traditional marketing is not designed to help people. It was originally used to increase the profits of a company, but in the 21st century, people have become the focus of marketing campaigns.
Marketing trends are changing as we evolve from an industrial society to an information society. In recent years, there has been a shift in how marketers think about and implement their campaigns. Instead of just focusing on increasing sales or improving brand recognition, they now consider customer satisfaction or engagement with their brand as well.
The ultimate goal is to improve revenue by satisfying customers and generating repeat business.
Buyer’s journey content
The content you create should differ for each different persona; also, it’s important to note that some personas will prefer blogs, others will like video, and others maybe prefer infographics and charts.
- Profit Pete is a Financial controller, and he is interested in reducing costs and growing profits. Pete gets most of his information from industry news and blogs.
- Susie Sells is a sales manager and is interested in giving her team the skills, processes, and tools to acquire better quality customers. Susie reads industry blogs but also watches lots of video content and spends time on LinkedIn.
While both of these personas could be your potential customer, as you can see, they both want different things and would want different content to satisfy their needs and help solve their problems.
Typically the best type of content you can create for each stage of the buyer’s journey looks like this.
Help the buyer understand and define their problem.
Content: Blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, and checklists allow you to position your brand as a credible source of information.
Give the buyer options for removing their recently defined problem.
Content: Customer testimonials, reviews, product videos and live webinars can assist the buyer in choosing a solution for their issue.
Assure the buyer that your company is the best choice to provide them with the solution they’ve chosen.
Content: Demo’s, Free trials, and product factsheets that help the buyer feel safe that you are the brand for them.
Creating carefully thought out content is fun and also challenging, but the rewards are outstanding and will outperform almost every other form of marketing.
Just remember that your aim is to create content that is as helpful as possible for your buyers… at every stage.
When you provide real value to your target audience, your content will work like a magnet, attract more traffic to your website, and lead to more purchases.
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