What is the buyer’s journey?
The buyer’s journey is something that every business should understand as it is the framework for an effective marketing strategy. It is the path that buyers travel as they discover and become aware of your brand, consider and evaluate your services and solutions and ultimately making their decision to purchase.
A typical framework of the buyer’s journey consists of three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. By mapping out the buyer’s journey, marketers are able to better target potential buyers by reaching them at every stage of the journey.
The journey consists of a three-step process:
Awareness Stage: The buyer realizes they have a problem.
Consideration Stage: The buyer defines their problem and researches options to solve it.
Decision Stage: The buyer chooses a solution.
The graphic below illustrates a sample buyer’s journey for the simple purchasing decision of aesthetic services from a medical spa.
Awareness – TOFU
At the awareness stage or what is also called the Top of the Funnel (TOFU), a potential buyer begins to realize a want or need for a product and/or service and is the fundamental first step in a buyer’s journey. The buyer enters the funnel at this stage and is considered an in-market lead in-market lead. This is someone who is actively searching on a particular subject or need and are most likely entering search terms in Google to clearly understand more about what it is they are looking for. A holistic SEO strategy is very important at this stage and should be an active part of your inbound marketing strategy. To ensure your content is relevant to the needs and desires of your buyer you should take the time to develop one or multiple ideal buyer personas.
Potential buyers at this stage are seeking to educate themselves so they can answer questions they have regarding certain pain points they are experiencing. It’s during this stage a brand or business has the opportunity to build a relationship and start cultivating trust with a potential buyer. It’s important to refrain from any kind of hard selling at this point as the goal is to garner the attention of the buyer and begin educating them on their particular problem.
Some relevant content that can be provided at this stage of the buyer’s journey are:
- Educational Blog Posts
- Responding to questions on Q&A sites
- Industry research/analyst reports
- E-guides and E-books
Consideration – MOFU
After a buyer has defined their problem they begin to move into what’s called the consideration stage or Middle of the Funnel (MOFU). This stage is where the buyer begins to evaluate different methods that are available to them and switch from a high-level understanding of their problem to a more in-depth understanding allowing them to discover the best available solutions.
It’s during this stage that a buyer will likely spend most of their time and are given a higher lead score in their in-market customer profile. They will begin to narrow down the possible solutions by performing multiple searches on google and other various search platforms.
To help with qualifying the potential buyer further into the decision stage you can provide additional content such as:
- Expert guides/checklists
- Live and OnDemand Videos
- Product Videos
- Product comparison guides
- Additional Educational Blog Posts
Decision – BOFU
Finally reaching the Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) or decision stage of the buyer’s journey, a prospect has thoroughly researched their problem and the solutions around it and are now ready to select a company or solution provider to remedy their problem. This is where an effective value proposition should be presented and reinforced by a company. Your level of expertise and leadership within the industry are all key factors in the prospect selecting you as their final decision.
If a company has been successfully meeting the potential buyer at each stage of the buyer’s journey, framing the conversation, setting expectations and garnering a series of micro yeses, they will be well positioned to make a final offer to help close the gap from prospect to buyer.
Important content at this stage of the buyer’s journey consists of:
- Case Studies, or Testimonials
- Live demonstrations or consultations
- Exclusive Product Promotions/Offers
- Social Media Engagement
Why is it so important?
“Sixty-seven percent (67%) of the buyer’s ‘decision’ is complete before a buyer even reaches out to sales.” (SiriusDecisions)
Now that you have a better understanding of what the buyer’s journey is, you may also be asking why is all of this so important. If you take the time to ask yourself the question, where do all your sales start? The answer you will most likely come up with is online. The majority of buyer’s today are finding the information they need to make their purchase decision all on their own through search engines and social media.
So how do you help them with their purchase decision? By developing relationships and cultivating trust online! And how do you develop relationships and trust online? The answer is with an inbound marketing strategy that has mapped out their buyer’s journey and has developed a content strategy to meet prospects where they are at each stage of that journey. You simply meet them where they are finding the information and answers to their problems.
By creating content for each stage, you essentially can create mini-conversations that help you frame the problem and solution for the prospect. By doing this you are able to act as their guide throughout their journey positioning your company, services or products as the ideal solution to their problem. Remember we all like to buy from people and companies, we know, like and trust!
Here’s to your success!
FOR HELP WITH MAPPING YOUR BUYER’S JOURNEY