In my earlier post "Identifying Your Buyer Persona: 8 Questions You Must Ask", I outlined the steps involved in identifying your ideal customer and the factors that influence their buying criteria.
Next it’s important to know the ‘Buyer Journey’, the process every person takes before they make a purchase decision.
In this post I walk you through the steps of the buyer journey, and how you can create content to their specific needs.
Using your Buyer Persona Questionnaire, plan out the content that you need to publish. The traditional sales process is broken down into the following groups:
How do your buyers describe their problem or need? Do they use the same words and terminology as your company does? Or is it different? It’s important to make sure your words correspond with those your buyers use when creating your marketing content. Also be careful not to be too technical or reliant on industry jargon.
At this stage of the buying process most people are not looking for certain companies or brands, but general information on solutions for their specific need. This could be education on whether to outsource or train someone internally. It may be learning which is the right product for them, and understanding how much they should be spending.
Tip: Don’t talk about your company or brand but solutions that educate people on the right solution for their need.
Publishing content that educates your prospects positions your company as a thought leader and someone to trust. It is often a step that is overlooked with lead generation. We’re all looking for the quick sale and want to talk to people who are ready to buy now, but the truth is, you want to build a database of people who love your company. They may buy now, later or not at all. But if they were interested enough to read your content initially, chances are they are interested in the product or service your company provides.Remember: In the digital age everyone has a voice and platform to share their views. So even if they don’t buy, they may be a great evangelist for your company.
At this stage people are considering what is the right solution for them.
My recommendation is to not sell to people at this stage of the buying process, if they’re not ready to buy you run the risk of offending them and they’ll never buy. Tread carefully, be patient.At this point publish content that helps people make better buying decisions. For example: 10 Things You Need To Know Before Choosing A Marketing Consultant.
The next step in the buying process is the decision. You need to help them make up their mind on the right solution for their needs.
Make it easy for people to read case studies, see your list of clients and learn more about your company, customers, experience and expertise.
Once your buyers have the support of upper management, or have arrived at their decision organically, they’re ready to select a vendor and make a purchase. At this point, they’ll start thinking about preparation, implementation, quick start costs, and customer support — the final items that will determine which solution best fits their needs and budget.This is when it’s time to get brand-specific with your content. Case studies and testimonials from existing customers show what they have achieved by choosing your company. It creates trust and credibility that you can deliver on what you promise.
At this step people have made up their mind and are ready to buy. Make this process very easy otherwise you may lose the deal.
The first thing to remember is that some people may move through the buying process in five minutes, others may take a month and need to read an ebook, visit your website several times, receive three emails and spend time following you on social media. The truth is you really don’t know when people are ready to take that action. But you want to make sure that at every visit and every point of contact with your company they know exactly what to do when they want to buy.
If your product is an online purchase make sure ‘buy here’ is clear on every page, visible at the top of your website and on every email.
If they need to request a proposal – again make this call to action visible from every step in the buying process.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming everyone will take the same path and trying to control the buying process and only offering them the option to take action after receiving all relevant content and emails.