If you take a look back over the TIMCo blog, you’ll see we talk a lot about the buyer’s journey. Why? Because understanding the buyer’s journey is key to a successful marketing strategy. The truth is, the buyer’s journey needs to underpin every aspect of your marketing strategy. In good times and challenging times, businesses need to be able to pivot and adapt to the world around them. After all, marketing is focused on what buyers are doing, and the journey they take to become a lifelong customer. If you’re unfamiliar with the buyer’s journey and how it will benefit your overall marketing strategy, fear not. In this article, we are going to be dissecting the buyer’s journey and how to align your marketing to each stage.
The Buyer’s Journey Defined
According to HubSpot, the buyer’s journey “is the process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service”. When you break it down, the buyer’s journey follows a three-step process: awareness, consideration and decision.
The Awareness Stage
During the awareness stage, buyers become aware they have a problem. At this early stage buyers aren’t actively searching for a solution. Rather, they are understanding their challenge and seek out content that will better educate their goal, challenge or problem.
The Consideration Stage
The next stage of the buyer’s journey is the consideration stage. During this stage, buyers have clearly defined their goal or challenge and are now beginning to evaluate the different solutions that will solve their problem. At this point, buyers are simply considering different solutions, rather than brand or company specific solutions.
The Decision Stage
The final stage of the buyer’s journey is the decision stage. Once buyers have reached the decision stage, they have carried out enough research, have evaluated the different solutions to their problem and are finally ready to choose a brand to help them solve their problem. Here, buyers are evaluating brands and companies. At this stage, buyers want to know more about your organisation and why they should choose you over a competitor.
Why the Buyer’s Journey is Important to Your Overall Marketing Strategy
The buyer’s journey is important for many reasons, and there’s no denying it is one of the most crucial parts of your overall marketing strategy. The reality is, small business owners who don’t keep up with the times or are not prepared for major life changes (e.g. COVID-19), will be forced to scramble and ultimately, can lose precious business. Buyers’ behaviour is constantly changing as the world and the way we live changes, which is why small business owners need to be prepared to pivot and move with the times.
When your marketing evolves with how your customers buy, it drives an effective strategy because you are providing the information they are looking for. Small business owners who have their finger on the pulse at all times, especially when it comes to how their customers’ buy will stay relevant and connected with their buyers. And you won’t be left wondering where your customers have gone (hint: they’ve moved to your competitor who could pivot and adapt to the times and changing buying behaviour!).
How to Create Content to Woo Buyers and Move Them Along the Buyer’s Journey
So we know the buyer’s journey is important, but how does marketing move your buyer’s through the journey? Once you have an understanding of what information your customers are looking for at each stage of the buyer’s journey, create content for each stage that will provide the answers or experience they are looking for.
Awareness Stage Content
During this stage, people are aware of a problem but may not have identified exactly what it is. Content at this stage should address the questions people have around their painpoint or problem. For example if their house is unusually cold but they’re not sure why - they may head to Google and type in “why is my house so cold” or they may respond to a post on Facebook that says “5 reasons your house is cold and how to fix them”. During the awareness stage, your content should educate people and help them better understand their challenge or need, and how to fix it.
Once people have a better understanding of their problem they will be educating themselves on the best solution to their problem, challenge or need. Let’s say the above mentioned blog article helped them identify that their windows are old and letting in too much air. They are aware of the cause of the cold and now know they need to fix their windows. The questions they have are, should I replace the windows or fix them? Can I fix them myself or do I need to pay a contractor? Your content should answer these questions and provide helpful information to educate them, not sell to them at this stage. You may run an advertisement on Facebook to download a free guide called “Fixing v’s Replacing Old Windows: 10 Things You Must Know”. This article should be objective and non-salesy educating the reader on the pros and cons of replacing versus fixing old windows so they can make an educated decision on what is best for them.
During the decision stage, buyers are now aware of what they need to do and are looking for a specific solution. Keeping with our example of the windows - let’s say after reading the Fixing vs Replacing Old Windows guide they realised they need to replace their windows, and they need a professional contractor to do so. They will be interested in content that educates them on how to find the right contractor. Again this content should be helpful and not salesy.
The benefit of all of this? If your business has successfully provided helpful content at each stage of the buyer’s journey, you will have the opportunity to connect with your buyers early on in the buyers’ journey and build a level of trust with them so they feel more confident in your skills and ability to be the right solution for them.