Stages of the Buyer’s Journey and Appropriate Content
We take a detailed look at the 4 buyer’s journey stages to help you understand what your buyers are doing, and what content will help them move from one stage to the next.
The buyer’s journey the active research process a potential buyer goes through leading up to a purchase. It maps the actions they take as they make their journey towards a purchase and helps keep the buyer’s behaviour, information needs and problems central to all marketing and sales efforts.
So what does it look like? How are buyers getting from step one – “do I even have a need?” – to a justified decision? And how can we harness this knowledge to encourage the buyer along their journey.
We take a look at all of the stages of the buyer’s journey, from awareness to advocate, to help you understand what your buyers are doing, and how you can help them move from one stage to the next.
1. Top of the funnel: Awareness
At this stage the prospect is experiencing and expressing symptoms of a problem or opportunity. They are doing educational research to more clearly understand, frame and give a name to their problem/opportunity.
At this point you should not be educating prospects about your company or product, but about topics that matter the most to them and their business. These visitors are very early in the buying process and want vendor-neutral information so they can try and find a solution themselves. This is where you can start building trust by answering questions on topics that are helpful to them.
Your content needs to be optimised for search engines so it’s easy to find – as well as entertaining and educational to keep prospects engaged. It is a good idea to create and publish content on other high quality sites that are relevant to your industry. Find out where your potential customers might be spending time online, where they’re getting their information and try to get your content in front of them.
Hubspot recommends these content types for the consideration stage: Blog posts, eBooks, white papers, checklists, infographics, other educational content
Relevant terms: Troubleshoot, issue, resolve, risks, upgrade, improve, optimise, prevent
2. Middle of the funnel: Consideration
The prospect has clearly defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity. They are now researching all of the available approaches to solving this.
Customers in this stage are very interested in learning more about a specific topic. They will be willing to watch webinars and download “expert guides,” and are prepared to give you their information in return. This is important, because you need to be capturing their information so you can nurture them through the final stage and turn them into a customer.
A vendor-neutral comparison guide that provide more information on all the solutions available would work well in this stage.
Hubspot recommends these content types for the consideration stage: eBook, whitepaper, checklist, podcast, webinar, video, worksheet, templates.
Relevant terms: solution, provider, service, supplier, tool, device, software, appliance.
3. Bottom of the funnel: Decision
Prospect has now decided on their solution strategy and are compiling a list of all available services and products. They are researching to whittle down to a short list and ultimately make a final purchase decision.
Customers in the decision stage are ready to buy. It’s now your job to provide them with vendor and product-specific comparison guides, customer success stories or case studies and free consultations to help them with their decision. Your buyer is ready to make a short list, so let them know why you should be on it!
There will most likely be multiple vendors competing for their business, but since you’ve nurtured them through the buyer’s journey, they should trust you and you should be front of mind.
That said, there is no way is it a certain sale. In most cases you should bring in a sales person at this stage. They can focus on building a personal relationship and start developing the customer experience.
Hubspot recommends these types of content at this stage: Vendor comparison charts, purchasing guides, case studies, product literature, worksheet, demos, checklists
Relevant terms: Compare, versus, comparison, pros & cons, benchmarks, review, test
The work doesn’t stop once the purchase has been made. Once you retain those new customers, delight them with great offers and discounts, exclusive content and anything else you can think of. If they’re happy, they’ll soon begin to support your brand.
Content could include: Free trials, coupons/offers, product demos, follow-up consultations, in-depth blog posts or articles, input from current customers/advocates
Use the advice listed here to start mapping out your customers journey.
Go ahead and map it out on a piece of paper. Then start thinking about what content you can give each customer in each of the three stages.
As illustrated by this new buyer’s journey your prospects are better- informed than ever before! This new breed of consumer demands a better breed of marketing. A marketing automation solution can help you easily track prospects as they move through their buyer’s journey, and quickly respond with the appropriate content.