Understanding the Buyer’s Journey for More Effective Marketing
What is a Buyer’s Journey?
The buyer’s journey is a set of tactics you can use to map out what actions a person takes before buying your product or service. Hubspot has a short and sweet definition that goes like this:
“The buyer’s journey is the active research process a buyer goes through leading up to a purchase”.
In a nutshell, the buyer’s journey is all the Google searches, phone calls, vetting, and information seeking someone does before deciding whether or not they should purchase from you.
In a Forrester survey, 74% of buyers said that they conduct more than half their research online before making a purchase. This means it is more important than ever to harness the power of digital marketing to meet these people where they are looking for their information. It is usually a multi-channel effort spread across networks like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, emails, webinars, events, and sales. Your goal is to supply the buyer with valuable content along their journey that nudges them closer and closer to buying from you.
What Does a Buyer’s Journey Look Like?
There is no exact science to the buyer’s journey. Every journey will be different based on your industry and the type of good or service you sell. The good news is there is a rough outline of a general buyer’s journey that you can adhere to for starters. It consists of 3 stages:
TOFU – this is the top of funnel or awareness stage. In this stage a buyer is aware of a problem needing to be solved, and they set out on a journey to look for information. This is where you step in by creating high-quality, informative content that solves said problem and answers high-level questions. TOFU content should educate, entertain, and inspire.
MOFU – this is the middle of funnel or consideration stage. In this stage your buyer has most likely done their research and is starting to ask tougher questions. MOFU content should be more technical and offer deeper insights and answers to harder questions.
BOFU – this is the bottom of funnel or decision stage. In this stage your buyer is very close to making their final decision. This is where the buyer starts to determine value based on price versus quality. They will weigh options over a vast array of products and services. BOFU content should offer customer testimonials and peer reviews to instill trust of your product, service, and brand.
Why the Buyer’s Journey Matters
By providing answers to the questions a buyer is asking at every stage of their unique journey you’re able to nurture customers towards making a decision. If done correctly, they will come to the decision to buy from you. You’ll avoid the mistakes of traditional approaches like waiting too long and missing the boat or delivering a harsh and spammy sales pitch too soon in the decision making process.
Instead, you’re giving these people exactly what they need according to the stage they are at in their journey. Expert guidance is a way to build trust, and we all know that trust has a tremendous influence on the modern day purchaser.
Where Do You Go From Here?
Take a few moments to sit down and visualize the journey that a potential buyer would go through when purchasing your product or service. When starting to develop your buyer’s journey map, remember the classic “five W’s” of a detective investigation.
Who – If you are an e-commerce company your buyer will be much different than an entire IT department who may be looking for a unique cloud solution. Make sure you understand the person you’re selling to and if it is a single individual or a suite of different roles who make a collective decision towards a purchase. Creating written buyer personas will help you better understand who your target customers are.
What – Define the types of content and packages you can provide a buyer to help answer their questions and forward progression along the journey. In an initial research phase a potential buyer may be fine with a simple infographic, but a few steps down the line may be asking about case studies or a technical white paper.
Where – Ask yourself where your potential buyer “hangs out” on the Internet to gather and seek information. This can include various channels such as social media, broad Google searches, attending webinars, or simply asking their network for advice.
When – Buyers will have different needs and different stages of their journey. Identify these stages, like TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU above, and make sure to address the questions that will be asked at each stage. It is also important to understand what will trigger a buyer to move to the next stage and identify barriers that may pop up that hinder progression.
Why – Think about the outcome a buyer is looking to achieve and the pain points they are trying to solve. This will help you understand the buyer’s perception of value when it comes to your good or service.
Now you’re ready to start mapping your own buyer’s journeys and creating relevant and compelling content for each stage. Tailoring your marketing efforts to each unique journey will pay off. You’ll start noticing higher response rates as you begin delivering the right content to the right person at the right time. If you are looking for more in depth information about the type of content you should be creating per each stage be sure to check out this informative Uhuru Network article.
Have your own buyer’s journey experiences to share? Comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to the iPage mailing list to stay up to date with the latest marketing tactics and strategies.