What is the buyer’s journey and how do I use it?

What is the buyer's journey and how do I use it?

We are all buyers of products and services.  And the way we are now purchasing everything – from an iron to a holiday to a car – has changed dramatically.

For those of us who are older (!) purchasing any of the above meant a trip to a shop, or a travel agent or a dealer where to a greater or a lesser extent we would be guided by a salesperson.

We might have thought we were getting impartial advice but it was probably guided more by the commission to be earned than a real desire to give you all the information.

But now things have changed.  Think about when you last made a purchase of anything other than basic groceries?  I am prepared to bet that you searched online – possibly before making an online purchase, or before going into a dealership or store?  And to a greater or lesser extent – the time we spend researching before making a final purchase is the “buyer’s journey”

Hubspot define the buyer’s journey thus:

“The buyer’s journey is the active research process a buyer goes through leading up to a purchase.”

I think we all recognise that in ourselves – now we need to turn it around and look at our businesses – because this needs to inform us as to how to attract those buyers to our business – and not someone else’s.

And if you need further convincing:

“Sixty-seven percent (67%) of the buyer’s ‘decision’ is complete before a buyer even reaches out to sales.” (SiriusDecisions)

The buyer’s journey falls into three stages – Awareness, Consideration and Decision

buyer's journey important to my business

Now you need to think about what you need to do to reach those potential customers in each of those stages.

Awareness

The customer is aware that they have a problem or need and they start to look for solutions.  They use google to find potential products and services to meet their needs.  This is where you need to have you website optimised for SEO – and that generally means good content – well-constructed web pages and blogs.  Have information which the prospective buyer will find easily – and find easy to digest – This is your chance to get “in front of” your prospect!  Note that at this stage you won’t know who they are – probably just some statistics on Google Analytics!

Ideally at this stage you would have a page to capture their contact details – email address at the very least – so that you can start to communicate slightly more directly with them in the next stage.

Consideration

At this stage the prospect will start to evaluate alternative products and services.  Now you have their email address you can send more detailed, in-depth information to more fully inform them – white-papers and e-books are useful at this stage. You need to anticipate – and answer – the questions that the prospect will have.  Now you are hoping to open up a more personal conversation (depending on your business) to lead them to the next stage

Decision

This is the “traditional” sales stage – where you are aiming to close the deail!  But note – this is the first opportunity that a salesperson has had to engage with the prospect – and the sale is nearly complete!  The control up until now has all been with the buyer – and all you have been able to do is feed them information.

The Buyer Persona

Last time we talked about the Buyer Persona or Customer Avatar – this is the person you are speaking to throughout the above stages.  At every point on the buyer’s journey you need to write the content addressing them “personally”.  You should know and understand their pains, their personal issues (if you are B2C) and their business (and maybe personal) issues if you are B2B.  You also know where they “hang out” so you can direct your content (at the Awareness stage) to the correct platforms.

Your content at any time should be written with the buyer persona / stage in mind – and also the platform you will be delivering it on.

Why not download the worksheet and note down some ideas for content for each stage – do it for one or more avatars or personas – but complete one sheet per persona.

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