The buyer journey is extremely important for businesses of all sizes including service and small businesses of all kinds. Of equal importance is understanding the types of content and promotion channels that work best for each stage of the buyer journey.
Getting that content and promotion right can dramatically improve your sales. I therefore wanted to cover this topic in more depth over two blogs. You can read about the awareness stage here, while this blog explains the consideration and decision stages.
If you are not familiar with the buyer journey click here. Otherwise, please read about the awareness stage and then come back here.
Works for Businesses of All Sizes
As I mentioned before the buyer journey describes the stages the buyer goes through before they decide to make a purchase – awareness, consideration, and decision. It doesn’t matter how big your business is, or how much budget you have, buyers still go through those stages and therefore, by understanding them, you can improve your promotion and get more sales.
The Consideration Stage
At this stage, your customer is trying to make up their mind whether they go with your solution or another option. They will therefore be trying to get additional information and will Google ‘The pros and cons of hiring a cleaner’ - among other similar topics.
The right kind of content to address this is as follows:
Product Comparison Guides
A comparison guide gives much more detail than was given at the awareness stage. This is because buyers are asking themselves about the nitty gritty of how it will work out for them - the costs, how they can implement, possible downsides - to see which solution suits them.
Note: For those who again are thinking ‘I write about my competitor solutions - are you mad?’ No, I am not – And the clue is in these words: suits them.
What do I mean? If you did your research properly, you identified a group of people who want your product: that your products suits. There are a million anecdotes out there about the stupidity of selling products to people who don’t want them. And another million anecdotes about people who supposedly can. Just remember they can’t, and even if they do, it doesn’t last.
If you are trying to work out if a solution is right for you, reading about how it was right for someone else helps immensely. However, remember a case study isn’t just a thumbs up from a person saying your product is great, it is written from a consideration perspective: assessing and analysing the options, and deciding your product solved their specific situation better than the others.
If you are thinking you are running a small business, and that you don’t need a case study, then try this: write it down, and then use each of the individual elements and turn them into a series of social media posts. It will help.
Free Sample or Free Trial
There is nothing better than getting your hands on something to test it out. If your product and trial are particularly sticky your customer will just carry on using it.
Carrying out promotion at this stage is similar to the awareness stage: social sharing and ads etc. When you plan your promotion, you should think about your content as part of as a standalone item and as part of a funnel journey.
Your content has to be out there as a standalone item because buyers aren’t all on some linear path from awareness to decision. They may enter at any stage based on previous knowledge: lots of people research things but then forget about it for a year; they may not be happy with your competitors’ content at the awareness stage; or they may search again at each stage of the journey. As such you should be there around the corner ready to step in and win them over.
In addition, you may have been successful at getting your consideration stage content onto the first page or Google but not your awareness content. When the customer moves through the journey, you will get your chance to influence them.
You should also look at it from a funnel or nurturing perspective. You have content for each stage of the journey, and you should look to move someone to the next stage based on their interaction with your content. The best way to do that is to offer gated content that gets you an email address. Once you have that email address you can add it to your CRM or mail software – you also need to add the CRM’s tracking code to your website - and then when they interact with your awareness stage content you send them some consideration stage information.
Even if you don’t have an email address from your website visitors, you can still push them through a funnel with Google Ads remarketing. You need Google analytics on your website and then you need to create audiences, which you can then sync with Google Ads. The purpose of creating an audience is to find only the people who did a particular action like go to your consideration content. Once this is done you can create a ‘Decision’ ad which only shows to those people.
Facebook and LinkedIn also have their own way to do this – The Facebook pixel on your website will collect the same information to allow you to retarget on Facebook.
The Buyer Journey Is Not New
If the above is all sounding a little complicated remember that even if you are knocking on doors, you can remember where your customer is on the buyer journey so you can call them up or post an appropriate flyer through their door.
The buyer journey was invented long before the Internet and was originally used and perfected by offline marketers.
The Decision Stage
At this stage, the customer has decided they are going to hire a cleaner. Their concerns are similar to what they were at the consideration stage, but specific to understanding your offering compared to other cleaners rather than the different kinds of solutions on offer.
The kinds of content used at this stage overlap with some of the content used at the consideration stage, specifically, case studies and free trials or live demos – with the addition of consultation offers and coupons. In the case of consultations you can offer your expertise as a means of getting the customer over the line, and in the latter case a coupon or discount so the buyer feels they have the chance to save money.
Case studies, live demos and free trials can work at both these stages for various reasons. When you prepare your case study, it makes sense to answer why it was successful compared to both other different solutions and your competitors’ products. In the case of free trials, it works for both stages because some people are exceptionally thorough, or have the time, and will want to test out all of the particular solutions before they narrow down on one – While others, will decide to only do their free trial at the decision stage when they have decided it is definitely your kind of solution.
Decision Stage Promotion
As far as promotion is concerned the tactics highlighted to get your content in front of buyers at for the consideration stage should just be adapted.
Don’t Get Fixated on What Content for What Channel
When you brainstorm on typical questions for each channel try not to get too worried about what content for what channel. If you find that a type of content serves many scenarios that is probably because it does. Remember what buyers are searching for at each stage, and if it fits go ahead:
- Awareness – I need to solve a problem
- Consideration – OK. Let me make sure which solution is best.
- Decision – I want to get a cleaner. Which one is best?
How to Videos
These are an exceptionally good tool that can be used at every stage of the buyer journey.
Awareness - At the awareness stage a buyer is looking for possible ways to better clean his house. They google for house cleaning tips and comes across your video. They think it is great, gets curious about you and notice that you are a cleaner. They then read your blurb, and it germinates the idea that a cleaner might be the answer.
Consideration – At the consideration stage a buyer wants more detail on whether to use a cleaner or do it themselves. They watch your video, realise it is pretty difficult, and decide they want a cleaner. Again, they see your blurb and decide to put you on a shortlist.
Decision – At the decision stage a buyer is looking for reassurance that you are a good cleaner. They will watch your how-to video…Bingo!
Once you have utilized the buyer journey to improve lead generation and sales, you need to send quotes, invoices and take payments. Hoof's payment solution has all the tools to help you win business and more efficiently manage payments.