Understanding your buyer’s journey can help you improve your customer expereince – and your revenues, too.
Understanding how the buyer’s journey works and noting any fall-offs you have can help you shore up your marketing process. If you are getting plenty of prospects to your landing pages, but then experiencing low conversion rates it is likely time to look at the message those pages are sending. If your landing pages are a virtual ghost town, then you’ll need to figure out why not one is visiting – is it SEO, lack of branding or another potential problem? Examine the critical points of the buyer’s journey and you’ll note some key areas that can be adjusted or improved.
Do customers know you exist? Where do you show up in search engine rankings? If customers are not aware of your brand and can’t find it with simple research, you’re missing out. Most consumers will follow the traditional marketing funnel model – identifying a problem or need and then broadly considering multiple options and providers. If you aren’t able to get into this broad consideration you’ll be overlooked. Make it easy for buyers to find your brand by maintaining a regular and reliable presence on your blog, online and on social media and by building a clear brand presence.
Research and Consideration
The buyer has discovered your solution, along with a few competitors and is considering their options. The educational materials and information you share at this point will be critical. Providing trustworthy information for the buyer at this stage not only gives them needed information, but forges a connection with your reader. Whitepapers, analysis, industry reports and useful content is a must at this stage. The better the buyer understands what they need, the more likely they are to consider your solutions.
It’s finally time to think about selling and closing the deal. If you have a sales team, it’s time to bring them in and let them do what they do best. If you do not have a dedicated sales team, then your materials need to clearly direct the customer to an action or close the deal.
The customer at this point understands their needs, and if you’ve presented your product or service correctly, “gets” what you have to offer. It’s time to make a decision, and if you’ve positioned yourself correctly and asked for the sale, your prospect is ready to become a buyer.
Purchase and Retention
The decision is made, the check is in the mail, and the journey is over, right?
Not so fast.
You still need to deliver on what you’ve promised; the journey is not complete until the customer has your product in hand. You can do every other step of the journey perfectly, but mess up on delivery and follow through and it won’t matter. Once you’ve struggled through the process of obtaining a customer, you need to keep them; it starts with delivering on your promises.
That happy customer will help you continue on your own journey to success; they’ll be more likely to share their experience (helping with brand awareness) and more likely to return to you when they have a need (bypassing some journey steps entirely).
Every step of the journey matters; by understanding what happens as a prospect becomes a buyer, you can examine your process and spot any areas of weakness. Paying attention to the journey also helps you better serve prospects every step of the way and enhance the customer experience.
Posted by, Lisa Rogerson, VP of Digital and Operations at initiate-it, a digital first, full-service agency located in Richmond, VA.