f”The Buyer’s Journey: Marketing Funnel for 2015″
The buyer’s journey has always been an essential part of marketing, even when it went by its previous, and not nearly as catchy, moniker — the marketing funnel. If you can learn exactly how your buyers are navigating the world of commerce and what they’re responding to (and avoiding), you can make an educated decision as to how you should proceed with each marketing campaign that you unleash upon on the world. What we’re going to do today is give you some basic information on what is most likely to constitute the buyer’s journey in 2015 and how it will influence your company throughout the year.
The New Buyer’s Journey
As with any evolution in marketing, it is important to roll with the punches and allow your business to adapt. The new buyer’s journey has evolved in recent years from the idea of the marketing funnel and represents a shift in the way that consumers are researching products and services, in addition how they’re interacting with those items once they’ve found them. A big part of this is how buyers have become linked to content. Whereas in previous generations, consumers relied primarily on word-of-mouth and review magazines like Consumer Reports, consumers in this generation now have online customer reviews (including dedicated review websites like Yelp), blog articles, and numerous consumer report websites that will help them with their buying decision.
The Three Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
If you want to wrestle control over consumers that may be interested in what you have to sell, then it’s important to understand the steps that a buyer goes through as he or she searches for and investigates a product or service. You can use knowledge you’ve gained to capture a lead at one of these three stages:
Awareness Stage — At the beginning, a buyer isn’t necessarily looking for an immediate solution. What they desire at this point is merely information about a product or service that they are aware exists. You have the opportunity to capture a lead at this point by providing the information that they’re searching for. This can be accomplished by the use of blogs, whitepaper, eBooks, and similar tools.
Consideration Stage — Once a buyer has identified potential solutions to his or her problem, the buyer will begin to compare these solutions. In other words, they are considering which one would best help achieve their goal. For this stage, you’ll need to have information available that will help support the reason for choosing your product or service over that of a competitor. You can accomplish this in a number of ways, such as the use of testimonials, case studies, webinars, demo videos, and brochures.
Decision Stage — If you haven’t captured the customer yet, then here is your last chance. This is the stage where a consumer will want to reach out to the company behind a product or service they’re interested in. They may reach out by phone, e-mail, or in person, and this is your chance to convince them that the choice should be with your company. They may ask for a consolation, demo, or free trial, and the more you can offer, the more likely it will be that they’ll turn into a full-fledged customer.
By understanding the buyer’s journey and implementing a strategy that takes it into consideration at every stage, you’ll be ahead of your competition by leaps and bounds. Although the buyer’s journey can change somewhat as new technologies and techniques are developed, what doesn’t change is its importance to every business. You may never master this journey, but by focusing on it, you can improve your company’s lead conversion rate and bottom line.