The Buyer’s Journey: What is it and Why is it Important?

By Madison Taylor
February 10, 2023
Many people crossing a large crosswalk

Broadly speaking, the buyer’s journey is the path that a person takes to becoming a customer. It starts with strangers who have never heard of you and ends with a customer who has researched their options and decided to go with you. 

There are three stages to the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision.

Stage One: Awareness

The awareness stage is the earliest part of the process. In this stage, your potential customer has the symptoms of a problem but can’t quite put their finger on what’s causing it.

Let’s say you make a premium foam mattress, like Tempur-Pedic, Casper, Leesa, Purple, or any of many others. What does the awareness stage look like for your customers? It might be Googling “how to get better sleep” or “chronic back pain.” Your potential customer knows they have a problem. You know that your product is the solution, but they don’t yet.

At this point, your role is simply to inform. Use tools like Google’s web suggestions to find out what people are searching for and write on those topics. Publish blog posts about how sleep matters for health, how Americans don’t get enough sleep, and similar topics.

Blogs, whitepapers, and social posts are perfect at this stage of the process. All you’re trying to do is spread useful, relevant information as far as possible.

Don’t fill this content with sales copy, CTAs, or mentions of your brand. Awareness-stage readers aren’t ready to be sold to and might be put off by overly aggressive tactics. You’re not trying to move mattresses just yet — you’re trying to show them that a new mattress will solve their back pain.

Stage Two: Consideration

At this stage, potential consumers are starting to assemble a list of solutions to their problems in their heads. Maybe they need to go to bed earlier? Maybe they need prescription medication? Maybe they need a new mattress?

Your role in the consideration stage is to highlight your product in such a way that your potential buyer realizes you’re the best solution to their problem. This is a perfect opportunity for video demonstrations, statistics about the benefits of a mattress upgrade, and customer testimonials explaining how their new mattress changed their life.

This is also a good stage to start generating leads. Customers are now interested enough that if you create top-quality resources, people will exchange email addresses or phone numbers in order to see them. You can use that contact info to follow up with people, send them more content, and nurture their connection to your brand.

Stage Three: Decision

This stage is all about you. Buyers in the decision stage have done their research, concluded that they need a new mattress, and are just deciding which one to spend their hard-earned paycheck on.z

Lots of companies start their marketing efforts here, ignoring the first two stages. But it won’t do you much good to splash your product all over the internet if people can’t even see why they would need it in the first place. That’s why the journey is so important.

This is the part where you get to tell potential customers that you make the best premium foam mattress on the market. Talk about your price point, your warranty, or your features. Talk about free shipping, trial periods, rebates, and discounts. Talk about satisfied customers. If you’ve been top-ranked on review sites, Amazon, Consumer Reports, or anywhere else, now’s the time to brag about it!

Finally, this is the stage to guide people toward an actual purchase. Gear your CTAs toward pricing, quotes, or trial offers. If you have email addresses of people who haven’t bought yet, offer them a limited-time discount or a coupon for their first purchase. If you offer a service instead of a product, offer free consultations or appraisals to help nudge them into a sale.

The Secret Stage Four: Delight Existing Customers

Did we say there were only three stages? That’s not exactly true. Your job doesn’t end once you swipe a customer’s credit card.

In the age of social media, a dissatisfied customer can wreak havoc on your brand and your reputation — just ask United Airlines — so it’s important to keep your existing customers happy. Existing customers are more likely to try new things, spend more when they do, and tell their friends about their experience.

Follow up with them to ask how they’re enjoying their purchase! Ask them if you can use their review on your website — people like having their opinions valued. Send them follow-up offers for related products and services — if they bought a mattress, maybe they need pillows or bedding, too.

Most importantly, don’t treat them like new customers. Remember, they’ve already been through the funnel, and if they make another purchase, they won’t be starting from square one. If you can, separate your social media and email campaigns so that existing customers aren’t seeing the same thing as strangers. You want them to feel like part of the club.