I hate shopping. The process of navigating to the mall and wandering around in search of my desired items is an activity that brings me little joy (Auntie Anne’s aside).
That is why every single one of my Christmas presents for friends & family this year was ordered online. With most people, I knew what I wanted to buy, and so the process was flawless.
However, my mother proved to be a challenge. I was lacking inspiration, so I typed “Christmas present ideas for mom” into the search bar. Google didn’t let me down, and I browsed several lists before settling on earrings.
I then specifically typed “earrings” into the search bar, and looked at the first few pages of options. The first ones looked really pretty and were reasonably priced, but then the review informed me that in person they did not meet expectations. Page 3 yielded the winner: amethysts that were affordable, promised to ship quickly, and were highly appreciated by previous buyers.
This got me thinking. I had just walked through the three steps of the modern buyer’s journey, which looks significantly different than ever before. We have a lot more information, and with incredible ease.
The buyer’s journey is important for every marketer to understand because it marks the various stages in one’s thought process that leads to a purchase. For each one, the buyer is looking for different information, which is why you want to make sure you have content that addresses each.
Let’s dissect this journey.
This is the point where your buyer realizes they have a problem. They are seeking answers, resources, education, and the like. When creating content for people in this stage, you don’t want to specifically reference yourself yet as a solution to the problem because it will be perceived as too pushy.
In my above example: I googled “Christmas presents for mom”.
The buyer has now clearly defined their problem and is looking for ways to solve it. Now they will want to learn about how your organization can help them. If there are other competitors, (and there are) then your potential buyer may be weighing the options of each.
In my above example: I decided that earrings would be the best option, and started specifically looking at these.
Oh! We’re getting close now. Your buyer is about to make a purchase. This is when they’ll want to see case studies, compare pricing, and read testimonials / reviews from others. You don’t have full control in this area, as reviews will be written by others, which is why you want to make sure that your organization is effectively keeping your customers satisfied so they have positive things to report to others!
In my above example: I narrowed down my options and then read the reviews for the ones I was most likely to buy.
Now that you have an idea of the buyer’s journey, I suggest taking an inventory of your materials (blog posts, webinars, etc.) and divide them between the three stages to make sure you are covering your bases and answering all of the questions that will lead to that purchase!
The buyer's journey is critical for every marketer, but is a cornerstone to the inbound marketing methodology. If you leverage the buying journey with your content, you are implementing inbound already! For a deper dive on Inbound Marketing check out Dave Martin's learning session, Inbound Marketing and Why it Matters for your Association.