The buyer’s journey is the active process buyers go through to become aware of, consider, evaluate, and the decision making that leads to a purchase of a new product or service. The process of zero (no awareness of your product or service) to the sale or purchase.
Conceptually the journey consists of a three-step process, but there’s a lot more to it than that…We’ll take a look at each of the steps and how to engage your prospective buyers at each stage.
As a business, it’s important to understand not just how people research and purchase, but also the challenges, problems, and pain points that form the beginning of their journey. What is the trigger that starts them off on their journey? You also need to consider how they move along the different stages of their journey.
There are three generic steps of a buyer’s journey:
1. Awareness— The buyer realizes that they have a problem.
They recognize they have a problem or a challenge and their research at this stage is to understand their problem better in order to define it, rather than looking for a solution to it. It’s useful to recognize that they may not realize it’s a problem and research will trigger idea’s on areas of improvement.
When creating content for the awareness stage, focus on the buyer’s pain points – not your product or brand. The goal is to educate your audience and answer their questions.
Common awareness stage content includes blogs, e-books, white papers, tip sheets, guides, infographics.
2. Consideration —
The buyer has better clarity around their problem and researches ways to solve it.
They have defined their problem and they are now trying to understand the different potential solutions available to them.
When creating consideration stage content, focus on making it solutions-oriented. In other words, how can a specific solution make the buyer’s life easier or solve their problem?
Common consideration stage content includes more technical blog posts, comparison white papers or e-books, webinars, and product/service feature videos.
3. Decision— The buyer chooses a solution.
The buyer knows how to solve their problem and researches the products or services to do just that. At this stage they will compare providers and whittle down a list, ultimately making a purchase decision.
Now is the time to create content that’s brand-specific and focuses on your product or service.
Common decision stage content includes case studies, testimonials, product/service comparisons, live demonstrations, packages, or free trials.
Why is it important to understand the buyer’s journey?
In most cases, with the exception of impulse buys, an individual begins their buying journey is more informed and more empowered than ever before. Potential customers are seeking out information, so providing informative, valuable content to enable them to understand their problem and the potential approaches to solving it — you can create content that helps them along that path while positioning you as an authority
in your space.
Defining your buyer’s journey
Defining your buyer’s journey will help you sell but let’s face it, this can be tough. Today most people start with a google search, but many of us probably can’t remember all the steps we took before making a final decision to purchase.
Building a clear understanding may take time and be an iterative process. If you don’t feel you have a good understanding of your buyers, and the steps they took to find you and ultimately buy from you, then conduct a few interviews with customers and talk to prospects. Perhaps start asking the question ‘how did you hear about us’ early on in the sales conversation with a prospect.
Compelling stats that justify the importance of understanding your buyer’s journey
Check out the following analysis and insights on behaviors within the B2B buyer’s journey. They really demonstrate the importance of understanding your buyer’s journey.
When B2B buyers are considering a purchase, the majority (27%) of that time is spent researching independently online. Just 17% is spent meeting with potential suppliers. (Source: Gartner)
77% of B2B buyers said the last purchase they made was complex or difficult. (Source: Gartner)
Four in 10 B2B companies worldwide said they believe capturing a complete view of the customer is a big priority in the next two years. (Source: eMarketer)
71%of B2B researchers start with a generic search, rather than looking for a particular brand
80% of the buying process will occur without direct human interaction by 2020 (source: forrester.com)
More than half (57%) of B2B purchase decisions are made before submitting the request. (Source: Zfort Group)
At least 80% of B2B buyers are not only looking for but expect a buying experience like that of a B2C customer. (source: Lumoa, 2019)
Most B2B buyers perform 12 online searches before interacting with a vendor/supplier and are looking for a B2C-like experience. (source: Blue Corona, 2019)
77% of B2B buyers are conducting more detailed ROI analysis before making a purchase decision, 75% are using more information sources for research and evaluation, and 52% are increasing the number of buying group members. (source: Demand Gen Report, 2019)
More than half of all B2B buyers view at least eight pieces of content during the purchase process, and 82% of buyers viewed at least five pieces of content from the vendor prior to purchase. (source: Forrester)
49% of B2B buyers said they rely more on content to carry out their research and make buying decisions (source: Smart Insights)
81% of businesses have reported their blog as useful or critical to generating leads.(source: Nurture)
Buyer’s journey content
Developing the buyer’s journey for your business is the first step to creating content that resonates with your buyer so you can meet them at each stage of their journey.
Ideally, you need to create a variety of content that helps your target audience at each stage of their buyer’s journey. If you get this right you have a better chance of engaging with them through various channels and getting them to engage with your website.
Your ideal customer wants the right content at the right time, which is whenever they need it, and they want it in the format they prefer. This means creating content in a format that your buyer’s want. Always think about the buyer’s journey through their lens… not yours.
By creating content aligned with the buyer’s journey you should always be able to provide them with helpful, relevant content that will be genuinely useful and will aid them in moving along their buyer’s journey.
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If you’re struggling with understanding how to map out your buyer’s journey customers, get in touch; firstname.lastname@example.org