In today’s world of sales, customers expect the most personalised experience possible. Understanding the process in which your customer typically buys their products and services really is key to providing this personalisation, so that you can interact with your audience in the right way, at the right time.
This process is known as “The Buyer’s Journey”. In this blog, you’ll learn what this actually means and how you can map your content strategy around each stage of this process.
What is the buyer’s journey?
The term “buyer’s journey” is defined by HubSpot as:
“The process buyers go through to become aware of, consider and evaluate, and decide to purchase a new product or service”.
There are 3 main stages to the buyer’s journey:
- The Awareness Stage
- The Consideration Stage
- The Decision Stage
Let’s dive deeper into the buyer’s journey, how you can adapt it to your product and service, as well as the content you might create to tap into each stage of the process.
The 3 stages of the buyer’s journey
The Awareness Stage
In the Awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, your prospect has started to experience the symptoms of a problem they are facing (this is what’s called a “pain point”) or they’re faced with an opportunity they’re looking to explore.
For example, let’s say you’re a marketer for a time management software company. In this stage, your buyer personas will likely be wondering how they might improve efficiency within their teams, searching for things like “how to improve team efficiency and productivity”.
When planning how you might address your persona, and when mapping out content for this stage, you’ll need to determine a number of things:
- What formats do your buyers use to inform themselves around these issues?
- What words and phrases do your buyers use to describe these challenges and opportunities? You can easily find this out by speaking to, or even interviewing, some of your existing customers and prospects, as well as your company’s salespeople that regularly deal with them.
- What would happen if your buyer wasn’t to pursue these opportunities or resolve these challenges?
The content that your persona is likely to want to engage with at this stage ranges from blogs and eBooks to industry reports and infographics. Choosing the format ultimately depends on the research you’ve gathered in your preparation for content for this stage, and the formats your audience are most likely to use.
The Consideration Stage
During the Consideration stage, your persona has fully established their challenge or opportunity, and are determined to pursue or fix it. In the consideration stage, they’re considering the different methods they have at their disposal to confront it, whether this be a product, software or even a new methodology.
You’ll need to determine:
- The typical solutions that your buyers will weigh up
- How they find information on these solutions
- Exactly how your buyer personas would come to decide which solution would work best for them.
Do note that at this stage they’re simply weighing up different solutions to their problem, not the end providers. Depending on your audience, how-to videos, webinars, podcasts and other such informative content such as blogs and eBooks as before, typically work well at this stage, as your buyer comes closer to choosing their solution.
When it comes to topics, your buyer will have progressed from searching for “how to improve efficiency,” to deciding whether time management software is the answer to this. Focus your content around titles such as “the benefits of time management tools”.
The Decision Stage
In the decision stage, you’ve guessed it, they’ve decided what solution they’re going to choose, but are undecided on which provider they’ll use. This is where they might think of the pros and cons of different providers, and work down these options to choose from.
Take some time to think about:
- The terminology and criteria your buyer will use to weigh up their options
- What will a buyer like about your product or service over another?
- What will a buyer dislike about your product or service over another?
- Will your buyer want to try and test, before committing to the whole product or service?
- Will your buyer need any other preparation before implementing your service or product, such as training?
At this end stage of the buyer's journey, depending on the research you’ve conducted above, you may want to offer free trials, demos, competitor comparisons, and case studies to help your customer reach their decision (hopefully of using your product or service!).
So what kind of content helps your buyer get closer to making their decision? Using the example of our time management software company, the buyer is likely searching for comparison content like “X time tracking tool versus Y time tracking tool”, or “X time tracking tool demo”.
Carefully crafting your prospect’s journey through the sales process not only creates an enjoyable and simple process for them, but also helps to cultivate a positive reputation for your brand. Nurturing this relationship with your prospects, and creating a more personal experience, means that when they enter the buyer’s journey again, they will be more likely to return to your product ranges or services, as well as recommend you to others.