As a business owner who has probably been keeping up with marketing trends in the past few years, you may already be familiar with the concept of buyer personas as well as buyer journeys.
But as a refresher, a buyer persona is an imagined representation of a customer. When done right, a well-thought-out buyer persona can give you accurate insights into what your customers are like and the reasons behind their purchases. That’s not as easy as it sounds, though. To make it easier for you to get the information that you need and then translate it into something actionable, you need to determine your buyer journey.
What Is the Buyer Journey?
This marketing jargon is actually quite literal. It pertains to every step taken by a potential customer until they reach the final stage where they become actual customers – yes, their journey to becoming your customers from the ‘awareness’ stage to the ‘purchase’ stage.
Sounds simple enough? Not quite. The challenge lies not in determining the steps in the buyer journey but in ensuring that in every step, you are connected to your customer so you won’t lose them.
Adapting Your Buyer Journey
If you want to make the most of the buyer personas you created, you also need to make each of them a specific buyer journey. This is because every customer has their own goal and their own motive for wanting to buy a product. It would be a costly mistake to assume that all customers have the same buyer journeys. They may have some elements in common but there won’t be any two that are exactly alike.
For example, one persona could be Stella, a 35-year-old single parent from New Jersey who works from home. She’s been in the tech field for over 10 years, enjoys traveling overseas, but faces the challenges of a house mortgage. Another example could be Kyle, a 23-year-old who has spent the last few years dabbling with different jobs in the gig economy. He is looking to pursue a career in gaming design but hasn’t had the opportunities yet.
If you apply the same buyer journey to all your different buyer personas, the efforts you put into creating those personas will be put to waste. You should adapt the buyer journey to the specific traits and characteristics of the buyer persona to make it an effective tool for marketing.
General Phases of Buyer Journeys
As mentioned, buyer journeys should be tailored for the buyer personas. That said, all buyer journeys share the same general phases:
This is the point where potential customers become aware of your brand or product and get into your marketing funnel. For instance, when a potential customer sees your ad on Facebook or sees a friend’s post where your product is mentioned. It can also be from a quick Google search for “the best coffee beans in LA” for example, which could lead them to your e-commerce website.
Simply put, this phase is when your customer discovers that your brand has something that could potentially be what they’re looking for. This is an important stage because this will dictate whether or not you will be considered for the next phases of their journey.
Each buyer has their own goal or reason for buying and they commit to meeting those. This particular phase is all about the buyer weighing in the options available to them. From a marketer’s end, this stage requires presenting critical info that could entice the buyer to make a decision that’s favorable for your brand.
Some content examples that you can create to nail this phase are:
- Product comparisons
- Live interactions via video or podcast
- Expert guides
You don’t stop when your customers have just become aware of your brand and are still considering your product as a possible solution to their needs. You can tailor your approach to what you’re selling.
For example, if you’re appealing to impulse-buyers with a quick-fix product, you need to capture their attention and get them to buy before the excitement of finding a new product wears off. It means that you need to provide them all they want to know about your products right on that product page on your website.
On the other hand, if you are selling a luxury item or anything that is considered a big investment, you can expect your prospects to take some time before making a decision. They’re going to check not only if your product is worth spending on, but also if you’re a seller that they can trust. That means they’re going to look for reviews and ensure that you provide excellent customer service and outstanding fulfillment services.
Discussing the features of your product on your website won’t be enough. You need some reviews done by reputable influencers, some client testimonials, and more. You’d do well to be trending on social media as well.
This particular phase in the journey is when the customer has already decided on the type of solution that they need but they are still deciding on what specific product to buy or seller to buy from.
What you can do at this stage is come up with content focusing on product comparisons, pros and cons, reviews, and more. These types of content will help buyers with their decision and your content will be seen as a more helpful resource as opposed to a plain sales pitch.
No seller wants their product to be on a “trial” period but the truth is, the first few weeks or even months after a purchase is considered a trial phase. Your customers are expecting you to deliver on the claims you made in the first few stages of the customer journey.
It’s unlikely that a customer will actually return a product, but even so, you want to make sure that you are indeed delivering on your promise. Also, during this period, more than others, you should be present to answer any queries or comments about the purchase your customer made to ensure that they are satisfied not only with the product but with your company overall.
6. Settle down
This face is when you’ve gone through the trial and proven your product is as good as you promised. If you think that you can start relaxing, though, you’re mistaken.
Your goal at this point is to keep that positive feeling your customer now has towards your brand. For instance, you can send your customers some helpful tips on how to make the most of the product they bought from you. One way you can do this, for example, is by regularly sending valuable content through email.
By this time, your customers are already impressed and are likely to recommend your brand to their loved ones. You can now build on this and maintain a good relationship with your customer.
Your customers are at a phase where they can consider being loyal to your brand, and you should take advantage of that. For instance, you can send them discount coupons for their next purchase (or for referrals) or even send them samples of upcoming products.
Coming up with buyer personas will give you a good idea of how these phases in the buyer’s journey should go, depending on the traits and preferences of the personas you have come up with. Remember that no two personas have exactly the same buyer’s journey, so you should come up with one for every type of customer you can think of and use the phases discussed above as a guide.
The first few stages of the buyer journey have a lot to do with the content you post. Nailing the Awareness, Consideration, Knowledge, and Decision stage will also improve conversion rates and ultimately give your business the boost it needs.
|Vincent Sevilla is a professional web designer and inbound marketing strategist. His goal? To innovate ideas, create good art, and to travel all the best places in the Philippines. You can follow him on Twitter @easyvince|