Why is it that the minute I start talking about a journey, someone starts singing: “just a small town girl, living in a lonely world?” Okay. I’ll admit it, it’s usually me doing the singing. But as much as I love the band and the song, what we are really talking about here is the buyer’s journey and how critical it is to your business success.
The Changing Marketplace
Our last article talked about the new marketing paradigm and about how the new definition of marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships.
In other words, the sole purpose of any online marketing strategy is about building relationships and bridging the “online digital marketing world” with real human interaction. That my friends is where the journey begins.
You see, the “journey” you create for your clients can be either a happy one, or one that is full of frustration. Knowing full well what your buyers are expecting and experiencing on their journey is the key to success.
What is the Buyer’s Journey?
So what exactly is the buyer’s journey? As we previously discussed, the marketing paradigm has changed. Today’s modern marketers have identified a series of steps (a journey) potential customers go through in their process to buying. Modern marketers have learned that the purchase process is a journey, and consumers advance through this process prior to making a purchasing decision. This is what the industry has dubbed the buyer’s journey.
In fact, 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even decides to make a purchase (SiriusDecisions). So marketers and sales reps alike are having to adjust their strategies to cope with these changing consumer practices.
Most industry experts define the buyer’s journey into three distinct stages: awareness, consideration, and decision.
But as you know, the team here at Zomalo does things a little differently, and it is why we deliver superior results. We have actually refined the buyer’s journey into five distinct stages. The two stages we have added are the reason our clients see better results.
Five Stage Buyer’s Journey
Stage One: Awareness
Believe it or not, but this is probably where we see most of our clients making their biggest mistakes. You see, at the beginning of their journey most buyers are completely unaware of two things: your company, and the fact that they have a need. Your only job at this point is to create awareness of a problem.
In short, at this stage your businesses sole responsibility is to create content that is focused on your buyer and their pain points – not your product or brand. This relationship focuses on two things: creating awareness of their need and how you can help.
Stage Two: Consideration
Once your audience begins to realize that they have a need – or pain point – the next thing they will do is research. They will “consider” their options. For over 70% of your audience, that means using Google. So make sure you are ranking and advertising on Google.
But remember, at this stage, potential buyers are simply looking for more information. They want to be educated and they want to know what their options are. So make sure you are giving them the information they are looking for.
In short, “Jefe,” make sure you have a “plethora” (Yes, I am quoting the Three Amigos here) of resources available for your potential clients. Consider downloadable content and helpful videos on your own YouTube channel.
You may also want to consider establishing some marketing automation tools to keep track of who’s downloading what, so that you can further tailor your marketing efforts to their specific needs.
Why? Because according to a DemandGen Report, nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities over non-nurtured leads.
Stage Three: Decision
This is the stage where you get brand-and-product-specific with your content. This when your potential clients are going to make their buying decision. So remember this: nothing speaks louder or better than the past experience of your existing clients. This is where managing your online reputation is critical, as is having plenty of case studies and testimonials available. The more reasons you can give them to trust you and your product or service, the more likely you are to get the sale.
Nothing will kill your chances to converting leads into buyers than having a lousy online reputation. Guard it with your life.
Which leads us into stage four of the buyer’s journey.
Stage Four: Happiness
We can’t stress this enough. If your clients are unhappy at any stage of the buyer’s journey, they are going to tell people about it. It could be anything from blasting you on Facebook, or leaving a negative review on Yelp. Making sure you know exactly where your potential buyers are in their journey and ensuring their happiness at every stage of the journey is your crucial to success.
Establish metrics and follow ups. Reach out to your clients and make sure they were happy with the buying process. Ask them key questions like:
Was it easy to make a purchase?
Were all of your questions answered?
Do you need any help with your purchase?
Just because they bought your product, doesn’t mean they know how to use it. Take the time to show you care and you will be surprised at the results. Which leads us to stage five – the referral.
Stage Five: Referral
There is an old saying in marketing that goes something like: “make someone happy they’ll tell one, make them mad they tell everyone.”
It’s imperative that you have an active campaign that focuses on building your online “five-star” reputation. This begins with asking for referrals. Why? Because the probability is, that the customer you worked so hard to make happy, might never tell a soul. They might not know to take the time to to leave a review or testimonial.
So make sure you strike while the iron is hot… while the customer is still delighted from solving a problem with their purchase.
By the Numbers
So why go through all this trouble? Simple. It’s about the money.
According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, it is 6 to 7 times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer.
That is why it is so critical to make sure your clients are happy at every stage of the journey. In fact, according to the Department of Commerce, 40% of an ecommerce store’s revenue is created by only 8% of its customers. That means ensuring customer happiness throughout the buyer’s journey is a great way to make sure they come back and buy again. Additionally, it’s a great way to ensure a positive review, and free word-of-mouth advertising.
So consider creating drip campaigns and a process for follow up calls because they can help boost your profits. Every time a customer returns, they are more likely to come back again. Case in point: a customer that has made 3 purchases is 54% more likely to make a 4th.
What are you going to do to capture and influence customers that are 70% of the way through their buyer’s journey? How do you find them before they ever even make a decision?
In our experience, the first place you need to start is by identifying who your “perfect” client is. You simply can’t define your buyer’s journey if you have no idea who your customers are.