The following is a Transcript of the Video and Podcast on these buttons

This Nugget introduces Marketing the Buyer’s Journey though the several stages that lead up to a sale.

In order to get good sales, you have to address each of these stages so that you bond with a potential customer.

Awareness Stage of Buyer’s Journey

A person becomes aware that they might need to address a need or pain that they think they  have.

In a television case study, it might be that their existing TV has a very poor picture quality and it’s not connected to streaming services like Netflix. So they have this “pain” or “need” that they want to watch Netflix.

They have a number of alternatives in the awareness stage.  They have potentially a choice of products and a choice of service providers.  They probably start with what product first and then work out to who’s going to supply the product.

So the marketing that you might do at this stage is offering them information services on the options that they have and suggesting decision-making criteria.

You could do this through blogs on your website, for example, that are rich in  keywords they might be searching for. 

But, realistically in a world of perfect information that we live in presently, your material has a pretty low probability of getting found unless it’s very personalized on your catchment area or your clientele in some way.

If it is a crowded market, you probably won’t make much of an impact in this awareness raising stage. So you may not want to invest a lot of time and effort. That’s a decision that you make in the context of your own business.

Considering what to Buy

The next stage that our buyer goes through on their journey is to consider all the options. They’re actively identifying and considering potential solutions.

So in our TV example, they’re thinking about the screen size and the number of streaming services a television connects to.

So really they’re considering the pros and the cons and they’re rejecting any product or service that’s not meeting their needs.

They’re probably going to be using product reviews, and other social proof, to narrow the choice down and justify the one that they like best.

Social proof is a generic term that refers to things like;

  • referrals from a previous customers
  • online reviews and
  • testimonials

This is third party evidence that is saying to your potential customer you can be trusted as a provider of the service.

In terms of marketing in the Considering stage of the Buyer’s Journey,  you might have blogs on your website that are very rich in keywords about a product and a need. And why you’re better than the competitors.

Remember to identify potential solutions to their Pain. What you want to do is remain in the race against other competitors who can provide a somewhat similar service.

Your website and your Google Business Profile should have as much social proof as possible. And you should be listing things like your professional accreditation and the years of service that you’ve had. 

Your goal is to reassure them you can provide the solutions that they want.

Decision about a Supplier

The next step in the journey is decision-making. At this point, the buyer knows what product they want. And they’re now looking for a supplier that can supply what they’re after.

So ability to supply is the first test and elimination of potential suppliers.

Then they’re going to start to do a price and quality comparison.  Generally people will always look for quality before they look at price because no one really wants a cheap but ineffective solution. But your price definitely needs to be competitive or you’ll be cut out.

You can’t always talk about price because you may not know what’s involved in satisfying whatever their particular need is. Or you may be afraid of “sticker shock”!  If you tell them what it’s going to cost, it might horrify them and they stop thinking of using you.

Rather than specific prices, you can sometimes use “safety words” or  alternative phrases, like a “government set price” or “we follow the professional body’s fee structure”.

Prices are a sensitive topic, but just keep in mind that it is going to be a reason for people ceasing to buy or rejecting you if they think that the price is going to be too high.

So what marketing are we focusing on here?

First of all, we’re looking at probably person to person sales  conversations. They’re going to ring you or your office and want to talk to someone to get a feel about the body chemistry, if you like, but also what’s involved.

In terms of marketing on your website there are specific types of pages called landing pages or funnel pages that can be built into a website.  They’re designed, skillfully and intentionally, to move people down a buying process or a funnel through the these Buyer’s Journey steps.

They address their particular needs at each of these stages and make sure that they are satisfied with moving on to the next stage.  

If people move quickly through the Buyer’s Journey for what you have to offer, the funnel’s going to be very important because that’s the first and last time they will consider using you before moving on if not satisfied.

Retention is critical in the Buyer’s Journey

Having made a decision to use you for the first time, you want to actively explore Retention or how you retain them for more visits on that Buyer’s Journey?  You don’t want to have that person as a client just once if several visits are possible.

So, in other words, your goal is to maximize the lifetime value of that customer through repeat business.

What marketing do you use?

Well, you need some sort of reminder because they can simply forget you if they don’t hear from you or have the pressing need.

So if you’re a dentist, for argument’s sake, you might pitch them every six months to get a checkup.

Or, it’s good also to be giving people something, every say 30 days if you can’t set a specific appointment in advance.  And there’s some evidence that, after 90 days, if they haven’t heard from you, they can totally forget you when a need arises again.

You could do things like surprise them with a birthday card in the mail. It’s a once a year thing, but it makes your name “sticky” in their mind.

So the aim here is to avoid what is called “churn”. Churning customers get through the buyer cycle but drop off using you. There’s plenty of evidence that the lifetime value of retaining existing clients is far more profitable than continuously having to get new ones.  I’ll say that again because it’s important. It’s far more profitable for you to retain a client than to find a new one to replace them.

Advocacy is the Holy Grail

Perhaps the final step in the Buyer’s Journey we call advocacy. And this is extremely important because advocacy – when people become your advocate – is the source of all of your social proof.

We talked about social proof earlier. On the Buyer’s Journey, these are things like reviews, referrals and testimonials. And these are extremely important because they’re from third parties, not related to you, independently giving potential customers  the value of their experience and saying that “yes, you’ve done a good job for them”.

So part of the marketing process here might be following up every client after every contact because what you want to do is to see if there’s any looming problems: any reason why they wouldn’t become an advocate for you.

There’s a saying, for example, that 10% of an iceberg is above water. So 90% of an iceberg you’re not seeing if you don’t actively monitor for problems or issues or concerns for customer disappointments.  Left unmonitored by you, disappointments are going to leak out and draw attention to  themselves.

Another rule of thumb is that an unhappy person tells an average of 13 other people that they’re unhappy.  And this is particularly an issue in today’s age of social media, where it’s so easy to spread the word about how disappointed you are.  People, unfortunately very often like to spread the word about disappointment faster than good news.

There are various tools for managing advocacy.  You’d be looking for review management tools to try and capture them and get them onto your website.

There’s also things like Net Promoter Score that you’re almost certainly seen where it says rank me on a score of one to 10, where 10 is the best. That’s a very powerful tool because it’s got a lot of science behind it and it allows you to measure a trend of how things are progressing.

You need a Portfolio of Marketing Tools

So, the marketing tools you use are going to be different at every stage of your Marketing to a Buyer’s Journey and it’s far too big a topic to cover here.

But you can research it. You can look for examples on Google and our website for things like sales funnel and buyer’s journey. Google those terms and see what comes up.

And on Google in particular you might be lucky enough to find articles, specifically covering the marketing to the Buyer’s Journey for your particular profession. So if you’re a lawyer, for example, you might be looking for articles on Buyer’s Journey and Sales Funnels specifically for lawyers.

Some Journeys are faster than others

Keep in mind also that the speed of the Buyer’s Journey will vary according to need and to risk.

If they have an injury, for example, the speed of making decision which doctor to go to is likely to be a lot faster than if there’s no pressing particular need; like I don’t really need a television urgently.

And the other dimension to the speed of the journey is risk of failure. The more risky the decision, the longer they’re likely to take to make a decision. So you’d spend a lot more time considering buying a house than you will take when buying a television and even less when  considering buying a single visit to a massage therapist.

Marketing Summary

So, in summary, your marketing needs to cover each stage in the Buyer’s Journey to an extent that’s appropriate for your industry. You want to make sure that you don’t spend too much on an area that is relatively unproductive but you do need to be careful that you don’t miss a step and lose the buyer altogether.

So, hopefully this has illuminated the various steps in the Buyer’s Journey and sensitized you to things to consider and how to adjust your marketing strategy to suit. 

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