Where Did They Come From? Determining Online Buyers’ Journeys

You might have just gotten lucky with good sales, or you may have carefully planned your approach to finding customers. Whether you already have a solid customer base, or you’re seeking to attract customers, taking the time to understand buyers’ journeys gives businesses that much more of a chance to succeed.

The concept of the buyer journey illustrates why customers buy in and what brought them to that decision. Buyers or prospective buyers usually go through processes before making their choice. The processes usually aren’t linear, which makes things more complicated. People can jump from stage to stage and approach a product or service in various ways. Since consumers tend to have a variety of criteria for choosing a product or service, it’s important to research the buyer mindset. With the multitude of competitor’s businesses face, how can businesses be there for customers who are seeking the ideal product or service for them?

Businesses who deeply understand the buyer journey can create experiences that work well for their specific audience segments. Here are some tips for determining the online buyer’s journey:

The Seeking Stage

Hubspot offers great insights on the stages of the buyer journey, when people first encounter or search for a product, they’re likely exploring their options. People gain awareness through basic information, or they may seek confirmation of their existing opinions. Often, people look for ways to improve or prevent something. They might be seeking to alleviate a pain point. At this stage, nothing is solid; people are just looking to understand what’s available and how it might pertain to them. People search for anything from white papers to reviews at this stage, depending on the industry and products. It helps to ask the questions “Who, What, When, Where, and Why” when discerning how people search and connect with businesses online. This can pertain to various stages of the buyer’s journey.

Analyzing Channels Your Buyers May Use

Online buyers or prospective buyers use various ways to find a product or service. For example, organic search (through search engines such as Google) gives people a broad range of tools to find information and opportunities to buy. Referrals, in contrast, are more personalized recommendations for a product or service from friends, acquaintances, or someone a buyer trusts. Some buyers may click on paid search links (ads) to find a business, while some people might find a business through e-mails or social media. Consider researching stats on ThinkWithGoogle to gain insights according to channel and industry. In addition, marketing software helps businesses understand a lot about how people interact with their business online.

What Are Your Buyers’ Top Considerations?

Strive to really know the top considerations of your audience or prospective audience. Are they looking at options, features, pricing, or benefits? Some buyers are very problem/solution oriented. Research what people value and how that pertains to your products. Talk to marketing professionals about how to research the most important consumer priorities for your industry or business. For example, do people find reputation, testimonies, case studies, or trial uses most applicable to their journey?

The Decision

At this stage, buyers will likely have narrowed down their choices to their final options. They compare specifics product features and prices. How can your business close the deal with buyers? Will it be a connection or a unique selling proposition? Closing the deal is only part of the decision stage. The buyers also need to examine and use the product or service to solidify that they made the right choice. Once buyers have become somewhat loyal to your product or service, you can start to analyze the lifetime customer value.

Helpful Tips

Always stay aware of changes in how people discover products. According to ThinkWithGoogle, people are increasingly turning to mobile in their buyer journey. Work with an excellent marketing team to research, analyze, and align your strategy with buyers’ journeys. Create buyer personas to visualize and imagine who your buyers are or might be. Get specific with your plans and tactics. It’s often helpful for businesses to become customer or user focused (or both), depending on the type of business.

Inbound and funnel-marketing approaches can help your business become more relevant to consumers online. Keep in mind, though, marketers are also observing circular or orbital consumer thinking and behaviour. In addition, growth in sales may require heavy marketing – as opposed to a more equally divided marketing to sales ratio.

Make sure your content includes suitable keywords and aligns with user behaviour. In addition, your website and online media should work well for your buyers at various stages of their journeys. Some businesses segment their audiences in their marketing approaches to more effectively meet specific needs.

To learn more about aligning your marketing plan to the journeys of your buyers, contact us at McAllister Marketing for a comprehensive approach to understanding your business’s online buyer journey and watch your sales grow.

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