Understanding the Buyer Journey

05.11.2023 Mark Frisina

When to Utilize Each Channel

Whether you’re looking to market to new movers, acquire new patients, connect with new shoppers, or reach another group of potential customers, understanding where your target audience is in their journey is crucial to connecting with them at the right time, in the right place, with the right message. With information available in the blink of an eye, buyers have more options at their disposal than ever before. It’s important to connect with your customers in different ways depending on where they are along the buyer journey.

A Quick Recap of the Buyer Journey

The “buyer journey”, also referred to as the “purchase journey”, is a process that follows a customer from the moment they become aware that there might be a problem or they may have a need (for example, they need a new helmet), through their decision to obtain a good or service that meets that need (purchasing a new helmet from a sporting goods store). There are 3 universally noted steps in the buyer journey: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. As people move through this journey, what they share along the way can provide insight that allows for solution-focused marketing. The more you know about your buyer and what stage they’re at in the buyer journey, the better you can pivot and perfect your sales strategies.

The Awareness Stage

Before targeting anyone that’s in the awareness stage, it’s crucial to build out marketing personas to better understand who you’re trying to connect with. In the Awareness Stage, pain-points are acknowledged and identified. The buyer knows that there’s a problem or need, however, the solution or product/service might not be clear. Typically, as they begin their search, they’ll turn to the power of the internet. Within a few seconds of looking for the answer, groundwork is completed to move on to the consideration stage. So, make sure your website and social platforms have relevant blog posts, social posts, and online reviews using keywords and phrases related to the nature of your business, products, and services.

The Consideration Stage

Once the buyer has named the problem and sought out solutions, they enter what is called the Consideration Stage. In this stage, there’s an array of answers to their need. The buyer has found multiple solutions and has likely looked into some of them. There are a few ways you could connect with them during their time in this stage, however, we recommend a multichannel approach. With 55% of searches done via a smartphone and 42% done using a computer, it’s important to utilize digital ads and forms on your website (with the option for someone to provide their email and receive more information or downloadable content). Since 75% of people don’t scroll past the first search results page, increase your rank by showcasing any webinars, podcasts, and how-to videos you may have available. You could also segment your target market and send some of them postcards via direct mail (with a QR code linking to your website to track how this audience segment may engage). The key here is to get in front of the audience, quickly, and to be and stay memorable.

The Decision Stage

Once the buyer has narrowed their solution list, they’ve entered the Decision Stage. In this stage, nudge the buyer by helping them realize that your company provides the best solution to their need, whether that’s a product or service. You could connect with them via email and offer a discount code or special offer if they elect to go with your company, or you could implement a second, personalized direct mail touchpoint that advertises that same digital offer (for example, 10% off their purchase price).

For Example…

Let’s look at Joe in Boise, ID. He’s a mid-level executive for a local healthcare system. His focus is new patient acquisition. He’s looking for a way to connect with those moving into the area and beat the competition. He begins to search for an agency that could support the system’s marketing team in this initiative. His searches include: “marketing to new movers,” “patient acquisition,” and “demographics Boise, ID.” He peruses a few sites to find out the demographics of who’s moving into the area, what their needs are, and to find out which companies use the marketing tactics necessary to connect with new movers.

As Joe is searching – and navigating his awareness stage – your business pops up amongst a few others that specialize in the same area. He enters his email to download a case study you’ve done for another healthcare system as well as a guide to building new mover personas. With that download, you’ve piqued his interest, have become aware of his interest, and, while he’s still searching for more information, you’ve joined the list of prospects in the consideration phase. Hopefully, you’ve convinced him that you should be at the top of that list. You also now have his email address and the company he works for. You can directly connect with him and provide additional education while he’s still searching. This enables you to send him more information, such as a link to a how-to video your company has produced to introduce the concept, a follow-up email with more information, or an email with a personalized new mover snippet for his health system.

Once he’s reviewed all his options, if your company has been successful and made an impact with the content they’ve shared at the right connection points, congratulations! Your company has successfully won Joe’s business and will begin to help his team in their new mover initiatives.

Going Forward

As you’re navigating how to reach your audience – whether that’s new clients, talent, patients, shoppers, movers, or another customer base – pay close attention to how you craft your buyer personas. And, make sure you’ve cleaned up your SEO and keywords on your website so that you can connect with the right groups at the right time. Empower your potential audience by providing them with the information they need prior to making their purchase. Consider a multichannel campaign as your main method of communication to connect with your audience at every step along their journey.

Check out this quick video on how to ensure your multichannel campaigns are personally relevant (and how to use them to get ahead of the competition). Not sure how to determine where your customers are in their journey? Connect with our team of marketing experts today.

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