There’s been a lot of buzz lately around the idea of ‘the buyer’s journey,’ or a prospect’s experience from click to close. And it makes sense: in a world where alternatives to your product are just a quick Google search away, ensuring that a prospect’s experience is positive from the moment they engage has never been more important. Modern marketers must have a thorough knowledge not only of who their buyer is, but how they progress from awareness to purchase, their specific needs at each step along the way, and how you, as a marketer, can cater to these needs.
So what does the buyer’s journey actually look like, as a prospect moves from awareness to consideration to decision? Let’s take a look at what’s happening in this first awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, and how you can help gradually move your prospect through it and on to the next stage.
Help Identify Need
Buyer’s situation: At this very early stage, your buyer is most likely completely unaware of your brand and product, and may even be unaware that they have a pain point. Although a prospect may be a good fit for your product, at this stage of the buyer’s journey your sales pitch is going to sound like noise — and likely be sent straight to the trash bin.
How you can help: Your prospect needs to see that you understand their situation and their pain points before they’ll believe that you can offer a solution to make their lives easier and increase their success. One of the best ways to do this is to create high-level, non product-specific content that relates to what they’re already doing. For example, if you’re offering a solution that can help a company advance their email marketing efforts, reach out with an article on best practices for successful subject lines. You’ll put your brand on the map, and begin to establish trust as a helpful source of information. Gradually, introduce content that highlights a particular pain point they may be experiencing (ex: “4 Simple Ways to Increase Your Deliverability Score”), helping your prospect to realize that there are ways to improve upon their current processes.
Buyer’s situation: Once your buyers begin to realize that they have a particular pain point, the research begins. For 72% of buyers, they’ll turn to Google. The first stage of research begins with general search terms as buyers explore the options at their disposal. Customer reviews, social proof, and testimonials will carry a lot of weight at this stage.
How you can help: Simple: have these resources ready and easily accessible. Make sure your website is easily navigable, and have case studies and testimonials from successful customers prominently displayed. Consider using a marketing automation tool to begin tracking content downloads and collecting prospect information. While you’re not ready to start your sales pitch, it’s never too soon to start gathering insight into your prospect’s preferences. Also, take measures to ensure that your website is optimized for SEO; nothing adds credibility to your solution like ranking highly in a Google search for their pain point.
Deliver Relevant Content
Buyer’s situation: As your buyers delve further into their research, they’ll begin to understand which criteria do and do not meet their needs, allowing them to prioritize their questions during product demos. At this point, buyers can begin to eliminate vendors who don’t provide the functionality or service that they’re looking for, narrowing their focus to just a few competing companies.
How you can help: Educational (read: non sales-pitch) content like white papers, analyst reports, and industry reports are going to be critical at this stage. It’s okay to take a slightly more proactive approach towards helping your prospects educate themselves on your industry, so build out a few simple lead nurturing campaigns to gradually deliver this content to prospects who have provided their information via a form completion. Just remember to lay off the heavy sales pitch; you’re still in the awareness stage, and this stage is all about building trust with your prospects and establishing your company as a credible source of information.
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