You must use targeted content to see better results in today’s online marketplace. Leads nurtured with targeted content show a 20% increase in sales opportunities.
How you segment your customers and buyer personas will vary, depending on the industry. However, all businesses should keep the buyer’s journey in mind as they start to plan their website design and marketing initiatives, such as Google SEO or content creation. In this post, we’ll discuss why the buyer’s journey is essential and what each stage looks like. Plus, we’ll discuss where your website fits in and how you can optimize it.
Why the Buyer’s Journey is so Important
The digital age has changed how consumers and business owners research and buy products and services. Before the internet, if you wanted to learn more about a product, it was often hard to find information without going to a physical store or contacting a salesperson. For instance, if you wanted to buy a new vacuum cleaner, you would need to go to the store to look at your options, find out about different features, and compare prices.
Today, most of the buyer’s journey takes place online. Recent surveys have shown that 67 percent of the buyer’s journey occurs digitally. Both consumers and businesses can thoroughly research the solutions they need, sometimes without ever contacting sales. In today’s digital marketplace, when a consumer or business does reach out to a salesperson, they are already informed and close to the point of making a purchase.
As a result, businesses need to keep the modern buyer’s journey in mind when developing marketing content. Content that helps you meet your buyers where they are (online) can help give consumers the information they need to purchase.
If you market to every prospect with the same messaging and materials, conversions will be far and few between. That’s why the buyer’s journey is such a critical part of the conversion process. To generate more high-quality leads, you need to create different content and offers based on where prospects are coming from, their needs and wants, and what level of interest they have in your brand. – Andy Beohar, Chief Inbound Marketing Strategist at SevenAtoms Inc, a San Francisco Inbound Marketing and PPC Agency.
The Basics of the Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey has three primary stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. During each stage, the consumer exhibits different behaviors and looks for different types of content to get the research and information they need to move on to the next step.
The awareness stage occurs when consumers realize they have a challenge or opportunity. They’ve begun to express symptoms of this issue and want to learn more about it. At this point in the buyer’s journey, the consumer needs neutral third-party research to help them better identify their problem or area of opportunity. Therefore, they turn to educational content such as editorial content, expert blog posts, white papers, eBooks, and research reports to understand better what they are facing.
During the consideration phase, the consumer has defined their issue or opportunity and is looking for solutions or options for solving the problem or taking advantage of the new opportunity. At this stage, consumers want to research as much as possible to understand better all the methods and approaches to their challenge or opportunity. The content that appeals most to those in the consideration stage is expert guides, comparison white papers, live interactions, podcasts, and videos that help them identify potential solutions.
The decision stage is the last step in the buyer’s journey. At this point, the consumer will decide on a solution, strategy, approach, or method to solve their challenge or take advantage of a new opportunity. Next, the buyer will research and consider supporting data, documentation, endorsements, and benchmarks to decide. At this stage, live demos or free trial downloads can go a long way in helping consumers determine whether a product or service is right for them. They may also examine case studies, vendor and product comparisons, and literature.
Where Your Website Fits In
Websites encompass all stages of the buyer’s journey. Though consumers look for different types of inbound marketing content depending on where they buy, prospects can visit the website at each journey step. As a result, websites are one of the main ways your brand can help move prospects down the funnel. That’s why ensuring your website provides the content prospects need during each stage is vital.
Many pieces of awareness-level content may exist on your website already, such as your blog or resource library. The website content helps provide a lot of excellent consideration stage material as it explains your offering and approach to solving your customers’ biggest challenges. Again, customers will return to your website during the decision stage to look at case studies, compare pricing, or sign up for a free trial.
Optimizing Your Site for the Buyer’s Journey
Since your website plays an integral role at each stage of the process, you must optimize your website for each step of the buyer’s journey. You will need to design your website so that it is easy for visitors to find content that relates to their stage. This means making the navigation simple, intuitive, and straightforward. Use the navigational toolbar and sidebar call-outs to ensure visitors can find exactly what they’re looking for when they land on your site.
One way to help guide prospects from one stage of the buyer’s journey to the next is through clear calls-to-action (CTAs). Where you place the CTA will depend on the content you deliver. For instance, you might use a CTA at the end of a blog post or video to guide the viewer to another piece of content that offers more in-depth research for their consideration. However, when it comes to longer content targeted toward buyers in the consideration phase, you might include a CTA that invites them to sign up for a free trial or download a demo.
Here are some general tips for creating effective CTAs that get users to move through the funnel:
- Craft a CTA that is clear. Visitors should know exactly what you want them to do next. For instance, “Sign up now for a free trial” leaves no doubt about the user’s next logical step.
- Use active words. Using active verbs will motivate the visitor to take action, helping move them to the next stage of the buyer’s journey. For instance, “Download our new eBook” is more effective than “Here is our new eBook.”
- Make it easy to take the next step. You should be clear about what you want the user to do next and make it as easy as possible for them to move through the funnel. Use links and buttons to display your CTAs so users can quickly proceed to the next step of the buyer’s journey.
It’s important to note that businesses need content for every stage of the buyer’s journey for each buyer persona they target. If you have multiple buyer personas, you must carefully consider how each moves through the buyer’s journey and what they look for along the way. Make it clear on your website where each persona can get the necessary information. For instance, if you offer solutions for SMBs and large businesses, differentiate where each can get the content targeted to their needs and interests.