Understanding the Online Buyer Journey

Firstly, let’s define what the buyer journey is...

As defined by Hubspot, it is the “process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service.” Thereafter, in an ideal scenario, buyers become advocates of the brand.

It’s important to know how to properly approach each element of your buyer’s journey within your marketing campaigns, as others mistakenly waste their resources on creating incoherent and poorly executed content. Keep in mind that although your buyer’s journey consists of separate entities, everything should work towards a common goal.

Ideally, your marketing channels should be geared towards molding your prospect into a loyal and high-ROI customer through the buyer’s journey. According to a study by Google, 65% of revenue comes from purchases made in more than one channel – therefore, having a multi-channel presence is highly beneficial as you’re more likely to maximise ROI with high-value customers.

We often see how the concept of “love at first sight” is idealized in Hollywood movies – depictions of strangers instantly falling in love, which ultimately leading to their happy ending.

However, real life isn’t as romantic as it is portrayed on the silver screen.

Successful relationships require a lot of patience and hard work. It is often a lengthy process of getting to know one another, strengthening each other’s trust, and eventually learning whether you’re truly compatible with each other.

Building a solid foundation with your clientele requires a similar type of effort seen in romantic relationships. This courtship process is called the Buyer’s Journey, and it constitutes the framework of your overall marketing strategy.

When constructing your buyer’s journey, there are two important questions that must be considered: How do you get buyers to move from acknowledging their needs to making a purchase? How can you utilize this knowledge in creating campaigns that revolve around customer lifecycle?

Read on to find out how the buyer’s journey works and how you can use this knowledge to position your strategy and content accordingly.

0%

of revenue comes from purchases made in more than one channel

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The Typical Stages of the Online Buyer Journey...

Awareness

At this stage, your prospect is unaware of your brand’s existence and does not even recognise their need for your products or services. Your objective is to build a valuable first impression as an entity that offers a solution to their problem.

1. OBJECTIVE

Remind or trigger a need:
Your prospect’s needs are simply hidden in their subconscious, which you can trigger with a hypertargeted ad, for example.

Recognise the problem:
Help them recognise how much their problem affects them by presenting actionable insights.

Address a pain point:
By addressing these pain points, you’re emphasizing what your brand’s specialization.

2. Impactful content to promote

Blog posts

Videos

Research studies

Analyst reports

eBooks

White papers

Educational content

3. Medium to promote through

As part of an EDM Strategy
Paid Social (Facebook / LinkedIn Sponsored Content)
YouTube
Guest Blogging throughout relevant industry websites

Consideration

After your prospect has become aware of their need and acknowledges your brand’s existence, they will consider you as an option as they begin researching on other brands that offer similar solutions.

1. OBJECTIVE

Staying in 'consideration':
Keep yourself within the prospect’s line of consideration by maintaining your presence, which is usually done through remarketing.

Differentiate your brand:
Establish what sets your brand apart from others by presenting what you offer that competitors don’t have.

2. Impactful content to promote

Comparison Matrices:
Make your prospect’s decision-making process quicker by providing easy-to-read comparisons with your competitors.

Brand-specific guides:
Provide a helpful guide specific to your own products and services.

Audits:
By offering help at no cost, you’re providing a preview of what your brand can potentially offer once purchased.

3. Medium to promote through

As part of an EDM Strategy
Paid Social (Facebook / LinkedIn Sponsored Content)
Messenger Bots (eg. Facebook)
YouTube
Guest Blogging throughout relevant industry websites

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Evaluation

After conducting their own research about other brands, your prospect has decided to return to give your brand another look. At this stage, the prospect will see logistics as the last deciding factor in selecting which brand offers the best solution.

1. OBJECTIVE

Affirmation:
Reiterate and establish the benefits of choosing your brand.

Persuasion:
Assist your prospect in reaching a final decision through persuasion by showcasing your brand’s benefits.

2. Impactful content to promote

Technical benefits:
Because prospects see logistics as the primary determining factor at this stage, present what additional (technical) benefits you can offer along with the main services you provide.

Case studies:
Case studies are a great way to present your brand’s capabilities as an expert in your field.

Customer testimonials:
Feedback shows your prospects how much you’ve helped your former customers, proving that your brand is trustworthy.

3. Medium to promote through

As part of an EDM Strategy
Paid Social (Facebook / LinkedIn Sponsored Content)
Messenger Bots (eg. Facebook)
YouTube
Guest Blogging throughout relevant industry websites

Purchase

Finished with their decision-making process, your prospect has made the final decision to convert into your customer by availing your brand’s services.

At this stage, your customer is utilising your product/service and is simultaneously evaluating their level of satisfaction. Thus, it is now your responsibility to ensure that your customer is having the best experience possible.

1. OBJECTIVE

Implementation:
Ensure that your implementation process goes smoothly.

Provide assistance:
Always be prepared to provide assistance to your customer by handing out supplementary materials during and after implementing your service.

2. Impactful content to promote

Instructional guides/materials:
Provide helpful and easy-to-digest material on how to properly use your product/service.

Case examples:
Provide similar cases that your brand has already solved to give them an example to follow.

Customer support:
Make sure you’re providing constant assistance to maintain your customer’s satisfaction with your service.

3. Medium to promote through

Blogs
Online Tutorials
Messenger Bots/Live Chat

Advocacy

If the consumer was more than happy with the outcome of your product, they might even become a voluntary advocate of your brand.

Give your satisfied customers a platform to express their testimonials about your product/service. These will serve as valuable marketing materials for your brand.

1. OBJECTIVE

Provide a platform for testimonials:
To provide an outlet for satisfied customers to share their experience with your brand.

Presentation:
Showcase their testimonials and promote them throughout various channels to increase awareness for your brand.

2. Impactful content to promote

Testimonials:
Whether it is by word-of-mouth, on your website, or on social media, testimonials are the most valuable marketing material you can use to promote your brand to future customers.

3. Medium to promote through

Your Website
Forums
Industry blogs
Social Media
Email Marketing

Conclusion

Although creating the right content for your buyer’s journey takes a lot of effort, all that brainstorming, planning, and execution will be worth it in the long run. Knowing how to produce engaging and creative content is one thing, but knowing when and how to deliver it to your audience is just as important.

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by Sachin Rajah

Technical Account Director

Sachin is a passionate digital marketer and adviser leading growth strategies for his diverse client base.

Sachin has also been responsible for winning several industry awards for his work on client campaigns, taking out the Google Premier Partner Award for Display Innovation AU/NZ and also being a nominated finalist at the AMY Awards 2017 for his work on two campaigns!

Apart from winnings awards, Sachin lives and breathes Facebook, not purely to organise his busy social calendar, but because of the ever-evolving capabilities of the platform to generate leads for his clients.

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