In modern marketing, It’s believed that purchases don’t happen by luck. There’s a certain path which buyers follow in every purchasing process called “ The buyer’s journey”, which is the process buyers go through until they complete a purchase. This Process differs from one business to another but generally it contains 3 stages known as:
1) Awareness stage
2) Consideration Stage
3) Decision Stage
Each of those stages has different characteristics that differentiate it from the others. The content used and purpose that should be reached by the end of each stage varies as well.
According to (Sirius Decisions) 70% of the buyer’s journey is completed before a buyer reaches to sales so it speeds up purchases by identifying the stage in which each customer is currently in and providing them with the required content that helps them move through the stages efficiently. As long as you provide value and answers you’ll be able to nurture customers and make them move in your direction by building trust.
In general, and while walking through these stages, provide your customers with answers, troubleshoot confusions and optimize your brand awareness.
In the first stage your concerns as a marketer should be how to educate , inspire and entertain your client. The buyer is usually not aware of his needs as well as your company so your mission is to create awareness so customers would know what you do and relate it to their needs. The content used should address your buyer’s pain and provide solutions to their problems. The study results showed that companies with blogs generate 55% more web traffic than companies that doesn’t have a website because it provides rich and updated content that helps its visitors.
When recognizing a need, 72% of the buyers tend to use Google for a quick research about its nature people’s similar experiences and solutions that satisfies it. That’s why your job as a marketer here is not to only describe your product but also to show how your product can represent a solution to your buyer problem and also provide a full explanation about the problem so you can position yourself as thought leader in the area.The kind of content provided can include things as ( Reviews, Testimonials, Educational Material .. etc. ).
The goals of this stage for any marketer should be to acquiring new visitors using all the channels, segmenting them and having company branding initiatives.
If you did the previous steps carefully, you will fit your buyer’s criteria as an option. Later on. The buyer will start comparing and prioritizing the options he collected by matching his needs to the educational content you already provided.By the end of this stage the buyer is considered to know everything about your company and your product benefits to his needs.
In order to measure your effectiveness,track how many new visitors you gained and the percentage of new visitors of the total.
In the consideration stage, show what it’s like to work with you. Your goal is to build relationships and collect more emails to maximize your list size. Make sure you track your visitors recency and banner clicks and keep records of them as you go to identify what works with your customers
Keep in mind 70% of the buyers will need to go back to research 2-3 times looking for particular details as they will do in depth comparisons. At this point, buyers are willing to purchase and looking for related details so make sure your content is clear when it comes to prices.Buyers will also be looking for ROI information which means that you need to talk about the value they will get from using your product or service and that makes you the best choice for them.
While creating the content, make sure you meet the expectations of your customers but also focus on speaking the language they need. Being too friendly or providing little information in sensitive areas might cost you your credibility.
The Final stage is the most critical one as you either make it or break it.Buyers will be reviewing and determining value based on quality and prices. That’s why they will probably be looking for implementation results so make sure your showcase how your product or service helped other people overcome their problems or satisfy their needs.
After the purchase is done,customer service plays a vital role in turning your one time customer into a repeat customer and turning this as well into an evangelist. Attract them with the low costs of starting of and free demos that comes with irresistible quality.
Easy contracts could be a strong extra point for your business as well.
Eventually, the buyer will select a vendor and if you’re lucky that vendor will be you. But that’s not the end of your job!. Your buyer will continue the research for more tips,best practices and guides to use your product or service. If they couldn’t find a guide for your product they will start losing its value especially if it's complicated. And to avoid this, make sure you have drip marketing for your customers not only prospects so they would renew and work with you.
Your target shouldn’t be only having permanent customers but having evangelists who brand for you. The word of mouth nowadays in social media era is a valuable asset that generates sales and having many satisfied customers who promotes your brand is a key factor of word of mouth.
Remember to stay in touch with your clients and always look for opportunities to upgrade the service for them as they may be looking for expanding.
Whether you’re new in the marketing field or not you must have heard this term before and if not then it’s never late to discover one of the most important models used to maximize the revenues generated from your different channels.
The term is generally used to describe how businesses manage their customer relationships through the different stages they go through before, after and during the purchase. It identifies the common milestones between the customers in their lifecycle and capitalizes on each one of it. The term comes from the practice of CRM and also used to mark the creation and improving your company brand with your clients in some certain progressive steps in order to maintain a loyal customer.
The core of understanding customer lifecycle is knowing that it represents a real human relationship between your company and the client, the more you care about details and pay attention to how you deal and what you provide to them at each stage, the more you’ll gain in return. Your gains could be revenues or having evangelists, as a successful company is always the one with the most loyal customers. As even if they couldn’t purchase they will always recommend you to their circles.
While writing this chapter we came across many different versions of the customer lifecycle. Some versions contained 4 stages and others were up to 8. The general purpose was always the same and although the ways to achieve each stage differed but still all focused on the importance of understanding your prospect well in order to be able to place him in the right stage in the cycle.
Think of subscribers as those folks who know about you and have opted in to hear from you periodically. In many cases your subscriber base is the segment of your contacts database that has only signed up for your blog or newsletter and nothing else. You should nurture a long-term relationship with subscribers and offer them content that will increase the chances that they will move forward in the customer lifecycle.
Leads have shown more interest in what you offer than subscribers have. Typically a lead has filled out a form with more than just an email address, often for some sort of content-based offer on your website. We see companies use the lead lifecycle stage for what we think of as general, broadly appealing, or top of the funnel offers. As each lead demonstrates a higher degree of sales readiness and qualification, they will move to further stages.
Marketing Qualified Leads, commonly known as MQLs, are those people who have raised their hands (metaphorically speaking) and identified themselves as more deeply engaged, sales-ready contacts than your usual leads, but who have not yet become fully fledged opportunities. Ideally, you should only allow certain, designated forms to trigger the promotion of a lead to the MQL stage, specifically those that gate bottom of the funnel offers like demo requests, buying guides, and other sales-ready calls to action.
Sales Qualified Leads are those that your sales team has accepted as worthy of a direct sales follow up. Using this stage will help your sales and marketing teams stay firmly on the same page in terms of the quality and volume of leads that you are handing over to your sales team.
Opportunities are contacts who have become real sales opportunities in your CRM.
This is everybody’s favorite lifecycle stage: an actual, paying customer.
Evangelists are those contacts that are advocates for your business - they sing your praises from the rooftops! They are usually a small but vocal group who will refer new business to you unsolicited. Leveraging their networks often bring in new customers and help you reach leads you may not have been able to otherwise.
Other is the wildcard lifecycle stage. Examples of what this stage has been used for include: closed lost opportunities, customer renewals, and key accounts.