Posts

Customer Journey vs Buyer Journey

The Difference Between Buyer Journey vs. Customer Journey

You’ve probably heard a lot about consumer lifecycles and the different terms used to describe said lifecycles, such as buyer journey and sales funnel. They can be a little overwhelming and a little confusing. You might even wonder why some terms seem to describe the same thing, such as buyer journey and customer journey. Don’t be fooled–the buyer journey is very different from the customer journey and it’s important that you know what the difference is. The following is a breakdown of the buyer journey vs. the customer journey.

The Buyer Journey

As we’ve previously discussed, the buyer journey makes up the stages that a consumer goes through up to their decision to purchase a specific product or service from a specific company. This includes the awareness stage, during which they realize that they have a problem; the consideration stage, during which they identify the solution to their problem; and the decision stage, during which they decide what product or service is the best solution to their problem.

The Customer Journey

During the buyer journey, the consumer doesn’t become a customer until the end of the very last stage (the decision stage). However, your relationship with your customers doesn’t end the moment they’ve made a purchase. The real success of a business depends on return customers, after all. This is where the customer journey comes into play.

During the customer journey, you should focus on further developing relationships with your customers through regular engagement. Building relationships will help to increase trust in your brand, which, in turn, will improve customer retention.customer journey

[Read about how to use the buyer’s journey to create great content]

But getting customers to purchase your products and services again isn’t the only goal. You’ll want to establish customer loyalty, which means that they will only buy those products and services from you–and, eventually, will turn to your company for whatever needs you can offer solutions to.

Nurturing Customers into Brand Ambassadors

Once you’ve managed to build that loyalty, you’ll be able to nurture that customer into a brand ambassador. Consumers tend to trust other consumers much more easily than they trust companies, which is why brand ambassadors offer so much value. Keeping all of this in mind, the following are a few tips to help you nurture your customers through their customer journeys:

  • Initiate engagement following purchases – It’s important that you initiate contact with customers as soon as possible following a purchase. Many businesses use automation to send emails thanking customers for their purchase and even recommending similar products (in an attempt to cross-sell or upsell).
  • Send them relevant content – Continue nurturing your customers by sending them emails with content that is relevant to their engagement history (including their purchases and website behavior). The content you send should be informative and should help improve their brand experience. For example, tips on how to use the product that they purchased or general content relevant to their purchase.
  • Request and listen to feedback – Send your customers surveys or request that they leave reviews. Listen to what they have to say. Customer feedback is valuable to improving your business and can help you improve your relationship with your customers as well.
  • Reward referrals – You can encourage your customers to become brand ambassadors by implementing a referral program. For example, you can offer a discount for every customer that they refer to you.

The difference between the buyer journey and the customer journey is that the buyer journey leads up to the purchase whereas the customer journey continues following the purchase. It’s important that you have strategies in place to accommodate consumers during both journeys to help ensure the success of your business.

Free Marketing Consultation
Decision Stage

A Guide to the Decision Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

After helping consumers learn about their problem and how they can solve it, you will want to present your product or service as the best option for that specific solution. It’s at this point that consumers are in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey.

What Is The Decision Stage Of The Buyer’s Journey?

The decision stage of the buyer’s journey is the last stage, the stage in which you close the sale. However, there’s still work to be done. Although the consumer has decided on a solution by this stage, they have yet to decide on a product or service or the vendor that they will purchase from.

During the decision stage, they will be doing research into the products and services that they are considering as a solution to their pain point.  They will also research vendors that provide those products and services to determine if they are trustworthy. For example, if the consumer has decided to purchase a new computer, they may be looking to answer the following:

  • The pros and cons of different brand computers
  • The type of warranties offered by different computer vendors
  • The expected lifespan of different computer models
  • The different features of different computer models
  • Customer reviews of different computer vendors

Creating Content For The Decision Stage Of The Buyer’s Journey

You’ve done a massive amount of work to help nurture your leads through the first two stages of the buyer’s journey. You’ve done so by publishing a variety of different types of content addressing the awareness and consideration stages. At this point, you’re trying to get your leads over the finish line. This is why you need to have content that presents your brand as a trustworthy and reliable vendor and your product or service as the best option for their specific needs.

How do you  drive website conversions throughout the buyer’s journey? Find out by clicking here. 

While this means that some of the content you’ll want to have available on various channels (from your website to social media to your emails) will need to be promotional, you can still provide more informative content as well. Types of content you’ll want to offer during this stage include downloadable white papers, case studies, use cases, which show off the benefits of your products or services. You’ll also want detailed product or service videos that include video demonstrations if possible.

Also, you will want to showcase exactly why they should choose to purchase from your business. This should be done by publishing customer reviews on your website and by encouraging reviews on social. You should consider creating customer testimonials as well–video testimonials tend to be extremely effective during this stage.

Creating Reasons to Choose Your Company

Last, but not least, give consumers a reason to choose your product or service over another brand. You can do so by offering a free trial of your product or service or a free consultation. This way they will get in touch with you. Services like Netflix and Amazon offer free 30-day trials. People jump on the chance to take advantage of such services for free and often end up purchasing the service in full at the end of their trial as a result.

The decision stage of the buyer’s journey is the third and last stage. You’ll want to encourage consumers to choose your company’s product or service by not only promoting your products and services, but also by informing the consumer about your products and services as well as about your company. The goal is to convince them that they can trust your brand. It’s also to show them that your product or service will meet their specific needs more so than any other option out there.

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business

A Guide to the Consideration Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Once you’ve managed to draw new leads to your brand by presenting content that helps consumers navigate their problems through the awareness stage, you’ll want to make sure that you have content living on your site (and on other channels, such as social media and email as well) that addresses the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey.

What Is The Consideration Stage Of The Buyer’s Journey?

The consideration stage of the buyer’s journey follows directly after the awareness stage. Once a consumer has a better understanding of what their pain point is as well as of what the potential causes of their problem are, they will begin searching for solutions. It’s during the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey that they will begin to explore their purchasing options.

At this point, you will want to explain what types of solutions will help with their specific problems as well as what their options are and present your products and services as a potential solution.

Let’s say the consumer has decided that they need to replace their current computer, which keeps freezing. They already know that they need to replace their computer and why they need to replace it. If you’re selling brand new computers, then you’ll want to present content that helps provide information that will help guide them to making the right purchase. They may have questions that include:

  • How much do new computers cost?
  • What kind of computer do I need?Image result for buyer's journey
  • Should I buy a new or used computer?
  • What brand is the best brand?

Content that addresses these questions is going to help consumers make a more informed decision about their purchase, thereby helping to get them closer to making a purchase.

How do you create great content with the help of the buyer’s journey? Learn more by reading this article. 

Creating Content For The Consideration Stage Of The Buyer’s Journey

You will want content on your site that specifically addresses the consideration stage for consumers who have been doing research on your site from the beginning of their buyer’s journey. However, this content will also help attract consumers out there who already know what their problem is and are performing research for potential solutions from the get-go.

While you’ll want to present your products and services as a solution, you’ll want to make sure that your content is still on the informative side and not the promotional side. The more helpful your content is in explaining what the consumer’s options are, the more they will trust your brand’s authority, which will help make them more likely to choose your solution.

You’ll want to create a variety of content, including short-form and long-form articles, videos, case studies, demo videos and more. Topics you may explore that help inform consumers looking for a new computer could include:

  • The Pros and Cons of Used vs. New Computers
  • Mac vs. PC vs. Chromebook
  • Buying a New Computer on a Budget
  • What to Look For in a New Computer

Other forms of content to consider creating include product webinars and FAQs that consumers can explore to see what your company has to offer in terms of solutions to their problems.

During the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, you’ll want to provide content that provides consumers with information about potential solutions to their problems while also introducing them to your specific products and services. The idea is to give them enough information so that they will feel comfortable making an informed purchase.

Learn The StoryBranding Process

 

Awareness Stage

A Guide to the Awareness Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

When it comes to addressing the buyer’s journey, making sure that you have content available that addresses the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey is vital if you expect to draw in potential customers. If you try to skip this stage, you will end up losing a substantial number of potential leads.  These leads are still looking for basic information and aren’t ready to make a purchase yet.

What Is The Awareness Stage Of The Buyer’s Journey?

Before you can start presenting one of your products or services as a solution, the consumer needs to know what their problem is. Otherwise, they’ll have no need for your solution. During the awareness stage, consumers know they have a problem but they don’t necessarily understand. They will likely be doing very general searches on Google and other search engines. They are attempt ing to learn more about the problem that they are dealing with.

For example, a consumer might notice that their current computer isn’t running properly or is having obvious problems. They are likely going to begin doing some basic research. For example, maybe their computer keeps freezing up. They may look up things like:

  • Why is my computer freezing?
  • Image result for awareness stageDoes my computer need repairs?
  • How to fix my computer?
  • Do I need to replace my computer?

[Read about how to use the buyer’s journey to create great content]

They’ll explore content online that addresses such questions. This is so they can figure out exactly what their problem is by reading about examples of their problem. This can also help identify the cause of their problem. Only once they have gotten through the awareness stage and have managed to become more informed about their problem will they begin seeking out potential solutions.

Creating Content For The Awareness Stage Of The Buyer’s Journey

You will want to make sure you create a range of content that addresses the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. This content should be optimized for SEO using keywords that your audience will use in their searches during the awareness stage. Keep in mind that during this stage of the buyer’s journey, you’re not attempting to sell anything. Rather, you are merely trying to attract potential customers. You can do so by providing content that is helpful, informative, and relevant to their needs. By providing content that helps your audience to identify what their problem is, you’ll be in a better position to recommend a solution.

Short-form blog content that’s highly focused on identifying the problem will be particularly helpful since it will be easy for consumers to scan. For example, if you were to create content addressing a consumer’s issue with a freezing computer, you might publish blog articles such as:

  • 5 Reasons Your Computer is Freezing
  • How to Prevent Your Computer From Freezing
  • 5 Signs Your Computer Needs Repairs
  • 5 Signs You Need to Replace Your Computer

Video content works well too, especially for mobile users. In the case of this example, it would be particularly beneficial for mobile users since their computers are on the fritz. In addition to short-form content, you’ll want to offer long-form content. This includes eBooks and white papers, which goes into greater detail that consumers can download in return for joining your email list. If your content is good enough, they’ll be more trusting of your brand and will continue doing research on your site.

The awareness stage of the buyer’s journey is where you attract new leads to your brand and provide helpful content.  This content can help inform them about their pain points. It’s only once you’ve addressed the awareness stage that you can begin to present potential solutions to your audience, which is where the consideration stage comes in.

Learn To Use Social Media To Find New Leads
The Buyer's Journey

What is The Buyer’s Journey?

The general goal of every business is to attract consumers and turn them into customers. The process that a consumer goes through before they make a purchase is known as the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey has become a lot more complex over the years, especially since the advent of Internet. This is because consumers no longer rely on businesses to hold their hands and to guide them through their buyer’s journey. As a result of digital media, consumers can now navigate much of their buyer’s journey on their own. This also means that everyone’s buyer’s journey is different.

As a business, you will need to meet the needs of the consumer as they move through their buyer’s journey. You’ll need to be able to do this at every stage of their journey in a passive manner until they are ready to be engaged. This may seem like a challenge, but it’s what the entire concept of inbound marketing is built around.

We will be going over the different stages of the buyer’s journey, but before we do, it’s important to understand exactly what the buyer’s journey is and why it’s so important.

What is the Buyer’s Journey?

The buyer’s journey is the process a consumer goes through to research a product and to come to a decision to make a purchase. The buyer’s journey typically begins when a consumer realizes that they have a problem but don’t know what the solution to that problem is. For example, maybe they’ve stained their white carpeting with wine. They don’t know what the best solution is for getting wine stains out of their carpeting, so they will begin doing research online.

This research usually begins with a simple search on Google or other search engines. They will read up on possible solutions through articles and blog posts or view videos on the subject. Through this research, they will learn what products can help solve their problem. They will read up on the different products offered by different brands. The buyer will look into those brands to determine how reputable they are based on a variety of factors. They may contact that brand directly, download a free offer, or sign up to an email list through the course of their research.

The Buyers Journey Explained Stage By Stage

At this point, you would begin building a relationship with them by nurturing them through the sales funnel. At the end of the sales funnel, once they’ve reached the end of the buyer’s journey, they will make their decision and choose a product to buy. This process is split into three main stages:

  • Awareness stage – During this stage, the buyer realizes that they have a problem. They will begin doing research to figure out exactly what their problem is and what the cause of their problem is.
  • Consideration stage – At this point, the buyer has defined their problem and its cause and are doing research into the possible solutions to their problem.
  • Decision stage – The buyer now knows what the solution to their problem is and are comparing products or services as well as different companies to identify the best solution.

The Importance of the Buyer’s Journey

The buyer’s journey may seem long, but the fact is, you’re meeting them halfway through it. The idea of inbound marketing is that you make available a wealth of valuable information (through different forms of content) allowing the consumer to do the majority of their initial research on their own.

However, this means that it’s extremely important that you understand every stage of the buyer’s journey. This is because you’ll want to make sure that you have content available that will be helpful and informative to the consumer no matter what stage of the buyer’s journey they’re in or what channel they’re on. You will also need to be able to identify the stage of the buyer’s journey a consumer happens to be in so that you know when to engage with them.

The buyer’s journey consists of numerous stages that make up the research and decision-making process of a consumer. It is the process that the entire strategy of inbound marketing revolves around, which is why it’s so important that you understand what it is and why it’s important.

17 SEO MYTHS YOU SHOULD LEAVE BEHIND