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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.

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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.

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What’s Trending in Marketing for June 2018

Staying up-to-date on marketing trends is a great way to reflect and verify whether your marketing efforts are in tune with what’s going on in today’s marketplace. We’re aware that keeping up with these trends can often be difficult given the abundance of information thrown at us every day.

The following articles come from popular marketing blogs and highlight current marketing trends that we think are worth paying attention to:

Noteworthy Marketing News and Trends

Instagram’s New Native Payment Feature For Users

According to an article by Josh Constine on TechCrunch, Instagram’s new native payment feature will allow individuals to buy services or book appointments without having to leave the application. Users can now register their credit or debit card as part of their profile and will not be forced to go to a separate website or re-enter their payment information when purchasing a service. For businesses, this exciting feature will lead to higher conversion rates, as people will feel less inclined to quit in the middle of the checkout process and will make Instagram an even more powerful player in commerce. The potential of this feature has also enticed businesses to want to increase spending on advertising their services on Instagram.

Read our article to learn tips on how to use Instagram for your business.

Facebook’s Expansion of Reporting Options For Advertisers

Facebook’s Ads Reporting platform will be updated over June and the new changes will allow advertisers to customize their reports to their liking according to a recent write up on Marketing Land. The platform will also make things a lot easier for advertisers as it will include a side panel so they can edit ads on the same screen as the campaign page without having to switch back and forth between tables. Along with the updated platform, a new “creative reporting” metric will also be introduced and will provide users with useful information on which of the implemented creative ad elements are performing best.

Improving Your Marketing Program

Improve Your Marketing Strategy By Asking These 4 Questions

What separates a successful business from the rest? For Dan Gartlan, it’s the constant improvement and updating of marketing strategy. Updating your business’s strategy will demonstrate to consumers and competitors that you are in tune with the changes in your competitor’s messaging, methods of communication, consumer concerns, and the overall marketplace. In this article, Gartlan challenges you to reevaluate aspects of your business in relation to your marketing strategy by asking four key questions.

6 Email Marketing Tips

Email marketing continues to be a popular form of marketing and given the abundance of emails people receive daily, it’s important to make sure that your email looks good and stands out. Our own Nicole Wagner published a blog posts that offers tips on how to make the best out of your email marketing.

Recent Marketing Reports, Updates, and Trends

Amazon, Homebuilders Unveil Smart Home ‘Amazon Experience Center’ in California

A new partnership between Amazon and Lennar, one of the largest homebuilders in the U.S., plans to shake things up with their efforts to create pre-wired, voice-activated smart homes that will change the future for homebuyers. A recent article on Security Info Watch explores how Lennar plans to integrate Amazon’s Alexa voice-assistant program into the design of the future homes they are going to construct. They have already constructed several models of these smart homes across the nation so people can experience what it would be like to live in one. Amazon and Lennar are convinced that this partnership and new creation will allow people to have greater control over their lives and could potentially make doing chores a thing of the past.

Influencer Marketing for B2B Brands in 2018

While you might believe that influencer marketing is solely for B2C brands, Michael Brito asks you to think again. Influencer marketing has proven to be efficient in increasing ROI and reaching audiences. According to Brito, the principles of influencer marketing can be also be applied to B2B markets and the implementation of it for these brands can be explained using the 1:9:90 model of influence, which has been used in the past to find, segment, and activate groups of people. By applying this model and understanding the differences between each group, you can then determine the best way to engage with influencers and encourage them to talk about your company.

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