Understanding the Buyer's Journey
Before we talk about using digital tactics to address the buyer’s journey, we need to describe what the buyer’s journey is. This piece by Jan Beery addresses it quite well.
- I think I have a problem.
- I need to identify what my problem is.
- How do I solve this problem?
- Who should I contact to help me solve this problem?
- Why should I work with this company/organization?
- Why should I do this now?
Let’s say that Dr. Bones is an orthopedic surgeon discussing with his/her spouse how to afford sending their four kids to college without hurting their lifestyle.
- I think I have a problem. We have four kids heading to college in the next eight years.
- I need to identify what my problem is. I need to generate more income, but I am seeing too many patients as it is.
- How do I solve this problem? Maybe I will do an online search - “How to increase cash flow for an orthopedic practice?”
- Who should I contact to help me solve this problem? This article looks interesting - “Five Ways to Grow Your Orthopedic Practice Bottom Line Without Increasing Your Workload”.
- Why should I work with this company/organization? These guys seem to know what they are talking about and are providing some great information; not just trying to sell something.
- Why should I do this now? They have a very compelling Call-to-Action which will only require providing some contact information, and - if it works - I could really benefit. I think I will contact them.
Of course, this is a very contracted example of the buyer’s journey, but it is representative, overall. In order to effectively engage the prospective buyer on their journey, the seller needs to utilize ...
The Sales Funnel
The sales funnel is pictured as being broad at the top and narrowing down to the bottom. The idea being that the seller is trying to cast a broad net at the top of the funnel (TOF) to create awareness and, possibly, interest. The content material here is often quite general, focusing on being informational and instructional, not at all “salesy”. At this point, the seller is saying, “We feel your pain. We are familiar with your situation and you can trust us to help provide an effective solution.”
The middle of the funnel (MOF) addresses the prospective buyer while they are in the research and consideration stage. The content materials here are more specific to a particular need or pain point. They may include comparisons and infographics as well as the social media, email and blog campaigns.
The bottom of the funnel (BOF) encourages the buyer to make a decision, or take an action; to not only become a customer, but a champion of the product and the brand; to not only request a free sample but also to subscribe to the seller’s newsletter or blog series.
Particular digital tools and tactics may be best suited for different parts of the buyer’s journey and are more appropriate to different parts of the sales funnel as indicated below:
- Website (TOF, MOF, BOF) - A must have. There is no inbound digital strategy without it.
- Persona development (TOF, MOF, BOF) - You have to know who your target audience is in order to identify with them and their issues.
- Blog content (TOF, MOF, BOF) - The blog is your primary message board and needs to have titles that will come up on searches; It needs to have effective search terms to get clicked on for good search engine optimization (SEO) and helps to position your company as an expert solution provider. Publishing consistent blog content with effective search terms is an excellent long-term strategy for good SEO.
- Paid Search/Pay Per Click (TOF, MOF, BOF) - A good short-term strategy to immediately get your marketing message at the top of the search page so it gets noticed until you can develop a content mass that makes your brand stand out in organic search results.
- Customer Relation Management (CRM) tool (TOF, MOF, BOF) - This is essential in order to identify, connect with, and relate to, your potential customer; especially at the middle and bottom of the sales funnel. Connecting a CRM to your marketing activities can even show how a new customer came to you, whether by paid or organic search and help support future marketing investments.
- Social Media (SM) campaign (TOF, MOF, BOF) - Your brand and/or product name has to be on various social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus and maybe even Pinterest. Social channels are like having another website for your company, to give your brand another avenue to reach prospects and customers.
- Landing Pages (LPs), Calls-to-Action (CTAs), multi-media content, infographics, email campaigns and newsletters (MOF and BOF) - These are more for the consideration, decision and customer loyalty stages of the buyer’s journey.
For more information on how KBK Communications can help you to meet a prospective customer on their buyer’s journey and take them from researcher to customer to brand advocate, contact us here. We would be happy to help.