December 11 2018 // Strategy

The Buyers Journey

And why it matters.

The way people buy has changed. Why?

The explosion of information caused by the internet has changed the way people buy goods and services. Instead of seeking out a salesperson for information, buyers are doing their own research and not contacting you until much later in the process. Research shows that buyers typically are 60% down the path to purchase before engaging with a brand. What’s wrong with that? The problem is at that point they have made their own decisions and are simply looking for the lowest price.

 

What is the Buyers Journey?

Hubspot defines the buyer’s journey as “the process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service.”

 

What are the stages of the Buyers Journey?

Think about the process that you follow when you purchase something. First, you become aware of a need - let's say a pair of jeans. This can be triggered any number of ways, maybe you just noticed this morning yours are starting to look a little rough. This is the Awareness Stage.

Instead of visiting a store and talking to a salesperson you go online and begin to educate yourself about the different options that you have in jeans. You start with an educational search. What are the current styles? What are the best materials? What brands are cool? This educational process is known as the Consideration Stage.

Once you have a pretty good idea of what you want, you shift to the second type of search (called transactional search) that is focused on finding out the best place to buy those jeans. Who has the best price? Does anyone have free shipping? What about the return policy? You are in the Decision Stage.

 

At this point, you have gone 60% down the path to purchase without talking directly with a sales person. That means for nearly two-thirds of the buying process the customers have been creating requirements lists, finding technical specifications and narrowing down choices without any influence from you.

 

I’m in B2B, does this matter for me?

Actually, 70% of the B2B sales process is done online.

 

So what can we do about this?

The goal then, is to interact and guide the buyer earlier in the purchase process so that we can help them make the best decision and we can present our value proposition earlier before they have made a decision and are simply looking for the best price.

 

How do we do that?

By providing useful information to the potential buyer that is appropriate to each stage of the journey.

In the educational search phase, provide information that helps educate them on the category. As they change to the transactional search provide information on how your particular solution is the best solution for them.

At some point in the process, you will need to find out who the potential buyer is so that you can help answer any questions or objections. You do this by providing information that is valuable enough for the buyer to give you their email address or phone number. That way you can connect them to sales to start a one-on-one dialogue.

 

Now you can begin to understand the value of the digital marketing tools. Your website is the most basic component. It really serves as a holder for the information that the buyer will need at the different phases of their search. Everything else is built or interacts with that foundation.

And as B2B buyers become increasingly mobile, having a mobile-optimized website becomes increasingly important.

 

How can I find out more?

There are a lot of moving parts to how a B2B company can influence the Buyers Journey. We are here to help so if you would like more information please feel free to contact us at ideas@appliedart.com.

 

Here is a quick summary of the tools that you can use to interact with your potential customers earlier in the buying process.

  • Website - the most basic element to hold information. 
  • Website content - different types depending upon where in the journey the buyer is.
  • Search Engine Optimization - helps people discover your content, it takes time to build.
  • Paid Search Ads - useful to appear immediately in search while building organic rankings.
  • Lead Generation - providing valuable content in return for contact information.
  • Traditional Advertising - useful to help create awareness of need.
  • Social Media - at some point the buyer may turn to other peoples opinions or experiences for help.

 

 

 

Written By

George Christ

Published In

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