The Buyer’s Journey: What It Is & Why It’s Important

Powerful Digital Solutions Buyer's Journey

I recently finished reading a Kindle book titled The Sales Funnel Book v2.0 by Nathan Williams. In addition to talking about how to effectively set up different sales funnels (consultation funnels, webinar funnels, etc.), he also talks about the buyer’s journey. Williams also refers to the buyer’s journey (or customer journey) as a “macro sales funnel”.

If you look at resources from Ryan Deiss (CEO of Digital Marketer) and/or other online marketing gurus, you’ll notice they tend to have their own way of explaining this buyer’s journey.

What exactly is the buyer’s journey? In a nutshell, it is the journey that a person goes on from being aware of your product/service to actually purchasing your product/service and then spreading the good word about you.

According to Williams, these are the 6 phases a customer will usually journey through:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Evaluation
  4. Decision
  5. Retention
  6. Advocacy

“Why do I even need to know about this?” you might be wondering.

Let me ask you this: when you’re at a bar/club and see an attractive person at a distance, would you walk up to them and propose marriage? Or let’s suppose you take time to build rapport, get the digits, and then set up a first date. Would you ask them to marry you before the first date end?

I myself have made this mistake in my business life: trying to get prospects to commit to investing in my service before building sufficient rapport. I have learned that people will not always buy on the first interaction.

When someone first learns about your product/service, although there will be some people who are ready to buy, other people need more time. Some people will need more time to “warm up” to you.

How exactly do we get prospects to “warm up” to what we have to offer? By taking them through the 6 phases mentioned above.

Awareness

This involves making sure others know you exist. This could include content marketing (such as writing blog posts to get picked up in the search engines), posting on social media, running Facebook ads, going to networking events (online or offline), press releases, and anything else to help get the word out about you and your business. At this stage, your main focus should be providing value and building rapport.

Interest

You at least got someone’s attention. They may have come across one of your blog posts, seen one of your ads, etc. If they are interested in your content and/or in the market for what you have to offer, then they will engage with your content somehow. This could include clicking on one of your ads, consuming your content, leaving a comment, and/or joining your email list.

At this point, you’ve already gotten your foot in the door so to speak. Now your main focus should be continuing to build rapport and develop that like, know, and trust factor.

Evaluation

The prospect feels a level of trust and rapport with you, and now they are considering their options. They know they need what you’re offering, but they want to make sure you are the right business provider for them.

At this point, you want to continue to deepen that trust and rapport. You don’t want to rush or pressure anyone. This could include sharing case studies, positive customer reviews, using retargeting ads, offering a free demo, a free trial, etc.

Decision

Congratulations! The prospect has now become a paying customer. After taking the time to answer any questions, overcome any objections, and overall develop that like, know, & trust factor, you have earned their business.

As a general best practice, it’s always really good to under promise and over deliver.

Retention

You earned their business. That doesn’t mean you’re finished. This is not the end. After all, getting a paying customer can be as difficult as keeping a paying customer.

At this point, you could follow up after the sale to make sure everything is good, offer customer-only specials (something that would only be available to current customers), tips to help them better use their product/service, do something special for their birthday, and almost anything else to make them feel special.

After all, they could have gone with anyone else, but they chose you.

Advocacy

They have been a happy customer for quite some time now. Why not offer an incentive to encourage them to tell their friends/family about you? Word of mouth marketing is one of the best tools any entrepreneur can have.

You could offer a referral program (feel free to view mine as an example) of some sort. You could also encourage them to do a written/video review of you and your product/service.

Conclusion

Overall it can be a process converting first time visitors and prospects into paying customers. Sometimes within one interaction you’ll have someone ready to invest in what you’re offering. But realistically, it will take most of your prospects time to move from Awareness to Advocacy.

Also keep in mind that as the digital world continues to evolve, consumer behavior tends to evolve with it. For more details about this, read Digital Branding and Brand Engagement – Digital Customer Behaviour by Online Marketing Solutions.

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