Marketing at the Six stages of the Buyer’s Process
In online marketing, we tend to focus all or the most part of our attention as marketers on getting our audience to buy our products or services. This method is quite complicated because buying involves a series of psychological processes that a client goes through before they decide to make a purchase. You must know that a customer buying your brand product or service wasn’t something based on some random decisions. Before a person makes the decision to buy, a process occurs and it occurs in stages. Knowing the right marketing approach for each stage would go a long way to boost your sales.
Problem Recognition: Problem recognition is the beginning stage of the consumer buying process. A potential customer will identify with a problem once they perceive that they desire to be better. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t appear to you as a problem or not, it offers a possibility for brands to show how their products or services can provide solutions to the problem.
A target consumer may not even know there is a problem to be fixed and therefore has no need to begin the buying process. It is for you as a marketer to open their eyes to the possibility of a better state. Ask questions that will pull the target consumer into the buying process. E.g. do you know that you are losing customers if your business is not online?
This kind of approach generates interest among clients to discover problems they might have and seek the solutions which you provide.
Research: Now that a target consumer has identified their problem, they’re ready to look for approaches to the way to clear up it. They start to look for more data. This is an opportunity for brands to expose that they are industry leaders and their product/service is the solution. Create credibility and trust by showing you can actually provide solutions to the identified problem. Serve your target consumer with content that says “Yes…you can be better and we know how to make it happen”. Testimonials and case studies reveal your experience and customer’s delight and make a lasting impact in a target consumers thoughts.
Because your target consumer is looking for solutions to the identified problem, make sure whatever content you put out to guide their thoughts can easily be found online. Optimize all your content for SEO.
Evaluation of Alternatives: Consumers don’t just buy the first product they find. They go through a very intense research process. The internet has made it easier for customers to do intense research and they no longer need to make a purchase until it’s been properly thought out. They’re also going to look at what your competitions have to offer and compare their findings.
Use this stage as an opportunity to keep your target consumer on your website by displaying your competition costs alongside yours, even though the competition is less expensive, this now not only simplifies the process, it establishes a trusting buyer courting, especially all through the evaluation of alternatives stage. This approach says “yes! I can provide you with a solution but I respect your decision of choice”.
Decision Making: At this stage, the consumer has explored more than one option, they recognize differences in pricing and payment options and they’re figuring out whether to continue with the decision to buy or not. Even after intense research and a contrast of various services and brands, the consumer can still decide not to buy and walk away. It’s then that the marketer can remind potential clients of why they desired to make the research the first time, reaffirm their product/service’s potential to provide solution to the identified problem in stage 1.
You know the “let me consider it and I can get back to you”…we all hear that a lot and tend to feel bad when we do. Rather than accepting that you have lost a potential customer, as a marketer, you can create an opportunity to apply follow up emails or telephone calls to remind clients how their purchase can be of advantage to them.
Know that the fact that your target consumer showed a level of interest in your product/service makes them a lead and with email marketing, you can guide them through the decision stage of the buying process.
Purchase: Now the consumer is determined to buy. The conversion is complete. Or is it?
Again, the customer can nevertheless have an out. This is probably one of the most important factors in the marketing approach. A customer may actually want to buy your product/service but end up buying nothing at all.
Begin ensuring that the customer experience through the process of making a purchase is a positive one. Is it complicated? Are there too many steps? Is the website slow? Can a purchase be carried out on a cell device as on a PC? These are all critical questions that if the answers are not advantageous, can destroy the deal.
Post Purchase Evaluation: Congratulations! The purchase has been made and absolutely everyone is happy yeah?
The buying process then ends with a post purchase evaluation. The consumer will then decide in the event that they really enjoy your product/services or not, if they’d be willing to patronize you again. Conduct surveys to get feedback from your consumers to know if they are happy with your product/services.If your customers are not particularly happy, do not take this as a failure. Your unhappy customers are your best source of learning.
Use this as a chance to discover ways to improve on your brand service delivery/product. Inquiring for critiques and sending follow up emails or special promotions are ways to create a high-quality courting by continuing to set up your brand’s trust and growing the likelihood of a returning customer.
These six (6) steps are geared to help entrepreneurs and brands better understand the entire system behind a buy. Understanding these steps and implementing them can improve brand-customer relationship and result in lasting happy customers.
Originally published at www.theideapress.com on March 16, 2017.