The Customer Journey: Consideration

In this second part of our Customer Journey series, we’re focusing on the consideration stage.

Once people are aware of your brand — once you’ve landed a spot on their hard-earned radar— it might take time to convert them into a genuine lead, or it might be instantaneous. It all depends on when a buyer identifies their pain point, and when they establish your brand as one of the potential solutions. It also depends on whether or not you keep people continually engaged during this process.

As we’ve mentioned, Conversational Marketing is the best way to keep people engaged throughout their journey with you. It’s also the best way to shorten your funnel and make it more seamless; with Conversational Marketing, two stages of the funnel are often collapsed into one. In the consideration stage, that can mean a unified transition from awareness to consideration. Instead of a long, drawn-out process involving cookies, retargeting, sending emails, realizing those emails went to junk, scratching your head, and sending more ads out into the ether, you can simply chat with someone. A conversation enables you to immediately figure out who a person is and what they’re looking for.

But once people do become legitimate leads, how do you convince them your brand is the absolute best solution to their problem?

If you’re interacting with a potential customer online, the traditional methods of persuading them are limited, to say the least. Websites are clunky, labyrinthine, and difficult to navigate. And even the best e-commerce sites often won’t tell people what they want to know without some serious detective work. Shipping prices, discounts, return policies, and delivery times can be difficult to communicate without overwhelming visitors to your site. And when you’re not talking with someone 1:1 or getting feedback from them, it can be tough to figure out the best time to relay what information. How can you know where someone is in their consideration process without asking them?

Relaying this information at the right time, however, can be critical to converting leads. 27% of customers — the highest category surveyed — identified price or promotions as the factor most likely to influence their purchasing decision. That means if they don’t get an answer from you when they need, it, they’ll buy from whichever competitor delivers that information first.

And even when you know exactly what product pages a person has visited, the options for sending them targeted follow-up content are insufficient. Retargeting, as we discussed in the awareness stage, yields low conversion and is tough to measure. And email is equally frustrating: it’s most often headed straight to junk mail, and even when it isn’t, click-through rates are abysmal. Furthermore, people can’t respond to email: they can’t ask you questions, or learn what they actually want to know, as opposed to what you choose to tell them.

This is why Conversational Marketing is the most effective way to communicate with your customers during the consideration stage. When people are researching and assessing, it isn’t enough to talk at them. You need to be involving them in a two-way conversation where they can ask you questions, and where you can send them personalized information directly. Most of the questions potential customers have are common and can be answered by your AI, and your bot can point the more complex questions towards a customer service rep.

Most importantly, a chatbot helps you understand exactly where someone is in their consideration process, because you’re talking to that person firsthand. That way, you can send the most relevant content at the optimal times, without requiring a pre-planned journey on a website or trailing people around the Internet, hoping they’ll notice your retargeting ad.

Say you’re a furniture store. A potential customer has opted into your chat, and you’ve identified that they’ve glanced at a few of your dining room tables more than once. Your bot can ask them if they’d like to learn more about a certain table, or if they’d like to know the full price including shipping, or if they’d like to speak to a sales rep. You can offer them a promotion on tables, or free shipping, or you could let them know when an out-of-stock item will be restocked. There’s no limit to the amount of individualized help you can offer when you know what your customer is looking for.

Best of all, when that customer is ready to buy, the transition from consideration to purchase becomes as easy as a click out of a chat window. Thus, you remove the friction to buy entirely: a customer doesn’t need to go back to your website, find the table, and type in the promo code. One click and it’s all there for them.

Stay tuned for our third part in the Customer Journey series: purchase!