We see the “buying cycle” all the time, along with a “marketing funnel” to help us match our efforts to consumers’ needs. The problem is buying doesn’t really work in a cycle, does it? In reality, the buyer’s journey kind of skips along a straight line. To understand what I mean, think about the buying cycle.
First, there’s the awareness phase, where buyers become aware of their need for your product. This is not to be confused with the moment a consumer becomes aware of your product or brand—this is the need for your product. Then comes research and comparison, and then finally the purchase. The final phase of the cycle is retention.
The many visuals of a buying cycle would lead you to believe the next step is awareness, but that’s not right is it? Why would you start again at the beginning with someone who has already made a purchase? In most cases, they will be aware of your product line—as well as their need for anything and everything in your inventory—from their first round of research and comparison.
A New Buyer’s Journey
Have you ever run into someone you’ve talked to several times, only to have them stick a hand out and introduce themselves? It’s kind of insulting, isn’t it? If you keep your buyers in a buying cycle where they go through the “hello, how are you” phase again and again, they won’t feel very special.
The new buyer’s journey starts with the awareness stage, flows through the consideration stage, and then on to the purchase. Customers who plan to stick around a bit will usually slip back into the journey at the consideration stage, while others will remain firmly in the purchase phase. If you’ve impressed them, that is, they’ll stay in the purchase phase.
Choosing the Right Content
In order to maintain that personal touch with your buyers, you need to make sure you’re providing the right content. Keep in mind that some of the content you provide for one stage might be the perfect type for another stage, depending on what buyers may need from that content. Not sure what that means? That’s okay. We can break it down a little bit.
Blogs, ebooks, white papers, guides, tip sheets, checklists, and videos are perfect for introducing buyers to your products, services, and brand. You want the information to answer specific questions that most of your buyers have while also addressing their pain points. How can you solve their problems? This is the focus of your content in this phase.
Don’t assume that you can’t use the same types of content during this stage of the buyer’s journey. Your blogs can dig a little deeper, right? White papers and ebooks might answer some of the questions buyers don’t yet know they have. Your intentions during this phase are to continue building the relationship, show your expertise, and give a little taste of how buyers’ lives will be different if they make a purchase.
Meatier blogs and ebooks are great, but you can also add webinars, free samples, catalogs, and case studies to the content in this phase, too.
Congratulations! Your prospects are just about ready to buy. The content you share should be specially crafted to tip them over the edge. A blog or ebook isn’t likely to do that here, but more samples might just do it. Add on a consultation, a discount, or even a personal demonstration, and you could make the sale.
Now, after you’ve been through all of this with your new customer, would you dare act as though you’ve never met? Of course not! That’s why understanding where they are in the buyer’s journey at all times is so important. You keep providing content that keeps them coming back for more.
If you’re struggling to create content that reaches these buyers exactly where they are, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re experts, and we like sharing.
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