What is a Buyer's Journey, and Why is it So Important?
- By Danielle Best
- Sep 26, 2016, 1:00 PM GMT
The buyer’s journey. What is it exactly and why is it so important for businesses to map and critically look at these journeys when structuring the framework of their marketing strategy?
Over the past few weeks, our Project Managers here at ClearPivot have taken a deep dive into buyer’s journey mapping for each of our respective clients.Taking a critical look at how their prospects move through the sales funnel became so glaringly crucial from these weeks of study, that we thought it was time to share with you what it is about mapping the buyer’s journey for your business that is so important.
What is a Buyer’s Journey?
A buyer’s journey is essentially the active research pathway or steps a potential customer takes towards your desired final outcome — ie: a sale or perhaps a booked appointment or reservation. A typical buyer’s journey follows a three-step pathway through awareness, to consideration, and finally to decision.
The awareness stage is the fundamental first step in a buyer’s journey. Many buyers at this stage in the process are more than likely unaware of your company and unaware that they even have a need that could be fulfilled by your company. What they do realize is that they are beginning to feel the effects of a problem or they are becoming more aware of an issue that they would like to resolve.
Once that problem comes to light, the awareness stage becomes one of initial research for the buyer. This might include broad and surface-level Internet searches and peer questioning to help them gain a more clear understanding of their problem, or perhaps to define it more.
Once the buyer has defined their problem, they have moved from the awareness stage to the consideration stage. During the consideration phase, the buyer begins to shift their research from high-level understanding to a more deeper look into available solutions.
During the consideration phase, the buyer begins to narrow down possible solutions to their now defined problem or question. It is at this time that 70% of buyers return to Google at least 2-3 times to deepen their research by looking at specific offerings that match their search inquiry and narrow down the list of companies who offer them.
Once at the decision stage, a buyer has conducted thorough enough research, evaluating all possible solutions for their problem, and are now ready to select a company or vendor to remedy their problem.
While you may find yourself as the top candidate for their selection, the purchase, reservation, or appointment isn’t necessarily yours yet. This is the stage where your interaction with them, your offerings, and your proof of leadership in the industry will help them make that final decision.
So Why is a Buyer’s Journey Important?
Now that you know a little more about the three stages of the buyer’s journey, why exactly is this buyer’s journey important?
By 2020, the not-so-distant future, it is predicted that over 80% of the buying process will happen without any human interaction even taking place. Our Principal Chris even observed this in his own personal buying behavior when he bought a pair of shoes online. That means that the content you put out there at each stage is absolutely essential to making sure that the buyer ends their decision stage with you. Therefore, it is important to accurately and actively understand and leverage your particular buyer’s journey so that by the time the buyer hits the human interaction part of their journey, it is easier for you to close a sale or deal. Without doing this, you may be losing customers before you even knew their potential.
So how do you meet the buyer during the first 80% of their journey when you can not actively engage with them?
By understanding what questions they have in each stage and meeting them where they are finding the information and answers for their questions. Valuable content strategically geared towards their journey will move you closer and closer towards the decision stage and increases the likelihood of them ending their journey with you.
Why You Need to Map Your Buyer’s Journey
There are many companies out there who know what a buyer’s journey is and believe they have a good handle on their particular buyer’s journey, but do not have it mapped out. The problem with this that we noticed in our research here at ClearPivot, is that it is hard to make sure that you have viable content at each stage when the questions they are asking and the resources they are using at each stage are not captured by you. We noticed that oftentimes our clients had content overload in one stage, like the awareness stage for instance, but another stage was severely lacking in content that would match their buyer’s research.
What You Can Do to Meet Your Buyer at Every Stage
So, how do you meet your buyer where they are in each stage? Here are a few content type ideas to work with that can help you from initial awareness, all the way to final decision.
Awareness Stage Meets “ToFu” Content
During the awareness stage, your buyer is asking questions to help them better define
their problem and get closer to ways that problem can be remedied. Here are some great content types for this top of the funnel (ToFu) stage.
- Blog Articles
- Industry Reports
- Introduction Videos
Consideration Stage Meets “MoFu” Content
After sifting through ToFu content in the awareness stage, the buyer will have a better understanding of their challenge as well as the opportunities available to solve it. The consideration stage includes middle of the funnel (MoFu) content that will help them review the different solutions available.
- Successful case studies
- More educational/technical blog articles
- Comparison Whitepapers or eBooks
- Product Feature Videos
Decision Stage Meets “BoFu” Content
Getting closer to the decision moment, the buyer now has consumed several ToFu and MoFu content pieces that has helped them hone in on their problem and the particular solution they would like to pursue. The decision stage introduces bottom of the funnel (BoFu) content that will get the buyer more comfortable with your company or organization as the one who will deliver this solution. Here are a few content types that can help achieve this.
- Case Studies, or Testimonials
- Comparison Whitepapers or eBooks
- Live demonstrations or consultations
- Product promotions or free product trials
- “About” or “Our Story” website pages and social media content
This brings the buyer to the end of their journey, where they have not only done enough research on their problem and the desired solution, but they have also hopefully grown to trust your particular solution as the one for their final buying decision. When they reach their purchase/decision-making point, if your company has tactfully and empathetically engaged with them along the process, they will probably choose to purchase from you!
An Example Buyer’s Journey Walkthrough
Are you ready to map our your buyer’s journey? We want to help you make this a priority for your company, but also a priority that is easy to understand and do. That is why you can download our free buyer’s journey template, right now! Just click the button below to access it now.