From Prospect to Purchaser
Behind every purchase is the buyer’s story. What was it that compelled him to buy what he did? Was it an ad? A blog post? Or was the product in the right place at the right time?
Whatever the answer, the driving force behind every purchase is the Buyer’s Journey—the process that turns a prospect into a purchaser.
The Buyer’s Journey defines the steps a prospect takes, from discovering a problem they have, researching solutions for that problem, and eventually purchasing a product to solve that problem.
How To Make Understanding the Buyer's Journey Work For You
Knowing where your prospects are in their Buyer’s Journey can help you target them with appropriate content that will move them along. This understanding will let you know when your prospects are ready to buy.
At each of the stages, you can create content that nudges your prospect further along on the Buyer’s Journey.
If you ask someone to buy from you too soon, you might lose them forever. Knowing when it’s time to transition from attracting leads and trust-building to sales is crucial and making an offer at the wrong moment can lose you customers.
We at DigitalMX see businesses make the same error repeatedly: they fail to understand the various stages of their potential buyers’ awareness. They create content that fizzles because it attempted to sell a prospect before they were ready to buy.
The Buyer's Journey is a Four-Step Process
The four stages of the journey from prospect to purchaser are as follows:
- Unaware. Prospect has never heard of you or your business. He does not know he has a problem you can solve.
- Aware. Prospect realizes he has a problem.
- Consideration. Prospect defines his problem and researches options to solve it.
- Decision: Prospect chooses a solution and moves from Prospect to Purchaser
Unaware buyers have no need or desire for your products and/services. If someone doesn’t need what you are selling, it is difficult to convince them that they do. They are not even thinking about your product, or the problem that your product is trying to solve.
They are probably satisfied with the products they’re using and have no intention to change. Their mindset is: “This is the way I’ve always done things and I’m not changing.”
Is it impossible to sell to Unaware prospects? Of course not. But you do have your work cut out for you.
To try to reach Unawares, you can tell them about a problem that most everyone has. Talk about people “like” them. “[INSERT CATEGORY OF PEOPLE HERE] are rushing to get in on the latest trend!”
When you talk about people as a group, you plant a seed in your prospect: “if everyone like me is doing this, maybe I should do it, too.”
And your prospect is now aware of a problem they didn’t know they had before reading your message.
In the Awareness stage, the potential buyer is aware of their frustration but doesn’t yet know precisely what’s causing it. This is when they search online for the symptoms of their problem, looking for any information they can find. They are entering search terms in Google to try to understand more about what it is they are looking for.
People in the Awareness stage are not ready to be sold to, but they will be highly receptive to any source that helps them name and define their problem. This is the time to introduce people to your brand by providing information that helps them understand the issue they are facing.
Blog posts that describe a problem and provide a number of solutions are most likely to get noticed by people in the Awareness stage.
Emphasizing the importance of the reader’s problem is a form of empathy that everyone reacts to. It’s also a powerfully persuasive way to nudge your prospect on to the next stage in their journey, which is consideration. Emphasize the importance of the problem you solve—and how much better life would be after using the solution you provide.
This is where your pays off: if you can answer questions from your prospects, your content is in a great position to help them at this Awareness stage.
What Happens If the Awareness Stage is Skipped?
When the Awareness stage of the Buyer’s Journey is not developed, you’re essentially using cold calling tactics on your prospects. And if you’ve ever had to deal with a telemarketer, you know this approach has limited (if any) results.
Cold calling turns people off because it asks the prospect to consider your product with no context. This is like expecting a bumper crop when you never planted the seeds.
When you work at building awareness with your prospects, you are nurturing potential leads. Working on campaigns that address where they are in their journey will ensure a much smoother trip to the intended destination—the sale.
Your prospect is now aware they have a problem and that solutions exist to help them solve this problem. They have moved out of the Awareness stage into the Consideration stage.
In this stage, your prospect will evaluate the different products available to them. Content for the Consideration stage should explain and demonstrate how your product or service will effectively solve the specific problem the prospect identified in the Awareness stage. Because of your content, your company is on their radar as a solution to their problem.
Some examples of content suitable for the Consideration stage can include
- Product comparison guides
- Expert guides – How to’s, etc.
- Product demo videos
- General FAQs
- Product brochures
- White papers and eBooks
- Explainer videos
You are still delivering informative, educational content – not sales -- to help your prospect make the best possible decision. You want to be recognized as a trusted resource, not as a pushy, overwhelming, hard-hitting salesman.
The prospect is aware that they have a problem, that there are solutions available for them out there, and that your business is a potential solution for their problem. These prospects have seen your products through press releases, trade magazines, the internet, or referrals from others. But they are still comparing you against other products.
Content in the Decision phase should provide proof of the results your prospect can expect after purchasing from you and persuade them that your solution is the best choice among any other.
Now it’s time to help them make their decision. Tell them why you are the best. A prospect in the Decision stage may spend significant time researching documentation, data, reviews, and other materials to make them feel confident about their decision.
It’s time to sell. It’s time to talk about benefits and features. It’s time to convince your prospect that your product is the best fit for their needs. They need to hear your offer.
The biggest mistake people make for their prospects at this stage is saying too much. Make a great offer, include a guarantee to reduce risk, then get out of the way and let people buy.
After the Sale | Testimonies
If everything goes according to plan, and your buyers are happy with where they ended up at the end of their journey, they can become a valuable resource. Satisfied and happy customers, who can speak positively about your product and the experience they’ve had with your company, are a powerful resource — and one that companies should work hard to cultivate.
Testimonies are one of the only forms of marketing that comes from the customer, not the company, and they can be very persuasive. That’s why happy, satisfied, and informed customers are a great marketing investment.
Your content isn’t for prospects only. A for your existing customers with helpful content on the more advanced features of your product and tips for using your product more effectively and efficiently or with info about other products you offer they might like. Help them to see more value from your product, so they’re more likely to remain your customer when renewal or replacement time comes around.
Conclusion: How is this Useful?
How can having an understanding of these four stages of awareness help you grow your business? By helping you sell better. Take the marketing tactics you’re already using and make them more effective by targeting your prospects at the appropriate stages of their Buyer’s Journey.
When you hear about “knowing your audience” or “tailoring your marketing to the buyer’s journey,” this is what it means. When you understand these principles, you will know exactly what to say.
Sources for Further Reading: