Do you remember the last time you made a new purchase? You probably started by doing some research online before even stepping foot in a store, or adding the item to your shopping cart. You went through “the buyer’s journey,” and it’s an important process that we marketers want to help our potential customers through.
The buyer’s journey is the active process of research that a buyer goes through before purchasing. Every buyer progresses through the stages of the buyer’s journey, no matter what they are purchasing. Marketing teams should know these stages well, and that’s especially true for those creating content to attract customers.
Know the Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
Awareness – The Top of the Funnel
At the first stage in the journey, the buyer has yet to define their problem, but they may notice the things they want to change. They are focusing on a complaint of something being not quite right. Let’s say you’re a real estate agent, and your customers are home buyers. What would someone experience in the early phases of the home-buying journey? They may not even know they’re in the market for a house. Instead, they may feel the pain of rising rent costs, little privacy, or feeling cramped in their current place. At the end of the awareness phase, they will decide that the pains they feel are related to renting.
At this point, a good marketing team should produce content that asks the question of their potential customers, “What can I help you with?” This content could be blogs or short videos that give helpful information on the many things that someone in the awareness phase may need like, “10 Reasons Why Buying a Home Will Save Your Sanity” or “Feeling Cramped in Your Apartment? Here are 5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Space.” Also consider white papers, eBooks, or check lists.
Consideration – The Middle of the Funnel
Buyers in the consideration stage of their journey have discovered their problem and are researching options for the solution. To continue our homebuyers example, they know that they are unhappy with their rental situation. Their solutions could be: continue the status quo, rent a bigger place, or buy a house. By the end of the consideration phase, they will have decided which path they will take.
This is the point in which content should ask the buyer, “How can I make this easy for you?” Offering webinars and in-depth articles or information will show the buyer that this brand understands their problem and has the tools to help. For potential homeowners, it could be a checklist of everything you need to be prepared to buy a home. Also consider samples, case studies, or data sheets.
Decision – The Bottom of the Funnel
In the final stage of the buyer’s journey, the buyer has done the research, decided they want a home, and now must decide which home they want to purchase. As a real estate agent, you know how overwhelming the hunting and buying process can be, so this is the perfect time to make yourself available as an additional resource.
In the decision stage of the journey, the offer should be something enticing that helps the buyer make their choice confidently. Consider something like a free real estate consultation, where the buyer can walk through their needs for a home, and you in return send them a one-sheet of applicable homes within their budget and parameters. You can also offer up helpful recommendations and advice.
Create High-Quality Inbound Content
Inbound marketing is the strategy of creating content that brings customers to the business rather than a business going to the customer. It also nurtures a relationship between customer and brand that keeps customers loyal. If a customer can depend on a brand to create entertaining and informative content, they will appreciate the brand as more than just a business they patronize.
These days being a salesperson is more like being a consultant. Buyers come for information so that they can make their own decisions rather than sales pitches that are mostly fluff. A study from GE Capital Bank showed that 81 percent of shoppers conduct their own research online before making purchases. When creating content for the buyer’s journey, remember that it should be relevant information that applies to a specific stage. Know which stage requires more in-depth information and which stage requires only an overview.
The key to any marketing strategy is understanding the buyer. A marketing team must do thorough research into buyer habits and create buyer personas to truly understand their customers. Using this information, a marketing team can empathize with buyers and put themselves in their customers’ shoes, which helps them create content that buyers want and need.