Modern marketers have learned that the purchase process is a journey, and consumers advance through a process the industry has called ‘the buyer’s journey.’
What is the buyer’s journey?
The buyer’s journey is the path a potential purchaser follows, a decision-making process moving from awareness through consideration and culminating in a purchase.
Traditional research says it takes seven to thirteen ‘touches’ for a client as they move along this path. A ‘touch’ happens when a client comes into contact with your business.
A ‘touch’ can be seeing an advertisement in a magazine, a friend mentioning your business, seeing your business at a tradeshow, winning your product as part of a prize pack, seeing your logo as an event sponsor, seeing your Facebook page suggested on that platform… The possibility of a potential customer coming into contact with your business, service and products are as wide and endless as you make them (and a bit past that).
Not all ‘touches’ are quantifiable. It’s hard to say how many potential customers heard about you via word of mouth unless they tell you explicitly, “my friend recommended you”.
The first stage of the buyer’s journey is awareness.
The first stage of the journey begins as your potential client recognizes they need or want something. This stage is tied in closely to their ‘pain points’, or places in their lives where they are experiencing friction.
For example, a client with an itchy, scratchy throat is becoming aware they are getting ill. They don’t know what the problem is exactly, but they are definitely uncomfortable.
First, know how your product or service helps.
Returning to our sore throat, a lozenge helps soothe, reduces pain, and allows the user to continue on with their day.
A social media manager helps brainstorm and create content, quickly reply to social inquiries, and work the algorithms to best reach the audience.
Then, identify the symptoms that create awareness.
As mentioned, our potentially ill customer may be experiencing an itchy, scratchy throat. Maybe they are having trouble swallowing without pain. Maybe their glands are enlarged or they feel a recurring need to clear their throat. Perhaps they have a low-grade fever or are feeling lethargic.
The frustrated social user may be frustrated with the algorithms, experience difficulty in consistently sharing and getting in front of their viewers. They may be feeling helpless and apathetic or simply out of touch with the medium. Their symptoms may also include a lack of connection and engagement with their clients.
Create content that addresses the symptoms with your helpful product or service.
Where do we go when we’re not feeling well? The couch. Which is why television ads for cough syrup are still so prevalent.
If you were creating a social post, perhaps you’d create a meme with a pithy saying, like, “I want my dad… said no sick kid ever,” to get a mom thinking, “OOHHH that’s what this feeling is!”
A social media manager might, instead, post a tutorial on how to work with the latest algorithm changes or write a blog post sharing their favourite tool to address the constant need to post. Or perhaps they’ll go offline, attending small business networking events to create a connection.
Start your customer’s journey in the comments – tell us what product or service you offer and what ‘symptoms’ you address!