If you run a business that relies on customers purchasing your products or services, chances are you already have a basic idea of the buying cycle. What you may not realize, however, is that each stage in the buying cycle requires a different set of strategies and marketing approaches to convince potential customers to move to the next stage.
Without a set of marketing tactics tailored to each step of the buying cycle, you risk losing valuable customers at each stage and leave your sales to chance. To help you grow your customer base and increase sales online, we’ve outlined the three most important stages in the buying cycle and what marketing tactics to use in each one.
The first stage in the consumer buying cycle is Awareness. It’s when your potential customers realize they have a problem that needs to be solved and begin searching for a solution. Awareness is the stage where you really need to put effort into your marketing to stand out from the competition. At this point, your goal should be to reach as many people as possible, spread brand awareness, and establish your brand as an industry leader in your field. One of the most effective ways of achieving this is through a targeted content marketing campaign.
Focus on creating content around your customers’ problems and share facts and testimonials of how your offer has helped others in the same boat. If you run an eCommerce site, consider signing up for Google Customer Reviews to help boost search rankings and increase customer trust in your brand. SEO is a great option during the awareness stage, and an SEO-optimized website will allow you to provide your audience with the exact content they’re looking for and help you gain more organic traffic. If you have the budget for it and already know the type of people you want to target, Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can also prove useful during the Awareness stage.
The Consideration stage comes after the Awareness stage. It’s when your potential customer has (hopefully) found your offer and is considering their options. Maybe they need a little more convincing, or perhaps they’re comparing your offer to your competitors’. Whatever the case may be, your job at this point is to drive the point home that your product or service is their best option.
Do this by clearly showing the benefits they’ll receive from your offer while reminding them why they wanted to solve their problem in the first place. Marketing at this stage should aim to build trust in your brand, which can be done by leveraging user-generated content on social media, optimized pages showcasing your mission statement and brand values, case studies, and long-form content like videos, and whitepapers that offer added value to your users.
Take things a step further and offer potential customers an incentive, like a discount, free eBook, or guide, in exchange for their email address and launch targeted email campaigns to further convince prospects to choose your business. Retargeting potential customers through PPC advertising on social media or search engines is yet another fantastic way to market to consumers in the consideration stage.
Your prospect is done making their mind up and is ready to pull the trigger. Hopefully, you’ve managed to convince them that your offer is the one they want to go for. Nevertheless, your job isn’t over yet. Marketing during the Purchase stage should focus on building a relationship with customers and persuading them to become lifelong customers.
At this point, the last thing you want is for customers to change their minds at the last minute, so make sure you have an easy purchase process that doesn’t involve too many steps and is optimized for both desktop and mobile devices. Use straightforward call to actions to reduce customer uncertainty during checkout, and use a chat service or a prominent contact link to remind customers you’re ready to help them with whatever they need.
Depending on the type of product or service you offer, you may also want to offer free or low-cost trials at this stage to further convince customers your solution is the right one for them. And if you don’t make the sale, now would be a great time to retarget people who interacted with your checkout process but left without completing a service. Use retargeting or a dedicated email list to offer them an incentive and win their purchase.
Does Your Marketing Strategy Address Each Stage of the Buying cycle?
Just because you have a website and offer your products or services online, it doesn’t mean that you’ll instantly attract customers. As we’ve seen above, each stage of the purchasing cycle requires dedicated marketing techniques and approaches — and we’ve barely scratched the surface. To find out more about optimizing your marketing for every stage of the buying cycle, contact the Three Marketers today and we’ll help you develop a results-driven marketing strategy to grow your business online.