By Carla Kroger
Effective marketing is not just about your goals. When you focus on your goals only as you reach out to your ideal clients you can become an irritation to the very people that you are trying to reach. You have just interrupted their stride as they were pursuing what was important to them. Instead, you need to determine what is important to them and be available to them as they are actively researching solutions to their needs.
It sounds simple and it is. To do this you need to be aware of the steps they take as they make their buying decision by asking your current clients:
- How they found you
- What were they looking for when they found you
- Who they compared you to your peers as they were making their final decision
- What other option where they looking for
As you document the steps that your current clients took, you will notice that there is a repeatable pattern. This is called a “Buyer’s Journey.” It is important to note that these steps are actually stages. At each stage of the buyer’s journey your ideal client is actively researching for a solution. By providing solutions for their research, you quickly demonstrate that you are a reliable source and can build trust with them. As trust is built, you can become a go-to source and can highlight your offering. In doing so the right clients will find you without you being an interruption.
Your next step is to consider what your ideal (future) clients are actively trying to achieve and how you can provide the most value to their research. I should point out that there is a progressive order to the buyer’s journey and once you align your goals with theirs, you are able to provide valuable and progressive solutions for each stage.
Here is an overview of the buyer journey stages and what they may be researching:
- Initial research stage: People at this stage are looking for content that will help them better understand what it is they need. They are using the search terms “How-to”, “What are”, or “Ways to” to find out what is possible.
- Clarifying Stage: Because the first stage in their research was very broad, they begin to hone in on what is the most ideal for their research. Continuing their research, they build knowledge around topics, options, or techniques to become an informed buyer.
- Comparison Stage: People at this stage have made a list of their top choices and begin research that takes a closer look to determine the best option. Here, they compare features, options, and cost to come up with the best solution for their needs.
- Decision Stage: Once your ideal buyers reach this stage, they are researching for information that will help them with any last objections they have. At this final stage, they are also looking to make contact to make to finalize their purchase.
To give a real life example of this, if someone moved from a warmer climate to an area where they get heavy snow they may need to purchase a warm coat before any winter storms arrive.
So he does some quick search “What are the best winter coats” to see what is available online and finds quite a few options. This is the initial research stage.
Because he has encountered quite a few options, he begins to refine his research. Refining his search to:
- “Winter coats for men”
- “Durable winter coats for men”
- “Best price durable winter coats for men”
With each search, he refines his terms to hone in on what it is he actually wants. In doing so he come up with three great options. This is the clarifying stage.
Now down to three options, he looks closer to compare how they are different and what best meets his needs. He may:
- Peruse the reviews
- Evaluate versatility options
- Review unique features
To see what will be the best option. This is the comparison stage.
In the last stage, he decides to purchase and his only objection is: will it arrive in time. He does his final research to see if he can order online or if he can pick it up in a store so that he can have it before any storms hit. This is the decision stage.
The buyer’s journey is utilized to purchase services, products and experience. The key is to do your research to determine what is most important to your potential buyer and show up where they are researching. When you align your goals to make your ideal client’s pursuits easier, you create a win/win situation. They find what they are looking for and you gain a new client.