Buyer’s Journey: Meaning & Definition
Purchasing decisions do not just come after initial inspection but after thorough research and comparisons. This process of coming to a final decision takes the buyer on a journey, understanding which is key for businesses that want to get loyal customers and boost growth.
This article explains the buyer’s journey – what it is, its various stages, and its importance. It also discusses keyways to optimize the buyer’s journey at its three stages.
What Is the Buyer’s Journey?
The buyer’s journey refers to the process through which a customer decides to buy a product or service. It starts from research, proceeds to decision-making, and ends in purchase. Thus, it is also known as a purchase journey.
Consider the buyer’s journey as a framework with a starting point and end. Many businesses focus on improving their product or service. But that alone is not enough. In addition to a good product or service itself, it is vital to pay attention to the process of buying, from when customers discover a product, research it, and proceed to buy – or not buy – it.
Knowing how their customers feel, behave, and act at every step of the buying journey enables businesses to address pain points, remove obstacles, and streamline the buying experience. This helps drive sales as well as lock customer loyalty.
Stages of Buyer’s Journey
There are three distinct stages of the buying journey that a prospect – or potential customer – goes through:
- Awareness: At this first step of the buyer's journey, a prospect is in the awareness phase. They are just beginning to become aware that they have a need or problem – something that demands a solution. However, they are not looking for a solution yet. They are conducting research and are looking for the sources of information that expertly describe their problem. To do that, they may go to a search engine or social media to better understand their problem.
- Consideration: In the consideration stage, prospects have become fully aware of their problem and are ready to find a solution. But so far, they have not decided on a particular solution. At this step, prospects may not look for service providers. Rather, their focus is on identifying the types of solutions out there and evaluating what may work for them.
- Decision: At the decision stage, prospects are aware of their problems and they have considered possible solutions available to them. They have also compared and assessed which product out of many offers them the best value for their money.
Prospects will trust a business that has helped them in the two previous stages by providing valuable information and answering their questions. At this point, businesses must emphasize their USP - unique selling proposition. The goal is to nudge the prospect forward, so they make a purchase instead of backing out at the last moment.
How To Optimize the Buyer’s Journey
Potential buyers interact with a product at every stage of the buying journey, and their needs at every step are different. Businesses can focus on each stage and optimize it so the prospect makes a purchase in the end.
- At the awareness stage, businesses must focus on providing relevant content to their prospects, who are still trying to understand their problem. A good strategy is to share helpful content through SEO-rich articles and blog posts. The content should not be disguised as a sales pitch, but should be purely informational. This would still steer the buyer to the next stage of the journey.
- At the consideration phase, businesses can highlight their product. It is important to share in-depth educational content at this point. Strategies may include using paid search keywords to get the prospect’s attention on the search engine, writing articles that compares the product against competitors, and sharing case studies that give prospects insights into the experiences of other people who have had similar problems as them.
- At the decision phase, businesses must make sure they have clearly demonstrated their product’s features, benefits, and pricing. A good strategy is to create specialized content that provides specific answers. Also, sharing testimonials or third-party reviews will help, as they authenticate that a product is better than the competitor’s.
Why Is Understanding the Buyer’s Journey Important?
A good understanding of the buyer’s journey enables businesses to:
- Adjust sales strategy: Finding out the pain points of buyers helps businesses adjust their sales strategy. They can thus offer solutions and meet the needs of their potential customers.
- Improve marketing: Knowing what makes their prospects tick, what they are looking for, and what they do not like about the brand enables companies to better position their brand through the various stages of the buying journey.
- Build customer trust: Knowledge about the buyer’s journey helps businesses understand potential customers, their perspectives, and requirements. It will lead to positive interactions between customers and salespeople, boosting trust.
Buyer’s Journey: Key Takeaways
- A buyer’s journey is the process through which prospects go before buying a product or service.
- A buyer’s journey begins from awareness, when prospects start to recognize their problem. The next step is consideration, whey they begin looking for solutions. The last stage is decision, where they determine whether to make a purchase or not.
- Businesses must meet their prospects at every step of the buying journey. The strategy must adapt to answer customer needs at different stages.
- Strategies may include creating SEO-optimized content, blog posts, in-depth comparative articles, case studies, and user reviews – all can be used to optimize the buyer’s journey at its different stages.
- Understanding the buyer’s journey is akin to knowing the customer. This knowledge enables businesses to improve their sales strategy, market their product expertly, and gain loyalty from their customers.
- Throughout the buying journey, businesses must assure buyers that their product will solve the problem at hand. It is important to provide clear messaging about the product, demonstrate it is better than competing products in the market, and establish the business’ voice as an industry leader.