We're told on a regular basis that you need to write for your target buyer and keep your content helpful, rather than making everything a sales pitch. But putting yourself in your customer persona's shoes is hard, in no uncertain terms because it's almost impossible to be objective about yourself or your business.
Short on time? Find everything you need to know about the buyer's journey in our free guide, 'The Inbound Buyer'. (No forms, no cost, just helpful advice you can save and share with your sales and marketing teams to better reach, engage, and delight your customers.)
Assuming that you have your buyer personas in place, and that you have some good data on why they buy from you, it can still be difficult to know what to do next. What if there was a way to simplify your content marketing strategy or other key processes involving your buyers?
That’s where the buyer’s journey comes in. A central part of the inbound methodology, it highlights the three main stages a buyer goes through before a purchase: awareness, consideration, and decision.
Think of the buyer’s journey as coming from a buyer’s perspective, and HubSpot’s inbound methodology and sales methodology as showing you what we need to be doing to move someone from a stranger to a customer and beyond. There is a crucial question here: how do we tie this together?
Anyone would be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed by this. But the problem is that getting this right is central to creating effective content that works for both marketing and sales.
Understanding how the buyer’s journey needs to influence your business efforts is probably the most important thing you can learn.
The buyer's journey explained
We can’t get away from it: the buyer is in control these days. An inbound marketing strategy celebrates this, putting your customer at the heart of your sales, marketing and service delivery operations.
In order to figure out how to understand how our buyers think, let’s consider what we do as individuals when we buy.
The way humans think is actually very predictable, and although it may come as a surprise, we’re nowhere near as individual as we think. When we buy, we move through a similar internal process almost every time.
Here at BabelQuest we've delved into the buyer’s journey in more detail and this is what we identified:
Deciphering the buyer’s thought process
We’ve put together a guide that looks at this process in more detail and how to approach it. View 'The Inbound Buyer' (without needing to fill out any forms). For now though, a quick overview:
Frame and shift
We aren’t talking about brand awareness or product awareness here. You are building awareness of a problem, and helping prospects to see this problem from a different perspective that offers a potential way forward.
Do nothing, DIY, ask for help
You are helping the buyer move from 'I know about this' to 'I want to do something about this'. In order to do that, they need to think about their problem in the new way you suggested. The natural thought process will evaluate various options, from sticking to the status quo, to tackling it themselves and finally to asking for help if the task seems too difficult.
Advice and choose
Remember that the buyer is in control here, and they could always decide to go elsewhere. By providing advice and a choice of option A, B or neither, you’ve just increased your chances of the buyer buying something, by helping them feel that it's their choice.
Your prospects move unexpectedly around the buyer’s journey
There's no rule to say that a buyer has to progress step-by-step through the entire journey. There is always the opportunity to leave the journey at any point or to back up and go over things again. People are complicated, buyers even more so. They might not progress through the journey in an entirely predictable manner. Having the content available, and the knowledge of how to approach each stage, allows the buyer to remain in control without putting you on the back foot.
In fact, from the business perspective we also need to remember that some people may not be the right fit for you, either.
The cost of head-in-sand syndrome
Now that you are armed with the understanding of the steps we all go through as buyers, and what content you can use to help ‘un-stick’ buyers at every stage, how are you going to use this information?
The moment this clicks for you and you know how it applies toyourbusiness, everything becomes more straightforward. Marketing and sales are then aligned, armed with the same knowledge of a buyer they are both dealing with. Without this you are almost certainly destined to fail. Why? Because your business approach will not be consistent.
Learn how to engage your prospects across the buyer's journey and generate repeatable, scalable business growth in our free guide, 'How to Generate Leads That Close'. Download by clicking the image below.