The buyer’s journey constitutes integral support for the marketing strategy. The marketers map the buyer’s journey from awareness to the purchase of products or services.
70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to salesSirius Decisions
The buyer’s journey is the description and account of numerous stages an individual passes from being a prospect or lead to becoming a paying customer. The journey does not end at the purchase but extends to post-purchase and repurchase. The entrepreneurs get an idea of the number of times and circumstances a client is introduced to your brand before they purchase your product or service. The journey gives information about the clients’ challenges and problems at the start of their journey and the customer movement through further stages.
The knowledge of buyer’s journey is critical for the entrepreneurs to encourage the customers to make decisions and eventually make a purchase. Gaining the confidence and faith of the lead by giving your expert advice rather than forcing your product will propel them towards your product. Developing and nurturing the client’s trust in your product or services will provide a remarkable boost to your business.
The buyer’s journey can be described in the stages:
- Awareness stage: realization of the problem by the buyer
- Consideration stage: defining the problem and finding their solution
- Decision stage: the selection of a solution by the buyer
- Customer’s post-purchase stage
Let us discuss these stages in detail to get clear insights about buyer’s journey.
The first and foremost stage of a buyer’s journey is the awareness stage, wherein the prospective customers realize and identify their problems and begin searching for their solutions. These potential customers are unaware of your brand or the products and services provided by your brand.
For a complete understanding of a buyer’s awareness stage, you should have answers to these questions:
- What are the goals or challenges faced by a buyer?
- What are the sources of informational details for a buyer for the goals or challenges faced by them?
- What will be the outcome if the buyer is indecisive or case of inaction?
- What are the base factors which influence the buyer’s prioritization of goal or challenge?
- What are the buyer’s misconceptions to address the goal or problem?
At this stage, you should emphasize on giving suggestions and advice towards the solutions for their problem and not on advertising your product or service. You should create resources in the form of blogs, ebooks, white papers on various topics, and editorials with content that is problem-focussed, informative, and helpful for the prospective customers. The content should be precise, informative, entertaining, and educational. If any of these content articles prove to help create an “a-ha” moment for the potential customer, the probability of him remaining on the buyer’s journey will increase many folds with you in mind.
71% of B2B researchers start with a generic search, rather than looking for a particular brand.Anonymous
The entrepreneurs should utilize the keywords and tags to optimize their online presence, which can have a remarkable influence on their businesses at this stage.
The goals of an entrepreneur at this stage of buyer’s journey are:
- Acquisition of new visitors: The entrepreneurs need to get public visibility and knowledge about the existence of their company. The ascending number of unique new visitors indicates the broad reach of your business, which is the basis of a company’s stability and growth.
- Segmentation of new visitors: The entrepreneurs should focus on gathering information about the customer’s source of knowledge about your company as well as their demographic details on their visit. Segmentation is a necessary step for strategy optimization for attaining maximum customer reach.
- Taking initiatives for the company branding: Improvement in your brand’s visibility and positive perception is the key to a successful establishment of a startup.
Thus the focal points to remember by an entrepreneur at this stage of buyer’s journey are to answer all the questions, troubleshoot the prospective customers’ confusion, and optimize your brand recognition and awareness.
The key metrics to be analyzed at this stage are:
- Number of new visitors
- The percentage of new visitors vs. overall visitors
- New direct visitors number
- Total pixeled audience
- Retargeting lists
At the consideration stage, the prospective customers have identified and understand their problem and have begun exploring the possible solutions. The goal or challenge is evident in the buyer’s mind and is keen to address them. It is the stage where buyers immerse themselves in thorough research and comparatively evaluate and analyze different approaches that can effectively solve their problems and challenges.
An entrepreneur, at this stage of a buyer’s journey, should be able to answer these questions:
- The buyer’s investigate different categories of solutions. Which are they?
2. What is the mode through which buyers educate themselves on different categories of solutions?
3. How are the advantages and limitations of each category perceived by the buyers?
4. What are the factors influencing the buyer’s decision to choose a particular category?
At this stage, the entrepreneurs should provide the content focussed on the possible solutions demonstrating their expertise in the specific industry and capability to resolve customer’s problems. At the consideration stage, you should focus on building relationships with your potential customers, capturing emails to enhance the lead conversion rate, and creating social media channels. They should conduct different webinars, podcasts, and informational videos for effective in-depth communication with the buyers. The entrepreneurs should be able to impress the buyer’s about their immense knowledge and convince them that you are the best!
The key metrics for analysis of the buyer’s journey at the consideration stage are:
- Visitor appearances
- Click percentage of Banner (CTA)
- Generation of new leads
- Return of direct visitors
- Lists retargeting
The third stage of buyer’s journey is the decision stage, wherein the buyers have decided to solve their problem and challenge. The buyers perform a comparative analysis of the offerings and the providers with their pros and cons. Eventually, they decide to purchase the product or service that best fulfils their requirements.
This is the stage in which you can directly pitch in your offerings, i.e., your products or services without any hesitation. You should put your best foot forward to compel the customers towards purchase through trial downloads, live demonstrations, best case studies, or comparative charts of vendor and product. In the process of directing your leads towards making a purchase, an entrepreneur should focus on maximizing funnel conversions, lead conversions, and maximizing initial conversion value.
65% of buyers spend more than 16 minutes comparing before making a decision-stage purchase.Anonymous
An entrepreneur should be able to answer the following questions at this stage of a buyer’s journey.
1. How to the buyers evaluate the available options for their problem? What are the criteria?
2. Which specificities and features of your company’s offering appreciated by your buyers? What apprehensions do they have with your products?
3. How many people are involved in the final decision making? How the outcome varies with each involved person’s perspective?
4. Do the customers expect a trial version of your offering before making a purchase?
5. What are the prerequisites to be fulfilled by the buyers before purchasing your offerings, like any training or implementation plans?
The key metrics for analysis of the buyer’s journey at the decision stage are:
- Time is taken in conversion
- Type of unit/service sold
- Funnel cumulative conversion rate
- Revenue per visit
- Retargeting list
Customer’s Post-Purchase Stage
The post-purchase stage involves continued communication with the customers through various entertaining articles, useful emails, sending discount coupons for purchase in the future, or invitations for the sample trials of newly launched products at a discounted price. The entrepreneurs should create an online community platform for customer interactions or providing product feedback.
The focus of an entrepreneur in this stage should be on:
- Turning the customers into repeat customers
- Maximization of customer value
- Reduction of a customer churning
- Taking initiatives for company branding
The key metrics for analysis of the buyer’s journey at this stage are:
- Campaign ROI
- Retention rate
- Percentage of refund
- Generation of returning leads
- Retargeting list
- CLV (Customer Lifetime Value)
Tools for building a map for buyer’s journey
There are many software tools available in the market that an entrepreneur can choose to visualize your buyer’s journey. Few of the software provides the facility of customer’s real-time tracking as well. Let us discuss some of the software tools available for mapping your customer’s buying journey.
Canvanizer is a tool based on the concept of service design thinking, that facilitates the mapping of the online customer journey for businesses. It enables the implementation through brainstorming, making strategies, team processes tracking, and designing services. Canvanizer assists the companies in understanding customer touch-points and various essential procedures through brainstorming.
One of the excellent features of Canvanizer is its ability to be applied in different business areas, like mapping a buyer’s journey or product development. Canvanizer provides many templates with instructions for use in both the free and premium versions and allows collaborations.
Canvanizer’s basic version is free that has the facility of unlimited canvases and filters, while the premium version has additional features of collaborations with a starting price of $25 per year.
Smaply is a software tool that facilitates the building of customer personas, customer journey maps, and stakeholder maps. Customers are the key focal points for Smaply, which emphasizes internal process understanding, empathy, and experience. Smaply’s journey map editor helps your team select the relevant topics specific for storyboard and syncing the journey map data across various units of your company. Smaply offers a 14 day trial for the beginners and is priced at 25 euros per year.
ExperienceFellow journey mapping tool specializes in an analytical research approach. The software allows entrepreneurs to capture and evaluate the buyer’s experience. Through the mobile app, entrepreneurs can select to receive feedback from their customers, team members, and stakeholders. ExperienceFellow also facilitates the customers’ interaction tracking within various search engines.
ExperienceFellow is price starts at 9 euros per month and offers a 14-day free trial for testing.
Touchpoint software serves as a one-stop shop for all the features for mapping a buyer’s journey. Touchpoint enables your team to create the journey maps for specific goals, promote collaboration across your company’s teams, analyze results, share them with other executive members and partners of your company, and upload current customer data. It also has the facility of imparting education on journey management to your team members.
Touchpoint software tool is built for enterprises that can be accessed for a free trial on request and demonstration.
UXPressia is a cloud-based buyer’s journey mapping tool that allows the rapid visualization, presentation, sharing, and improvement of customer journeys. UXPressia also helps create shareable customer or buyer personas, which can be tailored according to the goals, experiences, priorities, visual tours, challenges, and ideas. The software has various features like multiple integrations with data sources, online real-time collaborations, and intuitive drag and drop environmental interface. Impactful experiences can be tracked both on behalf of the customer as well as your company.
UXPressia offers a free plan with paid options beginning at $24 per month, per user.
Excel is an old-fashioned spreadsheet that has always proven to be an excellent tool for an organization. You can easily download a free template or customize the rows and columns size to fit your data. The ultimate goal of creating a buyer’s journey map that can be approached by your team is attained through the input of all the information and correct data.
A well-planned buyer’s journey map is a tool that can prove to be a boon for the entrepreneurs in the identification of the weak links in their sales funnel to achieve the maximum customer satisfaction through the delivery of correct content to the right person.
The software tools for creating the buyer’s journey map constitute only a small portion of understanding the customer’s online journey. There is a need to have clear insights into all the factors influencing the customer’s journey to achieve maximum growth and sustainability.