Whether it be e-commerce products, services, or softwares, there will always be a journey that every buyer takes before making a purchase.
Through personal experience, that journey can sometimes be as quick as leaving the house to buy a lightbulb, to stopping by multiple car dealerships over the span of 3 months to find the exact car you need in your price range. Every industry is going to have averages for how long it’ll take to convert leads into customers. Do the research and figure out those averages for your industry.
Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
To set yourself apart from your competition, you’ll need to know what tactics to use to hit your prospects at every stage of their journey. The typical buyer’s journey can be broken down into these 3 stages:
- Awareness: A buyer figures out they have a problem and begin the steps to researching more about that problem. They are looking for resources to validate or better explain what their problem is.
- Consideration: Now the buyer knows the details of their problem. They begin more research to find a solution to their problem.
- Decision: The buyer has done research into solutions and is now comparing those solutions to make a final decision.
A key issue for some companies is not knowing how to put their brand in front of potential buyers at each of these stages. In some cases, companies might be doing a good job at making themselves visible during each of these stages, but they fail to share the right message.
Tactics for Reaching Buyers at Each Stage
Let’s break down each stage and the tactics used for converting potential buyers. Keep in mind that some platforms and solutions can (and should) be used for every stage of the funnel. Those include SEO, PPC, Social Ads, and Marketing Automation. Here’s the outline for each stage and what your company should be doing.
Awareness Stage Tactics
Paid Ads: One of the first things you should implement is paid advertising on Google and social media. Prior to running PPC, do research into what problem your company solves and gather the best performing keywords for that problem.
In addition to search networks, use Facebook and Twitter ads to target individuals who have the problem you’re trying to solve. The leads you gather may not be as qualified as those who are performing a deliberate Google search, but you’ll still put yourself in a place to offer a solution.
SEO: After doing the same keyword research into the problem your buyers run into, start optimizing your website for those keywords. This is a lot easier said than done. Look into SEO agencies that can get you ranking on the first page of Google.
Lead Magnets: After getting in the face of your consumers through SEO or Ads, you need to have something valuable to keep them around. The best pieces of content for this stage of the journey are:
- High level blogs
When showcasing your content, always have a call to action (CTA), preferably with social proof, to entice your buyers to download or subscribe.
Consideration Stage Tactics
Paid Ads: Just like the awareness stage, you’ll want to do more keyword research into the search queries your target market is using during this stage of the journey. Except this time, start to show your product and how you can provide a solution to your buyer’s problem.
SEO: Again, focus on having built-out, informative pages for each target keyword at each stage of the journey.
Remarketing: Here is where tactics will start to differ from the first stage. If you were already able to capture the attention of your target market in the awareness stage, then you’ll want to continue to show your company through the rest of the journey.
If someone visits your website or downloads a piece of content, you can start showing them ads on Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Install each pixel on your site and create segmented lists based on what pages those visitors viewed and what they may have downloaded. This allows you to create hyper-specific ads leveraging content specific to the pages your website visitors landed on when navigating your site.
Marketing Automation: Now, if you were able to capture a visitor’s information from a lead magnet or CTA on your website, then you’ll want to nurture that marketing qualified lead (MQL) into a sales qualified lead (SQL). On average, it takes 6 to 8 touches to make a lead sales-ready. Here is where you can make a big impact on the lead by sharing the right types of content.
Through marketing automation tools, you’ll be able to track and monitor which pages a lead visited on your website and what pieces of content they downloaded. From that point, you can create separate nurture campaigns focused on the lead and what their needs are. At this stage of the journey, you’ll want to share podcasts, videos, webinars, and comparison white papers through email campaigns.
Decision Stage Tactics
At this stage of the funnel, you’ll be utilizing all the same tactics, but focusing on the needs of the buyer during the decision stage. That need is to decide what product or service will best help them with their problem. Here’s the best ways to use the following tactics.
Content: Throughout all of your efforts in converting the leads into customers, you’ll want to use the right types of content through the decision stage. The last thing you’ll want to do is share an eBook entitled What is Fibromyalgia? with a potential buyer who already knows exactly what fibromyalgia is and is simply searching for a treatment. The best pieces of content for this stage are product comparisons, case studies, free-trials, demos, and reviews.
PPC: Just like in the other stages, do keyword research into bottom-funnel keywords such as review, trial, or demo related keywords for your product.
SEO: Find the best converting keywords for the decision stage through in-depth research and build out content pieces on your site with CTAs for a trial or demo.
Remarketing: Same as the previous stages, create ads for trials, demos, or discounts targeting leads who are the bottom of the funnel.
Marketing Automation: When sending nurturing emails at this stage of the funnel, it’s best to segment your lists based on lead scoring and how your leads interact with your website, emails, ads, and content. Typically, the culminating step of your lead nurturing is to offer a demo or a sales call to discuss the next steps.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of every opportunity to reach your target market, but it should get you off on the right foot. Remember to research the industry averages for each of these tactics and use those as your benchmarks for improvement. Throughout this whole process, be A/B testing your ad copy, landing pages, and emails to improve your conversion process. With these steps in mind, you should have no problem building your sales funnels and making the best impact on your bottom-line.