The journey or buying process that consumers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service, and it consists of three stages that make up the inbound marketing framework: awareness, consideration, and decision.
Analysing the Buyer’s Journey or Digital User Journey through the inbound marketing lens allows marketers to anticipate the path of a client as a framework. The result? Persona-targeted content for each stage of the Buyer’s Journey. (Of course, this means you need to have buyer personas in place to begin.)
The Buyer’s Journey compromises of predominantly three stages: Awareness; Consideration; and Decision.
In the awareness stage of the Buyer’s Journey, a potential buyer is just realising a need for a product/service. Chances are, they’re entering search terms in Google to understand more about what they are looking for. This is where an effective SEO strategy plays a key role in your marketing plan. Ask yourself about where your buyers go to educate themselves and what questions they typically ask.
Most potential buyers in the awareness stage are seeking information to answer questions or resolve pain points. It’s important to note that at this stage of the journey, the information should be fairly neutral with limited (if any) sales jargon or positioning of the specific organisation.
To be an effective marketer, it’s important to recognize this type of consumer mentality and cater your marketing communications to provide solutions, ideas, and purpose related to what they’re interested in. A few top-of-the-funnel, awareness stage content offers to consider include:
- Educational content in blog posts
- E-guides and e-books
- Industry research/analyst reports
With the client clearly understanding their goal or challenge and is now committed to address it, the consideration phase kicks into action. This phase is about a buyer’s evaluation of different methods and options that are available. At this stage, you’re still delivering critical information to help your buyer make the best possible decision, which is you, of course! Here are a few examples of consideration content offers that you should provide to qualify your lead for the decision stage:
- Product comparison guides
- Expert guides
- Live interactions (podcast or video)
At this point in the journey, a buyer has decided on a solution category. They have a strategy in place to address their pain point, but are still deciding on a specific tool to purchase or vendor to work with. A buyer may spend significant time researching documentation, data, vendor reviews, and other materials to gain confidence in their decision.
Content offers at this stage may include vendor/product comparisons, case studies and free trials. Key terms to include are compare, pros and cons, review, and test. These align with the decision-making process and position your content as a resource, not a hard sales pitch.