In order to generate leads that turn into paying customers, businesses must first understand the journey that potential buyers take before they make a purchase.
This journey, known as the buyer’s path, begins with discovery, research, and evaluation.
Consumers today are highly empowered and informed, thanks to the internet. As a result, they are much more selective about the products and services they purchase.
In order to win them over, businesses must create content that helps them along the buyer’s path, while also positioning themselves as experts in their field.
When you are able to create a successful journey for your prospect, it can build trust and credibility with potential buyers, which is essential for making a sale.
So in this article, we’ll discuss what the buyer’s journey is, the different stages of the buyer’s journey, and how you can create content for each stage.
Understanding the Buyer’s Journey in Marketing
The Buyer’s Journey is the process that companies use to identify and understand the needs of their target market.
It is also used to determine how best to reach these individuals and persuade them to purchase a product or service. The journey typically starts with the “not aware” stage, in which the individual is unaware of the product or service.
From there, they move on to the “aware” stage, in which he or she begins to learn about the product or service.
Next, the individual enters the “consideration” stage, in which he or she evaluates whether or not to purchase the product or service.
Finally, the individual makes a decision and either purchase the product or service (in the “decision” stage) or does not (in the “no decision” stage).
Remember, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now completed digitally.
How does a marketing funnel work? (Stages of the funnel)
Organizations use a marketing funnel to encourage potential customers to keep moving toward becoming actual paying customers.
It does this through a series of steps that gradually move the customer down from the top of the funnel, where they are first introduced to the product or service, to the bottom of the funnel, where they make a purchase.
Each stage of the funnel can vary depending on the organization, but they typically include awareness, interest, consideration, purchase, and post-purchase.
Each stage has its own set of objectives and strategies that organizations use to move potential customers down the marketing funnel.
Stage 1 – Problem/Need Recognition (TOFU)
In the first stage of the buying process, also known as the Top of the Funnel, customers recognize a problem or need. This can be triggered by an event, such as a broken appliance, or by a more general awareness of a lack or need, such as the desire for a new car.
Recognizing the problem is the first step in finding a solution, and it is often driven by feelings of pain or discomfort.
In some cases, customers may be aware of a potential solution but may not be sure if it will address their specific problem.
For example, someone with back pain may have heard that massage can help, but they may not be sure if it will relieve their particular type of pain.
In other cases, customers may not be aware of any potential solutions and will need to do some research.
This is often the case with more complex problems that require expert knowledge to solve, such as financial planning or medical diagnosis.
Once the problem has been recognized, customers can move on to the next stage of the buying process.
Stage 2 – Information Search/Awareness (MOFU)
Once a potential customer recognizes that they have a problem that needs to be solved, they enter the second step of the funnel: the information search.
At this time, leads begin to gather data about their options, in order to make an informed decision about which product or service is right for them.
Depending on the nature of the purchase, the methods of information gathering can vary.
For example, if someone is trying to solve a problem like hunger, they might simply do a quick search on Google.
However, if they need to make a more complex purchase, like choosing a pool installation company, they might contact multiple sources of information, such as reading customer reviews or talking to showroom salespeople.
By the end of this stage, leads should have a good understanding of their options, and be able to narrow down their choice to one or two final products or services.
Stage 3 – Evaluation of Alternatives/Consideration (MOFU)
Once potential customers have been shown possible solutions to their problems, it is then time for them to compare those solutions to the alternatives.
The amount of time spent at this step varies depending on the type of purchase being considered. For something like choosing a Chinese restaurant, the process is relatively simple.
However, if the customer is looking at investing in marketing automation software, which can cost up to $1000 per month, they will likely need to spend more time evaluating their options.
During this step, it is important for businesses to provide as much information as possible about their product or service, so that the customer can make an informed decision.
By doing so, businesses can ensure that they are able to close the sale and convert the customer into a paying client through the next stage.
Stage 4 – Purchase/Decision (BOFU)
The purchase decision is the fourth stage in the buyer’s journey, and it’s also the most important. This is called the Bottom of the Marketing Funnel.
This is when the buyer decides which product or service to buy, and it’s your last chance to convince them to choose your business.
That’s why it’s so important to optimize your website for the purchase decision stage.
You need to make sure that all of your content is focused on convincing the buyer to choose your product or service, and you need to provide a clear and easy way for them to make a purchase.
If you can do this, you’ll increase the number of customers you have and improve your conversion rates.
Stage 5 – Post-Purchase Behavior (BOFU)
The customer journey doesn’t end when someone makes a purchase. In fact, the post-purchase behavior stage is just as important, if not more so.
This is when customers decide whether they’re going to be loyal to your brand and recommend your products to others. Individualized service and support are key here.
If customers feel confident that they can reach out to you with questions or problems, they’re much more likely to stick around.
And, of course, if they’re happy with their purchase, they’re more likely to leave positive reviews and give product endorsements.
So don’t overlook the importance of this stage in the customer journey. It could make all the difference in retaining customers and growing your business long-term.
How to build a marketing funnel for your content?
So how do you go about creating a marketing funnel for your business?
Below are the six essential steps:
The first step is to identify your target audience. You need to figure out who your ideal customer is and what they want. Without this information, it will be difficult to create content that appeals to them.
The second step is to create content that is relevant to your audience. This content should be designed to appeal to their needs and desires. It should be interesting and informative, and it should be able to pique their interest.
The third step is to promote your content. This can be done through various channels, such as social media, email marketing, paid advertising, and so on. The key is to ensure that your content is seen by as many people as possible.
The fourth step is to capture leads. Once you have generated interest in your content, you need to collect contact information from those who are interested in learning more. This can be done through forms, contentious downloads, or other means.
The fifth step is to nurture your leads. Once you have captured someone’s information, it is important to follow up with them and provide additional information that might be of interest. This helps to build trust and credibility with your potential customers.
The sixth step is customer purchase. This is the final stage of the funnel, where customers make a purchase or take some other desired action. It is important to ensure that the purchase process is smooth and easy so that customers are satisfied with their purchases.
How to incorporate a full-funnel approach into your marketing strategy
A full-funnel marketing approach is a strategy that encompasses all stages of the customer journey, from awareness to conversion. By aligning your marketing goals with the different stages of the buyer’s journey, you can create a more holistic and effective marketing strategy.
To incorporate a full-funnel approach into your marketing strategy, start by evaluating your current marketing efforts and determining which stage of the funnel they’re aligned with.
Next, you need to identify your target audience and understand what their needs are at each stage of the funnel. From there, you can create relevant content that resonates with them.
For example, at the top of the funnel, you might create blog posts and infographics that educate prospects about your product or service.
As they move further down the funnel, you can provide more targeted content like case studies and product demos.
Ultimately, your goal is to create a seamless experience that leads prospects toward a purchase.
What should be the focus of your funnel?
Before we go on to specific strategies for every step of a funnel, it can be helpful to understand where to focus.
A comprehensive marketing strategy can also help you focus your funnel. By taking into account all of the factors that influence customer behavior, you can develop a plan that target’s your audience’s specific needs.
This tailored approach can be more effective than a one-size-fits-all approach, and it can help you focus your resources on the most impactful activities.
So whether you’re using scenario-based simulation or developing a comprehensive marketing strategy, understanding where to focus your funnel can help you achieve better results.
Now let’s review a few strategies.
The specific strategies for each stage will vary depending on the product or service being offered. However, there are some general principles that can be applied to all funnel marketing campaigns.
The first step is to generate awareness for the product or service. This can be done through advertising, public relations, or content marketing.
The goal is to reach as many potential customers as possible and get them interested in what you have to offer.
Once potential customers are aware of your product or service, the next step is to generate interest.
This can be done through interactive content, such as quizzes or surveys. The goal is to get potential customers engaged with your brand and start to think about making a purchase.
Finally, once customers are interested in your product or service, the next step is to convert them into paying customers.
This can be done through special offers, discounts, or free trials. The goal is to get potential customers to take action and make a purchase.
The difference between a marketing funnel and a sales funnel
Some people interchange “marketing funnel” with “sales funnel”. Often they combine them and just called it – a marketing funnel.
The marketing and sales process involves a series of steps that take potential customers on a journey from when they first become aware of your product or service to when they make a purchase.
The purpose of the marketing funnel is to turn as many potential customers into paying customers as possible, while the purpose of the sales funnel is to close more deals and increase revenue.
So let’s start by recapping the stages – at the top of the marketing funnel is awareness, where potential customers are first introduced to your product or service.
The next stage is interest, where they start to learn more about what you have to offer and how it can benefit them. The third stage is consideration, where they compare your offering to other similar products or services on the market. Finally, the fourth stage is decision, where they decide whether or not to make a purchase.
The sales funnel is based on these same stages, but with a few key differences.
First, instead of focusing on turning potential customers into paying customers, the sales funnel focuses on converting leads into paying customers.
Second, the sales funnel typically includes additional steps such as demoing the product, negotiating the price, and overcoming objections.
Finally, because the goal of the sales funnel is to close deals and increase revenue, it generally has a much higher success rate than the marketing funnel.
Capturing leads at every stage of the marketing funnel
In order to increase conversions, it is important to focus on capturing leads at every stage of the marketing funnel.
The funnel reflects the fact that the path to purchase is not always linear. In other words, just because someone is aware of your brand does not mean they are ready to buy.
By focusing on leads throughout the entire funnel, you can nurture them through each stage until they are ready to convert. This requires a marketing strategy that takes into account the different mental states of each segment in the funnel.
Let’s review a few of them.
The road to business success is littered with the carcasses of companies that made sales their be-all and end-all. The fact is, sales are only part of the equation.
In order to achieve long-term success, businesses must focus on increasing customer loyalty. Loyal customers are the lifeblood of any company, and they can be cultivated through a number of strategies.
First, businesses should focus on providing an excellent customer experience at every touchpoint. From the initial interaction to post-purchase follow-up, customers should feel valued and appreciated.
Second, businesses should make it easy for customers to do business with them. This means offering convenient payment options, flexible return policies, and user-friendly websites and apps.
Finally, businesses should show their appreciation for loyal customers through loyalty programs and other perks.
Conversion is the process of turning leads into customers, and there are a few key things you can do to help make it happen.
First, it’s important to identify any potential obstacles that could prevent someone from taking action. Once you know what those are, you can work on removing them.
Next, you need to create a strong offer that will motivate people to take action.
Finally, you need to make it easy for people to convert by providing a clear call to action and making sure the process is as simple and streamlined as possible.
As any marketer knows, the key to successful selling is to target customers who are already in the consideration stage.
By developing awareness early in your marketing process, you can attract potential buyers who are more likely to convert into paying customers.
There are several ways to do this, but one of the most effective is to create engaging content that catches the attention of your target audience. This can be done through various means, such as blog posts, infographics, videos, or even e-books.
Whatever method you choose, make sure that your content is high-quality and informative, as this will help to build trust with your audience and encourage them to learn more about your company and what you have to offer.
Marketing channels for each stage of the funnel
A Content Strategy begins with deciding which channels are appropriate to reach your audience. According to Hubspot and their Flywheel, the most successful companies will adjust their business strategies to add their marketing to Attract, Engage and Delight their leads consistently.
Resource: You can learn more about Hubspot and the Flywheel concept here.
Here’s a quick highlight.
Marketing channels for the Attract Stage
There are a few things to consider when thinking about marketing channels for the attract stage, but it’s important to remember that most prospects are already in the awareness phase of the buyer journey before you begin recruiting them.
You need to help them find content that is easy to understand and consume. A buyer may want answers or help with a question, and our clients seek educational content with a focus on area of web-based solutions.
Their worth as a lead is low, as it is not guaranteed they can buy it. The people whose content is useful may be at the center of the funnel.
Marketing channels for the Engage Stage
The goal during the engage stage is to get your target market aware of your brand and product.
To do this, you’ll need to use marketing channels that reach them where they are spending their time. This may include online ads, social media, email marketing, or even traditional methods like TV or print ads.
The key is to get your message in front of as many potential customers as possible and to make it easy for them to learn more about your product.
Once they are aware of your product and have had a chance to learn more about it, you can then move on to the next stage of the marketing funnel.
Marketing channels for the Delight Stage
There are many marketing channels available to reach potential customers in the Delight Stage.
Social media, email, and targeted ads are all effective ways to stay in front of your audience and continue building relationships.
However, it’s important to remember that the goal at this stage is not to make a sale, but rather to exceed customer expectations and deliver an effortless experience.
This means that your marketing efforts should be focused on delivering valuable content and providing helpful support.
Content ideas for each stage of the buyer’s journey
Content marketing at each stage should be designed to meet the needs of the buyer at that particular stage.
In the Awareness stage, content should introduce the buyer to their problem and begin to offer possible solutions.
In the Consideration stage, content should help the buyer compare their options and understand how your product or service can meet their needs.
And in the Decision stage, content should provide step-by-step instructions on how to purchase your product or service and answer any final questions they may have.
In the Post-Purchase stage, maintaining a relationship with the customer after the sale, companies can ensure that they are satisfied with their purchase and more likely to become loyal, repeat customers.
Now let’s review a few specific types of content you can create to address the different stages of your funnel.
Social Media Posts
As a business, you want to be where your customers are, and currently, they are on social media. Approximately 233 million Americans use some form of social media in 2021, so it’s likely that your audience is using at least one platform.
You can use social media to promote other content, such as blog posts or videos, and you can also write original content for your social media channels.
Keep in mind that social media posts are typically shorter than blog posts, and video usage is on the rise, so consider incorporating both into your content strategy.
Free samples are a great way to get your customers interested in your product. By providing them with a taste of what you have to offer, you can increase the likelihood that they’ll be intrigued enough to buy it.
However, it’s important to make sure that your free sample is relevant to the buyer journey stage that your customer is in. For example, if your customer is in the awareness stage, then you’ll want to provide them with a sample that will help them learn more about your product.
On the other hand, if your customer is in the decision stage, then you’ll want to provide them with a sample that will help them make their decision.
By providing your customers with relevant free samples, you can increase the chances of conversion and build loyalty amongst your customer base.
Case studies are a valuable tool for any business looking to generate leads and close sales.
By providing potential customers with a detailed account of how your company was able to solve another customer’s problem, you can not only demonstrate the efficacy of your product or service but also build trust and credibility with your audience.
What’s more, case studies are highly effective at both the consideration and decision stages of the buyer’s journey, making them an essential part of any lead generation and sales strategy.
If you’re not already using case studies as part of your marketing efforts, now is the time to start.
Kit or Tool
Informational content isn’t always sufficient to convince buyers who want to make a choice or act in some way.
In certain situations, the product may need to be personalized. Kits or tool sets are good content that can assist readers in deciding what to buy.
Organizations often use white papers to help their audiences understand complex issues. A whitepaper can provide more depth than a traditional article or blog post, making it an essential tool for businesses and nonprofits.
By clearly defining a problem and offering potential solutions, whitepapers can help organizations win over clients and customers.
Also, a well-crafted whitepaper can be a powerful marketing tool, driving website traffic and generating leads.
Viewers can find how-to videos on many topics. They may be looking to improve a difficult situation or just want to try something new.
No matter the motivation, learning new skills can be helpful. How-to videos provide step-by-step instructions on a variety of topics.
This can make them easy to follow for those wanting to learn something new.
Ebook or tip sheet
Creating an ebook or tip sheet is a great way to give potential customers valuable information while also promoting your business.
Ebooks and tip sheets are usually shorter than whitepapers and are more focused on giving readers specific advice or instructions.
This makes them ideal resources for people who are just beginning to learn about your products or services.
In any complex task, having a blueprint that explains the steps needed for completion can be invaluable.
This is especially true when trying to persuade someone to make a purchase; by providing a well-designed checklist, you can help move your prospect closer to making a decision.
By outlining each step of the process, a checklist gives your prospect a clear idea of what they need to do in order to achieve their goal. This can also ease their anxiety and hesitation, and help to build trust in your brand.
Webinars are an excellent way to learn more about a particular topic or subject. They provide an in-depth look at a wide range of topics, and they offer participants the opportunity to ask questions and get answers in real time.
Webinars are also a great way to build relationships with potential customers and clients. By providing valuable information and engaging in thoughtful discussion, businesses can develop trust and credibility with their audience.
Additionally, webinars can be a powerful marketing tool. By hosting a webinar, businesses can reach a large number of people with their message and generate leads for their products or services.
Product Comparison Guides
During the evaluation phase, the purchaser persona focuses on solutions to the pain.
Product comparisons can also help people make decisions. If you have ever gone online to look for a new car, chances are you have used a product comparison guide.
These guides lay out the key features of each product side-by-side, making it easy to see how they stack up.
In many cases, product comparison guides can be found on company websites, but they can also be published by third parties. Regardless of their source, product comparison guides can be an invaluable tool for buyers who are trying to make sense of a complex marketplace.
By providing clear and concise information, they can help buyers narrow their options and make a decision with confidence.
Measuring the success of your marketing funnel
Measuring the success of your marketing funnel can be difficult. There are a lot of factors to consider, and it can be hard to know where to start.
However, it is important to remember that the success of your marketing funnel should always be taken into account. There are two main ways to measure success: quantitative and qualitative.
Quantitative data includes things like website traffic, page views, and conversion rates. This data can be helpful in understanding how many people are coming into contact with your brand and how effective your marketing efforts are.
However, it’s important to remember that not all web traffic is created equal. Just because someone visits your website doesn’t mean they’re interested in your product or service. That’s why qualitative data is also essential.
Qualitative data includes things like customer surveys, interviews, and focus groups.
This type of data provides insights into how customers feel about your brand and their overall experience with your marketing funnel.
Qualitative data can be especially helpful in identifying pain points and areas for improvement.
By combining both quantitative and qualitative data, businesses can get a well-rounded view of their marketing funnel and make sure they’re doing everything they can to attract and convert potential customers into paying ones.
The buyer’s journey is the process that your ideal customers go through as they move from being aware of their problem to find a solution.
In order to create an effective buyer’s journey, you must first understand your audience and what problems they are trying to solve.
Once you have a good understanding of your customer base, you can then develop a strategy that will map out custom content for each phase of their journey.
If done correctly, this can have a significant impact on your customer relationships and lift your overall conversions.
By creating content that is specific to each phase of the buyer’s journey, you are providing value at every stage and increasing the likelihood that they will do business with you.
Have you mapped out your buyer’s journey? If not, head over to zindolabs.com, we can help.