The buyer's journey is exactly what it sounds like, the path someone or some business, takes to get onto your customer list. As we are a Hubspot Partner Agency we tend to lean on the Hubspot definition of the buyer's journey, but as with everything we do at Solomon Caw Marketing, we've tweaked the system to our liking.
The image at the top of this post is pulled straight from Hubspot. The description of the buyer's journey is there and we do recommend that you read that blog as well. While the general idea behind the journey is a perfect fit for Inbound Marketing, it wasn't perfect for our unique Community Investment Marketing (CIM) approach to Inbound.
Step 1: Awareness Stage
Making your prospective customers aware that you exist as a business has become both easier and harder thanks to social media. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest provide businesses with access to millions of people without spending a ton of money. Sounds great, right? But this also means your competitors can reach those same people just as inexpensively. Oh, and do you really need to reach millions of people? Probably not. Therefore, many of the people reached probably have no interest in your business. So how do you manage the two? Jump on the CIM bandwagon, that's how!
Since you have embraced CIM and have cultivated a relationship with a local charity, you now have two channels available to you for raising brand awareness. Buyers are researching; they have a need and want to find a way to satisfy that need. Your buyers are also part of your community, so if they notice that not only do you offer help with their need (in a non-intrusive manner, of course) and you support one of their favorite local charities, then you have just attained a leg up on your competitors. You can also use this connection with the charity to further define your targets within the social media platform.
Step 2: Consideration Stage
In this stage of the journey buyers go back to researching. This time, though, they are on your website. Your website is your best salesperson, right? Driving traffic to a poorly designed site is like opening your doors to a poorly designed and poorly lit sales floor. Fix it. Now. Okay, not now, finish reading first, then fix your website!
When your buyers find that your website helps them more than your competitor's website, they tend to stay longer. Visitors who stay longer on websites, or return to websites, are more likely to buy and more likely to become champions for your brand. Community Investment Marketing also helps in this stage. Your buyers now see images of events you've been a part of, or a list of volunteer hours you and your team have amassed. This makes the buyer feel good when they are on your site, so be sure to feature (but not brag about) your community involvement. Help your buyer make the decision to buy; don't force them to by.
Step 3: Decision Stage
At this point in the journey the need has been defined, the fulfillment for that need has been discovered, and the pros and cons of a few options might be in the mind of your buyer. How can you be sure your offering is the one with the most pros and fewest cons? This is a little trickier, we'll admit, but by using the Inbound Sales Methodology along with your commitment to CIM it gets easier. The final stage will include your sales team and they should have been researching the buyer to be ready for the initial personal contact. The conversation must, and we mean MUST, focus on the need the buyer has. This first conversation need not even discuss the solutions your company offers; this is when your sales person makes the journey personal. Listen, ask questions, and listen again. Help the buyer make the decision. Oh, and did we mention listen?
As the final decision is made, be sure to also help the buyer with any special needs the purchase might require such as training. If your company doesn't offer what is needed, be sure to have a list of places where the customer can find the help they will need.
The Buyers Journey, our way!
Once the purchase is finalized, don't rest. Keep in touch with the buyer to ensure they remain happy customers who become evangelists. And don't forget to personally invite them to the next event you host or sponsor for that local charity you and your team supports! For more information on Community Investment Marketing, follow the link below.