Everything starts with optimizing your buyer's journey so that he finds the right product for his needs.
Are you using a one-size-fits-all marketing approach for your business?
If yes, then you are likely losing a number of potential customers!
As much as all business owners and marketers look for a simple and clear-cut answer to gain more customers, unfortunately there is no universal, quick-fix formula for it.
Any marketing approach that claims to fit everyone’s needs is nothing, but a trap that either ignores the necessary factors involved in attracting and converting a consumer or is overly generalized.
In today’s highly competitive business world, personalization of consumer experience is perhaps the most effective strategy for businesses to gain an edge over their competitors by attracting, engaging, and converting more people.
Thanks to the internet, consumers are now smarter, more informed, and powerful than they were ever before. They know exactly what they want and they will only contact your sales people if you are offering something that fulfills their needs or resolve their problems; they don’t call you to get information anymore – they abandon their cart and move on.
This change in consumer’s habits and behaviors has increased the need for businesses to put more effort into their marketing strategy to make sure their audiences know exactly what they are offering and to avoid creating a wrong impression.
With so many choices available, consumers only opt for businesses that cater to their specific needs and not provide generic principles or solutions.
It’s just like when you are sick, you want the doctor to give medicines for treating the specific illness you are suffering from rather than suggesting the same lifestyle changes to all his patients.
Personalization of Consumer Experience
Consumers are bombarded with all forms of advertisements through various channels, but as they are getting smarter and more informed, they actively look out for businesses that prioritize consumers and value their time and attention.
Due to this significant change in consumer behavior, it has now become crucial for brands to tailor their marketing message(s) and offer personalized consumer experiences to ensure success of their inbound marketing strategies.
To help you learn how to provide a personalized experience to your consumers, here we are highlighting the essential steps of the process:
Identify Your Audience
The very first step to creating a successful inbound marketing strategy that provides personalized consumer experience is to identify your target audience.
One of the biggest mistakes many start-ups or amateur marketers make is to consider anyone and everyone as their potential customer. Marketing for your business with this mindset is nothing, but the waste of your time, money, and resources. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that marketing to the wrong people is similar to not marketing at all.
Develop Buyer Personas
Developing detailed buyer personas helps businesses to learn more about their audience. For those who do not know, buyer personas are fictional, but research-based profile(s) created by businesses to depict their target or ideal customers. These profiles, created on the basis of information collected from the existing customers as well as audience through various methods, describe a company’s ideal customers in as much detail as possible. Some of the details that buyer personas include are the age group, profession(s), demographics, pain points, challenges, behaviors, and factors that influence the decision making process of a company’s ideal customer. For businesses that target a wider audience, it is common to have multiple buyer personas.
Developing buyer personas is critical for the success of a marketing strategy because they help you better understand your target audience and their needs, which then will enable you to customize your efforts for attracting, engaging, and converting them.
Identify the Buyer’s Journey for Each Persona
Once you know your target customers and their pain points, track and understand their patterns of behaviors, triggers, and the steps they follow before taking the buying decision. All these factors help you personalize the customer journey that eventually helps you achieve your business goals.
Understanding the buyer’s journey and tailoring your marketing efforts according to that is crucial to convert visitors into leads and then into happy customers. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses do not invest the amount of time and effort required to truly understand what stage of the journey their potential customers are at when they visit their website. As a result, they not only fail to convert them, but may also lose them forever.
In view of its importance and the prevalence of mistakes a large number of businesses make at this step for personalizing the consumer experience, let’s discuss the buyer’s journey in detail.
What is a Buyer’s Journey and Why Is It Important?
Simply put, a buyer’s journey is the path a potential customer follows to get to the conversion stage or to take the purchasing decision.
Identifying and understanding the journey of your potential customers help you gain a deeper understanding of their needs, wants, problems, challenges, and behaviors, which then will enable you to capitalize on them and achieve your business goals.
However, to ensure success you need to adopt a customized approach for each stage of the buyer’s journey. If done right, it helps you convert a visitor not only into a loyal customer, but also into an advocate of your business.
Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
There are different stages of the buyer’s journey and if your marketing strategy doesn’t cater to each of them, you are most likely losing a number of potential customers. What makes it a little trickier for many is the fact that you need to adopt a different marketing approach for each stage of the buyer’s journey. And if you have multiple buyer personas, you will have to formulate a unique approach for each of them.
According to a research conducted by Dynamic Yield, around 74% of digital consumers find it frustrating when the content on a landing page is irrelevant to their needs, interests, or problems. Therefore, it is important that you know what stage of the buyer’s journey your potential customers are at when they visit your website or a landing page and have content that addresses their needs and/or problems.
This is how HubSpot defines the buyer’s journey:
For the purpose of gaining a deeper understanding of the process and to capitalize on it, let’s take a look at different stages of the buyer’s journey:
1 – Awareness Stage
It’s the stage when your potential customers realize that they have a need or problem and they start to look out for possible solutions.
It is at this stage of the buyer’s journey that the crucial first impression of your business is created on your potential customers.
As an entrepreneur or marketer, your goal here should be to gain attention of the customers and create awareness about your company and your products or services. To cut through the noise, you will need to use multiple marketing channels and a variety of marketing tactics.
Remember, this is the first stage of interaction, so do not try to put forward a hard sales pitch at this stage. Instead, focus on gaining their attention by educating them. At this stage, the prospects look for knowledge and are not looking to make purchase.
How to Optimize Awareness Stage?
As mentioned earlier, you need to use multiple marketing channels and strategies to gain attention of your target audience in the crowded digital space. These include search engine optimization, paid marketing, building presence on social media, and content marketing.
2 – Consideration Stage
At the second stage of the buyer’s journey, consumers are fully aware of their needs or problems, have performed online search to gather information about the possible solutions, and are evaluating different available options.
This is where you should start personalizing the customer experience. Your goal here should be to narrow down your focus, while still prioritizing the customers and their needs/problems, and convince them that you offer the best solutions.
At the consideration stage, customers evaluate and compare different options to shortlist the best ones. Here, they will dig deeper and assess if your product really fulfills their needs or resolve their problems. Focus on winning the trust of customers by establishing your expertise and the credibility of your brand across different marketing channels.
How to Optimize Consideration Stage?
To establish your expertise, gain trust of your audience and optimize the second stage of interaction, make use of content marketing, email marketing, guest blogging, reviews on independent websites like Yelp, paid search campaigns, and retargeted ads.
3 – Decision Stage
As evident from the name, it is the stage when the customers are done with all their research and evaluation and are ready to make a decision. This is the stage when the most modern consumers get in touch with the company and talk to their sales representatives. Since it is often their first direct interaction with your company, it is crucial that you treat your potential customers with respect and make them feel valued.
The way you interact with your customers at this stage can make or break their whole experience – you can either convert them into happy and loyal customers (and probably advocates as well) or lose them forever.
Here, your goal is to help your potential customers take the decision and make them feel confident about it.
How to Optimize the Decision Stage?
The best way to optimize the decision stage is to make it easy for your audience to contact you. Provide them with multiple contact options, such as phone number, email address, live chat, instant messaging, and contact forms.
Also, help people take the last step and become your customers by providing detailed testimonials of your existing customers.
In addition to this, make sure that your customer service representatives and/or members of sales team are attentive, trained, have complete knowledge about your products or services, and know how to respond to and resolve customers’ complaints.
The Best Ways to Optimize the Buyer’s Journey
Here are some tried and tested ways to turn prospects into customers by helping them move through different stages of the buyer’s journey:
- Create high-quality, useful content regularly.
- Create a smooth user experience by ensuring that your landing page is well-designed, up-to-date, user-friendly, and has a good speed.
- Use relevant keywords and headlines to improve your search engine ranking, so potential buyers can easily find you.
- Use email marketing to personally reach out to your prospective buyers. In addition to sending cold emails, you can also use emails to convert your leads. For example, many successful businesses send personalized emails as a gentle reminder to people who had abandoned the shopping cart on their website.
While there are other aspects of creating a personalized consumer experience, identifying and understanding the buyer’s journey is the most crucial. This is because only when you know the pain points of your audience that you can devise strategies to address them.