What is the Buyer’s Journey?
What is the buyer’s journey?
The term buyer’s journey was first coined in 2003 by Hugh McFarlane in his book,
The Leaky Funnel. The buyer’s journey describes the stages a buyer goes through leading up to a purchase.
More generally, this journey starts with the awareness of a problem, which eventually needs to be resolved. Then you begin an information search looking for different ways to solve this problem and eventually, arrive at your solution. Let’s break this down into three stages.
What are the different stages of the buyer’s journey?
The three stages of the buyer’s journey can be defined as follows:
Awareness: This is where an individual recognizes the existence of an opportunity or problem. They have not yet decided how to go about solving this, rather they just know it exists. Such a problem could be identified through various symptoms that a user is experiencing. Let’s provide an example that we will discuss at each stage of the journey. For example, someone could be experiencing low energy levels, among other things. This may suggest the need for lifestyle improvements. The user has now become aware of this problem.
Consideration: This is the stage where alternatives are researched and some general method is chosen to solve the problem. However, no specific company or brand is chosen. Continuing our example, the user may arrive at methods to solve the problem such as a fitness plan, a healthy eating plan or some other option. Do you notice how we’re just discussing general methods of solving the problem identified in the awareness stage?
Decision: This is when the user decides to actually purchase a specific brand’s offering (hopefully yours!). Once the user has selected the general method of solving their problem, they will want to zone in on a specific brand that provides this. Say for example, that the user decides that a healthy eating plan is what they need. This individual may begin looking for meal planning tools online and evaluate the different brands that offer this possible solution.
Why is it so crucial that you understand the buyer’s journey?
Understanding the idea of the buyer’s journey is only to your benefit. Some of its advantages include:
Wider Audience Scope. First, do you notice how the decision stage where you introduce your brand encompasses only one section of the buyer’s journey? This provides a much wider scope of users you can now target by interacting with buyers in earlier stages of their journeys.
Better Customer Understanding. Second, you’ll be able to better understand the process that customers go through before deciding to purchase your product or service. In other words, you’ll be able to appreciate the exact thoughts, concerns and considerations consumers go through during your specific sales cycle. You may get frequently asked questions from potential customers before they purchase, which is a sign that there is a common answer people search for before deciding to purchase. You’ll be able to better serve you prospective customers if you know where they’re coming from and their thought processes while doing so.
More Qualified Leads. Ideally, by educating buyers earlier in the journey, you will be able turn them into more qualified leads. Specifically, they will have a greater understanding of the problem they are trying to solve, how to solve it and how your business helps solve it.
Complement with Content Marketing. Lastly, there’s an opportunity for you to provide these answers through content marketing, which offers many benefits (read a related article about content marketing here). The buyer’s journey will help you plan your content marketing strategy and give you ideas about different topics to ideate content around.
Ultimately, the buyer’s journey extends the heavy focus on the decision stage to all phases of the process. This is definitely worth analyzing for your business, so you can connect with potential customers much earlier in the process.
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