Find out below what each step is and how you can market to consumers at each step.
Definition: In the awareness stage consumers are discovering a need for a product or service. This need can be either real or perceived. If your child is growing quickly and his or her shoes no longer fit, that would be a "real need" for new shoes. If all of your friends have the newest neon sneakers and you want them too, that would be a "perceived need" for new shoes. Regardless of whether the need is real or perceived though, simply becoming aware of a need for something is the first step in the buying cycle.
Marketing Approach: At this stage you want to make sure that you have content focused around solving a consumer’s problem and satisfying their need. In the case above, you’d want to have marketing copy that was targeted at your core audience addressing their motivation for looking for shoes. Something like “Buy Kids Shoes they Won’t Ever Want to Out Grow” for the first example, or “Don’t Just Fit In – Stand Out” for the second example.
Definition: In the interest stage consumers are already aware of their need for a product or service and are now beginning to show interest in different offerings and different brands. At this stage consumers begin to research what’s available to them.
Marketing Approach: Here it’s critical to put yourself out there in the places where consumers may begin their search. This means doing things like running paid search ads, utilizing social media, publishing white-papers and case studies, getting write-ups and reviews from industry leaders and doing local advertising.
Definition: In the consideration stage consumers have done their preliminary research and are now comparing different offerings and different brands. At this stage consumers begin to comparison shop on a variety of applicable factors like price, quality, reviews and ratings, available features, return policy, warranty, when they can get it, sustainability, and the list goes on!
Marketing Approach: This is where you really want to sell yourself. Make sure that you have content and marketing copy that touts your value proposition(s) so that when consumers are shopping around, your company and your products/services stack up to the competition!
Definition: The purchase stage is where you win or lose as a business. If the consumer decides to make a purchase from you (or take any other conversion action like book an appointment, schedule an appointment, download a product, sign up for service, etc.) you’ve won the competition, but the cycle doesn’t end there.
Marketing Approach: To get the most out of your hard work in the earlier stages of the buying cycle, provide upsell opportunities to achieve additional revenue. This can help to increase the sale, and also notify customers of options that they can add on later if they so choose.
Definition: If customers come back and make repeat purchases they are then considered to be in the loyalty stage. This stage is what can really help a business grow because it’s expensive to attract new customers, but much cheaper to retain existing ones. This means that with each subsequent purchase you’re adding to the lifetime value of the customer with very little additional investment.
Marketing Approach: Encourage loyalty by sending emails to current customers announcing new product/service launches, deals and specials, news and events, and exclusive information and offerings.
Definition: Advocacy is the ultimate goal in the buying cycle. Advocacy comes when someone makes a purchase from you, remains loyal to your company, and then tells others about their loyalty. At this stage your customers market your business for you.
Marketing Approach: One way that businesses encourage this advocacy is to thank customers that promote them with either a formal referral program or with spontaneous gifts. Referral programs can allow customers to earn rewards like credits to spend on products/services.
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By Kate Pierce. Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!
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