Stop Yelling At Me: Understanding the Buyer Journey
They’re everywhere. You can’t escape them. They’re on your computer. And, they’re on your TV.
They follow you wherever you are. They track you down and never let you go… yelling at you, screaming at you – and, most of the time, about things that don’t even apply to you. Banner ads…. TV commercials…. Super cubes…. Pre-roll videos…. Pop-ups… and, those dreaded auto-play spots that pop up from nowhere.
You know them. They’re loud and obnoxious, forcing you to scroll down the page to find that tiny stop button buried somewhere on the site. Don’t know about you but, for this web user, this just usually ends up with a simple close of the whole page. (I’m sure, this is quite the opposite of what the advertiser really desired.)
Why are some companies and marketers sticking to the ancient sales ‘mega-phone approach’ – spewing a mass message at everyone out there – in hopes of snagging just a small percentage of the folks they’re targeting? If you’re one of these advertisers finding yourself stuck in that old approach, you might want to think about making the switch to inbound marketing. Chances are, you might be wasting your hard-earned money and losing precious customers.
Need more reasons?
I recently stumbled across an oldie but a goodie – a great blog post from Hubspot CEO, Brian Halligan. In the post, he compared traditional marketers looking to garner interest from potential customers to lions hunting in the jungle for elephants. Just think about it, customers aren’t where they used to be anymore. Just like the elephants, they’ve moved on… and so have your customers. Don’t you think it’s about time you tried to get them back? Hint: look for them at their watering hole when they are thirsty.
So, how do you know when to target your ideal customer, and with what? In order to answer this question, you should first understand one of the fundamentals of inbound marketing: the “Buyer’s Journey.”
THE BUYER JOURNEY
Inbound marketing revolves around ‘The Buyer’s Journey,” a three-stage process a potential buyer goes through leading up to a purchase. Understanding the buyer journey is crucial as it will help you get the right information into the right person’s hands… at, you guessed it, the right time. Each stage of the journey brings with it it’s own strategy on what remarkable content (content that is useable and that will keep the customer coming back for more) should be provided.
During the awareness phase, inbound marketers thrive by attracting customers who are experiencing symptoms of a problem. In this stage, content is designed for the customer who is doing research to help them define, understand and name their problem.
This next step in the buyer’s journey occurs when the business prospect has figured out what their problem actually is. Now, they are committed to more research so they can further understand the different ways and approaches that could solve their issue.
In the final stage of the buyer’s journey, the potential customer has now decided on their solution strategy, method or approach. The journey tells us that this is where our prospect is putting together lists of products and places that can help them with their choice. This is the time the end-user is whittling down a long list to their very own shortlist so they can make their final purchase decision.
It is from your understanding of the buyer’s journey that you will begin to map out your remarkable content based on your preferred customers (your buyer personas) and where they are at on their way to buying. The buyer journey truly is just the top of the iceberg. There’s so much more to learn and implement when it comes to inbound. The one thing I can tell you, though, is once you start climbing that iceberg… you’ll see there aren’t many ads up there – no salespeople hunting you down and yelling at you. But, I bet you’ll find some that are tailored just for you on how to get down!
So, are you ready? Ready to stop yelling and wasting your marketing voice? Are you done with testing consumers’ patience with that traditional megaphone approach? Holla at a hippo.