08 Aug The Best Digital Marketing Channels for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Introduction

Marketers talk a lot about the buyer’s journey. They should, and likely so do you. After all, it is the very center of your marketing strategy. In general, there are three stages associated with the buyer’s journey - awareness, consideration, and decision. Awareness is when a buyer realizes he has a problem, or pain point. Consideration is when a buyer starts searching for a solution amongst multiple possible sellers. Decision is when a buyer commits to one particular solution.

Simple enough. But, how do you effectively market to a buyer at each stage of the buyer’s journey? Which channels should you use? We break down each stage into its most appropriate marketing channels you should consider.

Awareness - Display, Social Media, Content

When a buyer first realizes he may have a problem, your task is to meet him with high-level content that educates. Pursue content ideas that give additional clarity to the buyer’s evolving situation. For example, if you are a healthcare organization, a potential customer in the awareness stage may be concerned about some negative symptoms. Your way of grabbing his attention might be to provide helpful content on common diagnoses and remedies for the very same symptoms.

Some possible marketing channels include display advertising, social media advertising, and content marketing. First, you can intentionally set up your display ads to appear based on your buyer’s browsing history, particularly if it seems to land him on healthcare websites. Second, you can set Facebook Ads to reach a buyer based on his interests, hobbies, and purchases surrounding health topics. Third, you can create lots of helpful content on your website related to common health complaints. These all work great for the awareness stage because you are providing value and empathy. In essence, you are building credibility and connection with a new customer lead. If you’re doing this well, you’ve built brand awareness and have encouraged your buyer to the second stage.

Consideration - Video, Social Media,  Email

After a buyer is well informed about a problem he’s having, he may be at the point where he is actively searching for a solution. Your goal for a buyer at this stage is to answer their questions with more helpful detail. Continue to invest in that relationship you’ve gained through your brand awareness efforts in the previous stage. Let’s say you are an eCommerce fashion retailer. Your buyer in consideration may be someone who’s looking for winter clothing ahead of the holiday season. You can build on his awareness of your brand by giving helpful content on specific options for winter clothing. Then, you can shed light on different types of winter attire out on the market and how a customer can make a good purchase.

Possible marketing channels include video marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing. Based on our example, you might choose to create a how-to video on shopping for winter attire. You can also create compelling copy through organic posts about different winter attire retailers on your buyer’s social channels. You could even provide a landing page for a very helpful white paper on winter attire do’s and don’ts, which a buyer can download by providing his email address. Then, follow up by email with more related content to the white paper.

At this point, what you’re after is differentiating yourself from your competitors. Help answer questions about your products through your channels. Show the buyer the potential benefits he can gain from choosing your product or service. You do this well, and your potential customer is one step closer to conversion.

customer in the consideration stage of buyer's journey

Decision - Email, Paid Search, Word-Of-Mouth

You’re now at the stage where your buyer is ready to make a purchase or subscription. Your goal is to help him make the decision to choose you. He’s already pretty loyal to your brand, and likely gathered enough research, including some assistance from you during the consideration stage. Your efforts are less about educating and more about promoting. Go all out with your content offerings. Possible marketing channels include email marketing, paid search ads, and word-of-mouth. 

For example, let’s say you’re a financial institution that provides personal banking services. If your customer is in the decision stage, you can pay for ads that focus on banking keywords during a Google search. If he’s on your email contact list, send him a special promotional offer for the first account he opens with you. Provide product info with testimonials from satisfied customers, to give him confidence in becoming a new customer.

If all goes well, you’ve sealed the deal.

Conclusion

There are sometimes additional stages in the buyer’s journey that marketers may care about, but these three are essential - awareness, consideration, and decision. In each of these stages, the marketing channels you choose depends on what’s most helpful for the buyer at that moment. Early on, you should educate. As your buyer progresses through the stages, you begin slowly differentiating yourself. By the end, you’re promoting your business.

For further insights, read Thoughtlight’s blog post on the right social channels for your target persona. Our services can make digital marketing work for you.

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