From becoming aware of your brand, to actually buying from you, your customers go through a process.
With so many buying options a consumer has, it’s important for marketers to understand each step of that journey.
To better understand it we can break the journey into 5 steps: Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Conversion, and Retention.
We’ll have a look at each of them and what do they mean for the customer, and more importantly, what is the marketers’ role at each stage.
1. Awareness Stage
At first, your audience is unaware of your brand or products and also unaware of their problem. How are you, the marketer, going to make them aware of their problem, and position yourself as a solution to their problem?
It may be a new diet plan, new software for editing photos, or a new store with cheap high-quality garments.
If you can’t afford paid media, influencer marketing is another channel that can boost your brand awareness if you do it effectively.
The idea at this stage, and for the following stages too, is to be visible anywhere where your target audience is spending their time: youtube, blogs, forums, groups, search engines.
AWARENESS STAGE TACTIC
Let’s assume that you are selling a new video editing software for mobile devices. Part of your awareness driving strategy would be to set-up an advertising campaign on social media and on youtube showcasing the main features of the app.
As I said, you can also collaborate with influencers. In this scenario, you would approach videographers on youtube and ask to promote your new editing app product by offering free access to the premium features exclusive to their audience.
2. Interest Stage
Now they are aware of their problem and are interested in solving it.
Is your video editing software going to be their next purchase? Will your brand prove to be the best for solving their problem more effectively, more cheaply?
Your job at this stage is to create and nurture relationships with potential clients. Give them reasons to pick you when they later do research on who to choose. Show that you care, show them that “you got this.”
Create positive mind associations towards your brand name. Find out on what platforms, groups, forums are your audiences spending time on and be there for them offering valuable content and answering their queries.
INTEREST STAGE TACTIC
At this stage, you create and publish on your blog and other channels educational content related to your industry such as “Video Editing Guide for Beginners“, “How to edit videos for Instagram“, “How to add text to videos,” etc.
Ideally, you would conduct keyword research and create content around relevant keywords you want to rank for in Google or other channels that you choose to publish on. The channels associated with this stage are on-page and off-page SEO, but also content marketing, and even organic social.
This content on your blog will create a positive brand image. It can also be an awareness driving tactic as well, but for someone who is already aware of you, it will generate interest in your brand and products.
3. Consideration Stage
Now the consumer is aware of your product and brand. Most likely he is now aware of other options too. At this stage, you showcase the perks and advantages of using your product. You do this through tutorials, comparisons, demonstrations.
CONSIDERATION STAGE TACTICS
Let’s carry on with the video editing app example. At this stage, the potential customer knows that the video editing app he’s currently using is outperformed by new apps. He looks for reviews, similar apps, comparisons, tutorials, demonstrations, recommendations.
Your duty as a marketer is to create positive associations about your product on the channels your potential clients are.
Similarly, the main channels associated with the Consideration stage of the buyer’s journey can be influencers and content marketing, SEO, social media.
You can send your new product for free to influencers in your industry so they write about it, recommend, or review it.
Similar to the interest stage, you take advantage of keyword research but in a different way. When people have an interest n your product they will start searching for queries such as:
“is [your product] any good“, “is there a free version of [your product]“, “what is the cost of [your product]” “is there a trial for [your product]“.
Create content around that and create FAQ pages answering their most asked questions about your product.
4. Conversion Stage
When the client is ready to buy most likely he has at least two options to buy from. You are just one of them. How are you going to convince him to buy from you?
Your job now at the conversion stage is to provide incentives for him to choose you over your competitors. Moreover, you need to make the buying process as smooth as possible for him by optimizing the buying process, including the sales page speed.
In terms of optimizing the sales page I recommend A/B testing on-page elements – such as testing different call-to-action buttons, different positioning in the page, different text, etc.
CONVERSION STAGE TACTICS
You ran some ads and you have the data about people who interacted more with your content. You learned that the demographics of your interested audience are males within the age range of 18-24.
I will share 3 different tactics for this stage.
You start by creating an offer of something like a 7 day trial of your new app, a limited time offer, or a 3-months free subscription. Then you perform remarketing by targeting ads with your 7-day trial offer against people that already interacted with your business such as past website visitors.
Another channel where you can promote your special offers is influencer marketing. You collaborate with influencers so they promote your new product and offer a discount code exclusive to their audience.
And if we speak about conversions we also must speak about Pay-Per-Click. Using the PPC platform you can show ads to people that search on Google using transactional keywords. Transactional keywords are search queries that have a buyer intent behind them.
Some exampels of keywords for your PPC campaign might sount like thse:
“where to buy [your product] “, “[your product] discount“, “[your product] trial“,
5. Retention Stage
Your goal as a business should not be to merely make a sale but to turn people into recurring clients. It’s important to make a sale, no doubt about that, but the real business is generated by returning customers.
It’s important to bring value before the sale but you must also bring value after the sale has been made.
RETENTION STAGE TACTICS
You can use other channels but the main channel for the retention stage is email marketing.
Let’s say you got a new product. A common practice is to send an email to your subscribers informing them about your new product.
But that is selfish. It only shows that you care more about making money than you care about them. Instead, offer something like a discount code exclusive for your subscribers.
Let’s say that there is a problem with your product and people are regularly asking you via the customer support how to fix it.
Since it’s common among your buyers you need to address it. Create FAQ pages answering their most common questions and provide tutorials, how to’s, or anything that would make their life easier.
If you want to take the retention stage on step further think outside of the box. As humans we like to buy from humans, not from a faceless brand.
Share your story with your audience. Talk about the people behind the brand, or even talk about you. What inspired you to become a business owner and the process of becoming one.
You can do that on any channel actually, not merely through email.
From people being unaware all the way to the sale and retention your job is to get people interested in your solution.
Do not try to convince anyone of anything. Trying to convince suggests that you have something to hide. It tells a bad story.
Showing your product and your brand as it is, that tells a different story. It shows that you are authentic and trustworthy.