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Jul 23, 2018
In my early 20s, I was an assistant manager at Journey's, the shoe store. Every couple of weeks, I would get a customer that would say that they just got a job at a restaurant and they were looking for shoes that they could wear in the restaurant's kitchen - comfy shoes with a good grip on the bottom. This wasn't that long ago, maybe 2007, but if I had to bet, I would bet against that conversation still happening within the walls of Journeys.
Today, it's very unlikely that Journey's customers are still doing research about what shoe to buy by the time they actually go to the store. If they've made it into a storefront, there is a 1 in 2 chance that they've researched your product on Amazon and a 1 in 3 chance that they've Googled your product. If the product you're selling is considered a 'big purchase', then those numbers are even higher: 4 in 5 people start their research online before making a big purchase.
There's a definite change in the way that people buy and, as marketers, we need to change the way that we market and sell products and services.
The overarching takeaway is this - buyers want to be in charge of their own journey. While traditional, or outbound, marketing is focused on the company, Inbound Marketing is focused on the buyer. Outbound marketing is disruptive, expensive, inhuman and often immeasurable, inbound marketing is empowering, less expensive, human and ROI-focused.
There are three stages that each of your personas go through when they make a purchasing decision: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.
In the image above, the Awareness stage begins the moment that a buyer realizes that they have a problem. The buyer will do research until they discover what their problem is and begin researching possible solutions - the Consideration stage. Once they have researched all possible solutions, they will decide on one solution and then begin researching specific products or services. At that point, they will enter into the Decision stage, where they are deciding between 2 or 3 service providers and getting ready to make a purchase decision.
Once you've created your personas, it's important to understand their thought process as they go through as they move through each phase of the Buyer's Journey. Conduct interviews with existing clients and prospects and try to do determine the following for each stage.
During the Awareness stage, you'll want to learn:
During the Consideration stage, you'll want to learn:
During the Decision stage, you'll want to learn:
Once you have a clear understanding of the buyer's journey for your persona, you are able to write content that speaks to a specific persona at a specific stage of their buyer's journey. This gives your entire content marketing strategy a huge fuel injection, and allows you to provide the most value and gives you the best shot at turning leads into paying customers.