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Understanding the buyer's journey: Why timing really is everything


Posted by Mark Parent - August 16, 2016

Kids learn pretty quickly the art of good timing.

Any 7-year-old can tell you that the time to ask Dad for a new toy is not the minute he walks in the door from a bad day at work. A child learns to read the emotional landscape of his or her parents in no time flat. Thus, a valuable lesson is learned. Timing is everything.

Does that hold true as people grow into adulthood? Absolutely. Consider the role of great timing in digital marketing.

Image of a clock. Successful digital marketing requires great timing.Successful digital marketing is all about great timing. Tweet: Lined up and ready to tackle your marketing challenges? Try an inbound approach. bit.ly/1V9rUEL

Understanding the buyer's journey

In order to market your product or service effectively, it is vital to understand your audience. To that end, you likely create buyer personas to help you visualize your ideal client. That is a great beginning.

>> Get more insight on how buyer personas can help your business: Buyer personas: What are they and why does your business need them?

However, to truly time your marketing campaigns for maximum impact, you must understand not only who your leads are, but where in the buyer's journey they are at any given time. The content, frequency, and intensity of your marketing message must change over the course of the buyer journey.

B2C's "Why Aren't Your Visitors Converting?" sums it up this way:

"If you're answering the right questions, but at the wrong time, you're not really answering their questions or helping them identify (and then solve) their problems at all. And failing to do so definitely will not help you convert every visitor into a lead."

This is one of the key areas in which an inbound marketing strategy excels over more traditional marketing methods. Inbound marketing strategies involve segmenting your target audience according to a number of variables beyond mere demographics, including such considerations as buyer behaviors and perceived buyer intent.

Because almost every aspect of inbound marketing can be measured, the opportunities abound for analyzing buyer behaviors and identifying positioning within the sales funnel. Obviously, the more you know about your leads, the more likely it becomes that you can tailor your inbound marketing strategies to prompt conversions at every stage.

Aligning your content with specific buyer behaviors, for instance, allows you to personalize your marketing message more fully, thereby enhancing the customer experience. For instance, if a lead has viewed or requested information on a specific product, you will likely send, not only the specific information requested, but also perhaps a suggestion regarding other products that might be of interest as well. The more specifically your marketing campaigns can be targeted, the more conversions will result.

Aligning your content with buyer journey stages

HubSpot's "The Marketer's 3 Step Content Roadmap: Aligning Content to Your Buyers Journey" defines the buyer's journey as "the active research process a potential buyer goes through leading up to a purchase." It consists of three steps: awareness, consideration, and decision.

Considering each stage separately, what types of content best match each part of the journey?

Awareness: At this stage, a potential buyer is in the process of identifying a problem for which a solution is needed. The buyer is not locked in to any particular vendor, and may still be trying to decide if a solution is needed at all.

Good content for the awareness stage of the buyer journey might be e-books, blog posts, or white papers. This content should be designed to illuminate the problems your product solves, thus piquing the interest of the potential buyer.

Consideration: At this stage, your prospect has identified his or her problem, and is actively seeking information concerning potential solutions. The potential buyer's focus is narrowing based on his or her research.

Good content for this stage might be solution comparisons, white papers, videos, webcasts, and long form blog posts. This content should be designed to clearly illustrate the benefits and advantages your product provides to the potential buyer.

Decision: At this stage, the potential buyer understands the problem, has identified potential solutions, and is actively looking for validation concerning his or her narrowing choices.

Good content for this stage might be product comparisons, case studies, customer reviews, detailed product literature, and trial versions of your product. The intent of this content is to validate your buyer's choice of your product, providing concrete assurance that the buyer's decision to consider your product is a sound one.

Image of person shopping on mobile tablet.

Timing your marketing messages correctly helps move leads quickly
through the different stages of the buyer's journey to conversion. Tweet: Lined up and ready to tackle your marketing challenges? Try an inbound approach. bit.ly/1V9rUEL

Assessing your timing

The importance of timing your campaigns correctly cannot be underestimated. Are your current marketing campaigns aligned correctly with each stage of the buyer journey and timed for maximum success? Find out now by requesting a free inbound marketing assessment today.

Interested to see how your website design and marketing efforts stack up against your peers? Check out our free website performance report. In it, we analyzed some of the top organizations around Metro Detroit to identify key trends in marketing and web design.

Website and Marketing Performance Report

Make sure to connect with us on LinkedIn to get valuable insight on the latest news in marketing and website design. Follow us  here:

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Topics: Personas & Buyer Journey

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