Understanding the Customer Buying Cycle to Boost Sales

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buying cycle

Do you want more leads and sales from your website?

First things first, for on-going sales, you must understand the buying cycle of a purchaser. Not understanding this process can lead to holes in your online marketing presence, potentially losing out on more opportunities to grow your business.

The Buying Process in a Nutshell

Stage 1: Product/ Service Recognition

This is the most important piece to the buying cycle which is recognizing the need for your product or service. Why would someone need your company? If there’s not a need for your product/service, chances are, there won’t be a purchase either.

Stage 2: Research

Once a buyer realizes the need for your product or service, they begin to research companies to fulfill this void. What’s your company’s offer?

Stage 3: Evaluation of Opportunities

After research is performed, it’s time for the buyer to evaluate their different options. What makes your offer better than the competition?

Stage 4: Purchase Decision

Now that the buyer has evaluated their alternatives, it’s time to make a decision. During this stage, the purchaser may seek out pricing from a few of their options. Is the pricing of your offer competitive? If your price is higher than the competition, explain why.

Stage 5: Final Purchase

The stage where the buyer has realized the need for your product/service, researched and evaluated, and now decided on who to purchase from.

Stage 6: Evaluating Results of the Purchase

This is the final stage of the buying process, not the final purchase. Once a purchase is made, your job is NOT done. In order to build custom relationships and have a good reputation it’s always a good idea to make sure the customer was happy with their purchase.

How to Use the Buying Cycle to Boost Conversion and Sales

Now that you understand the basics of the buying cycle, it’s time to take advantage of it for your on-going marketing efforts. Below are some ways to do just that:

Analyze Top Search Queries to Know the Stage of the Buyer

We always think of keyword research as the first phase to any marketing strategy because it builds the foundation of the SEO strategy. Understanding how your buyers are searching and making sure you’re tackling all of the different stages of the keywords.

Example:

  • Someone searching “smartphone plans” – This term is very generic. Someone is looking for plans to choose from solving a problem they may have with a current plan or new to the process altogether. This term would be most likely used in stages 1 and 2 of the buying cycle.
  • Someone searching for “verizon smartphone plans vs att&t smartphone plans” – When a customer is comparing services, they’re most likely researching and evaluating their options. This would be part of stage 2 or 3 of the buying cycle.
  • Someone is searching for “Verizon smartphone plans” or “Samsung Galaxy Note 4” – These terms are very specific to a brand or product. The customer has already done their research and knows what they want to buy. This would be stage 4 or 5 of the buying cycle.

You want to have keywords that are tailored to each stage of the buying cycle because it opens up more opportunities for customers to find you. Even if they’re in the research stage, that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to come back looking for your brand if you had a memorable offer.

Invest Your Content into the Right Digital Marketing Channels

Each product or service is essentially marketing to a specific demographic, of course. Are you investing your content into the channels where your demographic is searching or active on? We’re going to break it down by stage by examples of how to utilize the buying process with content, starting with stage 2. This is also assuming your product/service is fulfilling a specific need.

Research Stage: Where does your audience go to find more information about their need? If you are selling products online or providing a local service, your audience is most likely going to use Google for more research. You should be spending part of your investment into ranking organically in Google, as well as paid search, to make sure your site shows up when people are doing their initial research.

Evaluation Stage: This stage needs a combination of marketing efforts to be successful. You might consider having a comparison chart on a dedicated landing page of your website that’s tailored to show how your offer is better than the competition. Within that landing page you should then have a form to capture data and offer an incentive to encourage the evaluator to go further down the buying cycle. Then, you should share that landing page through your social media so that other people can share with their friends what makes you different. Lastly, ranking for terms that are strictly about comparison would also help attract evaluators to that landing page.

Purchase Decision Stage: Now that the customer has gone through all of the stages, it’s time for the decision to purchase your product or service. During this stage, you want to make sure you’re really focused on your discounts. If the potential customer has decided to download your offer on your landing page, you can use email marketing to send an “Exclusive Discount”. You can also do this via social media. This is the nurturing stage where you have to use persuasive content in order to help the customer to make the right purchase decision.

Purchase Results Stage: You’ve done it! The customer decided to go with your company to fulfill their need(s). Now that they’ve made the final decision and purchased, it’s important to follow up with the customer to make sure all of their needs were met. Give them a call or email them to thank them for their business and making sure they’re happy with their purchase; this step really goes a long way. That’s the first step in building a long-term relationship with your customer, which will keep them coming back to your company for years to come.

Closing Thoughts

It’s important to focus on much more than just “gaining sales” with your website content. There’s an entire cycle that occurs before sales are even made. If your marketing campaign is missing any of the primary components of the cycle listed above, your business could be missing opportunities. Understanding the buying cycle and your target demographic are both key strategy building components that should always be considered.

Do you need help building a marketing strategy that’s tailored to the buying cycle? Give our experts a call today. We’re here to help. 800-871-4130

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Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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About Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

2 thoughts on “Understanding the Customer Buying Cycle to Boost Sales

  1. Avatar for Team Eminent SEOMarcus Hansen

    Great write up Lacy! Using the consumer journey to brand yourself in the SERPS is the only way to go. Think of it as Retargeting for organic search. If, throughout all phases of the journey, your website is ranking highly, you have branded yourself as the leader in the space.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Best,
    Marcus

    Reply

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