Here’s a metaphor you don’t see everyday: inbound marketing is a lot like making jewelry.
Stick with me here. Before becoming VIEO’s principal & chief strategist, I spent several years in the world of ecommerce, designing handcrafted jewelry via my homegrown business, Sweet Sparkle Designs. Although the two industries might at first seem unrelated, the skills I employed as a jewelry designer easily transferred to my role in inbound marketing.
Much like the jewelry-making process, inbound marketing that considers the buyer's journey relies heavily on thoughtful detail and planning. You have to be familiar with your buyer persona, know their pain points and interests, and then offer them practical, value-driven solutions.
In many ways, it can feel very similar to designing and selling custom jewelry. The materials and approach you’d use to market children’s bracelets to a family-friendly organization would probably not be as successful with career-driven women who want sophisticated signature pieces. Therefore, you should adapt your tactics to suit each client type. This starts with thorough research and making an effort to understand where they’re coming from.
Better yet, make it a priority to find out where they are in the buyer’s journey. By incorporating the buyer’s journey into your inbound marketing strategy, you can further understand your prospects' specific needs and provide them with helpful solutions.
What Is the Buyer’s Journey?
The “buyer’s journey” refers to the active research process that a prospective client goes through that eventually leads them to a purchase—and in many ways, it’s the core of an efficient inbound marketing strategy.
Three unique stages comprise this key process. As outlined below, this journey will help you narrow down where your potential clients are and then connect them with the right content at the right time. Here’s how it works.
What Are the Stages of the Buyer’s Journey?
The Awareness Stage
- Looks Like: the prospect has recognized a problem or opportunity.
- Research Includes: neutral 3rd party information that verifies their concerns.
- You Might Provide: material that addresses the buyer’s pain points, such as editorial content, educational content, etc.
The Consideration Stage
- Looks Like: the prospect has identified or given a name to their problem.
- Research Includes: understanding all methods of solving their problem.
- You Might Provide: expert guides, live interactions, webcasts, videos, etc.
The Decision Stage
- Looks Like: the prospect has defined their solution, strategy, or approach.
- Research Includes: using documents, or other data to make a final decision.
- You Might Provide: brand-specific content, such as vendor comparisons, case studies, trial downloads, etc.
How Does the Buyer’s Journey Fit into Your Strategy?
In essence, the buyer’s journey allows you to nurture individual leads more effectively. Rather than gear your site content and messages just to the person who’s ready to buy, you can use the buyer’s journey to create content that’s specific to every lead’s needs.
In turn, your site will cast a wider net to draw in more of the right prospects.
Thinking about the buyer’s journey in this way is especially important because about 96% of your website visitors aren’t ready to buy immediately. By making a point to have more varied resources available, though, you’ll leave a strategically favorable impression, ensure that your efforts are customer-centric, and improve your overall business performance.
How Do You Map Content to the Buyer’s Journey?
If you haven’t yet approached your content with the buyer’s journey in mind, there are certain steps to help you get there. For example, you might consider:
- actively defining your buyer personas
- auditing your web pages to determine how they fit into the buyer’s journey, and making any necessary tweaks
- providing downloadable content offers for each stage
- planning automated lead development via follow-up emails
And those are just a few options! Like the perfect piece of jewelry that seems to be made just for you, content that fits your customer's journey just feels right; that's why the buyer's journey is such a vital tool in complementing a successful inbound marketing strategy.
To make things easy, we created this PDF worksheet you can use to create content that supports your inbound efforts. Just click on the button to download it!