Author: Tom Cottrill | Date Posted: Mar 8, 2022
Your client needs to be worried about a lot of things when it comes to running a business, creating and analyzing a marketing plan, making sales, leading a team, and everything else that comes with trying to convert leads into profit. One of the most important considerations is the buyer’s journey, and the website plays a very important role in that.
The buyer’s journey is the path a consumer makes when working toward a purchase decision from start to finish. The three stages of a buyer journey are: awareness, consideration, and decision. These stages may happen very quickly (in a matter of just a few clicks) for some purchases, or they may happen over the course of weeks or even months—or longer. However, the buyer always takes these steps when deciding on a purchase, no matter how fast or slow they might do it.
Understanding the buyer’s journey is crucial in being able to collect leads and convert them. It’s important in every aspect of marketing and sales. You must know what content to put where, how hard to push at each step, and exactly what questions the consumers want answered when they’re in each step. The website plays an important role in every single step of the journey.
As previously mentioned, the three stages of the buyer journey are awareness, consideration, and decision. Each stage is important, and customers are able to be influenced in each stage.
Awareness is the first stage when the consumer realizes they have a problem that needs to be resolved. This is when a consumer realizes their faucet is leaking or they want to remodel their basement because their son moved out or they need a new dress for an upcoming event. They have a need, and they need a company who can solve it.
Consideration is the second stage in which buyers have a little more information about how to research a potential solution and start doing the research. This may include looking for recommendations, researching online what potential fixes may exist, and finding companies to start researching further.
The last stage is the decision stage, and buyers in this stage go through the list of companies they created from the previous stage, narrowing them down to better meet their criteria, and finally make their decision.
Now, obviously if someone is buying a dress, they’re probably not making lists of places to shop. However, they do go through this process in a different way, browsing numerous websites, comparing prices, shipping speeds, quality, fit, etc. This specific decision process might include buying 5 dresses, trying them all on, and returning the ones that aren’t quite right. Even though the journey is shorter, more casual, and different than spending $10,000 on a roof or business coach, it is the same process.
A website is an integral part of each stage in the buyer journey. It’s one of the best ways to move a buyer through the journey, and therefore, through the funnel. Without even realizing it, the client’s current website probably already guides the consumer through the process. Although usually customers in the awareness phase haven’t yet discovered specific companies because they’re just realizing they even have a problem, a blog on a company’s website could actually be the catalyst that makes them realize there is a problem that needs to be solved.
For example, a plumber might publish a blog on their website about subtle signs you have a plumbing leak, and a person reading the blog might realize they have noticed 3 of those 5 signs and that maybe it’s time to call a plumber. Just by writing this blog, that plumbing company has now added themselves to the consideration stage for the reader and given themselves a one-up on their competition just by establishing themselves as an expert in the field with that blog.
Aside from the blog, the website itself is full of material that serves every stage of the buyer’s journey, including what your customer does, how they do it, why they’re different, maybe the pricing or package information, and how to contact you to collect more information. They may even have reviews and case studies to help with the consideration.
Mapping the buyer’s journey should be a significant part of planning your client’s website. Before that can be done, the target audience will have to be determined in enough detail that the exact details of the journey they will take for a purchase will be clear and easily laid out. Identifying a buyer persona from this target audience is also recommended in order to make sure the process is clearly defined. For example, a person buying a dress wants all that laid out easily to purchase on the site with only a few clicks, but that person from the above example shopping for a $10,000 roof replacement is going to want to call the company and get more detailed information before entering the final stage of the process.
Depending on where a visitor enters your website, they should have the appropriate guidance to take them by the hand and easily, quickly, and efficiently get to the next stage of the buyer’s journey on your site with just one click. Having CTAs in the right places is a great first step. If a user enters on your blog, you can assume they are probably still in the awareness stage and won’t want to go right to the purchase page. Instead, the CTAs might take them to learn more about the issue discussed in the blog or a little more about your client’s company on a larger scale.
This content will typically be blogs or other simple and educational content that will engage and educate visitors. Educational blogs, videos, infographics, white papers, and before-and-after content are some great examples of content for visitors in this stage of the journey. This should help them realize they could have a problem—if they do at that moment or even something they will remember in the future of things to consider—to start the journey.
This stage’s content should consist of what your client offers, how other customers have felt about their products or services, why their products or services are above the competition, possibly pricing depending on the industry standards, and content similar to that. This could even include blogs that go beyond the “Do you have a problem?” content and enter into “Best brands for when you have this problem.”
Content for the decision stage is the last touchpoint a website will typically have with a consumer before they make their decision. They may have already talked to an owner or employee personally for more information, but if they are back on the website in the decision stage, then they have narrowed it down to your client’s company being one of the final options. Help them by showing direct comparisons, why your client’s company is so beneficial, how their price differs (and an explanation of price differences if they are extreme), and help a user not have to navigate back onto the internet.
Designing the website properly to help guide a client’s site visitors through the buyer journey easily and swiftly is necessary. Otherwise, if the site is not functional for that specific buyer persona, they will bounce and end up on another site after your client’s site has told them they have a problem.
Therefore, considerations like simple and clear navigation and general website optimization, conversion, and user engagement tips that should already be done as part of the web development process will help a buyer move through their journey on the site, but there is more that must be done more specifically as well.
It’s tough being the company watching consumers take a journey that they cannot be a part of because they didn’t set up their website properly to guide them through it. Trust us, other companies are making sure their sites help them navigate perfectly, and consumers will not leave them if they walk them through. Make sure your clients are the latter, not the former.
Make sure the website is consistently analyzed and adjusted accordingly to make sure it is converting well and guiding consumers. If it becomes clear that customers are frequently bouncing off blog pages without going further into the site or getting all the way to the contact page and failing to make contact, changes might be necessary to avoid wasting valuable website space.
Since 2013, Ignitro Studios has been working to blend marketing and technology in support of agencies and other marketers. By understanding both sides of web development, we have a unique perspective and advantage within the industry. We provide design, development, project management, QA, and strategy, driving the bus so our clients don’t have to. We will work with our clients to get results while also empowering them to do their job better. Learn more about Ignitro Studios.