Design Ideas For Every Stage Of The Buyer’s Journey
The eye of the beholder is very important for every art piece. Many claim that art needs its audience to attain its full glory.
Marketing and sales are something like that.
What are sales and marketing if not a performance to engage, enthrall, and connect with your buyer? Artists do it to sell their skills, while marketers do it to sell a product. That’s all.
And just like in art, the target audience remains the focal point of every good sales and marketing campaign. It can be as technically perfect as you want it to be, but if it isn’t what the buyer needs, it won’t work.
Buyers are so important to your marketing cycle that experts have spent years understanding, decoding, and interpreting their thoughts and actions.
These actions eventually lead them to you, and your understanding of this journey can turn your business into a bigger success than you imagine.
A buyer’s journey figures in every marketing lesson, board meeting, and advertising campaign meeting.
But what is it? Why is it important for your business to understand your buyers’ journey? Can it make an impact for your small business at the cusp of reopening? How can you use this knowledge?
You’ll find all that and more in this Kimp blog on content and design ideas for every stage of the buyers’ journey.
The Buyer’s Journey and its Importance
Steve Jobs famously said, “Most people don’t know what they want unless you show it to them.”
In a content-saturated internet, this is easier said than done. But, it is possible. If you understand your buyers’ journey.
A buyer’s journey typically traces the path a customer takes from the first moment of intent to the final purchase.
The internet has completely revamped the buying-selling process. Now, the sales process begins the minute a customer realizes they need a product or service. After many iterations, encounters, and evenings spent researching every product in that category, they move to the purchase stage.
If you want the customer to arrive at you as the destination of this journey, you have to understand the steps a buyer takes and plan to be present in all of them.
Most customers make up their minds even before they reach out to a company’s sales team. So, your brand’s presence in the initial stages of a buyer’s journey makes or breaks your deal.
Stages of the Buyers’ Journey and Ideal Brand Responses
For simplicity’s sake, we have split the buyer’s journey into 4 parts – awareness, consideration, decision and delight.
This is the nascent stage. Your customer is realizing their pain points and exploring the details of this newfound problem. This can be because of their lived experience or a reaction to an advertisement that calls their attention to this issue.
As a brand, you must express empathy and validate their thoughts. Empathy-based marketing comes in handy here and encourages the customer to take this problem seriously.
The customer now has validation for their problem (hopefully because of your actions). Now, they launch into the research mode and explore options that help them define this problem and also offer solutions.
This stage comprises copious amounts of research for data from verified experts, trusted peers, and popular mediums. The aim is to understand the solution and ways to secure that solution.
At this stage, as a brand, you must present yourself as a possible solution provider for their issue. You must establish your credibility and supremacy among your peers in the market by providing sufficient data to support this claim.
The customer eventually chooses a specific solution or product that suits their needs and expectations perfectly. But remember that even if they choose you, this is no time to get complacent. In the age of easy cancellations, brands must commit to smoother processes, excellent customer service, and value-added services to retain the sale.
The buyer’s journey beyond the decision stage extends into the “Delight Stage”, post-purchase.
The buyer in the delight stage is basically a qualified lead for every product you may launch in the future.
Delighting your customer makes it easy to make them a buyer again.
Creating Stage-Specific Content for your Small Business
Now that you have understood how the customer reaches you, how can you ensure you influence their decision at every stage?
What can make them choose you every time, subconsciously or consciously?
The answer is simple – content marketing. And not just a generic content marketing strategy. You need a strategy that specifically caters to your customer at every distinct stage of the buyer’s journey.
By creating content for every stage, your customers benefit, and more than anything – your business benefits.
- Small businesses usually have lean operations. If you want to avoid pitching to every lead individually and answering repeat FAQs, create a content guide that lets the user access this information easily.
- Also, content creation – text, image, and video is expensive if you want quality. So, why spend distributing it to customers who have not even discovered your product yet?
- With buyer’s stage-specific content marketing strategy, share your best and detailed content only with customers who have moved to the consideration stage.
- Your online marketing content serves as a yardstick for customers to evaluate you. A content bank that caters to the niche requirements of a client builds credibility for your brand. It enables your transition from a seller to a partner with your buyer on their journey.
Catering to every stage in the Buyers’ Journey – Use Cases and Best Practices
Time to get down to business. Sometimes, businesses struggle to segregate their content and align it with the different stages in the buyer’s journey.
It can be quite confusing to choose between a blog post, case study, video content, or brochure.
But this is actually an easy challenge to overcome.
Let’s consider this – you are a customer and understand that you want a better cleaning product for your home. Now, the questions in each stage look like this:
- Awareness – Is there a better cleaning product? How is it better? Does my pain point have a resolution?
- Consideration – How can I choose between the many options available in the market? What separates each product from the other? And what solves my problem the best?
- Decision – What is the buying process? What is the customer service from this business like? Can I expect post-purchase service from them?
- Delight – Is there a way to upgrade my product or service? Does the company offer an add-on to the product? What is my benefit in maintaining a relationship with this business?
To choose the right types of content, all you have to do is to think from the customer’s point of view. And see what has worked before in the industry.
A little intuition and analytics will take you ahead.
Sounds complicated? Don’t worry. Even though marketing is not a one-size-fits-all service, some concepts are universal.
Which type of content works better at which stage is one of them.
Scroll below to take a look at Kimp’s curation of content ideas that work at the different stages of the buyer’s journey. And because a picture speaks a thousand words, check out the designs below, and how they’ve been used, to level up your marketing strategy.
Ideas for the Awareness Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
As discussed before, your customer slowly realizes that they have a pain point. And there is a possibility that a different product may serve their needs better.
Typically, the awareness stage has two factions – realization and interest.
In the realization stage, the customer subconsciously looks for products to solve their needs. Their grip on the status quo is loose, and their mind is open to suggestions.
As a small business, your task begins here.
Your presence in this stage builds credibility and brand awareness for your business. The customer recognizes and acknowledges you as a potential contender subconsciously from this stage itself.
To truly pivot and hold the customers’ attention in this stage, create content that:
- Empathizes with the customer and validates their pain points.
- Expresses your competency and authority in the market as a solution provider.
- Weaves a story with the customer as the protagonist to form an emotional connection with them.
Some examples of content that accomplish these effects are:
- Problem-focused advertisement and social media marketing that reach a wider audience, such as banner ads, social media ads, billboards, or signages.
- PR content that shows collaboration with influencers in your niche. This could include co-branded posts.
- Video advertisements that detail the issue and your understanding of it create a lasting impact on the consumer.
In this stage, the customer is shifting focus to potential solutions and gathering knowledge on these solutions. They believe this gives them an edge in the purchase process and leads them to the best product in the market.
So, what do they consume at this stage?
- Long-form content such as blog posts, articles, case studies, and white papers detailing the merit and demerits of the solution
- Informational social media content such as tips, industry secrets, How-To-Content
- Ebooks with curated knowledge from experts
- Explainer videos that break down the solution, benefits, and provide detailed information in an unbiased manner
Kimp Tip: The buyer in the awareness stage is looking at many options, and if you want to move ahead with them on the buyer’s journey, holding their attention is crucial.
Opt for visual aids wherever possible to supplement the content you create. Long-form content benefits from images and infographics to break the long sections of text.
Social Media is a highly visual world. Posts with images and video have a wider reach and hold the customer’s attention for a longer time. People remember images more than text, so visual marketing also helps you build a stronger brand identity.
The infographic above talks about a product without directly pitching the products and services at Home Depot.
Ideas for the Consideration Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
Most experts would argue that this is the most important stage of the Buyer’s journey. The customer knows what they want and how they want it.
Your content in this stage must focus on:
- Establishing the supremacy of your product against your competitors in the market
- Reiterating the product-fit to the exact need of your customer
- Instilling confidence in not just the product but your business too.
There are many ways to do this, and the best route depends on your ideal customer base, their most-frequented channel, and the nature of your industry.
Some examples include:
- Comparative Ads that compare your product/business and a direct competitor. It is aggressive, but it can work. Check Kimp’s guide to designing a comparative ad that benefits your marketing efforts.
- Demo videos that clearly exhibit how the business is solving the customers’ problem right down to the last detail
- Value-added content that aims at clearly any apprehension the customer may have during this stage, such as FAQ, Product Guides, tips, best practices, and solutions to common issues that they may wonder about.
- Video testimonials from actual customers detailing their experience and journey with your business and product. It helps the potential customer gain trust in your offerings.
Kimp Tip: Customers oscillate between options a lot in this stage. Creating content that displays your competency and improves your brand’s reputation in the market can be crucial in converting leads into customers.
So be sure to choose professional design services for editing videos, creating templates for customer interactions, product guides, and comparative ads.
Also, customers tend to cross-reference your content across platforms to judge your credibility. Ensure that every piece of content follows a standard brand style guide and delivers a consistent brand experience to the customer.
Ideas for the Decision Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
Congratulations! The customer chose your business and wants to go ahead with you. How you engage them now will set the tone for your relationship for a long time to come.
Customers now expect detailed answers and information on your product, post-purchase process, and service.
By sharing this proactively with them, you can gain their trust and become a brand they will happily refer to others.
And you can do this with your content marketing strategy:
- Share a detailed product guide with customers as soon as they make the purchase. Include all relevant information, tutorial videos, and post-use care techniques.
- Introduce them to your community and include details on how they can reach you at any instance.
- Enroll them in loyalty programs and encourage them to become your ambassador. It shows that you believe in your product.
Kimp Tip: The product guides and tutorial videos are some of the first content pieces your customers consume post-sale. Ensure that the level of detail and effort is on par, if not more, with the content in the marketing phase.
Your fact-sheet or FAQ guide does not have to be boring. Entertain, engage, and enthrall your customer at every stage and every query, no matter how technical.
An engaged customer is a loyal customer.
Ideas for the Delight Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
Your existing customer is always a hot lead for your next product. So keep the journey going and be with them every step of the way.
- Reward your customers by allowing them to get a first exclusive look at your new launches.
- Add them to your email list and send periodical newsletters with company updates, informative blog posts, and loyalty perks and programs.
- Ask for their feedback on your product or service and invite them to be a part of your community. Solicit testimonials and feature them on your social media profiles.
By keeping the communication channel open, you make your customers feel important. You also get a focus group made of qualified leads to better your marketing process, improve your conversion rates, and succeed your business.
Kimp – Design Ideas for every stage of the Buyer’s Journey
By now, you have realized that the same customer looks for different content pieces at different stages in their journey. But it is still the same customer, so you need consistency too.
Now, delivering variety, consistency, and good design is a challenge, especially for a small business in a pandemic.
Choosing a subscription-based design service like Kimp allows you to create content that solves your customer’s needs at every stage and improves your conversion rate.
You also don’t have to worry about branding inconsistencies and coordination between different designers as your work with a dedicated project manager and design team.
All this for a flat monthly fee so that you can experiment and innovate without feeling the pinch.
So why wait? Sign up and get designing today.