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Visitors come to the Internet looking for information. They may think they have a need but aren’t sure. You want to attract them to your website early in their search. Snag them before they start looking for vendors … and then hang on for the balance of their journey.
In an earlier blog we described the Buyers Journey as having four stages. This blog specifies types and forms of information to provide during each stage.
Stage 1 – I may have a need
In stage 1 provide information that seems like a public service announcement. It should be factual and informative with no whiff of your product. It’s OK to link to other sources of information. But don’t reference any source that might cause your visitor to bolt your site.
Make sure that you and other sources are writing at the same basic level that your visitor is seeking. A government agency or a university may provide helpful information. In your industry there may be an industry group that provides introductory information. Large consulting organizations often write good background information.
With all the publishing available it shouldn’t be difficult to find expert sources of information. Whether you create or curate this information you want to display it from simple to advanced. It is a good idea to summarize other sources and insert your own conclusions about the points they make. Agree or disagree but add your expertise.
Information might include analyst reports, research reports, editorial content, educational content and your eBooks.
Stage 2 – Just looking, thank you
In stage 2 the visitor is developing interest. He has decided that he does have a need and has begun to get into the search. He is trying to complete his requirements and think about what a solution might look like. He has not yet thought about sources or brands; he just wants to make sure he understands his need. He wants to make sure he completely covers his need.
Forms of information might include expert guides, webcasts, podcasts, whitepapers that you introduce. Just be sure to summarize with your own personal expertise. Here again, you want to be supportive of his problem with no sign of a sales message. You should capture his name and email address in this stage.
Stage 3 – Does this come in red?
The buyer is beginning to weigh solutions to his problem and narrow the solutions to a few. Near the end of this stage he will create a short list of brands and providers. At this stage it is time to crank out your sales information. Begin by providing why your solution and your company should be the one the buyer chooses. If your solution has a long sales cycle you should start email marketing early in this stage. Your sales team becomes involved in stage 3.
Information should include email with product and company information early in stage 3. Demonstration videos are appropriate. Comparing models and brands through sales material should be emailed. Displaying customer testimonials on your website are key in stage 3.
Stage 4 – Where do I sign?
The buyer completes his evaluation of the providers and selects the winner. Customer testimonials plays a key role in validating your solution. They should be available on your website and in social media. Testimonials should be part of the email campaign at this stage.
Early in stage 4 documented case studies along with a live demo will be helpful. Marketing should be working with Sales to provide whatever collateral material is needed. If customer training is necessary, a trainer should be introduced during a sales call.
The duration, product value and buyer investigation will determine the amount of information provided.
Only Happy Customers
Once the buyer chooses you remember the commitments you made during the buyer’s journey and honor them. Provide information throughout your website that your customer will find useful. If the implementation requires training, schedule it immediately. Schedule senior managers to follow up with the customers at least quarterly. Request referrals from him.
Are you well-stocked for the buyer’s journey?