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Buyer-readiness stages are the stages that buyers pass through on their way to purchase and these include Awareness, Knowledge, Preference and Purchase. This is often easier to track online using analytics and CRM tools more than it is with offline purchases.
However, buyers will proceed through these stages at different paces and this will depend on a number of factors like what you sell, at what cost, nature of buying process and so on. For more expensive consumer products like furniture and TVs for example, they will often take longer to get to the purchase stage and may not complete the purchase online.
So, it’s important to understand the consumer decision process and how customers buy your type of products in your industry.
Multi-channel reports in analytics are helpful because they show the digital channels that buyers use on their way to placing an order.
So, here are the stages and the different channels you can use to make them aware, increase their knowledge, boost preference and encourage a purchase:
Awareness is an early stage of the buying process and it’s important for an online retailer or business to use digital channels that are effective at reaching the target audience effectively or the mass market. Offline channels like TV, radio and print tend to work well here because of their wide reach and impact, which is often difficult to achieve with online channels.
However, online channels like video and social media are fast catching up and YouTube for example has a global audience that consumes billions of hours of video each month.
Display ads on the Google Display Network (GDN) and other networks are also an effective digital channel for raising awareness with an audience that is totally unaware of your products or services. So as they browse third party sites across the web, you can target them with display ads on sites that are relevant to your category or that are visited by your target market.
For target customers that are aware of your products or company, it’s important to use messages and channels that are relevant to their needs. So they may be looking for more in-depth information about your business and products and your website will be an important support for that. That means you should create detailed product descriptions, a knowledgebase section, FAQs, case studies, blog posts and other similar resources.
It’s also important to get website visitors to sign-up to your newsletter and use that to start the relationship and inform them more about your products or services.
Target customers who are aware of your business or industry will use search engines to search for your products. So it’s crucial to create a Pay Per Click (PPC) account with Google Adwords and Bing Ads to promote your business. You should also focus on getting your site to the top of the organic natural search engine listings through techniques such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Now that your target audience is aware of your business and products and has shown preference by signing up to your newsletters, email communications, and followed you on social media platforms, it’s time to solidify that relationship.
Email marketing is an important digital channel here because by signing up, they have shown preference for your business and offers. So you should continue building that relationship by emailing them regularly and using coupons, discounts, free offers etc to boost loyalty and retention.
Social media sites like Facebook can be used to promote your products and brands to followers who have shown a preference for your business. They are likely to purchase more and conversions are likely to be higher than new customers who are not aware of your offers.
Finally, people who are likely to purchase will come direct to your website or call your business to place an order. Also, digital channels like pay per click advertising are effective at this stage of the buyer readiness stage because they are actively searching for your products and business and are likely to purchase if your offers are targeted.
Search marketing is also known as self marketing and differs from other forms of online marketing and offline marketing tactics in that target customers are actively searching for your products. So a combination of an SEO strategy and PPC strategy is helpful to increase conversions.
Top channel reports in analytics reveal that paid search and organic search are prominent in all stages of the path to purchase and they play an important part in last click attribution reports.