The three stages of every buyer’s journey

With only a month left for Christmas shopping it’s probably time that you as a marketer start understanding how people make their purchase decisions. Where do they start? how to they come to a final decision, and how can you help influence that decision?

How many times have you gone to a website to look for some helpful information only to find that the only links on the page to further your research are ones that contain the words ‘buy now’ or ‘contact now?’ The trouble with many websites is that the company assumes that you’re already at the point where you’re ready to buy. It’s not very often that you visit a website and climb into bed with them on the first shot. This isn’t HBO. People want to get to know a business first. It’s a lot like dating. They want to be charmed and they want to develop trust before taking the next step. Heck, even The Bachelorette gets to sample the manly cuisine for a few weeks before she ties the knot with a complete stranger.

Will you accept this rose and half my crap when we get divorced next week?

The truth is that on average only about 3% of your website visitors are ready to take that jump and most people seem to forget about or ignore the other 97%. What they forget is that every buyer takes a journey to get from the top of the sales funnel to the point of sale.

The Buyer’s Journey

When creating content that appeals to your buyer personas, it’s important to keep in mind that those personas can also be at different points of the sales process. This means that your content should be different for each stage of the buyer’s journey. So what are the stages?

Stage 1. The Awareness Stage

During this stage, the visitor is evaluating their situation. They are discovering that they have a problem and they need some help to solve the issue. This is the time when they’ll be doing some initial research to put them into a frame of mind that will help them make an educated decision.

Stage 2. The Consideration Stage

Once they’ve identified the symptoms of a problem and done some initial research, they can begin to truly define the problem and look at their options for solutions more seriously. They’ll want to understand all of the approaches available to them to help solve their problem.

Stage 3. The Decision Stage

The Decision Stage is essentially the point of sale. This is where the yes or no decision is made based on the list of available products, services and/or vendors that they’ve researched. They’ll whittle their options down until they’ve come to a final purchasing decision.

Understanding the buyer’s journey as a business is important because it shows us the sales process from the view of the consumer. For the more visual folks, we’ve got this handy infographic that lays out the buyer’s journey step by step. Once you’ve developed your buyer personas and once you grasped the three stages of the buyer’s journey, you can then start putting together your helpful content strategy that will attract visitors, convert them into leads, close the sale and excite them into becoming promoters of your brand.


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