The buyer's journey represents the process a prospect goes through to become a satisfied customer. An almost universal concept, anybody considering a new product or service has gone down this road.
With a tactful inbound marketing plan, you can engage prospects at any stage of their buyer’s journey and guide them through each of its stages, all while earning their trust and building a rapport.
What is the Buyer's Journey?
The buyer’s journey is a process of orientation. Through each of its steps, a prospect should be honest about the issues they’re facing, their expectations for a resolution, and the value of potential solutions.
The buyer's journey is divided up into 3 distinct steps, during which a prospect will identify their pain point(s), gather information, and decide how they’ll spend money to solve a problem:
- Awareness: A prospect recognizes they have a problem that needs to be addressed. They’re conducting cursory research and starting to familiarize themselves with potential solutions.
- Consideration: A prospect has clearly defined their issue and starts looking into exactly what options they have to get what they need.
- Decision: Using their research, a prospect commits to a solution.
What Comprises An Inbound Marketing Plan?
Before we answer that question, we’ll start with another: How well do you know the prospects you’re trying to reach? Can you answer how they:
- Define their goals and challenges?
- View success?
- Seek resources?
If you’re struggling with those questions, creating a buyer persona is a great place to start developing a more complete understanding of your ideal prospect. Buyer personas are the foundation of any successful digital marketing plan.
With a buyer persona complete, you can then start formulating a digital marketing plan that meets prospects at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Much of an inbound marketing plan centers around content, from educational blog posts for the awareness stage to case studies and testimonials for the decision stage.
Other elements of an inbound marketing plan include:
- Email marketing
- Search engine optimization
- Social media campaigns
- Pay-per-click strategies
Pro Tip: As a prospect moves along in their buyer’s journey, your content and interactions with them should become more catered to their specific needs. An email sent to a prospect in the decision stage should be much more personalized than one sent to pass along additional resources to someone in the awareness stage.
Meeting Prospects on Their Buyer’s Journey
Prospects are more educated and savvy than ever before. In most cases, they’re conducting a lot of research before talking to a salesperson. By then, they’re beyond needing additional information and are ready to move on to solving their next problem.
Through an inbound marketing strategy, you can align the right, optimized content with the appropriate stages of the buyer’s journey.
During the initial stage of the buyer’s journey, prospects are realizing a problem might be an opportunity. This is a perfect time to start making your company essential to them, primarily through educational content, such as:
- Original research
During this stage, prospects define their challenges and what they’ll need to address it. They'll be digging into different approaches to solve their pain points. It's your job to make yourself one of those approaches through lead nurturing. Can you offer:
- One-on-one consultations
- An ebook guide
- A webinar
During the last stage of their journey, prospects decide on a solution. However they reach their decision, you'll want to still be a factor at this point in their journey. How do you get them across the finish line to become a committed buyer? Is it with:
- Case studies showing success with your product?
- A product demo or free trial?
An inbound marketing plan and the buyer’s journey go hand-in-hand. If executed correctly, your company can look forward to a steady flow of new prospects at any stage of the buyer’s journey ready to be nurtured into happy customers -- and hopefully repeat clients.
Want to Take a Deeper Dive into the World of Inbound Marketing?
Check out our Inbound Marketing Guide for Healthcare Technology!