The Buyer’s Journey and Stages of Awareness.

Written By PhilG

Bradford Marketing Hub contains articles and information that help small and medium service businesses.

The buyer’s journey starts when a prospective customer realises they have a problem, or becomes aware of an opportunity.

The buyer’s journey continues through many stages until you have a new customer who is so happy with your work that they become a raving fan of your business. Then they go on to give you repeat orders and recommend you to their friends and family.

Below, I’ve listed some typical stages in the buyer’s journey. These stages are also called the buyer’s state of awareness.

The buyer's journey and the stages of awareness.

Stage 1 of the Buyer’s Journey: Unaware

The prospect doesn’t see a problem and isn’t aware of any opportunities they would like to take advantage of.

Stage 2: Awareness

They realise they have a …

  • Problem: My roof or pipes are leaking. I must do something.
  • Opportunity: I’d love a new bathroom, kitchen, garden shed, etc.

Stage 3: Interest / Education

  • I need to know more, I’ll Google it.
  • Where can I get advice?
  • What options do I have?
  • How does it work?

Stage 4: Consideration

  • Which businesses should I shortlist?
  • Can I choose any cabinet company, or do you fit only one brand?
  • Will the kitchen unit manufacturer provide the fitter?
  • How much does a kitchen cost to fit?
  • What options are available? (Granite or MDF worktops etc.)
  • What’s the lead time for a start date?
  • What do other customers say about this business?

Stage 5: Justification

  • Is the work guaranteed?
  • Will it increase the value of my house?
  • Are there cheaper options available?
  • Will I get more storage space?
  • Will my spouse or loved ones view me as the hero if I buy this?
  • How will it improve the quality of my and my family’s lives?

Stage 6: Purchase

  • How soon can you deliver it?
  • Do I buy the hob and oven separately?
  • Do I have to pay any shipping costs?
  • Can I spread the cost?

Stage 7: Post-Purchase

  • How do I use my new appliances?
  • I broke it. How can I get a replacement part?
  • Did the process go well? Am I happy with my decision?
  • Where can I leave a review about my purchase?
  • Am I willing to recommend this business to my family and friends?
  • Would I buy from this business again?

You can find more info on OutBrain.

They ask, you answer.

The questions I’ve listed above are typical of what new customers ask you or your sales team. However, it’s better for your customers if they can get the answers instantly from your website or your Google Business Profile. 

Consider the process your new customer goes through and remove every bottleneck or sticking point. Make the customer’s journey as easy as possible. Help them to find your business and become a customer. Then, by providing excellent customer service, convert them into raving fans.

Understand your customer and their problems.

The better you understand your customer and their situation, the better you can serve them. And the better you serve your customers, the more chance of them becoming raving fans.

An emergency plumber has a shorter buyer’s journey.

If your customers need you ASAP, their buyer’s journey will be short. They’ll check your Google reviews and make sure you do the work they need doing. Then as soon as they’re confident you won’t rip them off, they’ll phone you.

Big-ticket items have a longer buyer’s journey.

If the customer wants their entire house remodelling, and they’re not in a rush, they might do months of research. If that’s the case, a regularly updated portfolio would be a real asset to your business.

Mailing list for a slow burn buyer’s journey.

If your typical customer takes several weeks to research and choose the right business, a mailing list can enable prospective customers to get to know, like, and trust you.

Offer something of value in return for signing up for your mailing list. Then regularly email them with useful content. When the time comes to contact businesses, you’ll be on their shortlist.

This is called a bribe to subscribe. Say, if you want my ten-page Homeowner’s Guide to Choosing a New Kitchen, and to join my mailing list, sign up here.

Marketing and sales, the two parts of the buyer’s journey.

The customer might find you through print ads that point to your website. Or they could find your Google Business Profile or social media posts. If any of these marketing messages appeal to them, they’ll contact you. You’ve now started the sales process, but remember, the customer wants a trusted advisor, not a high-pressure salesperson.

High-pressure tactics can get sales, but they rarely produce raving fans. Nobody likes being taken advantage of.

You must ask for the sale, but make sure the customer believes it was his decision based on sound reasoning, not because you bullied or pressured him into it.

Trust shortens the buyer’s journey.

Do everything you can to earn the trust of your prospective customers. You want to be seen as professional and business-like. But you also want to be seen as trustworthy, likeable, and easy to do business with. When customers trust you, they’ll happily accept your advice and recommendations.

You can earn trust via your Google reviews, your portfolio, testimonials from past customers, and the way you listen to and treat your customers.

Portfolio pictures for intangible services.

If you offer business training sessions, for instance, you could take photos of a training session in progress. If you provide a dog walking service, you could display photos or even a video of the dogs happily enjoying their walk. You could reinforce these images with text explaining how your service works.

Always get written permission to use identifiable images.

If you don’t like marketing and sales.

Don’t think of it as marketing and sales. Think of it as telling people you can solve their problem for money. It really is a win-win situation. Customers need your services, and you’re here to help.

Next step? Write your marketing materials based on the buyer’s journey.

Mapping out the buyer’s journey of your customer helps you understand how your customer thinks, what are their hopes and fears. And what struggles or bottlenecks do they encounter when finding, selecting, and employing a business like yours.

When you understand your customer, you can write more effective marketing materials and be sure you’re providing the service your customer needs.

Read more useful articles like this in my blog...