As you work on finding new customers for your business you should think of where they are in their process or journey of using your services or buying your products. Your digital marketing should be designed to engage with potential customers at each stage of their buying process.
These customer stages are generally described as starting with recognition of a need or desire, then doing some research, evaluation of choices, making the decision to purchase and post purchase affirmation.
As a marketer you think in terms of building awareness, getting engagement, conversion and then post purchase customer engagement. These stages are aligned with each of the steps the customer takes.
Your efforts to build awareness of your business or brand are designed to reach customers in the early stages of the buying process or even to stimulate that desire to buy your product or service. Marketers want engagement with customers when they are doing their research about the product or service they want. You want the customer to spend time with your brand and see what you have to offer as they do their research.
Once the research stage is completed marketers want to convert those prospects into buyers. You want to pull them into your website, into your store or have them call you. That is the conversion process where the sale takes place.
Finally after the sale is made customers often keep doing research and comparisons to find information that supports their purchase. This is also the opportunity for your business to keep that customer engaged by offering customer services, new offers or incentives and ways to let you keep in touch with them such as a newsletter sign up.
Covering all the Stages
Keep in mind that your digital marketing is doing all these things at once. It is building awareness of your business to reach customers who can be at any stage of the buying process. You want to provide the info customers are looking for when they are doing research. You want offers and compelling “buy now” messages to be seen when the customer is ready to buy. Finally you want to retain and possibly upsell customers with post purchase engagement. You can get those happy customers to provide referrals and reviews for you.
Make sure your ad creative relates to each stage of the customer journey – recognition of a need, researching the buy and making the purchase decision. Your digital ads and online content should fulfill what the customer needs at each stage of their journey. Your digital marketing needs to be doing all of these things to meet the expectations of your future customers.