Blog / Buyers Journey – The Guide to Your Customer’s Journey
Buyers Journey – The Guide to Your Customer’s Journey
Maurice – August 16, 2023 – 10 min read
The Internet has created a new form of consumer:
Customers today are more informed, more skeptical, and at the same time better able than ever before to compare different offers at the touch of a button. For this reason, most sales tactics are not as successful as they may have been in years past.
Because if you want to be successful today, you have to stop selling and start helping.
The easiest and best way to help the potential buyer is to take care of their path to purchase as closely as possible and as comprehensively as necessary. In other words, it’s about aligning your Buyers Journey with your needs and preferences as best you can.
You can find out how to do this in this blog post. In addition, we provide you with a concrete example and explain the difference as well as the specifics of Buyers Journeys in the B2C as well as B2B area.
What is the Buyers Journey?
A buyer ‘s journey describes the customer’s journey towards the conclusion of a purchase. In this process, each buyer goes through a process of first perceiving a problem, then looking for possible solutions, and finally making the purchase decision that most efficiently helps them solve the problem.
The solution options that are most effective for buyers differ. This is because people are individuals and perceive an added value that a product brings, a benefit that results from solving a specific problem, the relief of a specific pain point or needs as well as preferences differently.
This makes it difficult for marketers because, for example, they cannot use one campaign to get all potential customers excited about a product or service.
However, the Buyer’s Journey represents an opportunity to align the offering with the pain points of individual, potential customers and to influence the factors that influence their thinking during the purchase decision. In this way, an optimized journey can succeed in picking up the person considering a purchase exactly where they need it, despite their different problems or preferences.
Therefore, the Buyer’s Journey is a method used in inbound marketing to acquire new customers or leads. A potential customer can embark on his or her journey to purchase offline, online or in a mixed form.
By focusing closely on the needs of the potential customer, the Buyers Journey has become a helpful tool for online marketing strategies.
Buyer Journey vs. Customer Journey a comparison
A Buyers Journey is divided into three phases: Awareness Phase, Consideration Phase, and Decision Phase. Thus, the buyer’s journey deals with the potential customer’s path to purchase.
In contrast, the customer journey does not begin until a purchase has been made. This is because a classic customer journey comprises the following stages:
- Use – Application
- Promotion – Recommendation
The focus of the customer journey is therefore on building up existing customers. It attaches importance to using a service or product and leaving such a good impression that it is recommended to others.
So, to summarize:
- The goal of the Buyer’s Journey is to build trust with the potential customer so that they will make their purchase from you and not a competitor.
- The goal of the Customer Journey is to build a relationship with the respective customer, thus turning him into a regular customer and maximizing his CLV.
Truly successful companies intertwine their buyer and customer journeys and build a growth marketing funnel based on this that not only helps them acquire new customers, but also convert their one-time customers into loyal repeat customers.
Here, knowing the ins and outs of the buyer’s journey is a key advantage in making it as easy as possible for prospects to make their first purchase, so they buy from you and not the competition. Making the buying process customer-centric is easiest when you optimize the three phases of their Buyers Journey.
But what does a buyer’s journey actually look like?
The three phases of the Buyers Journey
If you look at the Buyer’s Journey, you will find it in many different forms. But at their core they are similar and the three phases mentioned can be recognized in almost all Journeys:
1st phase of consciousness:
At this stage, the buyer becomes aware that they have a problem or an unmet need in the first place.
2nd consideration phase:
At this stage, the potential buyer has identified his problem and is now looking for possible solutions.
3. decision phase:
In this phase, the potential buyer finally makes the decision which products or which providers can help him most efficiently in solving his problem.
Relatively simple, no more and no less. These three phases combined represent a relatively simple Buyers Journey.
But only if you truly understand each of these stages can you optimally tailor your content and marketing efforts to your customers’ needs and interests. To get the most out of your Buyers Journey, you should connect it to your Buyers Persona and think about different stages.
Therefore, we will go into the individual phases in more detail below.
The consciousness phase
Potential buyers who are at this stage usually have a specific problem. Their goal or need, therefore, is to solve this very problem.
At this stage, it can be helpful to provide the potential customer with informational resources to help them better understand and categorize their problem.
Because only if he knows his problem in all its aspects, he can qualitatively evaluate the solution that is offered to him.
Sample questions a buyer asks themselves during the awareness phase:
- Why doesn’t my dog eat his food?
- Why do my toenails keep growing in?
- How can I convert more visitors to my website into paying customers?
- How do I get more visitors to my website?
Questions we should be asking ourselves as marketers in the awareness phase:
- How would our potential customers describe their problem?
- How do our customers find out about similar problems?
- What are the consequences for the customer if he does not solve his problem?
- What emotions does the buyer associate with his problem?
- What emotions does the buyer associate with a potential solution?
- Are there any misconceptions in the customer’s area regarding the solution to his problem?
After these questions have been answered by us, we should take action to help our potential buyer move faster and better along their Buyers Journey. Such measures include:
- Informative resources, inform the potential buyer about their problem and potential solutions during the buying process.
- Ads that address a problem and define it in more detail.
- Videos that talk about the problem and tease potential solutions.
During this phase, it is important for the customer to identify his problem, prioritize its solution, and take the most skillful path in doing so.
The consideration phase
The potential buyer has already clearly defined their problem and is now ready to do more research into the methods and solutions available.
Sample questions a buyer might ask during the consideration phase:
- How do I get my dog to have more appetite?
- How do I trim my toenails to stop them from growing in?
- How can I adjust my website texts so that my conversion rate increases?
- How do I succeed in defining a content marketing strategy?
Questions that we as marketers should ask ourselves during the consideration phase:
- What solution areas are potential customers considering?
- How do customers find out about the different solution areas?
- How do customers weigh the various pros and cons?
- How do customers decide which area is right for them?
- On what emotions do they make this decision?
After these questions have been answered by us, we should take action to help our potential buyer get to the decision stage. Such measures include:
- Informing the customer about how exactly the own solution solves the customer’s problem in contrast to the solutions of the competition.
- Learning how our competitors try to influence potential customers.
- Providing additional information that simplifies the customer’s purchase decision.
The decision phase
The potential buyer has decided which solution approach to choose. Now he’s all about getting to know the different providers. All with the aim of making a final decision easier.
Example questions that a buyer asks himself in the decision-making phase:
- Who offers preparations that stimulate my dog’s appetite?
- Who offers special scissors or pedicure sets?
- Where do I learn to write website copy in a way that increases my conversion rate?
- Who can help me with my content marketing?
Questions we should ask ourselves as marketers in the decision-making phase:
- What criteria do potential buyers use to select a provider?
- What do potential buyers like about our offer?
- What do potential buyers like about our competitors’ offerings?
- What doubts do potential buyers have about our offer?
- What are the expectations of potential buyers (demo, trial, warranty)?
After these questions have been answered by us, we should take action that will allow our potential buyer to complete the purchase. Such measures include:
- Understand the potential customer’s reservations and counter them
- Elaboration and presentation of the own USP
- Ensure that your own solution is not only bought, but also used
Four simple steps to creating a buyer’s journey that works
If you know your customer well, creating a functional Buyer’s Journey is not a difficult thing. Only 4 steps are necessary for this:
- Identify the different stages your customer goes through.
- Record each stage in detail, including what motivates customers at that point and what channels they use.
- Create content and marketing strategies for each phase.
- Measure the success of your strategies and adjust them as needed.
In the following, I will outline the Buyer’s Journey of our website as a concrete example, so that the theory described so far becomes more tangible for you:
Step 1: The identification of the different phases
We have already done this in the course of this article. The point is to ask yourself the questions listed above and then better understand the details of the different phases in relation to your own customers.
Step 2: The exact outline of the phases and the respective measures
In the awareness phase, our potential customer searches our site for top-of-the-funnel keywords like “create buyer’s journey” and that keyword leads them to this article. If the reader likes the content, he leaves us his e-mail address in the best case. So our goal at this stage is to answer as many questions as we can through our content, making our potential customers aware of their knowledge gaps.
In the next phase, the consideration phase, our potential customers are more concerned with finding a direct solution. So, they want to know which tool could best help them perform on-page optimization and which one is particularly good for backlink research. We also help these clients with our content designed around middle of the funnel keywords like “B2B Keyword Research Tools”.
The final phase, the decision phase, is then just about addressing the customer’s objections and providing more information about the different solutions. All with the aim of facilitating the decision of the potential buyer. Comparison content is very helpful at this stage.
Step 3: Content creation and marketing strategy adaptation
Once we know exactly what our potential customers expect and what measures we should take as a result of the analyses in steps 1 and 2, it’s a matter of implementing them.
As you can see, or rather read, we did this as part of the GMM. 😀
Step 4: Measure success and make changes
Of course, after the content is created, it is far from over, because depending on our strategy, it depends on the following performance criteria:
- How does the content rank?
- How does the content convert?
- When does the potential customer drop out?
- How many buyers leave their email address?
All these questions can be answered by measuring and analyzing KPIs wisely.
What distinguishes a B2B Buyer’s Journey from a B2C Buyer’s Journey?
Buyer’s Journeys in B2B and B2C differ mainly in their complexity. For example, 77% of B2B buyers say their last purchase was very complex.
This is due to several aspects:
- In B2B purchases, multiple decision makers are involved, all of whom undertake their own research and thus arrive at their own decisions.
- The buying process in B2B is not linear. Again and again, approvals have to be obtained, budgets granted and legal issues examined.
- The market for B2B solutions is crowded and there are more and more new providers.
Brent Adamson, a VP at Gartner, summarizes the problems of getting to a buying decision in the B2B space as follows:
“As hard as it has become to sell in today’s world, it has become that much harder to buy. The biggest challenge in selling today is not selling, but our customers’ struggle to buy.”
The different requirements for a B2B and a B2C Buyers Journey
Basically, B2B Buyer’s Journeys and B2C Buyer’s Journeys differ in the following areas:
|B2C Buyer’s Journey
|B2B Buyer’s Journey
|– Problem detection
– Information search
|– Problem detection
– Information search
|– Concretization of the problem
– Solution finding
|– Concretization of the problem
– Requirement creation
– Solution finding
|– Selection or comparison of the different providers
|– Supplier selection
– Consensus building
|Decision maker Quantity
|– Individual decision makers
|– 7-12 Decision maker
|– Short process
– Brand loyalty is built quickly
|– Long process
– Brand loyalty is built up only slowly
Due to these differences, other measures are also necessary in the B2B area in order to be able to accompany the customer as efficiently as possible on his buyer’s journey.
The helpful measures in a B2B Buyers Journey.
The awareness phase is driven in B2B by a wide variety of departments. Therefore, several buyer personas should also be used as a guide here.
After all, departments such as marketing, sales, CS and IT pursue completely different goals and place value on other things. Attention should be paid to this different profile of requirements when creating custom-fit content.
In the consideration phase, the first decision makers come on board; they have little time and yet ultimately want to make an informed decision. The decision should be made easier for them by the following resources:
- Case studies
- Expert Guides
- Buyers Guides
When the customer enters the decision-making phase, he has already narrowed down what he is looking for and which providers are suitable for him. Therefore, it is now important to differentiate one’s own offer from that of the competition. This can be accomplished with the following resources:
- Trial versions
- Product demos
- Product reviews
- Customized Case Studies
- Sales calls
Since the requirements of a B2B Buyer’s Journey differ from those of a B2C Buyer’s Journey, the measures should also differ. It should therefore always be borne in mind that sales are not made to individuals here, but to numerous decision-makers, and also that the sales process can take a very long time due to its non-linearity.
Conclusion – Always make your Buyers Journey dependent on your customers
No matter how you design your buyer’s journey, your customers should always be at the heart of it. So put the focus on sincerely wanting to help your customers. That’s why you should definitely work on a meaningful Buyer Persona first and foremost and adjust your Buyer Journey based on it.
If you’ve succeeded, feel free to take it a step further, extend your Buyers Journey into a Growth Marketing Funnel and optimize your customer base beyond the initial purchase of products or services.
We hope that the article has expanded your know-how on the topic of Buyer’s Journey and wish you every success in implementing it.