Trying to figure out what your customers are thinking? Can't understand why your visitors aren't converting or just, honestly, don't seem to care? These two questions face the same answer as the question I've gotten a couple times, "What is the customer lifecycle?"
This is all about getting inside the head of your customers and seeing how and what they think. It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is, I can promise you that!
It doesn't, however, mean that it's a short process... Hell, there are hundreds of businesses that spend huge amounts of money trying to understand their customers! There are easy ways to do this that don't cost money, but they take a little bit longer.
Anyway, that's a little out of the scope of this blog post, for now I am covering what exactly the customer buying cycle is, common trends for how they think in the different stages, and some other stuff. First off, what the heck is it?
First off, the full form of this is term is "customer purchase lifecycle." This idea is interchangeable with "customer comprehension." So, it just means learning to understand the customer.
Many, many businesses and wannabe entrepreneurs make the mistake of promoting products and programs to an audience that doesn't want anything to do with it. That's why a lot of startups and blog owners end up failing, they simply don't understand their audience.
They waste their time writing posts, creating beautiful marketing materials, spending money on all sorts of marketing local and otherwise, just to find that nobody wants to buy!
This is all due to assumptions and bias, something us entrepreneurs have to constantly work towards getting past. We assume that our audience thinks like we do, or even because we know how a couple people within the audience we can create these biases.
Here's where the customer purchase lifecycle comes in handy! It's a system that, after you understand it, allows you to see where your customer's mindset is and know when to sell to them.
The first stage every customer starts in is the research phase. Research is done everywhere, all the time!
Don't believe me? Look around! Customers research not only online and by reading through books, but by asking friends, flipping through their favorite magazine, listening to their favorite podcast personality, and even by looking at the ads at their favorite stores. This is just a short list, there's always new ways being invented... Just look at Snapchat and how businesses are using Snapchat!
The big thing about this stage is realizing that the customer... isn't really a customer. They are not even ready to participate. They are just part of the peanut gallery, really! They are evaluating what they are learning through their own biases, or even creating new ones, as they look at all the different options out there.
And again, they might not even be looking to buy anything, they simply want to have a few questions answered. So to approach these people, you just want to provide information and get them, hopefully, interested in your brand or product. The catch, is making sure it's all very high quality, otherwise they will look elsewhere!
Along with this value, it is okay to offer different solutions to their problems, but you don't want to do any kind of hard selling. That will just scare them off! They are nowhere near ready to buy.
Also, this is the perfect opportunity to invite them to join your various social channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc) or to sign up for your email. Once you have them hooked on your quality, free value, they might be ready to start making some decisions.
Once somebody figures out what they want, or maybe they are debating between different solutions, they are now in the decision making phase. By targeting visitors within this stage of the purchase lifecycle you have a much better chance of being able to sell without having them move on and away from your website/product/service.
What these people now want and are thinking about is personalized opinions and reviews on potential solutions. This is probably the greatest entry point to sell people at simply because there's a much larger audience in this stage, it's easier and quicker to sell, and, honestly, there is huge potential even if there's a lot of competition.
No matter your voice, whether you write with perfect grammar or not, doesn't matter. What people care about and crave is authenticity. They desire something unique. So give it to them! Write naturally, even if you're selling or just giving a review, people will be far more receptive to it than if it is written with a boring tone!
Example keywords for people in the decision phase wanting to learn about products:
If they aren't getting their decision influenced by you, then they will get it through social media, once again through ads, or by asking people more in-depth questions. Now they are going to be ready to buy!
Ah, now we have a visitor who is ready to become a customer! At this point, you can officially lose the thought of changing their opinion. People tend to be stubborn after they have made an informed decision, a lot of it coming from our own biases. Anyway, they are easily sold to if you provide what they want!
In reality, these people are very difficult to get. Extremely high conversion rates means very high competition. Plus, they usually bought it already from the person who helped them make the decision, but not always!
Example keywords for people in the purchase phase looking to buy:
Again, these people are awesome to get, but you ideally want to target those that fall within the decision making phase.
At this point you should have a much better understanding of how your audience, visitors, and customers think. At least within the context of selling to them, of course! 😉
At some point, you can expect me to bring out another post that will go in depth on how to leverage the resources they use. In other words, how to reverse engineer the process your customers go through and use it to boost traffic and conversions!
So... did you like this post? Drop a comment below! Or you could criticize something in it, if that's more your thing, I can handle it! Just keep it constructive. 😛