Here's my guide to the "purchase cycle", which is the framework I use with all of my marketing coaching clients to get them crystal clear on where their marketing needs to focus, and to ensure they are optimising and maximising all aspects of their marketing activity.
THE PURCHASE CYCLE
This model explains the five key stages of the purchase cycle and the behaviours that can occur at each stage. As you read through the explanatory guide below, think about the ‘places’ both physically and online where your customer will likely be. Consider the occasions when they will be most receptive to your message.
All purchase decisions start with a ‘trigger’. Sometimes this trigger is a life event, such as having a baby, moving home, or simply using the last coffee pod in the box! Triggers in a business such as expansion, moving offices, change of management can lead to businesses needing certain services.
Marketing can be used to trigger a trigger!! By highlighting and promoting an issue people face, but that they currently don’t know there is a solution to. Even when problems have no commercial solution on offer, human nature dictates that there is a ‘solution’ that society will have adopted to deal with it. As such, people are not actively searching for a solution.
Which type of triggers do your ideal clients experience?
Are there some natural triggers?
Or, will you need to use your marketing to ‘force’ the issue and demonstrate to people that there is a better solution?
2. AWARENESS & RESEARCH
Once triggered, your ideal client will start to think about solutions to their problem that are in their immediate awareness set. If they don’t know of any immediate solutions, they will enter the ‘Research’ stage. This often means that they head for Google, but it can also mean that they ask for recommendations on social media, or talk directly to friends, family and other business owners.
Does your business have enough brand awareness with your ideal client?
3. ENGAGEMENT & REMOVING APATHY
Following the research stage, your ideal client will have found a set of businesses who can provide the solution they seek. We call this their ‘consideration set’. They will typically now go and engage with each business further to see whether they will be the right fit. This could mean they look at a website, explore their social media pages, go into a physical store and connect directly with products, speak to you on the phone, send an email enquiry etc. the list is endless.
At this stage of ‘Engagement’, it’s important to provide something to prospects that helps them engage with you. It could be about creating a phenomenal user experience on your website, offering free products or downloads, free shipping, a free consultation. Again, the list is endless.
During the engagement stage, multiple touchpoints will be explored to help a prospect decide whether they want to ask for a quote or purchase now (depending on your type of offer).
What do you have in place to engage with your ideal client?
What are you going to tell your ideal client that will make them engage with your further?
How can you help them think about the 'pain' they are feeling now, and set them a vision for how they will feel after working with you?
Between the time they engage and when they convert, it helps to make it as easy and fast as possible to get them across the line to a sale. Otherwise, you risk ‘apathy’, where the prospect’s initial enthusiasm starts to wane.
What's your approach to reducing apathy and driving momentum with your ideal client?
4. CONVERSION & EXPERIENCE
Once they convert and become a customer, they will ‘experience’ your product or service and this will be the moment of truth as to whether they will want to continue using your service or buy from you again in the future.
Do you know what your current clients really think about the experience you provide?
5. LOYALTY & ADVOCACY
If the experience is positive, then customers will not only return, but also become loyal to your business in the long-term. At the point of a positive experience, this is the moment to get them to give you a review or agree to becoming a case study. There are also tactics you can use to encourage them to become advocates.
Advocacy is the end goal for any marketer. Advocates do your marketing for you at no cost, so the more you can create, the more awareness your business will receive.
How many advocates do you have? How actively do they advocate for your business?
MEASUREMENT IS KEY
Finally, setting objectives and measurement for your marketing activities helps you to understand how your marketing is working. Results from marketing should generally not be measured by sales conversions, but awareness, enquiries and brand engagements.
How's your brand awareness looking?
The above model provides a strong framework for creating a growth marketing strategy for your business.
Stevie V Brown coaches small business owners’ to increase their marketing know-how, build their confidence and create and implement a growth marketing strategy that attracts and nurtures more of their ideal clients and gets them paid what they're truly worth. Apply for a FREE Marketing Accelerator with Stevie and get crystal clear on the next 3 actions you can take to grow your business today.