Any marketer worth their salt will tell you that selling is as much an exercise in marketing as it is in psychology. Buyers all crave different things, even if they all have the same basic need that drives them to your business. Understanding what brings them to your doorstep (or what turns them away) is vital for creating a high-performing website.
We already went over some tips for building a converting website in our Google Partnered Succeeding in a Micro Moments World webinar (which you can watch online here), but today we’re going to go a bit more in-depth on how to design a website that follows your buyer’s journey.
What is the Buyer’s Journey?
The buyer’s journey is exactly what it sounds like: it’s the path a buyer takes from prospect to customer. It’s a three-step process:
- Awareness Stage: The buyer realizes they have a problem or need.
- Consideration Stage: The buyer researches options to solve their problem.
- Decision Stage: The buyer chooses a solution.
To put it in context, this graphic from Hubspot breaks down how the buyer’s journey would work for a doctor’s office:
Identifying which stage of the buyer’s journey your prospect is in will let you market to them most effectively. The questions someone asks at the awareness stage is very different than at the decision stage, and you could be turning away potential customers by coming off as too pushy right out of the gate.
How To Follow Your Buyer’s Journey
1. Create Personas
Before you can map your buyer’s journey, you first need to understand who your buyer is. A persona is a detailed, fictionalized version of your ideal customer that you can use in your marketing. For example, a real persona we use here at BizzyWeb is:
- Marketing Leslie, Aged 35 – 50. She works in a service-based business and wears multiple hats, including marketing. The owner wants to grow the business, but Leslie isn’t comfortable with building strategy or digging into online marketing.
Much of what we do (including this blog!) is aimed at Marketing Leslie and her interests. We know that Leslie may be toying around with the idea of rebuilding her company’s website since it’s not converting leads and is doing research into how best to reach that goal.
If you need a little help getting started, check out our pre-built personas you can use to create your own. If you want to go even further, use our free how-to guide to create new personas from the ground up.
2. Research, Research, Research
Once you have your persona(s) clearly in mind, it’s time to do what most of us dread: gather data. Speaking with your current customers is invaluable when building a new website. It’s through your current customers that you can learn where they were in their buyer’s journey when they found your website. You might find that a majority of your customers were further along in their decision-making process than you thought. Depending on what your customers answer, you’ll know what stage of the buyer’s journey you’ll want to build your website toward.
Let’s use a plumber as an example:
- Plumber Paul finds out from his customers that many of them were searching for terms like “leaking pipes” or “slow toilet” when they found his website in a Google search. Plumber Paul will want to build his website with the Awareness Stage in mind.
- Plumber Paul finds out from his customers that most of them had a specific issue like needing a toilet installed, and took to Google and Facebook for recommendations of plumbers. Plumber Paul will want to build his website with the Consideration Stage in mind.
- Plumber Paul finds out from his customers that most of them had already heard of Plumber Paul’s business through recommendations, billboard ads or websites like Facebook and Nextdoor. Most customers visited his website to find out more about him. Plumber Paul will want to build his website with the Decision Stage in mind.
3. Continuously Improve
In order to truly keep pace with the buyer’s journey, you need to constantly monitor and adapt your website. Using User-Centered Web Design (UCD) will help you always make sure your website is keeping pace. UCD is a philosophy of web design, where instead of spending months or years on a new site in one hefty chunk of time and money and leaving it stagnant for years, instead breaking up the work into smaller sprints spread across the course of a year and continuously changing your website based on research.
This approach is significantly better for matching the buyer’s journey because it’s much more adaptable than traditional web design. You may find that as your business grows, for example, your buyer’s journey shifts and changes. Or you may find that despite your initial research, your website would function better if it were targeted at a different stage in the buyer’s journey. Under a traditional design model, that would mean scrapping your site completely and start from scratch. Under UCD, that just means a shift in strategy. You can learn more about how UCD works by downloading our FREE User-Centered Web Design eBook.
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Watch Our FREE Webinar: Succeeding in a Micro Moments World
Connect with customers in the critical moments when they search online for something they want to know, someplace they want to go, something they want to do, or something they want to buy. In this Google Partner webinar, you’ll learn how to identify customer behaviors and deliver personalized online experiences.
Need a new digital marketing or web design plan? We are a Minneapolis SEO, digital marketing, social media marketing, web design and inbound marketing agency. We’re located just outside of Minneapolis. Stop on by and get started – and while you’re here, pick up a free honey stick (yes, we love our bee-related theme).