As customers are ever more connected, the “balance of power” in the marketing field shifts towards them at an ever greater speed. This means that you cannot afford to base your digital strategy solely on traditional approaches and techniques such as direct advertising. If you want to be profitable in today’s dynamic online environment, you need a strategy which encompasses all steps to making a purchase, the purchase itself and the actions that the customer will take afterwards. Consider the stages of the buying process and how to influence the consumer effectively at each one.
Step 1: Recognising a Need
At the awareness stage, consumers realise that they can satisfy a specific need or solve a particular problem. The best way to influence them at this stage is education. Your digital strategy should be focused on educating consumers by providing high-quality written, graphic and video content via all popular online channels and more specifically through social media including your blog. The key thing is to provide valuable information and advice focused on the specific need or problem rather than to use direct promotional techniques.
Step 2: Doing Research
Consumers seek information about the possible ways to satisfy their need or solve their problem. This is also a stage at which the marketer can take the role of an educator by presenting different options and explaining them in detail. The social element plays a particularly important role as consumers would typically count on people that they know for advice and recommendations. That is why one of your major goals should be to increase fan following on the social media. Creating brand awareness and building strong reputations are others factors which will make you particularly influential at this stage of the buying process.
Step 3: Comparing Alternatives
This is where you have to stand out among competitors with strong advertising and promotion. What consumers want at this stage is to find a high-quality product at a reasonable price. Polish your pricing strategy and gear your marketing efforts towards making the best offer at the best time. Use marketing channels with high success rate including direct advertising on Google and other websites, email marketing and mobile app advertising through push notifications and in-app notifications. It pays off to invest more in emphasising the benefits of your product with top-quality photos and videos showing how it works. Positive customer reviews can be particularly influential.
Step 4: Making a Purchase
Unfortunately, many marketers think that their job is done at this stage, but this cannot be further from the truth. Once consumers have made a decision to buy your product, you have to give them the easiest, quickest and most secure way to do so. The purchase process requires extensive planning based on rich customer data and accurate design perfected with A/B testing.
Step 5: Evaluation and Further Actions
Your customers’ experience with your brand doesn’t end with the purchase. People will evaluate your product and consider whether to come back again. You should harness this natural behaviour to work in favour of your business. Invite customers to provide feedback and reviews. Engage them with your brand on the social networks as well as on your website and by sending them special personalised content and offers via email. These are just some of the most basic tools for creating engagement and expanding your loyal customer base.
If you plan to give your business a fresh start and/or a more powerful boost with a comprehensive digital strategy, get in touch with me.