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9 Things Your Customer Does Before Buying

Sep 01, 2021

9 Things Your Customer Does Before Buying

 

CUSTOMER JOURNEY

The typical customer journey is characterized by several stages:

  1. Awareness – becoming aware of the need to solve a problem or desire to enhance/change their life in some way. 
  2. Consideration – researching the options that exist to solve their problem
  3. Decision – deciding which option they will use and making a purchase

Depending on your industry, the journey can vary in its timeline.  Parents will spend longer considering which private school to enroll their child in than they will about which indoor play place to visit on a rainy day.  

But for those purchases or commitments that take some research, there are a number of steps within the phases, particularly consideration, that many prospects will undergo.

It's important to recognize that once they finally walk through your door, it's just the tip of the iceberg of their customer journey.  It may be the first time you're meeting face to face, but it's not the first time they have interacted with your business and brand.

Understanding the customer journey is critical to increasing your conversions and growing your business. 

Time to take a closer look at the nine things your prospect is doing along the way.

AWARENESS PHASE

1. Awareness 👓

Whether they saw an ad for your school, read an article about the benefits of music lessons or attended a birthday party at your location, your prospect became aware that they wanted to learn more and see what options are available to them.   

This is often referred to as the "top of the funnel" and is where nearly every customer journey begins.
 
CONSIDERATION PHASE
 
2. Google Search 📌

What's the next step?  Google! Most moms, 74% of them according to our 2021 survey of moms across the country, will start their search for a local business by going to Google. 

And while most businesses will show up in a Google search, you can increase your chances of being found by improving your SEO (search engine optimization) and making sure you have a Google My Business profile.
 
3. Social Media 👍

Another step in the consideration phase of the customer journey is to head to social media.  If you're talking moms, then that means Facebook and Instagram. 

This doesn't mean they're looking for your posts in their newsfeed, but that they are proactively finding your profile page and seeing how engaged you are, what you post and how often, looking at your images or videos and generally trying to get a feel for your business.

4. Visit Your Website 🖥

Once a mom has found you on Google and checked you out on social media, she's likely to head over to your actual website and take a look around. 

She'll want to find information about your products or services, ages served, location, how to contact you and perhaps most important – your pricing. 

And chances are your potential customer is looking at your site on their phone, so make sure your site is mobile optimized or your prospect may end their journey right there.

5. Ratings and Reviews ⭐️

At this point, your prospect is definitely interested in your business but wants to see what others think about you.  She's going to dive into your ratings and reviews and see what she can learn. 

We know from a recent poll of moms across the country that 61% of moms use Facebook to look at ratings and reviews and 47% will head to Google to see how you stack up. 

Either way, with 91% of moms saying that online reviews influence their local business decisions, if you're below 4 stars and/or don't have many reviews she's likely to look somewhere else.

6. 3rd Party Sites 📣

Potential customers or clients may also head to some 3rd party sites like Yelp, Nextdoor or their local Hulafrog site to see if you're listed and any other review, rating or information she can find there. 

7. Recommendations and Referrals 🙋‍♀️

The best social proof of how great your business is will come from your prospect's friends and family.  And you'd better believe she's going to ask. 

In fact, 47% of moms will ask a friend or family member directly for a recommendation and 54% will ask their friends on social media.  

Those referrals can be some of the most effective marketing tactics you've got so make sure you're laying the groundwork for them.

8. Outreach 👋

Up until now, you likely haven't seen or been aware of any of your potential new customer's research. 

They've been hanging out on that underwater part of the iceberg you can't see, but now's the time for them to surface and reach out to you for more information. 

According to our research, most moms will reach out via email but they may also send you a Facebook message or give you a call. 

Now's your chance to finally interact and confirm what they think they know from their research – that you're the place for them. 

DECISION PHASE

9. Purchase 💰

This is it, they finally commit to enroll, purchase, visit, register, or otherwise do business with you.  The biggest reason they wanted to work with your business is likely because of what they found in steps 1-8. 

You've done your homework, laid the foundation for a smooth and seamless journey from awareness to commitment. 

Not all prospects will do all nine things we've outlined and they won't necessarily be in the same order.  The timeline and depth of this journey will vary depending on your type of business and the level of commitment it requires.

Regardless of whether their journey takes 2 days or 2 months, it pays to understand what your prospect is doing long before they contact you directly and make sure each step provides the information you want to communicate to prospects. 

MOST IMPORTANT STEPS TO BOOST CUSTOMER CONVERSIONS

First, understand your own business's customer journey. Talk to your customers and track important metrics to find out what steps they are taking before they commit.

Secondly, optimize ALL of your marketing to make your customer's journey a smooth one.  If your customers are relying on Google to find you, make sure your Google game is top-notch.  If they are using reviews and ratings, you've got to have a plan in place to continually generate testimonials.  

Your eye might be on that sale and the revenue that comes from it, but all the marketing pieces need to be in place if you're going to hit the big goals you've put in place for your business. 

When you've planned ahead and been proactive in managing your customer's journey, it's a whole lot more likely to be a great trip for everyone.

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