What is the customer journey and why is it so important?
The customer journey describes the buying path of a potential buyer from start to finish and everything in between.
Indeed, before making a purchase or taking a significant action, your customers will go through several stages before making a decision.
They will first observe the presence of a need or a desire, then consider it, evaluate it and finally make a decision.
By understanding this journey, we become able to better identify the issues and obstacles that a buyer encounters along the way, as well as the factors that influence and shape their thinking. By knowing this, it becomes easier to address potential customers in the right way and gently lead them to purchase the product or service offered.
Typically, the buying journey is composed of the following steps:
Awareness ⇒ Evaluation ⇒ Decision–making
During the awareness phase, the person discovers a new need or a problem to be solved, but does not yet know how he or she is going to meet that need.
During the evaluation phase, the person is in solution-seeking mode. How will she solve her problem? At this stage, she begins to define and name her need more clearly. They begin to actively inquire and consider their options.
Finally, when the person has made up their mind and has a good understanding of the solution needed, they will compare the different options available to them and make a decision.
So, when advertising online, it is crucial to connect with your customers, understand them and talk to them with the right words, at the right time and in the right place.
That’s why taking into consideration the different steps through which they will pass will play a significant role on the success of your campaigns.
The more effective the message, the more profitable your campaign will be.
To each stage their own Advertising Campaign
To ensure that the different stages of the buying process are covered, it is recommended to evaluate the different objectives and the most appropriate channels to achieve them.
Stage 1: Awareness and first contact
At this point, the person will be observing and not necessarily taking action, plus, they don’t know you yet.
We want to make contact and make your business known to them through brand image and notoriety.
A good strategy at this stage is to not focus on conversions but rather start building trust. We want to measure video views, ad impressions, “reach” or even clicks towards informative pages or blog articles, such as presentation videos.
During stage 1, we are not talking about product or service but rather addressing their problem.
These are the channels that are most conducive to the objectives of the first step:
Google Display Ads : Use display ads to offer free value. You want to offer potential customers quick wins with blog posts, guides, white papers or e-books.
YouTube Ads : With over 2 billion users, YouTube is one of the best places to increase your brand awareness. Videos are very popular with search engine users and using this platform will allow you to get great visibility.
Social Media Ads : Depending on where your audience is located, ads on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest can help build brand awareness. Facebook offers the most robust targeting, allowing you to reach people interested in specific topics or accounts similar to people who already interact with your brand.
Google Ads : At the very beginning of the customer journey, the person will not use branded keywords specifically. Instead, they will use broad words and phrases related to their search. To target the right audience, you will need to determine the jargon used by the users at the beginning of their customer journey.
Step 2: Consideration
On this step, we will focus on the “How”. Now that the need has been identified and named, we can direct the person towards the awareness of the solution to their problem. By guiding them to your website, then engaging in their thought process by proposing and alternate offer, we can move closer to a conversion (ex: discovery call, free consultation, etc.) but without pushing them too abruptly towards the sale. Every step gets them to trust you more and more.
The most suitable channels for this step are :
Google Ads : Now that the person has identified their need, make sure you create PPC ads for people who are actively looking for your product or service.
Remarketing : Remarketing – or retargeting – is a powerful component of PPC marketing. You can use it to serve specific ads to people who have read your blog posts, downloaded documentation or a guide, or have visited certain pages of your website or product pages.
Facebook Ads : You can use Facebook Ads for remarketing, but also to target your customers with conversion, lead generation or click-through objectives.
Stage 3: Decision-Making
At this step, the person knows what they need and is ready to buy. The focus is on the “what”, i.e. the product or service itself. The future buyer will compare the different options on the market and this is where it is important to put yourself forward as a product or solution. We use our differentiating elements or customer testimonials to trigger the final action.
The most suitable channels are
Google Ads : At this stage, don’t hesitate to bid on your brand name to ensure that the person who identified you as the best solution for them finds you directly at the top of the page on Google. Keywords can also include terms such as “purchase”, “buy”, etc.
Google Shopping : Through this channel, you present your product directly and in a visual way. Your ad is associated with an image and a description to be configured via Google Merchant Center.
Facebook Ads : At this stage, you must show your product or service, talk about it and what makes it stand-out from the competition. Customer testimonials are always a great way to get users to convert.
Remarketing on Facebook : Once again remarketing will allow you to stay in the minds of future customers and to follow their lead. At this point you differentiate yourself from the competition, your focus is on the purchase of the product. If you have an online store, you can even create specific ads to address people who have abandoned their shopping cart or seen a product page; you can offer a special discount to get them to complete their purchase.
Obviously, depending on the product or service offered, the stages of the buying process will be more or less long and present.
The important thing to remember is to clearly identify the steps and the questions that come up by users to approach them at the right time.
Don’t forget that trial and error and the continuous improvement of your campaign strategies will allow you to obtain the best results in the medium and long term.
And if you want to further maximize the performance of your online campaigns with a team of experts, we are here to help you.
Union PPC has helped many companies increase their awareness and boost their sales via search engines and social media.
Ready to take the next step? Contact us and let us take charge of your campaigns and bring them to the next level.