Addressing the Online Buying Cycle

By Herb

This article is worth reading. It speaks to why it is critical that your online marketing efforts address customers through the entire buying process. We couldn’t agree more.

How do you map the buying process to your online marketing initiatives? The model below is very useful:

According to a 2006 GlobalSpec survey, online marketing exceeds traditional channels like recommendations from colleagues, sales calls, trade magazines and direct mail, in influence. It’s important to understand that prospects often start with more generic terms and then refine them as their research progresses. Achieving high visibility across a broad range of terms is critical to make sure these prospects find you early in the process.

Search gets traffic to your site. Design moves them through the requirement and evaluations phases. Brand treatment, layout, and imagery tell the visitor whether this is a professional and trustworthy business. You have less than 3 seconds to make that impression.

You’ve attracted qualified traffic thru online marketing and your design has created the right impression. It’s now up to your content to finish the job of persuading prospects to do business with you. You need the right content, WRITTEN FOR THE WEB. It should be concise, scan-able and objective.

This is where information architecture and interactivity come into play. Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, you will be judged against all the other websites your prospects have grown to appreciate, even when they are not in your market. These world-class websites have set the bar. It’s important that you understand your customer’s expectations and meet them with intelligent design, navigation, and conversion approaches.

The bottom line: Make sure your online marketing efforts specifically address each of the 4 phases of the buying cycle by being easy to discover, having a persuasive website and meeting the prospect’s expectations.