You can’t hope to achieve high conversion rates without understanding the customer buying cycle. Even if you’re satisfied with your current rates, there’s always room for improvement. Besides, you can bet your bottom dollar that your competitors are putting their knowledge about the customer buying cycle to effective use. If you don’t follow suit, you stand to lose out on a lot of business in the future. With a clear understanding of the customer buying cycle, you can achieve higher conversions, which will lead to increased revenues.
The Customer Buying Cycle – Why it Matters
When people land on your website, what kind of mindset do they have? Answering that precisely may be impossible, but you can get a feel for whether they’re ready to buy or not based on your current conversion rates. If your rates have remained stagnant or even declined, it might be because people are arriving early in the customer buying cycle and aren’t being propelled along. In effect, they are left spinning their tires, and they may head to greener pastures to find what they need.
The Stages of the Customer Buying Cycle
It’s easy enough to get a feel for how the customer buying cycle works. A great way to understand it is by thinking of it as a funnel. Your site should be designed to move people down the funnel until they are converted into customers. You won’t be able to convert all of them, of course, but creating content that targets each stage of the process should lead to improved conversion rates and decrease the odds of people turning elsewhere for what they need.
The basic stages of the customer buying cycle are:
The Uppermost Part of the Funnel – Visitors who arrive at your site with a basic awareness of your business and what it has to offer are considered to be at the very top of the funnel. This is also known as the awareness stage. Some may arrive seeking more information while others may just be curious. It’s easy for the process to fizzle out here. Without the right content, it’s pretty likely.
- The Middle-Top of the Funnel – The top portion of the middle of the funnel occurs when people start using your site to research your company’s products and services. Therefore, your site must include content that educates visitors as quickly, easily and concisely as possible.
- The Middle-Bottom of the Funnel – This part of the funnel might also be referred to as the consideration stage or the decision-making stage. This is when a visitor might compare your company’s offerings with those of its competitors. To make this stage as effortless as possible, create content that puts your products and services in a very attractive light.
- The Bottom of the Funnel – You’re not home-free yet. However, this is the purchasing stage. As long as your site includes content that compels a person to make a purchase, you should be good to go. This is where calls to action come into play, and no customer buying cycle or funnel is complete without them.
There’s one additional possible stage of the funnel: repurchasing. If a customer is satisfied with his purchase and with your level of customer service, he is likely to come back for more.
Always implement an effective post-sales strategy to help get your customers to spread the brand love to their circles. Best time for this is within days of their purchase.
If you run a strong post-sale strategy – you’ll reap the its rewards.
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