The Second Stage of the Buyer’s Journey: CONSIDERATION


The Second Stage of the Buyer’s Journey: CONSIDERATION

Last month we covered the first of three stages in the traditional model of the Buyer’s Journey, a term referring to the active research process a buyer goes through leading up to a purchase. To recap, during the initial AWARENESS stage a problem or opportunity requiring action/resolution at some point down the line has presented itself. This is something that calls for expansive research in order to be more precisely identified. If it’s deemed worthy of pursuing after broad-spectrum exploration, the potential buyer will continue gathering information but in a more concise, targeted manner. This brings us to the CONSIDERATION stage.

A person in the consideration stage has now clearly defined and given a name to the situation at hand. While a better understanding of the central issue has been gained, there’s still much more to come in the way of research and analysis. Since at each stage the prospective buyer is technically seeking information, it helps to understand what differentiates each to best grasp reaching a person in the middle during the consideration stage. In best gauging your approach as far as content is concerned, I find that it’s helpful to think of the stages this way: Awareness=Informational; Consideration=Directional; Decision=Transactional.

As those in the consideration stage have already found a wealth of information that’s very general in nature, now they are moving forward to research available approaches and methods to solve it. They know it’s highly likely that they will eventually be buyers, but now it’s less about exhaustive online research and more about exploring solutions, researching vendors, and determining strategy. Approaching this from a navigational perspective—determining which avenue is best—is an identifying characteristic of those who have moved on to the consideration stage.

Since the rule of thumb for interaction with someone in the awareness stage is providing educational, vendor-neutral content that’s quickly and easily digested, a person entering the consideration stage has already absorbed a great deal of content and feels well-enough educated to proceed with solution-oriented investigation. I often describe it as follows: first, get to the root of the problem and define it; second, create a list of options as to how you’ll address it and then thin that out to the best of the bunch; third, make the final selection. Therefore, to succeed at remaining a trusted resource in contention to ultimately be identified as the provider of the optimal solution, you’ll want to offer content that goes further in depth to help define what’s most important to the potential buyer, guiding them through the process of narrowing down the options. As it’s also critical to communicate value and promote further engagement, this will likely include any of the following types of promotional content: Ask The Expert, Testimonial, Q&A (or FAQ), How To, Seminar/Webinar, Video, Case Study, News, Podcast, and so on.

Furthermore, it’s necessary to understand your buyer persona (the characteristics of your ideal customer)—their goals, challenges and motivations—so you can provide the best content as they look to you along with a mixture of other sources. The desire for comparison is a key indicator that the customer is far enough along in the Buyer’s Journey to have passed the awareness stage into the consideration stage, but keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily translate into a readiness for a direct sales approach. Your goal still remains to play a fundamental part in making your potential buyer more intelligent, and while it may be tough to hang tight in the lead nurturing phase, it will pay off in establishing your credibility to the person that you’ve already taken the time to help free of charge at this point.

With a focus on the needs of your customers, existing and potential, the goal of incorporating the Buyer’s Journey into your strategy for content marketing is to find ways to better position your business to address the needs that would lead to the conversion of your target audience to leads and then ultimately, to customers. It’s very much all about delivery of the right content in the right place at the right time. As for the consideration stage, it’s the optimal time to leverage your knowledge and presence in the marketplace to lead potential buyers to you as they’re transitioning into the final stage, DECISION, which we’ll be examining next month.

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