Of Donuts and Diets: The Buyer’s Journey

Ever wondered what goes into buying a delicious donut?

Most people don’t just whip out their cards to buy something. There is a process behind that decision, and understanding that process will help you tailor your business toward helping potential buyers along that process.

Ready? Here goes:

  1. Awareness — they develop an awareness that your product or services exists
  2. Interest — they become interested in it
  3. Consideration — they begin to consider whether this is something they want to look into further
  4. Intention— they have developed an intention of buying your product or service
  5. Evaluation — the final check, where they think it through in full
  6. Purchase — they’re going for it, and you’ve just made some cash!

Here’s an example of when the buyer’s journey goes quickly and smoothly:

You’re walking down the street and get a whiff of freshly fried donuts (awareness). You turn your head to identify the source of the smell (interest), note that it’s a branch of a good bakery you’re familiar with (consideration), walk in (intention), check the price and length of the line (evaluation) and buy a donut (purchase).

The store has gained a sale, and you’ve gained some weight.

So how can you apply this to your business?

For many retail stores, the customer journey will follow the process outlined with the bakery above. But what if your business is online?

I’m going to go through each of the six steps, offering some ideas of what this might look like for an online company. Remember that every business is different, so please do take my ideas and adjust them to work for you.

1. Awareness

Let the world know that you exist. Whether it’s through social media, SEO, paid ads, spammy emails or writing articles on your blog, if no one knows you exist, they won’t be able to become your customer. Yes, even if you truly do have the best service in the world.

The problem arises when you consider just how many other people and businesses are out there trying to grab their share of attention. If you want people to notice your ads, you need a strong headline. Remember, the goal here is to make your audience aware of your existence, and try to get them to show –

2. Interest

To succeed here, your ad/article/social media posting must catch their eye enough for them to actually read it. They’re looking through your content, checking your postings — they are starting to show interest in you.

But what step do they need to take to get them to the next stage?

3. Consideration

By now, your target audience has clicked through to your website. They are considering you as a viable option, and want to know more about who you are and how you can help them.

Make sure this information is freely available on your website for everyone at this stage. Think of the common questions you are asked at the initial points of contact, and provide answers to them in clear view on your site.

4. Intention

At this point, they are thinking seriously about buying. They’re skimming through reviews, watching demos, and perusing case studies.

They are intending to purchase, and at this point, they want reassurance from you that by choosing to go with you, they are making the right choice.

5. Evaluate

Should they buy it? This is where they choose the right options, double-check the features, and make the final decision. Are they reasonably confident that your product or service will fulfill their needs, at a price point they are happy with?

6. Purchase

This is the final step in the customer journey when they go ahead with the purchase. You may find it surprising that this is even on the list — what is there that you need to do here to boost your sales?

The answer is simple — try to reduce friction throughout the actual purchase. When was the last time you made a purchase on your own site, or to your secretary through your phone line? You may be surprised at how HARD it is for your customers to pay you.

And don’t forget, a fair few will just stop trying, and you’ll have lost all that potential revenue.

Optimize your customer journey

People don’t buy in a vacuum. The decision to purchase is made over time, and if you understand the various steps involved in the journey your customers have to make, you can work to optimize each step and let more prospects become your customers.

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