Did you know 85% of people research the products they want to buy online before they make their decision?
When prospects land on a website of interest, yes they want information about the product on offer, but they are actually looking for a lot more than that at this early stage of the buying journey. They want to know what options are available, the price differentiation of those options, what the pros and cons of different products are, whether there are any related sustainability concerns and the general ethos of suppliers. In short, they want as much information as possible, so they feel well informed before they make their decision.
This is step one in the customer journey and yet it often gets overlooked.
Increase your influence
The most basic customer journey is the customer experience from finding out about a product, through to placing an order. Companies that pay this process the attention it deserves will create a Customer Journey Map to visually represent the journey their prospects take before they become customers, while they are customers, and possibly include after-sales service too. Breaking the process down in this way helps businesses to better understand each milestone in the journey and what impact they have on influencing the outcome at each stage. The more influence you can have during the research stages, the more likely prospects are to come back to you when they’re ready to buy.
Blog to build trust
A business blog is useful throughout the whole customer journey but really comes into its own in the early stages. The rest of a website will be front and centre for the second step in the process, when prospects have narrowed down their options and want to see what different competitors have to offer, but during this first step, more generic authoritative market information is a must have.
For example, if a homeowner is looking to buy a new conservatory, they will want to know about the pros and cons of conservatories vs extensions. They will want to know about the different styles of conservatory available, different types of materials used to manufacture conservatories and the pros and cons of glass vs solid conservatory roofing options. Someone looking to sign up to a new fitness regime on the other hand might first want to know about the latest popular trends in diet and exercise and which exercises are better for strength, flexibility or cardio.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t offer all of these products or services, by talking knowledgably about them you position yourself as an expert in the entire field. It is this expertise that warms a prospect to you and builds trust before they have even had any direct contact with you.
Make it easy
If you can make it easy for prospects to find the general market or product information they need, you will build trust and loyalty in your brand and visitors are more likely to return. Consistent business blogs are a great way of helping prospects find you in the first place because fresh content boosts search engine optimisation. You can read more about this here. Then, if your blog is full of helpful information, prospects can browse through it in their own time and gather everything they need to make an informed choice.
When you think about the customer journey in this way, who are they more likely to opt for? The company with the excellent informative blog that popped up at the top of their search and gave them all the information they need? Or the company that was hard to find in the first place and then only gave details of their own products with no additional market or product information? I know which one I’d choose!
So, when mapping out your online presence, don’t forget step one in your customer’s journey. Be helpful in the early stages and the trust and goodwill you build in the beginning, will come to fruition later, when they are ready to buy.