Understanding the Importance of the Customer Buying Cycle

Before we commit to buying something in stores or online, we all go through a pretty similar decision-making process. Whether we consciously realize it or not, this process is happening in the background, and it’s something we ALL have in common.

Getting to know why the customer buying cycle is so important is super key to meeting your future awesome clients or customers in the heart of that cycle.

Because when you understand what they’re thinking or feeling at a certain stage, you can pull out all the showstopper stops. You’ll make them go from indecisive or hesitant, to ecstatic and dancing their way through checkout.

For example, imagine you’re on vacation walking down a charming street in the local neighborhood. You don’t have anything you need right now, but then you think, “Hey, this is a really nice area and I come here all the time in the summer. Wait a sec…maybe I should consider buying a retirement home here.”

The idea generators start churning and the next thing you know, you’re determined to find a company that will help you find your next dream home.

Now, imagine a completely different scenario: you realize you’re on your last roll of toilet paper. Uh-oh, right? In this situation, you’re urgently compelled to go and buy more toilet paper ASAP.

So you go to the store and immediately head to the toilet paper aisle but you’re confronted with a dilemma—your preferred 3-ply brand of toilet paper is empty on the shelves. Unbelievable, right? Yet you can’t seem to find anyone to help you out, and so your frustration builds because your problem is dire and you need help NOW.

The difference between these two examples shows where you are in the customer buying cycle. In the retirement home scenario, you’re in the first awareness stage. With the toilet paper, you’re already closer to the end of the purchase cycle but you’ve hit a few roadblocks.

Depending on where a customer is in the buying cycle, the expectations for how they receive information and make decisions are different. Early in the cycle, customers are going with the flow and doing their own thing by browsing and researching.

Then later in the cycle, your business needs to ramp up its efforts by being more responsive or available so you can secure that purchase and gain a happy customer. If the approach is off, potential customers may disappear and never come back.

The 5 key stages in the customer buying cycle looks something like this:

  1. Awareness – So begins the search where a customer needs something—something you just happen to offer. When that customer stumbles upon your business it’s an eureka moment because now you’re on their radar, which is the first step to fulfilling the needs of your ideal crowd and soon-to-be loyal patrons.
  2. Consideration & Research – Now it’s time for the customer to evaluate if what you offer is really the answer to their needs. In this day and age, they may look you up online, check out your website and social media channels, or read reviews. Basically, they’re gonna do their homework on you first.
  3. Intentions & Preferences – At this stage, the customer has gathered all the logical information they need to know to move towards making a decision. It ultimately comes down to their emotions, if they really want to buy from you, and whether or not they’re totally convinced that you’re the solution. Call it a gut feeling, but the customer needs to feel like you’re the right choice or they may lose interest/fall off the map.
  4. The Big Purchase – Pure and simple, this is the stage you’ve been waiting for—the customer is about to seal the deal because they couldn’t resist not buying from you any longer. They’ve decided that you’re the one, the business that solves their problem. When they finally purchase or buy, woo hoo it’s time to celebrate!
  5. The Repurchase – If you play your marketing cards right, you’ll take every customer to this stage where they buy from you again. Everyone loves repeat customers, right?

The customer buying cycle is an art as much as it is a science.

Plus, the marketing methods involved are gonna be different for every business. We know the world of marketing changes with a constant ebb and flow, since so many factors are at play when someone is in the midst of buying something or not.

It takes trust, nurturing (then more trust and nurturing) before you can take the customer all the way over to the final purchase stage.

At Zonion, we can take care of all this for you because we know the type of marketing strategies and tactics it takes to turn those maybe-customers into happy and long-term fans of your business.

So what else is super important to leading your customers smoothly from awareness to purchase, and then to repurchase?

Content, content and more content.

But it needs to be spectacular, attention-grabbing content, just as much as it’s valuable and relatable to your business. The content you create also needs to be highly visible and available through the right channels.

For example, you probably don’t want to throw up a pricey local commercial about retirement homes in Key West if you know your customers aren’t hanging out in front of the TV all weekend. Why not place some ads at major tourist spots or at the main visitor center instead?

Here’s a closer look at how to go about your marketing in each stage of the customer buying cycle:

Awareness: For the majority of businesses today, it all starts with getting seen and found online through popular methods like Social Media Marketing, SEO keywords and Pay Per Click Advertising.

Consideration & Research: Once your customers discover you and your business, strong copy, comparison charts, and keyword-tailored landing pages are key to start convincing them that you’re the solution to their needs.

Intentions & Preferences: At this point, your website and brand story should light the path forward here, including your visuals, testimonials, and product or service descriptions.

The Big Purchase: Time to add the cherry on top and entice your customers to buy without any more hesitations or second-guesses. Get your discounts and promotion codes out there, create a sense of urgency with special deals, or throw in a nice little extra something whether it’s through PPC ad copy, a pre-sales email, or social media.

The Repurchase: Aim to keep in touch with your customers via social media, scheduled emails and monthly newsletters, or personal outreach and check-ins. While it’s natural to focus on getting the next sale, it can be even easier to focus on a resale with repeat customers instead. Why? Because they’ve already done their research and know what you have to offer.

Today, savvy businesses understand that buyer’s ultimately hold the power when navigating through the customer buying cycle. Even though it’s difficult to catch all the fish aka customers in the net, with the right content in play at the right time, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to guide each one of them through the buying journey.

If your head is spinning in circles right now, reach out to our tribe today because we’re made to handle this stuff! We’re ready and standing by to help you maximize your marketing efforts and snag those customers from start to finish.