The Customer Purchase Lifecycle Part 1

The Customer Purchase Lifecycle Part 1

Before we decide on selling anything online, we need to first determine who our customer is, what they purchase regularly and why they are purchasing online. This is called “customer comprehension”.

Customer Comprehension

The better we understand our customer, the easier it will be to sell stuff to them. Obviously, at the core of any business, the ultimate goal is to create a profit. To create a profit, we must have customers and we must be able to sell to these customers.

One of the most common mistakes marketers make is promoting to a customer (or audience) before they fully understand who their audience is, it is very easy to waste money promoting what you “think” people want rather than what they want.

We don’t make assumptions on our customers, we gain an understanding. This way we will be much more successful.

Steps To Purchasing

We need to understand the steps someone takes between the time they learn of a product or service, to the time that they actually make a purchase. That is what my goal is here, to help you understand.

Let’s look at some it. Some known facts about a customer:

1. Customers rarely buy on their first point of contact to a product
2. It typically takes a person 7 times (website visits, email, newsletter, etc.) before they make a purchase online
3. Customers do not buy from people they don’t trust
4. Customers are exchanging “money” for something that will improve their existing situation
5. Customers have more access to product information and reviews than they ever have
6. Most customers can see through scammy promotions, in fact are turned off

We’re going to look at how to catch people later in their buying cycle so that the chances of someone “buying” versus having to walk them through all points of contact increases. This will simplify the selling process drastically!

Research Decision Purchase BannerThere are three very important stages in the Customer Purchase Lifecyle that we must understand. These are the controlling factors deciding how close a prospective customer is to becoming a paying customer (the ultimate goal). The better our understanding of these phases, the better we will understand how to approach the customer at those particular stages.

1. Research Phase

People love to learn before they buy, they’re hungry for information about their impending purchase, they may,
however not have product awareness yet. Although some purchasing decisions are more spontaneous than others, people mostly learn about a product before they buy and this “learning” is done using many mediums. Typically these include TV, Facebook, Twitter, Google search, a magazine, personal contact, from a celebrity or a news website.

Nowadays, people gravitate online to complete their research as it is the “information highway”. Information can be found on virtually anything through a simple search in the search engines, that’s why the majority of research is done on the web, so this is where we can find a good deal of people when they are in their research phase.

Google Search Bar BannerThe best approach at this stage: During this phase, the best approach is to get people onto a mailing list or get them following us via our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest). From there we can work towards walking them through the remainder of the process. We’re not likely to make a sale at this point but if engage people at this point via our content, we will likely get them to revisit our site at a later date.

2. Decision Phase

Some people have already made up their mind as to what product they are going to buy and they want it now. For most though, they will go through a decision phase where they research a number of products/services and decide which one best suits their need.

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Someone’s decision can be easily influenced by reviews and the opinions of others. This is where a great internet marketer can intercept, showcase relevant products that are of high quality and deliver a convincing review to encourage a purchasing decision in the internet marketer’s favour.

During the decision phase, people are typically looking for product reviews or further product information through their favourite online channels, whether this is by reading blogs, doing research in search engines, asking people on Facebook or sending out an enquiry via Twitter.

The best approach at this stage: This is a very good phase to pick up potential “customers” . It is best to review products or services that the person is looking for. People are often looking for comparison or negative reviews, we can leverage these as there are many sub-standard products out there in almost all markets. Typical search keywords in this phase revolve around review, scam, comparison, information and versus (comparing one product to another). People are very likely to buy at this stage, if they feel comfortable with your review and you can build immediate trust.

3. Purchasing/Action Phase

The final phase is the one that is profitable to us as Internet marketers. No commissions will be paid unless there is an action that takes place! Whether this is a click, a lead, or a sale, a visitor needs to become a customer to fulfill the lifecycle.

Dollar Sign BannerDuring the purchasing/action phase, it is very difficult to get someone to detour from their purchasing decision. They have done their research, made the decision and are now fully prepared to buy. In an ideal world, we would be able to target all the people within this phase but most of the time the research and searching is complete at this point.

The best approach at this stage: The ultimate goal is to get someone to this point, whether we are able to do so through manually walking them through the process or we catch people in the decision phase and help them buy. If we are targeting the keywords (the buy type keywords), we simply want to point people in the direction of the product they are looking to buy (through our affiliate link of course) and we are sure to convert. This is the ultimate phase to catch someone in but it is the most difficult to hunt this “ready to buy” crowd down.

Customer comprehension is a variant that is tricky to deal with. How do you teach someone that “thinks” they know exactly who their customer is, but they are completely off base?

That will be the subject of my next post, see you there.

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