posted by Mark de Wit
Thursday, May 26, I attended Emerce Digital Marketing Live. A day full of inspiration and knowledge. At the Beurs van Berlage, a motley crew of marketers, entrepreneurs, advertisers, freelancers and other marketing professionals gathered around. In the historic setting of the oldest stock exchange in the world – talking about commercialism – and I could feel the energy in the air.
The buyer journey is hotThere was especially a lot of interaction on various marketing topics during the so-called ‘Round Table’ sessions. Marketing automation, Big Data, Conversion attribution, Mobile advertising, just to name a few of them. But the customer and buyer journey were also frequently discussed. These models do not appear to be paper tigers because marketers apply them. About time for a blog on the buyer journey where (online) marketers and entrepreneurs can benefit from. In this blog post you read more about:
- The phases of the buyer journey
- Google Adwords
- Business case 123inkt.nl
- Satisfied customers
Captivate -> Persuade -> Activate: the buyer journey unravelledNothing is so complex as predicting human behaviour. Whether we’re talking about B2C or B2B markets: the human decision process hasn’t been ‘cracked’ yet. Neuromarketing however, offers increasingly more insight into what moves people to action and with what emotion. The amount of models on the buyer journey is enormous. If you do a Google search, you’ll end up with almost 18 million results. In the end, I went with a model that was developed by Vicus. It’s clear and compact, and that’s exactly why I use it. The fundamentals of this buyer journey model is summarized in the visual below:
The buyer journey model distinguishes 3 phases: Interest, Persuade and Activate. During the first phase, ‘strangers’ can become visitors of your website our blog. If they like your proposition, those visitors will develop into leads. It’s possible those visitors will then take action (conversion) on the website. A lead that is activated – on- or offline – is a new customer. Woohoo! Each activity (s)he now undertakes on of your marketing channels is part of the customer journey. Sometimes the buyer journey doesn’t take long, e.g. purchasing prepaid credit for your phone. It could be done within 5 minutes. But B2B markets and larger sales are a whole different matter: it can be months or even years before it’s a done deal.
The buyer journey as DNA for your AdWords campaignsYou may be wondering “Great, that buyer journey, but what can I do with it?”. Well, starting off, you could gain insight: identify your market segments and accurately focus your sales efforts.
Often there are several buyer journeys for multiple personas.Personas are customer profiles and give insight into expected human behaviour. The will and won’t do’s on your blog, website, LinkedIn business page of Facebook page. Which characteristics they have that you need to consider in your marketing? Personas and the buyer journey aren’t exactly rocket science, but provide a certain framework for your marketing and sales. That way you can generate targeted leads and organize the process of lead nurturing. Deploying the buyer journey in Google AdWords campaigns is therefore quite interesting. Often, search campaigns focus on immediate converting keywords, but then you’re possibly missing out on a whole bunch of customers. After all, if you do not focus with keywords on the phases before conversion (becoming a customer), the chance that orienting visitors will buy from you will be much smaller.
AdWords case of moving company MoveitI’ll describe a case to show you the effect of AdWords in the buyer journey. We’ll be reviewing the (fictional) moving company Moveit and how they came to a sale solution. The AdWords campaigns are set up from the perspective of 123inkt.nl, no stranger to the online world. 123inkt.nl already won several web awards. I picked 123inkt.nl since they are very active with AdWords. I want to emphasize once again that this is a simulated campaign from 123inkt.nl. It’s about how a business responds to the buying process with AdWords, in this case moving company Moveit. Moveit is active as a mover. In the moving sector, market margins are tight. Cost management, in addition to smart marketing, is important for a good return. In this aspect, Moveit has quite challenge to cope with. Moveit suffers from high overhead costs. The management is aware of the situation and asks office manager Roos Posthumus to set up cost-saving operation. The costs should decrease by 20%. After analysing the costs, Roost Posthumus has discovered that ink cartridges contribute a significant share to the cost issue. Roos Posthumus is, in this specific case, the persona of 123inkt.nl. Roos is 35, single, office manager and in her mid-career. She is responsible for a budget of €500.000 and is the decision-maker.
Relevant questions for 123inkt.nl are:
- How does the buyer journey of Roos elapse?
- How can 123inkt.nl adapt its campaigns to the buyer phase of Roos?
PHASE 1: InterestGoogle searches that are relevant to ‘costs’ and ‘cartridges’ are important in this phase.
Roos Posthumus searches ‘costs cartridges’ and finds the above results. Roos is still in the orienting phase and wants independent information on cartridges. She finds it on kieskeurig.nl.
She concludes that private label cartridges are much cheaper compared to those from the original brand. Thus she continues her search on Google with ‘private label cartridges’. The result is the following image.
With these results, Roos concludes in first instance to pick 123inkt.nl as the new supplier. She takes a look at the site and takes a virtual tour around the store. In addition to prices, she also checks other information such as post-pay billing and customer reviews. She gradually becomes enthusiastic about 123inkt.nl. She decides to order some sample products. In the buyer journey, Roos has just entered phase two of the buyer phase: persuasion.
PHASE 2: PersuasionRoos Posthumus orders a small amount of ink. She experiences the procurement process at 123inkt.nl positively. Discount, delivered on time, post-pay billing. She’s ‘sold’ and introduces 123inkt.nl to the management as her preferred supplier. The management hears her and agrees with the proposal. Roos is pleased; she’s managed to set her first step towards a cost reduction of 20%. Her company now becomes a long-term customer and enters phase 3 of the buyer journey model: activate.
PHASE 3: ActivateNow that Roos has the approval of the management, she starts procuring large orders, in her case specifically hundreds of cartridges ink from the private label of 123inkt.nl. Integration buyer journey in the search campaigns of 123inkt.nl Now we know how the buyer journey of Moveit (Roos Posthumus) elapsed, it’s time to take a look at the search campaigns. How can 123inkt.nl set up its campaigns that Moveit becomes a customer and a good customer experience can be realized? 123inkt.nl can configure the following keywords; advertisement text and landing page (see visual) to target phase 1 Interest. They respond to the Google search of Roos: ‘costs cartridges’. This keyword is deployed broad, exact and phrase. Important here is that the landing page also offers a good user experience.
After she has concluded that Moveit is better off with private label cartridges, she looks up the keywords that are relevant to these products. Thus 123inkt.nl includes the keywords ‘private label cartridges’ in the campaign ‘private labels’ en selects a fitting landing page. You can see this in the visual below.
After the sample order, Roos is convinced and enters phase 2 of the buyer journey. 123inkt.nl knows that this phase gives the brand 123inkt.nl the power to convert and thus 123inkt.nl is as keyword in the campaign ‘123inkt.nl’. This both for the broad, exact and phrase variant of ‘123inkt.nl’. The homepage is the landing page in this case. You can see this in the visual below.
Ultimately, the lead Moveit is activated as a long-term customer during phase 3. Because now large amounts of private label cartridges are ordered as an alternative for the original Brother cartridges. Thus 123inkt.nl includes the keywords below in the campaign ‘Brother cartridges’. The landing page that fits with this is specific and contains all Brother cartridges and related private labels that appear as suggestions at 123inkt.nl.
Satisfied customersIn this blog post we extensively covered the phases of the buyer journey. The benefits of this model and the link to AdWords are hopefully clear and can be realized by any company. It takes time and effort to replicate this model and adapt your search campaigns to it. But it’s worth it! Search queries are intentions of buyers on the web.
You have to respond to those as a marketer or entrepreneur for the following reasons:Relevance for your visitors: ensure that you help visitors with a good and relevant advertisement and landing page that fits their searches. Google will reward this with a good add position and CTR. Good orientation experience: ensure that customers return to your website by responding to the phases before conversion, you’ll have a bigger shot at selling a product or at least offering a quotation during their next visit. Clarity the buyer journey model and Adwords configuration present the working methods of your business explicitly. This ensures clear communication between Sales and Marketing. Those are often two departments that do not collaborate optimally. This model can help to close the gap. Human marketing it’s about human trade on Internet. Sometimes companies think of ‘IP addresses’, but we’re still dealing with people! This model recognizes the different proceedings during the procurement process and describes customers based on profiles. Finally, if you’d like to start off and go to work with the buyer journey, I highly recommend the following link of Hubspot. It’s great framework to further develop the model.
I wish you the best of luck and maybe I’ll encounter you again in a buyer journey!