Exponential technological advancements in recent years, in particular the development of the smartphone and mobile technologies, have completely revolutionised consumers’ buying patterns, giving customers more purchase options than ever before.
With consumers becoming increasingly desensitised to traditional advertising techniques, brands must instead focus on forging and developing personalised relationships with their clients to create memorable and engaging campaigns that transpose into lifelong customer loyalty. To avoid industry commoditisation, brands must create fully integrated multi-channel campaigns with a clear, synergised brand message. A multi-channel approach optimises customer engagement, and focuses on platforms that are relevant to the chosen target market.
Whilst traditional marketing theories emphasise the importance of acquiring new customers and increasing company revenue as primary campaign objectives, the acquisition of new customers can be up to seven times more expensive than retaining existing ones. Given the saturated marketing environment, continuing to engage with customers after their first interaction is essential for developing brand loyalty. Hence why, consumers must be engaged at every stage of the Consumer Purchase Cycle.
To ensure you are engaging with your customers at every stage of the purchase cycle, here are a few ideas you can utilise for each step:
Consumers are unlikely to purchase in this stage as they have often only just registered that they need your product/service. They are still working out all the various options available to them and becoming familiar with the landscape. Blogs are the most optimal way at providing information to your consumers, and they should be optimised for SEO to position them early on in Google search results, which will help you look like an expert in the field. Additionally, social media is very effective in promoting content and building awareness and rapport with prospective customers. Infographics, articles, videos and online news releases are also highly recommended for this stage. Utilising Google Analytics early on can help businesses gather insights and data on consumers by analysing engagement rates and can help gauge what stage consumers fall in the purchase cycle.
During this stage, consumers are looking for more information to help them make a more informed purchase decision. Lead generation is imperative at this stage as customers that click through from posts/ads on social media or blogs need to be converted to an identified lead. Content for this stage includes landing pages, reports, research studies and webinars.
Preference and Purchase
As consumers narrow down their potential options, traditional content such detailed product information, demos, free trials and data sheets play an integral role in each consumer’s decision stage. In addition, case studies and testimonials are also very important. Utilising Google Analytics helps ascertain what channel consumers used to make their final purchase and can be used to highlight consumer buying trends, tastes and future directions.
Once consumers have made their initial purchase, it’s important to keep the communication flowing to ensure consumers are satisfied and thus remain lifelong customers. In this stage, creating user guides or FAQs regarding your products/services are very useful in keeping customers engaged and thinking about your brand. Emails offering percentages off their next purchase/cross selling other products/ services, newsletters and long term incentives are also recommended. Keeping content personalised to the consumer will also guarantee engagement.
Today’s consumers are keeping up with technological advancements, and are constantly digitally and globally connected. Consumers look for brand transparency, with social media being a major facilitator of this – bringing consumers and brands closer together by facilitating real-time two-way communication. Through such platforms, consumers hold immense power, and in voicing their opinions and rallying public support can easily dictate public opinion regarding a campaign/product or brand. Utilising all major channels (digital and traditional) relevant to the target audience, and creating content that is specific to their demographic and psychographic characteristics will optimise customer engagement.
Targeting consumers at every stage of the purchase cycle is essential in developing brand loyalty amongst both prospective and existing customers. By focusing on every stage of the consumer purchase cycle, it will translate into building long term relationships and create influential brand advocates for your business.
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Author: Jane Toohey
Jane is an expert in communications, brand development, integrated marketing and digital strategy. Everything Jane does is geared towards helping companies grow their business and generate new opportunities. Having provided strategic solutions for many businesses over a long and accomplished career, Jane’s passion is watching and encouraging entrepreneurial success.