Lead Nurture Campaign Step 2 – Understanding the Buying Cycle

In order to build a solid Lead Nurture program you must understand your customer’s buying cycle in order to create content that naturally moves prospects through the process.

Each product or service has a specific buying cycle and organizations describe the cycle in a variety of ways.  A common way to think about this is using the following sequence:

  • Awareness – In this phase the prospect is trying to understand what they need, and what potential solutions exist.
  • Consideration – In this phase they are evaluating alternative solutions to their problem.
  • Purchase – In this phase your prospects are evaluating products from different companies to decide which one to buy.

We all go through this decision process for our own consumer purchases, and organizations go through the same steps for larger business purchases.

Let’s say that I’m interested in buying a new video camera for personal use.  I have a camera now that is five years old and somehow feel that there should be something better on the market.  My first step in the awareness phase would be to do some research to see what’s new in video camera technology and features.  I’ll be asking questions like:  Is HD readily available?  What types of zoom lenses are there? Who are the major manufacturers?  How do cameras connect to social media sites and my wireless network?  I’ll finish the awareness phase with a good understanding of what’s available and what I need.

After I do some research to understand these issues, I’ll move into the consideration phase.  Here I’ll look at different alternatives from the manufacturers I researched in the first phase, and get more detailed information.  I may watch a video showcasing how their current customers use the product and I’ll probably try one out for myself at a store.  Ideally I’ll come out of the consideration phase with a good understanding of the one or two products that I want to buy.

In the last phase, purchase, I’m looking to buy the product and I’m interested in getting the best price.  I might go to a store or two and shop online to find the best price from a supplier I trust with the service, warranty and payment options I’m looking for.

If I register to receive more information at the time I’m researching technology and features, and the manufacturer sends me a “coupon” deal, it might accelerate my purchase, but more than likely, I won’t be ready.

Ideally they should send a series of content that gradually moves me through the buying cycle over time.  A series of content that might be appropriate would be; a technology guide on HD video or lens quality, followed by a comparison guide or user testimonial, and finally a discount or free shipping offer to encourage purchasing. The manufacturer can’t know exactly how fast I will move through the buying cycle, but at least they will be sending me a stream of relevant content that’s appropriate to the way most people buy.  They can also ask me where I am in the buying process as they send me more content.

Although this sounds simple enough, although most companies simply send the same content to their entire list over and over again.

Only by clearly understanding your customer’s buying cycle, can you create the content and emails necessary to drive an effective Lead Nurture program.

For more insight to help you build a complete Lead Nurture program, download the entire white paper here.

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