Understanding the Customer Buying Cycle
If you do not know what the purchase cycle of your customers is, you are missing a great opportunity to improve your marketing actions and increase the profit of your company. But do you know what is meant by a buying cycle?
The purchase cycle is the process through which a user goes from discovering that they have a problem or need until they find and buy something that solves or satisfies it. This cycle can be measured both in the offline and online channels, but the truth is that, in online channels, knowing and understanding the phases a buyer goes through is much easier.
And is that one of the great advantages that an online business has is that we can analyze in detail each step that the user takes from entering the web or viewing a type of online publication until he or she clicks on "buy".
What is the purchase cycle or conversion funnel?
The purchase cycle process is usually represented graphically in the form of a funnel, and that is why we also usually refer to the funnel or conversion funnel. Represented in the form of an inverted pyramid, in each step we find each of the phases of the purchase cycle, which may culminate in the purchase itself or final conversion (which, instead of the traditional purchase of a product, could be the subscription to a certain service).
Thus, while in the widest part of the funnel there are all those interested in the product (or who could be), in the narrowest part of it are those who end up buying the product or hiring the service.
We must also consider the importance of building a buyer persona that helps us better understand the behavior and habits of potential customers to whom we address (and who we are interested in addressing). This point is essential to create the Customer Journey Map, that is, the content guide that we will have to develop to accompany the user with the appropriate information depending on the phase of the cycle in which they are and lead them towards the final conversion.
Phases of the buying cycle: AIDA
The purchase cycle always consists of the same 4 phases (AIDA) for any product or service, although the duration of the process may vary in each case and we can find some “sub-phases”.
The term AIDA is composed of the words “attention” (awareness), “investigation or interest” (interest), “decision or desire” (decision) and “action” (action).
Let's learn more of them one by one:
A person realizes that they have a problem, a need or a desire. The question that is asked is: "How can I fix it?"
In this first phase, there is usually no rational basis with which the user connects with your brand. You will have to offer a first contact that is moved by emotions, provide attractive images that awaken the desire to satisfy a need that previously did not exist.
Then he goes on to a phase of searching for alternatives in which he asks himself: "What options are there in the market to solve my problem or need?"
In this case, the client knows your brand, but is consciously looking for information, investigates through different means and also knows your potential competitors. It is a key phase in which we must impact the user.
To choose between the different alternatives, you must form a criteria and take into account everything that can influence your decision making (price, delivery time, renewal frequency ...). So, here the user wonders what is the best option.
In this phase, conviction is deepened by presenting the advantages of the product through the appropriate information.
Once you have taken into account all the variables, it is time to buy; In other words, it is time to close your sale.
At this point, customer service becomes highly relevant, since the consumer may still have many doubts about the delivery time, return conditions, guarantees, etc. So we must try to generate the best shopping experience so that there is not a step back and the decision is reinforced.
The duration of this process may vary in each case. Knowing the stages of the buying cycle not only determines the content planning itself, but also affects customer relationship management (CRM).
Currently there are more complex purchase cycle models that include more phases to better detail the process that the user goes through in their evaluation of a product or service. The AIDA cycle is one of the best known and includes the essential processes that you must take into account.
From a marketing point of view, in the end what we are interested in is that all the people who are at the beginning of the buying cycle end up converting or, at least, as many people as possible. If not, what we should try to do is retain these potential customers in the decision or consideration phase, so that, even if they do not buy in the short term, they can take us into account for their next purchases or in the near future.
In fact, even if the user has made the purchase, we must continue working on the client to reinforce their decision and, then, develop loyalty strategies so that they repeat with us.
As we mentioned at the beginning, if you know the process your customers go through before buying your product, you will be able to prepare a much more effective marketing strategy: you will be able to devise specific marketing actions depending on the phase of the purchase cycle in which the user is found, significantly improving their results.
To achieve this, we must work on a content strategy specially designed for each phase of the cycle in which the user is, that is, follow an effective lead nurturing and lead scoring strategy to always find the right message to the right person. At Century Digital Marketing we specialize in digital marketing strategies to attract the right audience and retain your current customers, let us know if you would like to set up a meeting with the team!