Promoting your business – influencing  your prospect’s buying journey

Previously, we wrote about the importance of the Four Ps as a framework for thinking about all aspects of marketing your business. Again, the Four Ps are Product, Price, Place and Promotion. For the purposes of this post, we are primarily interested in helping you get found by the consumer needing your product at the place and price that you have decided on. Digital promotion can help you achieve that goal.

There is a framework known as the customer journey map that helps us understand which promotional channels are most effective in reaching our targeted buyer. Below is a sample map of a typical consumer journey for online shopping:

Online Shopping Customer Journey Map Example

All businesses should go through this exercise using a simple spreadsheet or a prebuilt online template. This exercise helps to identify where digital promotion will be most effective. Consider all possible touchpoints with a prospective customer as well as what technology, operations and promotional channels will encourage the prospect to buy from you.

When we consider the above process, we see each stage of the classic customer purchase funnel which is broadly labeled Awareness, Interest, Decision. These three stages have been reduced from the usual five or seven stages depending on the type of business for the sake of brevity. Unfortunately, many small businesses do not think through the journey that their customer takes before buying from them or their competitor. Rather, they implement an effort to promote their business without the benefit of informally or formally thinking through and documenting the customer decision process.

The following are the digital media channels that influence the online shopper’s decision in the above example:

Awareness – Motivation: All external influences including friends and family, traditional and digital advertising. Specific digital channels include Connected TV (Hulu, YouTube TV, Disney, Amazon Prime, OTT from Cox, Spectrum, Scripps, etc.) Behavioral Targeted Banner Display, social media unpaid and sponsored posts.

Interest – Searched for websites: Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, Yelp

Interest – Browses sites: organic and paid search results from above searches

Interest – Evaluates products: Targeted display banners, targeted social media sponsored messages, sponsored branded content, targeted app messages, targeted video on laptop, phone, TV and tablet, all the result of behavioral targeting based on previous online search and website visit activities. Also, review sites that the consumer choses including Yelp, Amazon, Facebook, etc. This is the real opportunity to use creative digital marketing to capture the attention of your target customer.

Decision – Pay: Ecommerce shopping cart clicked in from bookmarked websites, retargeted display and social media ads, final search on search engines with brand identity in mind. Competitors will still try to influence the buyer’s decision by appearing adjacent to your brand in sites like Yelp, Google, and Amazon and steal the consumer’s attention.

Decision – Contacts support for help: The customer is in your ecommerce environment. If your ecommerce platform only offers one payment method such as PayPal or American Express, and your customer requires a different payment method, then the problem needs to be resolved or the shopping cart is at risk of being abandoned. The Customer will find a competitor to buy from if this happens.

Below is a diagram of this process with suggested digital unpaid and paid channels included at each stage:

Customer journey shopping map example with digital channels to influence decision

In conclusion, a good digital media promotion strategy must deliver the right message in the channel that your prospect is using at each stage of her journey. If you are not there and a substitute product is, then your product will not be considered as she reaches her final decision. Behavioral targeting has become quite sophisticated in reaching prospects throughout this journey with video, display banners, text, and branded content. Feel free to contact us for a consultation or check out our pre-built digital promotion packages designed for small businesses like yours to be considered at each stage of the consumer journey.