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How to Leverage the 5 Stages of the Customer Buying Cycle for More Sales



How to Leverage the 5 Stages of the Customer Buying Cycle for More Sales

Let’s face it – there are many marketing tactics that boost conversions. However, to make your marketing effective, leveraging the customer’s buying cycle is the key to a successful online business.

Understanding a customer’s buying cycle is how you can have the right marketing for a successful commerce site.

Online Buying Cycle

The online buying cycle is very similar to the original buying cycle; however the key difference is the online buying cycle occurs online. Because it is online; many ecommerce sites and brands will utilize social media platforms and email marketing as marketing tools to help market and sell to consumers and generate leads back to their ecommerce site. The buying cycle and online buying cycle will go through the five stages of closing a sale.

5 Stages of the Customer Buying Cycle

You can look at a customer buying cycle as a customer’s purchasing cycle. ;Many customers go through stages during their purchasing process to educate themselves before they either make a purchase. There are five stages that you have to consider:

1. Awareness

Awareness is the first stage in a customer’s buying cycle when customers realize that they have a problem that needs a solution. ;

A company will be able to reach the target customers given the right marketing strategies and campaigns.

For example, a customer is trying to lower plastic waste from water bottle usage. A customer then sees an ad for a water filter. The problem the customer is facing is met with a solution and now the next stage of the customer buying cycle begins.

2. Consideration

This stage is where the prospect is considering their options and ;your company can provide multiple solutions for a customer. As an ecommerce site, this is where your marketing, sales team, and products come in.

In this stage, you can provide detailed information to explain how your product will help solve their problem. To go back to our example, once the customer clicks the ad and lands on your site, you can list the benefits of the water filter, such as cleaner water, more cost effective than buying bottled water, and gives you a good boost in health. ;Once the customer understands that this product is what they need to solve their problem, ;they will move onto the next stage.

3. Intent

In this stage, a salesperson aims to earn the trust of potential customers. Whether you tap them emotionally or logically, this is the time where a salesperson convinces the potential buyer that their product is the best solution for their needs. You can accomplish this through reviews from existing customers, highlighting the benefits of the product, or through a social media campaign that creates a feeling within the customer. Once the customer is convinced and has seen proof that the product works, we move on to the next stage.

4. Purchase

At this point, your customer is ready to purchase the solution for their needs. While your customer is in this stage, you need to ensure that your pricing is reasonable and you make the buying process as simple as possible.

When the customer purchases, that is not the last step in the customer buying cycle. You don’t want the customer to be a one-time buyer. You will need to manage the customer’s relationship with your site to make them a returning customer. ;Maintain contact with the customer on their problem solving journey to make sure ;that the product works properly and that they are satisfiedThe purchase is just the start of a relationship with a customer; building a relationship ;keeps them in the buying cycle.

5. Re-purchase (Renewal)

The final stage of the buying cycle is repurchase of your product or service. This is where you manage your relationship with the customers. In the previous stage, we touched on the importance of making sure that the customer and seller have established a good rapport ;since this will encourage the customer to repeat business . To get to repurchase, it’s imperative that the customer is happy and satisfied. In addition, in this stage, you can ask ;a customer for a review or a testimonial on how this product or service helped them with their needs.

Create Targeted Content for Each Stage

Now that you know the breakdown of the five stages of a customer’s buying cycle, it’s time to start making the most of it. To get started, you need to answer the questions which are related ;to each stage. But how do you know what your customers are searching ;for to gather information? The answer lies in search queries.

;Look at this example:

  • “flat screen tv” – This is a generic term that customers in the Awareness or Consideration stage use. “compare flat screen tvs” – The desire to compare products indicates this customer is further along in the cycle, such as the Consideration or Preference stage.
  • “sony 42” lcd” – This a very specific product query indicates that a shopper is much further into the buying cycle, now likely evaluating prices (right before the Purchase stage).

The next step is to create content that moves customers closer to purchase. For example, look for keywords that are related to the Awareness and Consideration stages. Using the previous example, you can provide a guide to selecting the perfect flat screen TV.

For the Preference/Intent stage, leveraging customer testimonials, providing specification sheets and telling your brand story will help push prospects closer to the Purchase stage, which is the perfect time to utilize a PPC ;ad with text that entices them to buy. To LeadL them towards Repurchase, you can send monthly newsletters with helpful tips and tricks . That way it will keep your brand on the top of their minds.

Make Content Available Through the Right Channels

Of course, the content you share is fully dependent on the product you offer and the profile of your customers, but there are basic commonalities on how to market in each stage of the buying cycle:

  • Awareness: For the majority of ecommerce sites, this is all about being found via search engine marketing, particularly PPC and SEO.
  • Consideration: Once customers find you in search engines, keyword-tailored landing pages are essential. . You can also use comparison charts that highlight the key selling points to help you stand out from the competition.
  • Preference/Intent: Your website should do the talking here, especially your product descriptions and overall branding. This is a critical stage to capture contact information.
  • Purchase: Get your coupons and discounts out there, whether it’s through your PPC ad text, a pre-sales email, or social media .
  • Repurchase: Keep in contact with your customers via scheduled emails, social media, and personal outreach. Your customers are your best growth opportunity.

Create a Meaningful Customer Buying Cycle

While it’s common for online business owners to always focus on the sale, it’s important to remember that your flock of customers are scattered across the field. By herding them through the right gates using your marketing, you’ll be able to enjoy a much more dependable customer pipeline.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2011 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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SEO Recap: ChatGPT – Moz



SEO Recap: ChatGPT - Moz

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

We’re back with another SEO recap with Tom Capper! As you’ve probably noticed, ChatGPT has taken the search world by storm. But does GPT-3 mean the end of SEO as we know it, or are there ways to incorporate the AI model into our daily work?

Tom tries to tackle this question by demonstrating how he plans to use ChatGPT, along with other natural language processing systems, in his own work.

Be sure to check out the commentary on ChatGPT from our other Moz subject matter experts, Dr. Pete Meyers and Miriam Ellis:

Video Transcription

Hello, I’m Tom Capper from Moz, and today I want to talk about how I’m going to use ChatGPT and NLP, natural language processing apps in general in my day-to-day SEO tasks. This has been a big topic recently. I’ve seen a lot of people tweeting about this. Some people saying SEO is dead. This is the beginning of the end. As always, I think that’s maybe a bit too dramatic, but there are some big ways that this can be useful and that this will affect SEOs in their industry I think.

The first question I want to ask is, “Can we use this instead of Google? Are people going to start using NLP-powered assistants instead of search engines in a big way?”

So just being meta here, I asked ChatGPT to write a song about Google’s search results being ruined by an influx of AI content. This is obviously something that Google themselves is really concerned about, right? They talked about it with the helpful content update. Now I think the fact that we can be concerned about AI content ruining search results suggests there might be some problem with an AI-powered search engine, right?

No, AI powered is maybe the wrong term because, obviously, Google themselves are at some degree AI powered, but I mean pure, AI-written results. So for example, I stole this from a tweet and I’ve credited the account below, but if you ask it, “What is the fastest marine mammal,” the fastest marine mammal is the peregrine falcon. That is not a mammal.

Then it mentions the sailfish, which is not a mammal, and marlin, which is not a mammal. This is a particularly bad result. Whereas if I google this, great, that is an example of a fast mammal. We’re at least on the right track. Similarly, if I’m looking for a specific article on a specific web page, I’ve searched Atlantic article about the declining quality of search results, and even though clearly, if you look at the other information that it surfaces, clearly this has consumed some kind of selection of web pages, it’s refusing to acknowledge that here.

Whereas obviously, if I google that, very easy. I can find what I’m looking for straightaway. So yeah, maybe I’m not going to just replace Google with ChatGPT just yet. What about writing copy though? What about I’m fed up of having to manually write blog posts about content that I want to rank for or that I think my audience want to hear about?

So I’m just going to outsource it to a robot. Well, here’s an example. “Write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO.” Now, at first glance, this looks okay. But actually, when you look a little bit closer, it’s a bluff. It’s vapid. It doesn’t really use any concrete examples.

It doesn’t really read the room. It doesn’t talk about sort of how our industry might be affected more broadly. It just uses some quick tactical examples. It’s not the worst article you could find. I’m sure if you pulled a teenager off the street who knew nothing about this and asked them to write about it, they would probably produce something worse than this.

But on the other hand, if you saw an article on the Moz blog or on another industry credible source, you’d expect something better than this. So yeah, I don’t think that we’re going to be using ChatGPT as our copywriter right away, but there may be some nuance, which I’ll get to in just a bit. What about writing descriptions though?

I thought this was pretty good. “Write a meta description for my Moz blog post about SEO predictions in 2023.” Now I could do a lot better with the query here. I could tell it what my post is going to be about for starters so that it could write a more specific description. But this is already quite good. It’s the right length for a meta description. It covers the bases.

It’s inviting people to click. It makes it sound exciting. This is pretty good. Now you’d obviously want a human to review these for the factual issues we talked about before. But I think a human plus the AI is going to be more effective here than just the human or at least more time efficient. So that’s a potential use case.

What about ideating copy? So I said that the pure ChatGPT written blog post wasn’t great. But one thing I could do is get it to give me a list of subtopics or subheadings that I might want to include in my own post. So here, although it is not the best blog post in the world, it has covered some topics that I might not have thought about.

So I might want to include those in my own post. So instead of asking it “write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO,” I could say, “Write a bullet point list of ways NLP might affect SEO.” Then I could steal some of those, if I hadn’t thought of them myself, as potential topics that my own ideation had missed. Similarly you could use that as a copywriter’s brief or something like that, again in addition to human participation.

My favorite use case so far though is coding. So personally, I’m not a developer by trade, but often, like many SEOs, I have to interact with SQL, with JavaScript, with Excel, and these kinds of things. That often results in a lot of googling from first principles for someone less experienced in those areas.

Even experienced coders often find themselves falling back to Stack Overflow and this kind of thing. So here’s an example. “Write an SQL query that extracts all the rows from table2 where column A also exists as a row in table1.” So that’s quite complex. I’ve not really made an effort to make that query very easy to understand, but the result is actually pretty good.

It’s a working piece of SQL with an explanation below. This is much quicker than me figuring this out from first principles, and I can take that myself and work it into something good. So again, this is AI plus human rather than just AI or just human being the most effective. I could get a lot of value out of this, and I definitely will. I think in the future, rather than starting by going to Stack Overflow or googling something where I hope to see a Stack Overflow result, I think I would start just by asking here and then work from there.

That’s all. So that’s how I think I’m going to be using ChatGPT in my day-to-day SEO tasks. I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned. Let me know. Thanks.

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What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]



What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]

The definition of a whitepaper varies heavily from industry to industry, which can be a little confusing for marketers looking to create one for their business.

The old-school definition comes from politics, where it means a legislative document explaining and supporting a particular political solution.


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HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1



HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1

This afternoon, HubSpot announced it would be making cuts in its workforce during Q1 2023. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing it put the scale of the cuts at 7%. This would mean losing around 500 employees from its workforce of over 7,000.

The reasons cited were a downward trend in business and a “faster deceleration” than expected following positive growth during the pandemic.

Layoffs follow swift growth. Indeed, the layoffs need to be seen against the background of very rapid growth at the company. The size of the workforce at HubSpot grew over 40% between the end of 2020 and today.

In 2022 it announced a major expansion of its international presence with new operations in Spain and the Netherlands and a plan to expand its Canadian presence in 2023.

Why we care. The current cool down in the martech space, and in tech generally, does need to be seen in the context of startling leaps forward made under pandemic conditions. As the importance of digital marketing and the digital environment in general grew at an unprecedented rate, vendors saw opportunities for growth.

The world is re-adjusting. We may not be seeing a bubble burst, but we are seeing a bubble undergoing some slight but predictable deflation.

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About the author

Kim Davis

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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