05 Dec 09 9:00 am
Customer purchase lifecycle. Which stage are you trying for?
One of the mistakes I have made is to promote to audience before fully understanding who they are and what they want. It is very easy to waste money promoting what you "think" people want, rather than what they are actually looking for.
There are steps one takes between the time they learn of a product or service, to the time that they actually make a purchase. It typically takes a person 7 times to visit a website, or whatever, before they make a purchase online.
There are 3 phases to a purchasing decision1) Research
: Long before the client is ready to purchase, they have a need, and they will research different means to satisfy that need. Many people gravitate online to do their research. Poor conversion rates often result, if you target your website to only address audience in the research phase.2) Decision
: When people have decided which product they want, or if they have a list of products they want to compare, they are in the decision phase. If you can sway them your way in this phase, you have good chance of closing a sale. Review sites usually attempt to hit people in this phase.3) Purchase or action
: This is the last step of the purchasing cycle, and the most profitable for Internet marketers. Once people have made up their mind, it is hard to make them change it. Many sites are trying to rank on keywords that are related to the competition of the product they are promoting (e.g. trying to sell Coke to Pepsi fans, by going for keywords "buy coke", and then trying to sell them Pepsi). It is unlikely this will work, since the clients have already made up their minds about which product it is they WANT. A good way to cash in in this phase is to offer the product at a better price (e.g. a plain sales page), and go for very specific keywords with the name of the product in it.
Think about the last time YOU purchased something online. Did you behaviour follow those steps?
I hope this is some help to everyone. I can't claim the ideas of the authorship of any of the above, but having worked in advertising for a good 20 years, it is pretty familiar territory :-)