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How Consumers Buy Today - Harnessing the Buying Journey to Get More Customers

Consumers now research purchases extensively online before buying. They discover businesses through search engines, reviews, and social media. They consider multiple sources like websites and social pages to learn about options. Marketing must reach consumers throughout this "buying journey." To do so, businesses need content on search engines, reviews sites, their own website and blog, and social media to influence consumers at each stage. Coordinating tactics maximizes their impact on the journey.

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Marketing Your Business Online Understanding the Consumer Buying Journey
reachlocal.com | 888.861.6378
© 2012 ReachLocal. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.
By Todd Ebert, Chief Marketing Officer
How Consumers
Buy Today
Harnessing the Buying Journey
to Get More Customers
Marketing Your Business Online Understanding the Consumer Buying Journey
It’s not debatable that the
Internet and social media
have changed the way we
communicate, learn, work,
play, and buy.
So, have you taken the time to really think about
the process your customers take to find you,
research you, compare you to competitors, and
ultimately choose you? We call that process
the consumer buying journey, and this ebook
explains how to apply it to your marketing
strategy in order to get more customers.
How Do You Buy? 3
Table of Contents
How Do You Buy?
Power to the People
The Evolution of Consumer Buying
Apply the Buying Journey to Your Marketing
Case Study
Example Buying Journeys
What Influences Your Customers?
How Do You Buy? 4
How Do You Buy?
www
You’re not just a business owner or marketer; you’re a consumer,
too. Have you thought about how you’ve changed the way you buy
things today compared to a decade ago? Consider the last time
you needed a new car, braces for your kids, or even something as
simple as a restaurant for date night. Did you:
(Check all that apply)
Search on Google or Bing to see which businesses showed up?
Ask for a recommendation on Facebook?
Check reviews on Yelp, Google+ Local, or another local directory site?
“Like” or follow a business on social media that you were considering?
Compare the websites of a few different businesses to help make
your choice?
See a display ad that jogged your memory about a brand you
were considering?
Use your mobile phone to search for a phone number or directions
to a business while out and about?
Chances are that you did some or all of these, so you know firsthand just
how big an impact the Web and mobile have on the way we buy.
How Do You Buy? 5
Zero Moment of Truth
Google has done extensive research on this huge shift in consumer
buying behavior and explains it all in their ebook Winning at the
Zero Moment of Truth.
Simply put, the Zero Moment of Truth, or ZMOT, is the decision-making process in which a consumer goes
online to conduct research, learn about alternatives, read reviews, look for coupons or discounts, and more,
for a product or service they are thinking about buying — all before ever calling or going to the store. That’s
why your business needs to be present during a consumer’s Zero Moment of Truth.
Zero Moment of Truth: The moment when you grab your laptop
or phone and start learning about a product or service you’re
thinking about buying before you call or go to the store. For a
business it is the difference between winning and losing the battle
for customers.
Google, 2012
Power to the People 6
Consumers online are searching for products and services, surfing
across websites, and socializing on the top social networks.You
need to be everywhere your prospects are, so they can find you,
learn more about you, and ultimately buy from you. Consider this:
Have you ever seen a product or service mentioned in a Facebook post, featured on a TV commercial, or
reviewed in a news article online and thought, “I’d like to know more about that,” and then turned to the
Web to get more information? Picture this: You and
your spouse want go out for dinner, but you’re not sure
where you’d like to go. While you are visiting your
favorite local news site, you see a display ad for an
Italian restaurant in your area called Little Italy. You’ve
always eaten at the same place, but recently, you
remember seeing some friends recommending Little Italy
on Facebook. So, you search for “Little Italy reviews.”
After reading a few reviews on Yelp and getting recommendations on what dishes to order, you visit Little Italy’s
website, where you check out photos of the food and dining room, watch a video message from the chef, and
read customer testimonials. You also see that they are offering a 30% discount for first time customers. Now, you
know exactly where you will eat dinner tonight, and what you are going to order.
Power to the People
“If you’re not visible online
when people are doing their
homework, believe me, they’ll
find others who are.”
~ Jim Lecinski, Managing Director, Google
We use the Web and
mobile to instantly
research a product
or service anywhere,
anytime.
We form powerful
impressions of businesses
after seeing pictures,
posts, and reviews.
We actively share
our own experiences
with hundreds, even
thousands, of others
in an instant.
Search Surf Socialize
Power to the People 7
The Impact on Your Business
Today, the average consumer uses over 10 sources of information
to make a purchase decision, up from just five sources in 2010.1
Turning these highly educated consumers into buyers is definitely
more complex than it used to be. In fact, it requires you to be in
the right place at the right time in order to give consumers the
information and confidence they need to make the decision to buy
from you instead of a competitor.
To reach these consumers at the exact time they are considering your products or services, you need to create
a strong Web presence that influences consumers at every stage along their buying journey. You need to
provide both helpful content (that you build) and engaging advertising (that you buy) across the many places
consumers search, surf, and socialize. And, to anchor it all, you need a robust website with fresh content that
rises to the top of search results, creates a great first impression with visitors, and compels them to contact you.
Since consumers are influenced all along their buying journey, you can’t just market to them at the beginning
and expect to win their business.
You need a total Web presence to reach consumers throughout their buying journey.
1
Google, 2012
“When consumers hear about a product today, their first
reaction is ‘Let me search online for it.’ And so they go on a
journey of discovery: about a product, a service, an issue,
an opportunity.Today you are not behind your competition.
You are behind your consumer.”
~ Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Strategy Innovation Officer, Viraki
The Evolution of the Buying Journey 8
Historically, marketers have used a simple framework called the
“buying funnel” to describe the process that consumers go through
to buy products and services.Then, they use that framework to
determine the right strategy for reaching consumers at each
stage of that process.There are much more complex frameworks
to describe consumer buying, but for this ebook we’ll stick to the
simple funnel and its four primary stages: Discover, Consider, Buy,
and Repeat.
Many consumers start at the top of the funnel, where
they discover local businesses via advertising, social
media, or even word of mouth. As they continue through
the marketing funnel, they will see information about
you on social media pages, customer review sites, and
your website or blog that help them determine whether
or not to buy from you. It’s your job to use multiple
tactics throughout this entire process to help consumers
discover, contact, and choose to buy from you.
The Evolution of
Consumer Buying
Contact
Discover
Choose
Review & Repeat
The Evolution of the Buying Journey 9
The Buying Journey Then (Before the Web)
Twenty years ago, we had limited ways to discover new businesses,
so our path to purchase was pretty straightforward.Businesses informed us of our
choices by advertising in the relatively few places where we got our news and entertainment, like newspapers,
magazines, TV, and radio. Once we began to actively consider buying, we asked friends and family about their
experiences with local companies, we checked the Yellow Pages, and then we called several businesses for
estimates. After the purchase was completed, some of us would tell a handful of others about the experience.
Then, we waited to see a sale in the newspaper or coupon in the mail before going back to the business.
Discovered a product or
service via offline advertising,
signage, print directories, and
word-of-mouth
Checked with friends for
recommendations, visited
store, or called for info
Bought the product or service,
often after shopping prices or
getting several estimates
Told a few people about your
experience and checked the mail
and newspapers for new sales
and offers
Contact
Discover
Choose
Review & Repeat
The Evolution of the Buying Journey 10
The Buying Journey Now
As news, entertainment, and communication shifted online, so did
the way we buy. Checking the newspaper for auto dealer specials
moved to websites. Searching theYellow Pages for a plumber moved
to Google. Asking friends to recommend a dentist moved to Facebook.
Now, nearly every step of our buying journey takes place online.
Discover businesses as we
search, surf and socialize online
(with some offline ads in the mix)
Check out several business
websites, review sites, and social
pages and contact via phone and
email
Share our purchase experience
on directories, review sites and
social media.“Like” the business
or subscribe to email newsletter
to get updates on sales and offers
Book appointments and buy
offline, though some businesses
now enable this on their websites
Contact
Discover
Choose
Review & Repeat
The Evolution of the Buying Journey 11
This shift online has made it much harder for businesses to reach
us with mass marketing tactics; we’re bombarded with so many
messages that we often ignore them. We’ve taken control of the purchase process by
actively looking for new businesses and instantaneously researching them online. And, increasingly, we book
appointments and buy online, immediately share our opinions via our mobile phones, and “like” our favorite
businesses on social media to get updates and offers that entice us to buy from them again. Interestingly,
we have so much information at our disposal that buying is not easier, but more complex than ever before.
Even a simple search for a dentist results in pages and pages of listings, including directories, blogs, videos
and websites. And then, we have to read dozens of reviews, sort through recommendations on social media,
evaluate a bunch of business websites, and process (or tune out) hundreds of ads.
TopDownViewintoFunnel
Contact
Discover
Choose
Review & Repeat
Discover
Contact
Choose
Co n t en t Sit es
SearchEnginesBusinessWebsites
DealSitesReview
Sites
SocialMediaOfflineMedia
On l in e Media
Consumers seek and engage with many sources at each stage of the funnel,
so you need more than just one tactic to reach them.
The Evolution of the Buying Journey 12
“Consumers arrive online
24/7 ready to engage.They’re
anybody’s to win or lose.”
~ Jim Lecinski, Managing Director, Google
The Impact on Your Business
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
All the information available online enables consumers to make
more informed decisions on what to buy and who to buy from. But at
the same time, it creates a whole lot of work for the businesses like
you that are trying to reach them.
Gone are the days when you could place an ad in
the Yellow Pages and wait for the phone to ring. Now,
you need to make sure you’re giving consumers the
information they want at each stage of the buying
journey. To do that, you need a comprehensive Web
presence everywhere consumers search, surf, and
socialize. That involves claiming key sites on the Web,
buying targeted advertising, and creating a steady stream of fresh, authentic, and engaging content that:
Creates awareness as consumers surf the Web
Increases your likelihood to be seen when they search for your types of products or services
Stands out from your competition when consumers research and evaluate you
Reminds them of your business as they consider buying from you
Makes a good impression when they visit your website, listings, and social profiles
Sparks their interest so they contact you and learn more about you
Engages and entertains them so they share it with their friends
The Evolution of the Buying Journey 13
Consumers can potentially see
your content and advertising at
each stage of their buying journey.
Everything you do influences the other marketing
tactics and ultimately impacts the total performance
of your marketing.
Here’s how it all works:
YOUR BLOG
Consumer
Becomes aware
of brands through
offline ads
Notices display ads while
surfing favorite sites
Sees business
videos and pictures
Gets daily
deals
Compares
several business
websites
Discovers businesses
on search engines
Sees and shares
social posts
Checks
reviews
on local
directories
SITE
WEBSITE
All your marketing works
together for maximum impact
when a consumer is thinking
about making a purchase.
BLOG
The Evolution of the Buying Journey 14
10 Remodeling Tips
TWITTER
@ReadytoConstruct
rca.st/ycXY0f
11 Jan via ReachCast Favorite Retweet Reply
Let’s take a look at how these tactics work together
to influence consumers:
Search engines take social signals and online reviews into account when determining how you rank
on the search results page so consumers can find you online.
Your brand advertising campaigns, both offline and online, help consumers remember you 			
and increase their likelihood of clicking your text ad when it shows up during a search.
Your Facebook posts and tweets drive repeat purchases by current customers, and when shared,
draw in other potential customers who then research you online.
When you understand the buying journey and direct your marketing across the
moments of maximum influence, you greatly increase your chance of winning customers.
NEWS SITE
Serving the Community
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Applying the Buying Journey to Your Marketing 15
Now that we’ve covered the consumer buying journey, we can apply
that knowledge to your business so you can develop a marketing
plan that gets you more customers.
First, you need to define your target consumer, and then identify how they buy your products or services.
Having this key information will help you develop a marketing plan that influences the right people at the
right time with the right information and messages. Because not all consumers are created equal, you want to
identify those consumers that have the highest value for your business.
To get started, there are two important questions to ask yourself:
1. Who is my primary target consumer?
•What is their gender, age, and income level?
•Where do they live: what towns, zip codes, and radius 	
from my location?
•What other defining characteristics do they have 		
(hobbies, sports, etc.)?
2. What does my target consumer think about
my types of products or services?
•Do they think of it as a need or a want?
•Do they see it as a high cost or low cost purchase?
•Do they buy it quickly (over a few days) or slowly
(over a few months)?
Applying the Buying
Journey to Your Marketing
Low Cost
Need
Want
High Cost
Gender & Age
Geographic
Location
Education &
Income
Hobbies
Applying the Buying Journey to Your Marketing 16
Now, applying the funnel framework, ask yourself the following
questions to determine what influences consumers to discover,
consider, and buy from you, and then return to your business.
While this approach oversimplifies a complex consumer mindset, it provides a quick way for you to get started
mapping out the buying journey of your target consumers. Every consumer journey is different, but this exercise
gives you a pretty good idea of what influences the buying journey for the majority of your target customers.
To illustrate this buying process, we mapped out a real world case
study and sample consumer buying journeys.
Discover
1. Where do they search online for my types of products or services?
2. What words and phrases do they enter into the search bar?
3. How can I get in front of them as they surf and socialize online?
4. Do they see me or my competitors when they’re surfing, searching and socializing?
How consumers discover my business
Discover
Review & Repeat
1. How do I get more customers to write a good review about me?
2. How do they stay in touch with businesses like mine?
3. What types of information and offers will bring them back?
4. How do I keep them loyal?
WhatinfluencesconsumerstospreadthewordandbuyagainReview
& Repeat
Consider
Buy
1. Which competitors are they likely to consider?
2. Where are they going online to check us out?
3. What information do they find about me on those places?
4. How differentiated am I from my competitors?
5. Does my website and online content impress them enough to contact me?
6. How well does my staff answer their questions and follow up with them?
7. How can I continue to stay in front of them until they are ready to buy?
How consumers research and choose me over competitors
Contact
& Choose
Case Study
My Landscaper Buying Journey
Recently, I needed a landscaper for a project at my home. Although I recalled
the name of one company whose truck I had seen in my neighborhood, I still
needed to find other companies in the area, research their Web presence, and
contact them for quotes. Here’s how my journey went.
Discover
My buying journey started online when I asked for
recommendations from my Facebook friends and
searched on Google for “landscaper in Frisco, TX”
to identify a few potential contractors aside from
the one I already knew about. That same week, I
also saw offline brand advertising in the forms of a
postcard in the mail from a local landscaper and
print ads in our city magazine.
Customer: Todd Ebert
Need: Landscaper
Purchase Type: High CostWant
Primary Influence: Photos, videos,
local directories, review sites,
and recommendations
Contact
Once I had gathered a few names of local landscapers, I decided to check them all out online. I
reviewed each of their websites, Google+ Local profiles, and their Facebook pages to get an idea of
what they had to offer. Here are some of the things I considered:
· Had I heard of them before (via radio, magazine, friends, etc.)?
· Did they showcase their work in pictures or videos so I could evaluate their quality?
· Did they have a lot of positive reviews and relatively few negative reviews?
· Did they provide helpful tips that showed they understood the local soil and weather?
· Did they share stories about their community service?
I ruled out landscapers with poor websites or a negative online reputation and after further
investigating their online presences, I narrowed it down to two landscapers that had the best
presentations across all the places I looked online. This whole process took roughly three weeks due
to my busy schedule. I contacted several top choices via phone to get estimates.
Choose
I chose a landscaper based not just on their price, but also
on their quick response and scheduling availability, which
influenced me to choose them over their competition. After the
work was completed, I left a positive review on their Google+
Local page and posted a Facebook review of my experience
that was shared with my network of friends and family.
I think I’m representative of a typical consumer. It’s clear that my
buying journey was not simple, and the marketing tactics I saw along
the way included both online and offline advertising, website content
like photos and videos, local directories and review sites, and friends’
recommendations on Facebook. All of this influenced my decision as I
moved closer to purchase.This is just one example, and the buying journey
for your customers depends on the type of business you’re in.
Example Buying Journeys 1919
Journeys
To get an idea of an average consumer’s
buying journey for your business,
let’s look at a few examples. 
Example Buying Journeys 20
Journey 1
Low Cost Need
Water Heater Repair
Cindy’s hot water heater is broken so she has to
find a good plumber fast. She does a quick search
on Google and checks out several plumber
websites that she found via the local listings
and paid search ads that appeared on the search
results page. She checks their reviews and then
calls to check availability and price.
Example Buying Journeys 21
Previous
Influence
Day 1
Day 2
ContactDiscover Choose Review/
Repeat
Radio ads
Billboards &
truck signage
Display ads on
local news sites
Visits websites
of 2 plumbers
Checks several Google+
Local Pages to see photos,
info & reviews
Calls to check
times & cost
Plumber arrives
2 hours late
Selects plumber &
books appointment
Leaves reviews
on Google+
Local page &
Yelp
Searches for “Dallas
plumber”
Comments on
Facebook about
late arrival
Clicks on paid
search ads & organic
links
Journey 1 Low Cost Need Water Heater Repair
Example Buying Journeys 22
Journey 2
Low Cost Want
Spa Day
Linda wants to treat herself to a spa day. She’s
seen several ads for spas and recalls some
posts by friends on Facebook, but decides to
search online for top spas in town. She wants
a great experience, so she checks out several
different spa websites, Facebook pages and
Yelp profiles in order to choose the best one.
Example Buying Journeys 23
Previous
Influence
Day 1
Day 3
1 Month
Later
ContactDiscover Choose Review/
Repeat
Local magazine ads
Friends’ posts
on Facebook
Display ads on
lifestyle sites
Checks reviews
onYelp
Checks Facebook
pages
Visits websites and
calls for prices
Books an
appointment
Visits Spa
“Likes” on Facebook
for discounts
Books another
appointment
Has a great
experience so
posts a review on
Yelp with photos
Searches
“top spas in
Chicago”
Journey 2 Low Cost Want Spa Day
Example Buying Journeys 24
Journey 3
High Cost Need
New Car Purchase
Dan’s car keeps breaking down and the repairs
are getting costly. He needs to buy a more
reliable ride and has an idea of the make and
model car he wants to buy after seeing lots
of TV ads, magazine ads, and social media
campaigns. But before making such an
expensive purchase, Dan wants to thoroughly
research car prices and local dealerships
online to make sure he’s getting the best deal.
Example Buying Journeys 25
Journey 3 High Cost Need New Car Purchase
Previous
Influence
Day 1
Day 7
Day 10
Day 13
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19
ContactDiscover Choose Review/
Repeat
Social media
campaigns
TV & magazine
ads
Friends’
recommendations
Visits several
competitor sites
to check prices
Researches prices
on Kelley Blue Book
Sees local car dealer’s
banner ad on KBB & clicks
Visits car dealer’s
site & fills out form
Sees dealer’s
retargeting ad
Checks reviews
for dealers on
Google + Local
Visits
dealership
and buys
“Likes” dealer
on Facebook
Writes a review
on Google+ Local
Dealer posts
“Another happy
customer” pic on
Facebook
Example Buying Journeys 26
Journey 4
High Cost Want
Kitchen Remodel
Mary has dreamed of remodeling her kitchen
for nearly a year while waiting for her bonus.
During that time she has seen many ads for
local remodelers while casually surfing home
improvement sites and magazines. Now she
is ready to find a remodeler to do the job but
wants to make sure she gets a high-quality
builder who will do the job right.
Example Buying Journeys 27
Journey 4 High Cost Want Kitchen Remodel
Previous
Influence
Month 1
Month 2
Month 3
Month 4
ContactDiscover Choose Review/
Repeat
Pinterest boards
featuring local
remodelers
Ads in local
magazine
Visits home
decor websites
Sees banner ads
for local remodelers
Visits remodeler’s
Facebook pages
Photos featured
on remodeler’s
site
Leaves a positive
review onYelp
Banner ads on home
improvement sitesAD
AD
Work begins
Chronicles work
on Facebook
with photos
Sees retargeting ad
from remodeler as
she surfs the Web
Checks reviews
onYelp
Visits website for
remodeler to get
quote
Returns to vendor
site and books
appointment
What Influences Your Customers? 28
Think about customers that recently bought from you. Which of your
ads and parts of your online presence drove them to buy from you?
The bottom line is that new customers come from all of these places, which work together to influence their
decisions to choose you. It’s exactly why big brands like Apple, Chevy, and Verizon use integrated marketing
campaigns across print, TV, radio, billboards, banner ads, search engines, social media, mobile ads, and email.
They know that if they aren’t there to influence consumers and grab their mindshare when they are considering
a purchase, then they will lose them to competitors who are.
While this type of integrated marketing used to be beyond the reach and affordability of local business owners,
it isn’t any longer. Companies that specialize in online marketing, like ReachLocal, can help you create a total
Web presence with content and ads in all the places that consumers are searching, surfing and socializing
online. All so that you can influence more consumers along their buying journeys and turn them into customers.
	 Billboard on the highway?
	 Banner ads on their favorite websites?
	 Posts on Facebook?
	 Google+ Local listing?
	 Reviews on Yelp?
	 Videos on YouTube?
	 Product or service on your site?			 	
	 Community service photos on your blog?
Email offer or coupon?
Did they see your...
What Influences Your
Customers?
Top Down View into Funnel
Discover
Contact
Choose
Co n t en t Sit es
SearchEnginesBusinessWebsites
DealSitesReview
Sites
SocialMediaOfflineMedia
On l in e Media
Contact
Discover
Choose
Review & Repeat
How Do You
Measure Up?
Get Your
ReachScore!
888.861.6378
You need a totalWeb presence to make sure
potential customers are discovering you,
learning about you, engaging with you, and
deciding to buy from you — before they
ever contact or visit your business.
Contact us today to get your free
Web presence evaluation and
custom online marketing plan.
Marketing Your Business Online Understanding the Consumer Buying Journey
30
reachlocal.com | 888.861.6378
© 2012 ReachLocal. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.
About the Author
Todd Ebert, Chief Marketing Officer
As CMO of ReachLocal, I lead the team responsible
for all customer-facing marketing. I have 20 years of
experience in brand strategy, product marketing, content marketing, and
communications at technology startups and Fortune 100 enterprises. Prior to
ReachLocal, I held senior marketing positions at Entrust, 3M, Sprint, and Pfizer. In
my spare time, I’m a volleyball dad, social media junkie, and loud Longhorn fan.
You can connect with me on Twitter and my blog
This ebook would not have been possible without the outstanding efforts of two members of my team who
have suffered through so many meetings about the buying journey that they now see funnels in their dreams.
My most humble and sincere thanks to both Tamara and Lauren!
TamaraWeintraub, Content Marketing Manager
As a blogger, social media marketer, and content manager, I feed ReachLocal’s Web presence
while educating small businesses about online marketing. When I’m not writing, you can find
me catching up on my DVR, reading the latest Jodi Picoult novel, or rescuing homeless dogs.
Lauren Caiafa, Art Director
From ebooks and posters to web sites and interactive, I love bringing concepts to life. In my
free time, I’m a traveler, photographer, treasure finder, and upcycler. I also enjoy going to art
museums and naming untitled art.
Marketing Your Business Online Understanding the Consumer Buying Journey
About Us
A global leader in online marketing,
ReachLocal’s (NASDAQ: RLOC) mission is
to help local businesses all over the world
reach more local consumers online.Through
a combination of our smart technology and
smart professionals, we deliver the online
marketing services that help you acquire,
manage and retain customers online so you
can grow your business.
31
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reachlocal.com | 888.861.6378
© 2012 ReachLocal. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.
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How Consumers Buy Today - Harnessing the Buying Journey to Get More Customers

  • 1. Marketing Your Business Online Understanding the Consumer Buying Journey reachlocal.com | 888.861.6378 © 2012 ReachLocal. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission. By Todd Ebert, Chief Marketing Officer How Consumers Buy Today Harnessing the Buying Journey to Get More Customers
  • 2. Marketing Your Business Online Understanding the Consumer Buying Journey It’s not debatable that the Internet and social media have changed the way we communicate, learn, work, play, and buy. So, have you taken the time to really think about the process your customers take to find you, research you, compare you to competitors, and ultimately choose you? We call that process the consumer buying journey, and this ebook explains how to apply it to your marketing strategy in order to get more customers.
  • 3. How Do You Buy? 3 Table of Contents How Do You Buy? Power to the People The Evolution of Consumer Buying Apply the Buying Journey to Your Marketing Case Study Example Buying Journeys What Influences Your Customers?
  • 4. How Do You Buy? 4 How Do You Buy? www You’re not just a business owner or marketer; you’re a consumer, too. Have you thought about how you’ve changed the way you buy things today compared to a decade ago? Consider the last time you needed a new car, braces for your kids, or even something as simple as a restaurant for date night. Did you: (Check all that apply) Search on Google or Bing to see which businesses showed up? Ask for a recommendation on Facebook? Check reviews on Yelp, Google+ Local, or another local directory site? “Like” or follow a business on social media that you were considering? Compare the websites of a few different businesses to help make your choice? See a display ad that jogged your memory about a brand you were considering? Use your mobile phone to search for a phone number or directions to a business while out and about? Chances are that you did some or all of these, so you know firsthand just how big an impact the Web and mobile have on the way we buy.
  • 5. How Do You Buy? 5 Zero Moment of Truth Google has done extensive research on this huge shift in consumer buying behavior and explains it all in their ebook Winning at the Zero Moment of Truth. Simply put, the Zero Moment of Truth, or ZMOT, is the decision-making process in which a consumer goes online to conduct research, learn about alternatives, read reviews, look for coupons or discounts, and more, for a product or service they are thinking about buying — all before ever calling or going to the store. That’s why your business needs to be present during a consumer’s Zero Moment of Truth. Zero Moment of Truth: The moment when you grab your laptop or phone and start learning about a product or service you’re thinking about buying before you call or go to the store. For a business it is the difference between winning and losing the battle for customers. Google, 2012
  • 6. Power to the People 6 Consumers online are searching for products and services, surfing across websites, and socializing on the top social networks.You need to be everywhere your prospects are, so they can find you, learn more about you, and ultimately buy from you. Consider this: Have you ever seen a product or service mentioned in a Facebook post, featured on a TV commercial, or reviewed in a news article online and thought, “I’d like to know more about that,” and then turned to the Web to get more information? Picture this: You and your spouse want go out for dinner, but you’re not sure where you’d like to go. While you are visiting your favorite local news site, you see a display ad for an Italian restaurant in your area called Little Italy. You’ve always eaten at the same place, but recently, you remember seeing some friends recommending Little Italy on Facebook. So, you search for “Little Italy reviews.” After reading a few reviews on Yelp and getting recommendations on what dishes to order, you visit Little Italy’s website, where you check out photos of the food and dining room, watch a video message from the chef, and read customer testimonials. You also see that they are offering a 30% discount for first time customers. Now, you know exactly where you will eat dinner tonight, and what you are going to order. Power to the People “If you’re not visible online when people are doing their homework, believe me, they’ll find others who are.” ~ Jim Lecinski, Managing Director, Google We use the Web and mobile to instantly research a product or service anywhere, anytime. We form powerful impressions of businesses after seeing pictures, posts, and reviews. We actively share our own experiences with hundreds, even thousands, of others in an instant. Search Surf Socialize
  • 7. Power to the People 7 The Impact on Your Business Today, the average consumer uses over 10 sources of information to make a purchase decision, up from just five sources in 2010.1 Turning these highly educated consumers into buyers is definitely more complex than it used to be. In fact, it requires you to be in the right place at the right time in order to give consumers the information and confidence they need to make the decision to buy from you instead of a competitor. To reach these consumers at the exact time they are considering your products or services, you need to create a strong Web presence that influences consumers at every stage along their buying journey. You need to provide both helpful content (that you build) and engaging advertising (that you buy) across the many places consumers search, surf, and socialize. And, to anchor it all, you need a robust website with fresh content that rises to the top of search results, creates a great first impression with visitors, and compels them to contact you. Since consumers are influenced all along their buying journey, you can’t just market to them at the beginning and expect to win their business. You need a total Web presence to reach consumers throughout their buying journey. 1 Google, 2012 “When consumers hear about a product today, their first reaction is ‘Let me search online for it.’ And so they go on a journey of discovery: about a product, a service, an issue, an opportunity.Today you are not behind your competition. You are behind your consumer.” ~ Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Strategy Innovation Officer, Viraki
  • 8. The Evolution of the Buying Journey 8 Historically, marketers have used a simple framework called the “buying funnel” to describe the process that consumers go through to buy products and services.Then, they use that framework to determine the right strategy for reaching consumers at each stage of that process.There are much more complex frameworks to describe consumer buying, but for this ebook we’ll stick to the simple funnel and its four primary stages: Discover, Consider, Buy, and Repeat. Many consumers start at the top of the funnel, where they discover local businesses via advertising, social media, or even word of mouth. As they continue through the marketing funnel, they will see information about you on social media pages, customer review sites, and your website or blog that help them determine whether or not to buy from you. It’s your job to use multiple tactics throughout this entire process to help consumers discover, contact, and choose to buy from you. The Evolution of Consumer Buying Contact Discover Choose Review & Repeat
  • 9. The Evolution of the Buying Journey 9 The Buying Journey Then (Before the Web) Twenty years ago, we had limited ways to discover new businesses, so our path to purchase was pretty straightforward.Businesses informed us of our choices by advertising in the relatively few places where we got our news and entertainment, like newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio. Once we began to actively consider buying, we asked friends and family about their experiences with local companies, we checked the Yellow Pages, and then we called several businesses for estimates. After the purchase was completed, some of us would tell a handful of others about the experience. Then, we waited to see a sale in the newspaper or coupon in the mail before going back to the business. Discovered a product or service via offline advertising, signage, print directories, and word-of-mouth Checked with friends for recommendations, visited store, or called for info Bought the product or service, often after shopping prices or getting several estimates Told a few people about your experience and checked the mail and newspapers for new sales and offers Contact Discover Choose Review & Repeat
  • 10. The Evolution of the Buying Journey 10 The Buying Journey Now As news, entertainment, and communication shifted online, so did the way we buy. Checking the newspaper for auto dealer specials moved to websites. Searching theYellow Pages for a plumber moved to Google. Asking friends to recommend a dentist moved to Facebook. Now, nearly every step of our buying journey takes place online. Discover businesses as we search, surf and socialize online (with some offline ads in the mix) Check out several business websites, review sites, and social pages and contact via phone and email Share our purchase experience on directories, review sites and social media.“Like” the business or subscribe to email newsletter to get updates on sales and offers Book appointments and buy offline, though some businesses now enable this on their websites Contact Discover Choose Review & Repeat
  • 11. The Evolution of the Buying Journey 11 This shift online has made it much harder for businesses to reach us with mass marketing tactics; we’re bombarded with so many messages that we often ignore them. We’ve taken control of the purchase process by actively looking for new businesses and instantaneously researching them online. And, increasingly, we book appointments and buy online, immediately share our opinions via our mobile phones, and “like” our favorite businesses on social media to get updates and offers that entice us to buy from them again. Interestingly, we have so much information at our disposal that buying is not easier, but more complex than ever before. Even a simple search for a dentist results in pages and pages of listings, including directories, blogs, videos and websites. And then, we have to read dozens of reviews, sort through recommendations on social media, evaluate a bunch of business websites, and process (or tune out) hundreds of ads. TopDownViewintoFunnel Contact Discover Choose Review & Repeat Discover Contact Choose Co n t en t Sit es SearchEnginesBusinessWebsites DealSitesReview Sites SocialMediaOfflineMedia On l in e Media Consumers seek and engage with many sources at each stage of the funnel, so you need more than just one tactic to reach them.
  • 12. The Evolution of the Buying Journey 12 “Consumers arrive online 24/7 ready to engage.They’re anybody’s to win or lose.” ~ Jim Lecinski, Managing Director, Google The Impact on Your Business 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 All the information available online enables consumers to make more informed decisions on what to buy and who to buy from. But at the same time, it creates a whole lot of work for the businesses like you that are trying to reach them. Gone are the days when you could place an ad in the Yellow Pages and wait for the phone to ring. Now, you need to make sure you’re giving consumers the information they want at each stage of the buying journey. To do that, you need a comprehensive Web presence everywhere consumers search, surf, and socialize. That involves claiming key sites on the Web, buying targeted advertising, and creating a steady stream of fresh, authentic, and engaging content that: Creates awareness as consumers surf the Web Increases your likelihood to be seen when they search for your types of products or services Stands out from your competition when consumers research and evaluate you Reminds them of your business as they consider buying from you Makes a good impression when they visit your website, listings, and social profiles Sparks their interest so they contact you and learn more about you Engages and entertains them so they share it with their friends
  • 13. The Evolution of the Buying Journey 13 Consumers can potentially see your content and advertising at each stage of their buying journey. Everything you do influences the other marketing tactics and ultimately impacts the total performance of your marketing. Here’s how it all works: YOUR BLOG Consumer Becomes aware of brands through offline ads Notices display ads while surfing favorite sites Sees business videos and pictures Gets daily deals Compares several business websites Discovers businesses on search engines Sees and shares social posts Checks reviews on local directories SITE WEBSITE All your marketing works together for maximum impact when a consumer is thinking about making a purchase. BLOG
  • 14. The Evolution of the Buying Journey 14 10 Remodeling Tips TWITTER @ReadytoConstruct rca.st/ycXY0f 11 Jan via ReachCast Favorite Retweet Reply Let’s take a look at how these tactics work together to influence consumers: Search engines take social signals and online reviews into account when determining how you rank on the search results page so consumers can find you online. Your brand advertising campaigns, both offline and online, help consumers remember you and increase their likelihood of clicking your text ad when it shows up during a search. Your Facebook posts and tweets drive repeat purchases by current customers, and when shared, draw in other potential customers who then research you online. When you understand the buying journey and direct your marketing across the moments of maximum influence, you greatly increase your chance of winning customers. NEWS SITE Serving the Community YOUR AD FACEBOOK 20% off Refer a friend! Like Comment Share 122 People Reached 13 People Talking About This Kevin Smith, Jason Jones, Rachael O’Niell and 3 others like this Kevin Smith Thanks! I sent over a friend that is thinking about redoing his kitchen! View all 6 comments Like Comment Share 122 People Reached 13 People Talking Kevin Smith, Jason Jones, Rachael O’Niell and 3 o View all6 comments SEARCH ENGINE Ready to Construct Reliable contractors in your city. SEARCH ENGINE Ready to Construct Reliable contractors in your city. Ready to Construct Reliable contractors in your city. Best Contractors “Ready to Construct did a fantastic job remodelling my kitchen. They were quick, clean, and professional.” REVIEW SITEREADY TO CONSTRUCT WEBSITE 555.3333 FACEBOOK Ready to Construct Ready to Construct 10 Remodeling Tips Like Message FACEBOOK 20% off Refer a friend! Like Comment Share 122 People Reached 13 People Talking About This Kevin Smith, Jason Jones, Rachael O’Niell and 3 others like this Kevin Smith Thanks! I sent over a friend that is thinking about redoing his kitchen! View all 6 comments
  • 15. Applying the Buying Journey to Your Marketing 15 Now that we’ve covered the consumer buying journey, we can apply that knowledge to your business so you can develop a marketing plan that gets you more customers. First, you need to define your target consumer, and then identify how they buy your products or services. Having this key information will help you develop a marketing plan that influences the right people at the right time with the right information and messages. Because not all consumers are created equal, you want to identify those consumers that have the highest value for your business. To get started, there are two important questions to ask yourself: 1. Who is my primary target consumer? •What is their gender, age, and income level? •Where do they live: what towns, zip codes, and radius from my location? •What other defining characteristics do they have (hobbies, sports, etc.)? 2. What does my target consumer think about my types of products or services? •Do they think of it as a need or a want? •Do they see it as a high cost or low cost purchase? •Do they buy it quickly (over a few days) or slowly (over a few months)? Applying the Buying Journey to Your Marketing Low Cost Need Want High Cost Gender & Age Geographic Location Education & Income Hobbies
  • 16. Applying the Buying Journey to Your Marketing 16 Now, applying the funnel framework, ask yourself the following questions to determine what influences consumers to discover, consider, and buy from you, and then return to your business. While this approach oversimplifies a complex consumer mindset, it provides a quick way for you to get started mapping out the buying journey of your target consumers. Every consumer journey is different, but this exercise gives you a pretty good idea of what influences the buying journey for the majority of your target customers. To illustrate this buying process, we mapped out a real world case study and sample consumer buying journeys. Discover 1. Where do they search online for my types of products or services? 2. What words and phrases do they enter into the search bar? 3. How can I get in front of them as they surf and socialize online? 4. Do they see me or my competitors when they’re surfing, searching and socializing? How consumers discover my business Discover Review & Repeat 1. How do I get more customers to write a good review about me? 2. How do they stay in touch with businesses like mine? 3. What types of information and offers will bring them back? 4. How do I keep them loyal? WhatinfluencesconsumerstospreadthewordandbuyagainReview & Repeat Consider Buy 1. Which competitors are they likely to consider? 2. Where are they going online to check us out? 3. What information do they find about me on those places? 4. How differentiated am I from my competitors? 5. Does my website and online content impress them enough to contact me? 6. How well does my staff answer their questions and follow up with them? 7. How can I continue to stay in front of them until they are ready to buy? How consumers research and choose me over competitors Contact & Choose
  • 17. Case Study My Landscaper Buying Journey Recently, I needed a landscaper for a project at my home. Although I recalled the name of one company whose truck I had seen in my neighborhood, I still needed to find other companies in the area, research their Web presence, and contact them for quotes. Here’s how my journey went. Discover My buying journey started online when I asked for recommendations from my Facebook friends and searched on Google for “landscaper in Frisco, TX” to identify a few potential contractors aside from the one I already knew about. That same week, I also saw offline brand advertising in the forms of a postcard in the mail from a local landscaper and print ads in our city magazine. Customer: Todd Ebert Need: Landscaper Purchase Type: High CostWant Primary Influence: Photos, videos, local directories, review sites, and recommendations
  • 18. Contact Once I had gathered a few names of local landscapers, I decided to check them all out online. I reviewed each of their websites, Google+ Local profiles, and their Facebook pages to get an idea of what they had to offer. Here are some of the things I considered: · Had I heard of them before (via radio, magazine, friends, etc.)? · Did they showcase their work in pictures or videos so I could evaluate their quality? · Did they have a lot of positive reviews and relatively few negative reviews? · Did they provide helpful tips that showed they understood the local soil and weather? · Did they share stories about their community service? I ruled out landscapers with poor websites or a negative online reputation and after further investigating their online presences, I narrowed it down to two landscapers that had the best presentations across all the places I looked online. This whole process took roughly three weeks due to my busy schedule. I contacted several top choices via phone to get estimates. Choose I chose a landscaper based not just on their price, but also on their quick response and scheduling availability, which influenced me to choose them over their competition. After the work was completed, I left a positive review on their Google+ Local page and posted a Facebook review of my experience that was shared with my network of friends and family. I think I’m representative of a typical consumer. It’s clear that my buying journey was not simple, and the marketing tactics I saw along the way included both online and offline advertising, website content like photos and videos, local directories and review sites, and friends’ recommendations on Facebook. All of this influenced my decision as I moved closer to purchase.This is just one example, and the buying journey for your customers depends on the type of business you’re in.
  • 19. Example Buying Journeys 1919 Journeys To get an idea of an average consumer’s buying journey for your business, let’s look at a few examples. 
  • 20. Example Buying Journeys 20 Journey 1 Low Cost Need Water Heater Repair Cindy’s hot water heater is broken so she has to find a good plumber fast. She does a quick search on Google and checks out several plumber websites that she found via the local listings and paid search ads that appeared on the search results page. She checks their reviews and then calls to check availability and price.
  • 21. Example Buying Journeys 21 Previous Influence Day 1 Day 2 ContactDiscover Choose Review/ Repeat Radio ads Billboards & truck signage Display ads on local news sites Visits websites of 2 plumbers Checks several Google+ Local Pages to see photos, info & reviews Calls to check times & cost Plumber arrives 2 hours late Selects plumber & books appointment Leaves reviews on Google+ Local page & Yelp Searches for “Dallas plumber” Comments on Facebook about late arrival Clicks on paid search ads & organic links Journey 1 Low Cost Need Water Heater Repair
  • 22. Example Buying Journeys 22 Journey 2 Low Cost Want Spa Day Linda wants to treat herself to a spa day. She’s seen several ads for spas and recalls some posts by friends on Facebook, but decides to search online for top spas in town. She wants a great experience, so she checks out several different spa websites, Facebook pages and Yelp profiles in order to choose the best one.
  • 23. Example Buying Journeys 23 Previous Influence Day 1 Day 3 1 Month Later ContactDiscover Choose Review/ Repeat Local magazine ads Friends’ posts on Facebook Display ads on lifestyle sites Checks reviews onYelp Checks Facebook pages Visits websites and calls for prices Books an appointment Visits Spa “Likes” on Facebook for discounts Books another appointment Has a great experience so posts a review on Yelp with photos Searches “top spas in Chicago” Journey 2 Low Cost Want Spa Day
  • 24. Example Buying Journeys 24 Journey 3 High Cost Need New Car Purchase Dan’s car keeps breaking down and the repairs are getting costly. He needs to buy a more reliable ride and has an idea of the make and model car he wants to buy after seeing lots of TV ads, magazine ads, and social media campaigns. But before making such an expensive purchase, Dan wants to thoroughly research car prices and local dealerships online to make sure he’s getting the best deal.
  • 25. Example Buying Journeys 25 Journey 3 High Cost Need New Car Purchase Previous Influence Day 1 Day 7 Day 10 Day 13 Day 17 Day 18 Day 19 ContactDiscover Choose Review/ Repeat Social media campaigns TV & magazine ads Friends’ recommendations Visits several competitor sites to check prices Researches prices on Kelley Blue Book Sees local car dealer’s banner ad on KBB & clicks Visits car dealer’s site & fills out form Sees dealer’s retargeting ad Checks reviews for dealers on Google + Local Visits dealership and buys “Likes” dealer on Facebook Writes a review on Google+ Local Dealer posts “Another happy customer” pic on Facebook
  • 26. Example Buying Journeys 26 Journey 4 High Cost Want Kitchen Remodel Mary has dreamed of remodeling her kitchen for nearly a year while waiting for her bonus. During that time she has seen many ads for local remodelers while casually surfing home improvement sites and magazines. Now she is ready to find a remodeler to do the job but wants to make sure she gets a high-quality builder who will do the job right.
  • 27. Example Buying Journeys 27 Journey 4 High Cost Want Kitchen Remodel Previous Influence Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 ContactDiscover Choose Review/ Repeat Pinterest boards featuring local remodelers Ads in local magazine Visits home decor websites Sees banner ads for local remodelers Visits remodeler’s Facebook pages Photos featured on remodeler’s site Leaves a positive review onYelp Banner ads on home improvement sitesAD AD Work begins Chronicles work on Facebook with photos Sees retargeting ad from remodeler as she surfs the Web Checks reviews onYelp Visits website for remodeler to get quote Returns to vendor site and books appointment
  • 28. What Influences Your Customers? 28 Think about customers that recently bought from you. Which of your ads and parts of your online presence drove them to buy from you? The bottom line is that new customers come from all of these places, which work together to influence their decisions to choose you. It’s exactly why big brands like Apple, Chevy, and Verizon use integrated marketing campaigns across print, TV, radio, billboards, banner ads, search engines, social media, mobile ads, and email. They know that if they aren’t there to influence consumers and grab their mindshare when they are considering a purchase, then they will lose them to competitors who are. While this type of integrated marketing used to be beyond the reach and affordability of local business owners, it isn’t any longer. Companies that specialize in online marketing, like ReachLocal, can help you create a total Web presence with content and ads in all the places that consumers are searching, surfing and socializing online. All so that you can influence more consumers along their buying journeys and turn them into customers. Billboard on the highway? Banner ads on their favorite websites? Posts on Facebook? Google+ Local listing? Reviews on Yelp? Videos on YouTube? Product or service on your site? Community service photos on your blog? Email offer or coupon? Did they see your... What Influences Your Customers? Top Down View into Funnel Discover Contact Choose Co n t en t Sit es SearchEnginesBusinessWebsites DealSitesReview Sites SocialMediaOfflineMedia On l in e Media Contact Discover Choose Review & Repeat
  • 29. How Do You Measure Up? Get Your ReachScore! 888.861.6378 You need a totalWeb presence to make sure potential customers are discovering you, learning about you, engaging with you, and deciding to buy from you — before they ever contact or visit your business. Contact us today to get your free Web presence evaluation and custom online marketing plan.
  • 30. Marketing Your Business Online Understanding the Consumer Buying Journey 30 reachlocal.com | 888.861.6378 © 2012 ReachLocal. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission. About the Author Todd Ebert, Chief Marketing Officer As CMO of ReachLocal, I lead the team responsible for all customer-facing marketing. I have 20 years of experience in brand strategy, product marketing, content marketing, and communications at technology startups and Fortune 100 enterprises. Prior to ReachLocal, I held senior marketing positions at Entrust, 3M, Sprint, and Pfizer. In my spare time, I’m a volleyball dad, social media junkie, and loud Longhorn fan. You can connect with me on Twitter and my blog This ebook would not have been possible without the outstanding efforts of two members of my team who have suffered through so many meetings about the buying journey that they now see funnels in their dreams. My most humble and sincere thanks to both Tamara and Lauren! TamaraWeintraub, Content Marketing Manager As a blogger, social media marketer, and content manager, I feed ReachLocal’s Web presence while educating small businesses about online marketing. When I’m not writing, you can find me catching up on my DVR, reading the latest Jodi Picoult novel, or rescuing homeless dogs. Lauren Caiafa, Art Director From ebooks and posters to web sites and interactive, I love bringing concepts to life. In my free time, I’m a traveler, photographer, treasure finder, and upcycler. I also enjoy going to art museums and naming untitled art.
  • 31. Marketing Your Business Online Understanding the Consumer Buying Journey About Us A global leader in online marketing, ReachLocal’s (NASDAQ: RLOC) mission is to help local businesses all over the world reach more local consumers online.Through a combination of our smart technology and smart professionals, we deliver the online marketing services that help you acquire, manage and retain customers online so you can grow your business. 31 facebook.com/reachlocal blog.reachlocal.com reachlocal.com twitter.com/reachlocal youtube.com/reachlocal plus.google.com/+reachlocal reachlocal.com | 888.861.6378 © 2012 ReachLocal. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission. WANT MORE? Check out our... NEWSLETTER reachlocal.com/newsletter LEARNING CENTER resource.reachlocal.com