Digital communications – what a huge area to cover. So, in this post I’ll explain why it’s important you establish a strong understanding of your customers’ buying processes and behaviours online when developing a digital marketing strategy.

Most businesses have ventured into the world of ‘digital’, whether that’s by having a social media presence, doing paid advertising through Google, or by simply having a website. The question is, out of the activity you’re doing, is it having the desired effect?

There are so many ways to use digital media, but they’re not necessarily all relevant to every campaign. First, it’s important you’re aware of the channels that are available, and also have an understanding of what they can deliver. Second, review your own data to get an idea of how your customers are behaving with current communications you use.

Aligning Activity with the Conversion Process

With many different digital channels available, the adapted Google diagram below shows where the most commonly used ones are most effective during a ‘typical’ customer journey. However, this is a generalisation of a wide range of data gathered by the search engine and doesn’t necessarily reflect the buying process of your customers:

Customer Buying Process

Each of these channels of communication can assist in achieving your objectives, and by using them in front of relevant audiences, you increase the chances of seeing positive results.

Although there are so many advantages with digital communications, there are also considerations you should make. With the increased use of these channels, your customers are exposed to competitor offerings as well as potential alternative solutions much more than ever before. For example, if you’re a sports masseur, you don’t only have direct competition from people selling the same services, you also have to consider off-the-shelf products such a muscle rubs that offer a cheaper solution to your potential customer.

By having a presence during the whole buying process, you increase the chances of being considered by the customer when they’re ready to make a decision. So don’t look at the diagram and assume you only have to focus your attention at the end of the conversion process. You need to be active at the start to be considered at the end.

Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)

It’s crucial that your products or services are presented to the right audiences at the right time. Google’s ZMOT model pictured below helps simplify this:

Google ZMOT model
Source: Think with Google

The ZMOT model demonstrates the period of time when someone makes their decision and considers all the information they have previously consumed. It’s at this point where you can win or lose a customer.

Using Your Own Data to Understand Customer Buying Processes

Are you spending hours a day on social media with no engagement? Are you spending hundreds of pounds on Google advertising with no ROI? Do your customers react positively to your email marketing campaigns?

These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself. By using free tools such as Google Analytics, you can find out what activities are contributing to your business achieving its objectives. You can also identify the areas you could be spending most of your time and effort.

In digital marketing we generalise a lot, but with good reason. The amount of data at our disposal allows us that freedom. But no two businesses are identical, so it’s important that you identify your own customer conversion processes. By using these diagrams as a starting point, you can begin aligning certain channels with different parts of the general buying process.

Don’t limit the data to just digital activity. The specific nature and the accuracy of the data at you can gather is significant. You can find out what your customer’s interests are, their demographics and their past interactions with your business.

Why not take the opportunity to use this knowledge when developing a strategy for your other marketing communications?

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