How to boost your online business.

By   February 28, 2016

How to boost your online business.customer-life-cycle-marketing-business-management-strategy-57361456

If you run your online business or just thinking of starting one, at some point you come to the point when you feel that you need to give your business a boost. You have a significant traffic to your website but you feel that the conversion rate is lower than it should be.

To understand why this is happening (or, better say- not happening) you need to understand…

What is the customer purchase lifecycle?

To make your customer’s buying process more efficient you need to understand his purchase lifecycle- in other terms- how they make a purchase online. You need to understand what steps people take from the time they have learned about the product to the point they actually buy it.

This is what I’m going to show you.

Here are well-known facts about a customer’s purchasing process:

  • People usually don’t make a purchase on the first look;
  • It usually takes your prospective customer 7 contacts (which could be a web site visits, e-mail newsletters, advertisements seen) before they commit to a purchase;
  • People will not buy a product from people they don’t trust;
  • People pay money for something that will improve their current situation;
  • People have better access to information about various products than ever before;
  • People can often tell between the scam and the legitimate product sale.

 

The rule of thumb is that the later in your customers’ buying cycle you contact them the higher chances that they will buy the product from you. You can simplify your selling process rather than walk them through the entire line of contacts.

3 stages of the Customer Purchase Lifecycle.

Generally speaking, all customers are going through these three stages from being a prospective customer to a paying customer:

  1. Research;
  2. Decision;
  3. Purchase.

 

1.       Research stage.

Most people spend a significant amount of time trying to learn more about the product prior making a purchase. They may first learn about the particular product on TV or heard about it from friends or somewhere else. Primarily, they will try to learn more about it using the Internet as the main source of information nowadays. The Google (and other search engine platforms) can provide any kind of information and this is where you can find a lot of people at the research stage.

  • The best way to contact people at the research stage:

Since most of the people are not ready to make a purchase at this stage the best approach is to get them on your e-mail list or make them follow you on their favorite social media channels. You can provide them with e-letters or news feeds getting them through the rest of the lifecycle. You will have an opportunity to present them with your site’s content thus catching a chance to get them to revisit your site later.

2.               Decision stage.

At this stage some people have already come to the conclusion what they are going to buy while the most are still going through the research of products and services, trying to decide which one will be the best. Many people’ decision is getting built upon targeted reviews and other people’ opinions, found via Google and social channels.

This is a great stage for an internet marketer to step in, presenting the potential customer with products that are relevant to his search and convincing review to affect his decision-making process.

  • The best way to contact people at the decision stage:

“Picking up” customer at this stage is significantly easier task than at the research stage. The best approach at the decision stage is to present your potential customer with reviews of products that are relevant to his search terms. Also, now you can take advantage of people looking for “Scam” type of information and convince them with the quality of your products.

“Scam”, “compare”, “review” are the common search term at the decision stage and people are more likely to buy the product they are looking for from you if you can convince them with your review and build trust.

3.               Buying stage.

This is the final stage and the main stage to you as an online marketer. This is when your visitor actually becoming a customer completing customer’s purchase lifecycle.

At this stage people already done with their research and have already made their decision to buy the product. It is hard to change their mind towards a different product.

  • The best way to approach people at the purchasing stage.

Whether you have walked your visitor through the entire cycle or catch him right at this stage the goal is to help them to buy. You should target your audience with keywords like “where to buy…”, “best price for…”, how to order…”. You are pointing people to the direction of the product through your affiliate link and you can be sure that the conversion rate will be the highest at this stage.

There is one very important aspect of the online marketing business often left overlooked. Once you have gained your customer trust and he committed to a purchase with your help, the chances that he will trust you again much higher than to gain this trust from the new prospective customer. Thus, you should maintain communication with your customer relying on your e-mail list and try to find out what else he might be interested in, for example- through survey you send him. If you are able to establish and maintain this kind of communication you will be rewarded with the growing list of returning customers.

 

How to target your customers for better sales.

Understanding your customer is crucial to your online business success. You need to understand what is he looking for and present him with a solution for his situation rather than spending your time and money advertising products or services YOU believe they may need.

Take a look at one example.

You are going to sell fishing rods. Where would you start? Of course, at finding the right keyword.

Generating your traffic by targeting keyword “Fishing” or even “Fishing Rods” will not provide you a significant conversion rate. That’s because you are intercepting your potential customer at the beginning of his purchasing cycle.

At this stage, people are actually looking for information on different types of fishing rods and you can’t assume what exactly they are looking for. They may have just started their research and trying to figure out what type of fishing rods would be right for their situation. The majority of the people are not ready to buy at this stage and they will take a few more research sessions.

You would like to reach people a bit further down the cycle line. When you will start your research of this niche (for example- by visiting fishing forums) you will find that people may look for freshwater and saltwater fishing rods, spinning and casting fishing rods and travel fishing rods.

But even “Saltwater fishing rods” or “Freshwater fishing rods” search terms are too broad. People would be looking for specific manufacturers, types, reviews and comparison charts before they make a decision to buy.

For closer targeting you may want to use keywords like “St. Croix Legend Trek Casting Rod” or “Tsunami Airwave Series Surf Spinning Rod”. When people are using this type of search terms they are pretty far down the purchasing lifecycle and it will be much easier to close the sale than with people searching for “Fishing rods”.

Your ultimate customer, the one ready to purchase, would be using search terms like “Where to buy St. Croix Legend Trek Casting Rod”, or “Best deals on St. Croix Legend Trek Casting Rod” or “Buy St. Croix Legend Trek Casting Rod online”. At this point, your conversion rate will be very high and your efforts will be rather light.

How to find the best keywords.

As it’s already become clear, the importance of product-related keywords should not be overlooked. The information about product type, its manufacturer, and other features will increase your conversion rate and you want to use best keywords you can find.

Here is an example of selecting the most effective keywords. I used the Jaaxy keyword research tool and you can try it to find your keywords absolutely free.

Jaaxy Fishing

On this screenshot, Jaaxy shows you the comparative data on various keyword combinations.

The Avg column is showing the number of searches on the particular keyword for the recent moths with ALL major search engines, not just Google.

The Traffic column is showing an approximate number of visits if your site makes it to the first page Search Engines.

The QSR is showing the number of sites using the same keyword. Obviously the lower the competition- the easier for you to complete the sale. You can see low competition results marked with red ovals on the screenshot above. These are keywords you definitely want to try if you are selling fishing rods.

Look at the customer purchase lifecycle as a buyer.

This is another element of understanding your customer that should not be overlooked. You are acting as a customer on the numerous occasions and the way you go through the purchase lifecycle can tell you about ways millions of people acting while shopping online.

Recall the last item you’ve purchased online and take a time to look at the steps you’ve made during that purchase.

  • What was the beginning and what was the end?
  • How did you learn about this product?
  • What kind of reviews have you seen- the positive or the negative?
  • How many steps you’ve made during your research?
  • How long your research has taken?
  • What was the last part of your research that has actually brought you to the conclusion to buy?
  • Did you make the purchase from the same source you have started your research?

 

You can learn a lot by taking a look at your own online shopping behavior. Your way to move through the shopping process can be slightly different from anyone else’s, especially at the beginning of it, but most people are acting more or less the same way at the last few steps. By reverse-engineering your own buying process you can understand the best way to approach your customers.

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