marketing-funnel.jpgThink about your last major purchase. Whether it was a new car, an office computer, or piece of machinery, you probably did your research first. If you’re like most consumers today, you probably did a Google search, looked at online reviews and visited several vendor websites before eventually buying.

The Internet provides nearly unlimited information about virtually any product or service that someone would want to buy, and put’s it, quite literally, in the palm of their hand.

But just because someone has visited your website, does not mean they will buy from you. A shopper’s visit to your website is just one stop on their buyer journey. But you can help nurture the shopper along their buyer’s journey using marketing automation.

The Buyer’s Journey

People go through stages when making a major purchase. Think of it like a funnel that takes in a lot of prospects at the top, the Awareness Stage, gradually filters out those who are not qualified in the Consideration Stage, until only the most qualified leads remain in the Decision Stage. Let’s take a closer look.

Awareness Stage

These buyers recognize their pain, but are not fully aware of the potential solutions. Educational offers that are vendor-neutral are important at this stage in the Buyer’s Journey.

Consideration Stage

Leads at this stage are looking for help defining what is important to them and choosing between several methods of solving their pain. Resources at this stage should educate leads on the pros and cons of the alternatives, leading them toward the best solution.

Decision Stage

With a well-defined problem and a clear direction, your leads are choosing the best solution provider. If they’re still consuming your content at this stage, you’re on the short list. Now it’s time to close the deal.

Lead Nurturing Overview

The process of moving a lead from one stage in the buyer’s journey to the next requires a lot of education. You likely have sell sheets, brochures or other information that you typically send to sales prospects. Lead nurturing is a way to automate this process by sharing the right content with the right people at the right time.

Using marketing automation software like HubSpot, you can assign points to each individual lead. As a lead consumes your content via your website, emails, eBooks, and other resources, they earn points. When they accumulate enough points, they move on to the next stage in the journey. This score can be used to trigger automated marketing actions, like follow-up emails or updates to a contact record.

At each stage in the journey, you are anticipating and answering the common questions, and positioning yourself as a trusted resource ­– which pays off when your prospects make their purchasing decision.