When your practice is implementing an integrated marketing strategy, it’s important to understand how your audience will behave when interacting with your content. In the world of marketing, the steps that a “buyer” or client takes before committing to your brand have been carefully laid out and explained by “the buyer’s journey”. The buyer’s journey is a set of three stages that a lead must go through before they become a client. In this blog, we’ll discuss each stage of the buyer’s journey and the importance of understanding how leads evaluate your services and offerings.
According to HubSpot, “the buyer’s journey is the process buyers go through to become aware of, consider and evaluate, and decide to purchase a new product or service.” This process is critical to consider when using an inbound marketing approach because it lays out the thinking process of all of your potential clients when they first interact with your practice or business. Before someone becomes a client, they must first become aware of a problem they are having. Secondly, they must take the initiative to do research and learn about the options they have to solve that issue. Finally, they must make a decision on the best solution to their problem and follow through with it. These three steps are what make up the buyer’s journey, and we’ll explore each step further for a deeper understanding of this fundamental theory.
The awareness stage is the first step that a potential client must initiate before they can ever be marketed to. This stage is where someone realizes they have a problem that they either can’t solve on their own, or don’t know enough about to know whether they need assistance or not. This person will begin to consider solving the issue and researching the fundamentals of understanding the issue, common solutions, and start to weigh options for a positive outcome.
A simple example of the awareness stage taking place in the counseling world is when someone realizes they’re not as happy in their marriage as they used to be. This person may begin to consider that they want to turn things around and improve the marriage, but they aren’t sure of how to do that yet. Typically, they will begin to do research on what has worked for other people, how common this issue is for others, and begin to review similar educational materials on the topic.
The consideration stage is the second step in the buyer’s journey. This stage takes place when a potential client has determined they have an issue that needs to be solved with the assistance of a professional. They have not only named their problem, but they have decided that they are going to seek help rather than letting the problem persist or try to solve the issue themselves. Oftentimes, this is the stage where many realize that the issue cannot be solved immediately or without help, provoking them to dedicate themselves to deeper research on the topic.
For counseling and treatment, this can be the stage where a person realizes their marriage is not doing well because there is a lack of trust in the relationship. They have discussed the issue with their partner on more than one occasion, and the partner is saying that it’s hard to have good communication without trust. Now, the potential client may begin to do further research on issues with marriages, and narrow it down to improving trust. They will also continue to consider that this issue could require assistance and start to weigh that option as being a reality. Typically, this is the stage where a pros and cons list is created and the potential client realizes that they are currently falling more into the “cons” side of the chart.
In the final stage of the buyer’s journey, the buyer has made a decision as to what the best course of action is to solve their problem. They have taken the pros and cons list, reviewed it thoroughly, and have come to the conclusion that the method they have chosen to solve their issue is ideal for their situation. In this final stage, the services that a business offers are critically examined and compared to similar businesses to determine which option is best, and the buyer narrows the list of possibilities down to one business.
Typically, potential clients in the therapy industry conduct research on several practitioners in the area before selecting one to have begin having sessions with. Pricing, variety of care options, distance from the client’s home, availability, and many other aspects are taken into account before a client decides to choose your business as the one they are going to trust. In this case, the buyer has realized they have marital issues, understand they root from a lack of trust in the marriage, and finally accept that your business is going to be pivotal and ideal for solving their issue.
Now that you have a deeper understanding of what the buyer’s journey is, you’ll need to make a plan that addresses each stage appropriately. Ask yourself what potential clients may be questioning at each stage so that you can anticipate those questions and provide answers preemptively. The key to inbound marketing is that you already know what your leads are asking, so you’ve created content around those questions to increase traffic to your website, social media pages, and other efforts.
If you practice is looking to implement an inbound marketing strategy with the help of a professional, or if you simply don’t have time to execute your marketing efforts, you can contact our team assistance! Theory About That specializes in creating marketing strategies for counseling centers, treatment centers, and practices that are looking to boost their marketing efforts and get noticed in the industry.