Using the Buying Cycle to Refine Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Most of us go through the buying cycle many times each day, from deciding to buy a candy bar while in line at the grocery store to choosing which vehicle to buy and from whom. Some buying cycles occur in seconds; others take years to get through.

The same is true for the various forms of digital marketing. Each channel or strategy plays a different role, depending on your audience and your business type.

Need a quick refresher on the seven stages of the buying cycle? They are:

1) Attention

2) Interest

3) Discovery

4) Desire

5) Evaluation

6) Conviction

7) Action

Relating the buying cycle to digital marketing

For a long sales cycle, these seven stages can be paired with the digital marketing funnel in a simple format. For example, here’s how the buying cycle for a new apartment relates to the digital marketing funnel.

Marketing Funnel Buying Cycle Digital Channel Strategy
High Funnel Attention
Digital Sponsorships
Digital Advertising on Local Media Websites
Making your brand recognizable and memorable.
Ex: Luxury Living
Mid-High Funnel Discovery
Content Marketing
Social Media Advertising
Lifestyle topics, photography, strong unique selling proposition, and capture data
Mid-Low Funnel Evaluation
Email Marketing
Incentives to take action.
Ex: First month’s rent free.
Low Funnel Action Local Directories
Pay-per-click Advertising
Strong call-to-action. Reiterate brand, USP, and incentive.

In the digital world, it’s possible for a buyer to move through the entire buying cycle wherever they may be in the sales funnel.

For example, if you have a free weekend coming up, you may see a display advertisement and decide you’re going to attend that event this weekend. Alternatively, you may do one search for “things to do this weekend” and the first listing/event you see may catch your eye and you’ll go through your entire buying cycle in that one search engine listing.

Evaluating your digital strategy

Every business should evaluate how their marketing strategy lines up with their customers’ buying cycle.

If you haven’t yet, follow these easy steps.

  • List all the marketing channels you’re currently using. Be specific.
  • List all the additional marketing channels you’d like to be using. Be specific.
  • Define which stage of the buying cycle your audience is in.
  • Evaluate your messaging.
    • What’s the next step in your prospects’ buying cycle?
    • Is there a logical next step they could take?
  • Complete or refine your strategy / messaging.
    • Invest in channels to bridge the gaps in your consumers’ buying cycle.
    • Eliminate channels that fail to guide the consumer through their buying cycle.
    • Create more effective messaging for channels in relation to your consumers’ stage of the buying cycle.

There’s really no other way to draft a digital marketing strategy. This will provide clarity, spark creativity, justify budgets, and help you weed through an overwhelming number of marketing options.

Brad Timofeev

Brad is an energetic thought leader on digital marketing.

Since joining the WebArt team in 2009, he's guided the agency's unique perspective on search engine optimization, content marketing, and other digital strategies. Book Brad for your next speaking arrangement.

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