- 1) How Consumers Make Buying Decisions? Understanding the Various Stages of Customer Decision Making Process
- 2) How to Optimize Your Brand’s Influence on Different Buying Stages of Your Customers
- 3) How Consumers Make Buying Decisions – Frequently Asked Questions
- 4) Conclusion
Have you ever pondered upon how your customers choose to buy from you? Typically, consumers go through the various stages of buying cycle before making a buying decision. The human psychology is wired to show different responses to different stimuli. Thus, each consumer must go through various stages before making a decision. As a content marketer, your goal is to turn customer’s psychological buying responses in your favor. For that matter, first you need to understand how consumers make buying decisions. In the next step, you have to understand how to influence your customer’s buying decision in a favorable manner. In this blog post, we discuss various stages of a customer’s decision making process. Moreover, we discuss the factors that influence the decision making.
How Consumers Make Buying Decisions? Understanding the Various Stages of Customer Decision Making Process
Understanding how consumers make buying decisions gives you marketing leverage. It helps you target the right customers at the right time. A customer’s decision making process comprises upon five different stages:
Stage 1: Need Recognition:
The first step of any buying cycle is need awareness. In this stage, the external and internal stimuli make customer realise a need. The need could be anything as simple as buying a juice to quench thirst or looking for a consulting service to make better business decisions. In this stage, two types of stimuli come into play:
Internal stimuli emerge from a person’s psychological or emotional needs. For example, hunger, anger, frustration, thirst, sleepiness, lethargy, or any other similar needs.
The stem from external sources. For example, a smartphone advertisement makes customers realise that they need a new smartphone. Similarly, the smell of yummy food stirs appetite. Or a cultural occassion compels customer to realise that they need a new outfit.
Stage 2: Information Gathering:
This is the second stage, commonly known as the research stage. Once a customer realises a particular need, they look for different options on how to meet that need. For example, a customer planning to buy a new smartphone will look online for different smartphone options. In this stage, the customer gathers as much information as possible and makes a mind map of all the available options.
Stage 3: Evaluation of Alternatives
The third stage is consideration of different alternatives. Once potential alternatives are identified in stage 2, the next step if to compare them. In this stage, a customer compares different options in two ways:
Customer compares the price, features, availability, warranty and other hard-core aspects of the product itself. For example, a smartphone buyer will compare the specs, price and features of different smartphone options to choose the most suitable smartphone.
This type of evaluation has more to do with how the customer feels about the product. Or how the customer associates himself with the product. For example, the smartphone buyer will consider how owning a particular smartphone brand from different options makes him feel.
Stage 4: Purchasing Decision
This is the step where a customer converts. In this stage, the customer makes a purchase decision and acts on it. For example, if the smartphone customer has found a suitable smartphone that meets his needs, he will go and buy it.
Stage 5: Post Purchase Evaluation
Post purchase behavior determines the extent of a customer’s ability to re-purchase the same product. In this stage, consumers consider whether they made the right decision. They also match the price value of money and make up their mind on whether or not they will recommend others or make a re-purchase.
How to Optimize Your Brand’s Influence on Different Buying Stages of Your Customers
As a content marketer, you need to understand customer’s decision making process. Moreover, you must find out the best way to influence customers through various buying stages. Using the right stimulus or information at the right time increases chances of converting customers. Here are some tips you can follow to positively influence your brand customer’s decision making stages:
Social media is the point of rapid engagement with your brand’s customers. Since more than half of world’s population is on social media, it is a medium of great marketing opportunities. Engaging your customers with your brand is the first step to influence their decision making. When customers identify with your brand’s personality, they are more likely to recognize their needs according to your brand’s offerings. Use social media to introduce new products, create hype for your upcoming offers and educate your customers on how to make the most from your brand. On top of that, you can also make your customer’s feel heard, seen and included by sharing the material they post while tagging your brand.
See how AI Writing Assistant can help you create social media posts to engage social media users:
Also read: Social Media and Content Marketing – Top Differences and Advantages
Offer Information Via Customer Buying Guides
Perhaps one of the strongest ways to influence the information gathering stage of your customer’s buying process is to offer buying guides. eBooks and buying guides containing detailed information on how a particular offering can help customers tend to generate stronger leads. When your potential customers are searching for information, your brand shall be able to offer them as detailed information as possible. Offer free buying guides in exchange for email subscription to “nudge” your leads into the next stage of decision making.
See how AI Writing Assistant can help you create long form buying guides for your potential customers:
Build Trust With Customers Using Email Marketing
Since your customers will likely evaluate your offer with others, it is important to connect with them on a more personal level. Email marketing allows you to build better rapports with your potential customers. Therefore, it is one of the strongest source of generating 15.2% more ROI – highest among all other conversion channels. 
In your emails, you can include case studies, testimonials and social proof.
See how AI Writing Assistant can help you recreate testimonials for your potential customers:
It will help to make your customers see how your offer is better than other options.
Moreover, emails also help you influence the actual purchasing decision. Offering email exclusive discounts, coupons and special offers increases the chances of converting customers.
See how AI Writing Assistant can help you create emails for your potential customers:
Also Read: Why Do You Need to Prepare an Email Sequence for Your Mailing List – Find Useful Tips and Free Examples
Gather Feedback Through Online Q&A Surveys
The post purchase behavior of your customers will speak volumes about your offering. The more satisfied your customers feel, the more likely they are to recommend your brand to others. Thus, conducing a post-purchase service or product survey helps you gather customer feedback. Moreover, it helps you see potential service gaps which and identify points of improvement.
See how AI Writing Assistant can help you create Q&A survey to see your customer’s post purchase behavior:
How Consumers Make Buying Decisions – Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 5 main factors that influence purchasing decisions?
The five main factors that influence purchasing decisions include:
- Social Factors. (External)
- Cultural Factors. (External)
- Economic Factors. (External)
- Internal Personal Factors.
- Internal Psychological Factors.
How many types of influences affect the consumer decision process?
There are 4 psychological influences that impact customer buying process, including:
There are 3 social influences on customers buying process, including:
- Reference Groups
- Social Status
- Friends and Family
Customers are complex creatures with complex needs. They go through different stages before making a purchase decision. Moreover, there are various factors that influence your customer’s buying decision. Thus, you need to understand their decision making process as well as find suitable ways to target them at every stage.
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