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7 Stages of the Customer Buying Cycle

7 Stages of the Customer Buying Cycle

Understanding the customer’s buying cycle is vital for all companies fighting for business in their respective industries. Selling to the customer’s buying cycle of the past will keep you in the past, too, and you won’t be able to grow your company to keep up with the times.

The buying cycle can be broken down into seven stages:

1. Awareness
The first stage in the customer’s buying cycle is the awareness of a need. When your inbound marketing strategy is effective, print advertising, search engine optimization and pay-per-click campaigns will bring your company to the top of result pages so potential buyers can find you at this stage.

2. Consideration
Consideration consists of the customer’s research, comparisons, and search for knowledge related to the product or service. This consideration is quite different now, as it is most often performed online, which is exactly why your business should make your brand recognized and provide information that customers are searching for. You can gently guide potential customers to your company’s website through effective landing pages and social media profiles and through print media.

3. Intent
The customer’s intent to buy is the third stage of the buying cycle. This intent is based on the client’s decision to buy based on his research and ultimate decision-making process that came from the consideration stage above. When your sales representatives and marketing professionals see that a customer is at the intent stage, it is time for them to get contact information through tailored, targeted selling and marketing. This can often mean using calls to action to gather their contact information through free offers, such as e-books or videos.

4. Buy
The fourth stage is when the customer actually purchases a product or service from you. When the customer is at this stage, this is when you should be providing coupons or discounts to get them to commit to your product or service over your competitors. This can be done through coupons in print ads, pay-per-click ads, emails, or social media platforms.

5. Success and Support
Once your customer has bought your product or service, you want to make sure that he is satisfied with his purchase, understands how to use it, and can find any answers to questions that he may have. You can create Q&A forums online, add tutorials on YouTube or send out a customer service email soon after the purchase to offer support and ensure satisfaction. This will hopefully lead to the next step, repurchasing.

6. Repurchase

Hopefully, your customer’s happiness with your product and customer service will lead to repurchasing in the future. To ensure that the customer does not forget about you when it’s time to repurchase, follow up with him through email or social media. Additionally, you can also provide discounts at this stage for the customer’s next order in the hopes of keeping the customer loyal to your brand the next time they are considering buying.

7. Referral

If you have successfully gotten yourself a loyal customer who has ordered and reordered your products or services, you can start targeting them for referrals. Provide them with rewards or recognition if they refer your products or services to their friends and family through social media or other platforms.

Keep Up or Get Out
The hard truth is your company needs to keep up with the new customer’s buying cycle or get out. Hopefully, by being able to understand this cycle to begin with, you will now be able to adjust your business plans and rewrite your marketing and selling strategies to reach the customers buying this year.