How the Internet Has Transformed the Buying Cycle

Posted by Patty Cisco on October 15, 2015 at 12:13 PM     ContentStrategy
How the Internet Has Transformed the Buying Cycle

Everyone wants to make an informed buying decision. Once upon a time, that may have meant visiting stores in person, reading up at the library, making calls to a customer service line, or watching television commercials to learn more about an incoming product.

These days, technology has completely accelerated the buying cycle, making it that much easier for customers to be well aware of what they're in for long before they add your item to their cart and hit the purchase button.

How the Internet Has Changed the Buying Cycle

Thanks to the internet, every customer is armed with information, which is more readily available than ever before. A customer only has to use an internet search engine to find a product from the manufacturer or a third party store. From there, they can read about what the product does, its specifications (as applicable), the price, and even see pictures and videos of how to use the item.

These sites also tend to include reviews from other real customers that have bought and used the product. A customer will browse through and read these reviews to see how highly rated that a product is. If an item has nothing but bad reviews, a customer will continue shopping elsewhere.

According to Lisa Cramer of InReality, a strategy and marketing company, the average customer these days may progress through the buying cycle more rapidly--at a rate of up to 60 percent. This encompasses three out of the five stages of the cycle, which includes awareness of the product, considering whether to buy the product, and a preference for the product.

The last two stages (buying the product and then buying it again when needed) would obviously come later. As a business owner interested in inbound marketing, you may be wondering, how does this information apply to you? It's very useful to know.

Part of what differentiates inbound marketing from outbound marketing is the fact that you're looking to find potential customers and turn them into long-term buyers. However, you don't rely heavily on advertisements, cold-calling, or newsletters to achieve that objective.

Using Online Content to Help Your Buyers

One of the best and most proven means of inbound marketing is through producing regular, actionable content. Now that you know that potential customers are coming to you ready to buy your products, think of how you can reform this content to be more effective in the future.

First, it has to be chock-full of useful data about the product so that a customer can quickly scan this and then make up their mind about a purchasing decision. Make sure to include specs and, of course, the price.
After understanding the stages of the buying cycle, you can begin writing to your customers as though they have an immediate intention to buy your products. You can describe the various problems that the product solves with a call to action at the end of the post that includes a link to your online store.

If a customer has found your content this late in the buying cycle, they are probably almost ready to make a purchase. With the right kinds of content, you can give them the tiny boost that just might make them regular repeat customers.
Inbound marketing can grow your ROI