The 6 Stages of the Buying Process

Understanding the stages of the online buying process is a powerful way to start attracting the right traffic through SEO. Be sure you include content that is optimized for keywords that relate to these various stages, not just your general company or inter-office marketing concept.

Marketing on the web is often different than offline marketing in the sense that people use the web to get things done. They research by looking at reviews, FAQs, how to’s, etc., and then they evaluate and compare before making a purchase.

The speed of this research and ability to click from you to a competitor so quickly is why you need to supply more information to support your customer’s buying process than at any other time in history.

Stages of the Buying Process:

Stage 1: Identifying the problem or growth opportunity

Stage 2: Initiating interest in finding a solution

Stage 3: Getting educated on the solution landscape

Stage 4: Validating choices

Stage 5: Rationalizing the decision

Stage 6: Deciding to buy or not to buy

People may use searches such as:

Research-Based/Informational: “Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis,” “New Hampshire Wedding Ideas,” “Mortgage Rate Trends,” “Salt Water Fishing”

Transactional Searches: “Buy golf clubs,” “Cheap Mexican Restaurants,” “Free trial of photo editing software” (intent to potentially buy later)
Navigational Searches: Are performed with the intent of “surfing” directly to a specific website.
Gender-Based: “Best Golf Clubs for Women,” “Men’s Health”

Product Specific: “Shimano Stradic GTM 3000,” “Leo’s Quantum Jazz Tap Shoes”

Income-Based: “Luxury Resorts,” “High-End Spa”

It is important to understand the intent of the user so that you provide them with a page that matches what they are looking for. If you don’t have pages for each of these stages of the buying process, you will not only have fewer “hooks in the water,” but you will also lose the fish to the boat next to you.

What are some methods you use to figure out users’ intent?

photo credit: Ryan Christopher VanWilliams – NYC via photopin cc

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