Before going into the subject, read a few statistics below:
In a recent survey conducted to study the shopping behavior of consumers in India found that 91% of buyers read reviews and compare prices before making a buying decision.
Another study shows that as much as 91% of users don’t refer beyond first page of Google search results.
Another study by Missouri University of Science & Technology suggests that it take less than two-tenth of a second for an online visitor to form a first impression about your brand once they visit the company’s website.
All the above statistics are more than a compelling reason for you to have a strong SEO for your brand, isn’t it?
Most of the SEO efforts for any brand generally go in driving traffic, improving rankings, improving visibility, creating right content and finding relevant keywords. But what many businesses struggle with is that in spite of doing all this, they don’t get the expected sale in return. So, where is the missing link?
As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Yes, it is the same case with SEO as well. You need to channelize your SEO in right direction to ensure good conversion of prospective customers. It is a difficult task but marketers need to solve this puzzle. It can be done in one way by understanding the consumers buying cycle.
A consumer buying cycle is nothing but the stages through which a consumer goes through to make a purchase. It has 5 stages as below:
- Awareness: Stage of identification of need
- Consideration: Evaluation of options which can fulfill this need
- Preference: Selection of best alternatives
- Purchase: Buying the product
- Post Purchase evaluation: Like/Dislike the product/brand based on experience
It is very important to do targeted SEO with right content for each and every stage of buying cycle. Let us evaluate how SEO should be strategized at each stage.
- Awareness: In this stage, customer becomes aware of his/her need of the product. What marketers need to do here is to convince customers that there exists a problem for which they have a solution. A lot of effort is required to shift the customers from this stage to next stage. SEO and content strategy should be to identify the trigger which will advance the process of purchase.
- Consideration: In this stage, the customer will scan the market on what are the options available to him/her. For e.g. a customer wanting to buy refrigerator will search for terms like “Refrigerators under Rs. 20000”, “3 door Refrigerators” etc. Customers will most likely visit website, check products and specifications, check for ratings, read reviews etc. of the available brands. In this stage, it is very important to ensure your brand shows up in every search results. At the same time you should make a compelling pitch to the prospective buyer to make him know more about your brand and the products.
- Preference: In this stage the consumer is most likely have finalized two or three brands and is in the process of identifying the best option. Here the SEO and content should be such that your brand appears as much as positive as possible. Here your website will play an important role as customer would want to know more about you, be it customer reviews, reliability, leadership, post sales service, dealer location etc.
- Purchase: Now, the customer has finally zeroed upon the product and is ready to purchase. Customer might want to look for discounts or offers. You need to be prepared for keywords like ‘discount on XYZ refrigerator”, “best deal on XYZ refrigerator” etc. and ensure that customer gets relevant links for the same.
- Post purchase evaluation: According to me, this is one of the neglected stages of buying cycle. In fact this is the stage which will decide whether customer will come again to purchase any of the products from the same brand or not. Companies should be engaged with customer in this stage making him/her feel good about the brand. A good E-mail content strategy should work in this stage.
More and more customers are now going online and are searching for products. There has been a change in the consumer behavior where their opinions get influenced even much before seeing the product. It has become more important for Marketers to influence the opinion throughout the buying process as each stage requires a different way to attract customers. There is no point in focusing only on brand building, increasing visitors and page rankings through SEO and leaving behind the main motive- Sale!
(The views mentioned here are author’s own personal view. Your comments and feedback are most most welcome )
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