Patience in Digital Marketing

Patience is a Virtue!

One of the biggest disappointments one can experience as a digital marketer is watching a client abandon a perfectly good strategy because they aren’t seeing immediate results. Sure, I understand it can be disheartening to watch your advertising budget dwindle and not see any kind of return, but believe me, in this context, patience is most definitely a virtue.

Why does it take so long to see results?

Well, consumers seldom purchase products and services on a whim, they need time to consider their options before making a decision, and, while we’d all like to believe our thoughts are our own, the psychological path to purchase is much the same for everyone. This path is commonly referred to as ‘The Buyers Journey’ and this takes time. Rather than taking my word for it, I recommend getting to know this process yourself, not only will you gain a better understanding of your consumers and what makes them tick, but more importantly, a better insight as to the time it will take to successfully move buyers through your sales funnel.

This diagram gives a great overview,

Here’s a practical example of the buyer’s journey in motion,

Awareness

John is feeling strung out and decides to research “stress symptoms”, “how to relieve stress” and “ways to relieve stress”.

Consideration

John commits to the idea that he is stressed and considers a holiday to relieve his tension. He then researches/shows interest in “stress-relieving destinations” “holiday destinations 2022” and “best stress relief holidays”.

Conversion/Decision

John is now certain he will be traveling and researches/shows interest in “Expedia vs bookings.com”, “best online travel agents” and “best hotels in Melbourne, Australia”, he decides that a trip to Melbourne will help him relax and books flights and accommodation.

This example perfectly demonstrates the buyer’s journey of a holiday purchaser, but what about someone who’s buying something inexpensive e.g. a bottle of milk? Believe it or not, the psychological process is essentially the same, the only variable being the duration of time spent during each phase. Usually, less time will be spent researching a low-cost necessity item such as milk, whereas consumers will spend a great deal of time researching higher-priced items like holidays or new cars. Think about your own business, how long will your consumers spend in each phase? A month, a year? Now times it by three – That’s how long you need to wait before you see results.

Digital marketing channels such as Facebook or Google Ads widely accept the buyer’s journey as the universal philosophy underpinning the modern marketing approach, accordingly, they have designed phase-specific advertising objectives to facilitate the consumer’s path to purchase. Below is an image of the campaign objectives offered with Facebook ads. They have been split into the three categories of the buyer’s journey; Awareness, Consideration and Conversion.

How do you know when your consumers have moved into a new phase?

Generally, your advertising results are the best indicator of progression. I recommend setting a metric goal for each phase prior to launching your marketing campaign, for example…

Awareness: Reach 200,000 people

Consideration: 400,000 video views

Conversion: Collect $50,000 in catalogue sales.

Once these goals are achieved, you can move to the next phase or if the journey is complete, begin again with a different target audience.

What kind of advertising content should I use during each phase?

You wouldn’t stop someone you’d never met before in the street and say “BUY THIS JACKET FOR $250.00 NOW”, that would be rude and off-putting, right? Instead, you would get to know the person, earn their trust and, at the appropriate time, offer them a clothing solution that satisfies their requirements…The same goes for online advertising. Your advertising content should be designed with the buyer’s journey in mind. Strong sales approaches are jarring to a cold audience. Meet your customer where they are, and remember, you can’t force a decision.

Keep Learning…

The above information is by no means comprehensive, consider it a beginner’s guide to consumer cognition. When it comes to digital marketing, knowledge is power! I encourage all business owners to learn the basics regardless of whether they employ a marketing person or not. That being said, if you do take anything away from this article, let it be that an incomplete buyer’s journey will yield little to no result, good things take time.

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