Do you use a “Persona” or “Avatar” to define your target market? Maybe it helps you to put things into perspective when you’re writing your content or running ads… Have you identified what they might look like, what their basic demographic data is… what they do on the weekend, and a list of where they go on vacation? Good for you, dude (ehhhh, dudette?)!
Funny thing: I used to teach my clients how to do interviews and create personas… but I always ran into the same problems:
- We would end up with multiple persona types and weren’t sure how to market to all of them…
- They were too specific and would leave behind a ton of potential buyers…
- They are a real person, not a cartoon, and have unique individual problems…
- They want to be a hero, but not all heroes come as stick figures with a cape or a magic flying carpet…
I just kept going with it, thinking I could overcome the problems by just becoming a better marketer or learning more techniques…
Then, one day, I listened to a brilliant and masterful professor talk about how McDonald’s milkshakes compete with Starbucks for breakfast… and it all made sense…
It's not about WHO your ideal client is, but about WHY they need your help.
Customer “avatars” and “personas” are only the first step in understanding your buyer’s journey. The images given to use by Don Miller’s “Story Brand” or Marcus Sheridan’s “They Ask You Answer” are only the tip of the ice burg… and not every “hero” looks like Frodo Baggins, James Bond or Peter Parker… sometimes they are the busy mom, the stressed out business owner or an elderly grandparent bound by a wheelchair.
The deepest part of their journey is internal.
They really just want to be a better mom, boss, grandparent…They are battling both the PUSH of the pain and PULL of the need to change, but the push/pull doubles down as the PULL of their comfort level and the PUSH of their fear of change……Each and every single person is different, and their situation is unique to them
I have a buyer’s journey template for anyone who wants a copy.
The real secret to selling more: empathy mapping your buyer’s journey
Quick terms to know: Empathy Mapping is a tool used by designers to understand what a person is experiencing around them during their journey to making a purchase: doing, thinking, seeing, hearing and feeling are all part of an empathy map. A Buyer’s Journey describes what a person goes through on their journey to seeking answers to a problem and then making a purchasing decision.
And what happens when these powers combine?! It's Mighty Mophin' time, friends...
Let’s first go over the 7 stages of the Buyer’s Journey and then we’ll take a deep dive into the Empathy Mapping piece.
The 7 emotional stages of your customer’s journey & how to impact their buying decisions
There are many ways to define the Buyer’s Journey… in its simplest form, you can define it in three stages: Awareness > Consideration > Decision. But this doesn’t give us a solid understanding and insight into each part of the decision-making process… so let’s take a look at all 7 here:
1. Internal Battle Begins
I used to think this was an “AHA” moment, but that’s not the case at all… it could be happening gradually, like a frog in boiling water, and something is nagging that you can’t quite put your finger on but you know you don’t like it. It’s causing you pain, OR there is an opportunity for a gain.
This process could be a day, or it could be two years.
The Push/Pull of the internal battle happens at both ends: The push of the current pain, and the pull of the transformation… and the push of the pain of change, and the pull of keeping things comfortable.
CURRENT PAIN >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> NEW WAY
COMFORT ZONE <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< PAIN OF CHANGE
2. Moment of Truth
This is the “AHA” moment you’ve been waiting for… the moment when a decision is finally made to go on a quest for change. To “decide” means “To cut off” and this is what we call the Moment of Truth.
Still, the buyer doesn’t know that change is even possible. They just know that they are ready to start a journey find out.
This is the very top of the funnel.
The buyer gains awareness about all of the possible solutions and options, verifying whether or not the problem CAN change.
The buyer starts a journey of education. This is the sweet spot where you have the best opportunity to get their attention and move them down the funnel.
The potential customer is comparing their buying options: Looking at the pros and cons, validating the options, and outlining the best practices and steps that they will need to take. They are asking “how are these options going to make us happy? They are internally visualizing a “Venn Diagram.”
They are almost ready to make a decision. They want you to spell out the impact of the solution, and are visualizing how the new future looks by choosing you.
The buyer is converting! They are taking their first step, making a first payment, etc. Provide them with decision aids, cost calculators, case studies, and as much social proof as you have.
They’ve already purchased, so you need to wow them. Exceed their expectations, help them get the transformation they desire. Celebrate them and ask for testimonies.
This is also your opportunity to upsell them into another offer, program, service or product.
Empathy mapping your buyer’s experiences
Empathy mapping can help us identify our potential buyers’ pain points by fully understanding the experiences they are having… what they are being exposed to, who they are listening to and going to advice for. An empathy map can have as little or as much detail as you want:
- actions they are taking
- messages that will resonate with them
- content offers and strategies that they are needing
Using these fields, map out each part of the buyer during their journey from the internal battle all the way to their transformation. Then you can use the pain points to create content offers, lead magnets and even improve your product offer and experience with them