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Inbound Marketing and the Purchase Loop

Posted by Rick Lambert on Tue, Mar 12, 2013

Inbound Marketing and the Purchase Loop

There's no question that adopting an effective inbound/online marketing strategy is essential for growing your business this day and age. Your online visitors and customers are constantly turning to the Internet to research and gain information about a product or service, and your brand needs to be there to capture their attention.

Over a century before the concept of the World Wide Web came about, Elias St. Elmo Lewis developed the Purchase Funnel in 1898, which creates a general sales pathway for converting a prospect to a customer. Interestingly enough, the four key components that make up this Purchase Funnel--awareness, interest, desire, and action--still play an integral role in today's inbound marketing strategies.

purchase loop

Image credit: Hubspot

According to recent study shared by HubSpot, 87 percent of consumers today travel a much more complex prospect-to-customer sales cycle, which is indicative of six behavioral or mental states that a prospective buyer goes through before making the decision to convert to a customer. Outlined below are the identified behaviors that make up the Purchase Loop and ways that inbound marketers can better align their strategies to successfully convert their target audiences into actual customers:

  1. Openness: At the very beginning stage of this Purchase Loop, the buyer may not even be aware that your product or service exists. This is why it is critical to have an inbound marketing plan in place to create relevant and meaningful content that is rich in SEO to increase the likelihood that the buyer stumbles upon your webpage while searching the Internet. By subtly mentioning your product or service in the content, the buyer may be open to learning more.
  2. Realized Want or Need: In this next stage, the buyer is thinking about your product in a broader scope and is using general keywords to research the product on search engines. Implementing effective SEO strategies can help the buyer to land back on your webpage.
  3. Learning and Education: The buyer is taking the time to learn more about your product and perhaps has downloaded your whitepaper. At this point, the buyer is likely open to a follow-up email, and a business with a successful inbound marketing plan would have already collected this important contact information on the landing page.
  4. Seeking Ideas and Inspiration: The buyer wants to see how your product has helped other consumers, which is why it would be an effective marketing strategy to share case studies or customer testimonials with the buyer.
  5. Research and Vetting: You buyer has decided that he will likely be purchasing your product, and you can firm up his decision by sending him customized, relevant information based on interactions that you have already had with him.
  6. Post-Purchase Evaluation and Expansion: Continue the relationship with your customer by taking advantage of marketing automation tactics to make him aware of follow-up products based on his previous purchases.

How does your business currently incorporate its inbound marketing tactics to meet the needs of your buyers as they make their way through the new Purchase Loop? Do you think this pathway to final purchase should change the way that marketers do their jobs?

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Topics: landing pages, Inbound marketing, search engine optimization, purchase loop

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