Is Your Small Business Ready for the Twists and Turns of the New Online Buyer's Journey?

Blog by Allison Powers

Think back to the 80’s and 90’s, and you’ll remember how important your fax machine was to your business. Everyone had one and anyone and everyone was sending you information through Fax. In those days, it was even common practice as a marketing strategy to send mass advertisements through the fax machine, sort of like today’s email marketing campaigns.

Now think of the modern, 2022 buyer and the technology available online. Could you ever imagine using a fax machine today to send specials or newsletters to your customers or clients? Most of the younger buyers today don’t even know what a fax machine is.

So, as a small business owner, here is the main question you should ask yourself….

If you wouldn’t use an outdated marketing strategy, like contacting your customers through a fax machine, why would you still use the outdated marketing funnel for your marketing strategy?

The old Marketing Funnel shows the stages your prospective buyers had to go through to find you, before there was internet and digital marketing. They would have to pass through each stage, one at a time, until they eventually…. maybe… paid attention to your expensive advertisements and used your services or bought your products. It went something like this:

Basically, advertisers and businesses would hammer people to death with their marketing messages, to get their attention and attempt to create awareness. Then they would push even harder with their marketing to create an interest and desire for their products and services. Think Mailouts, TV Ads, and Newspaper Ads screaming: Buy Now!! Buy One Get One Free!! Limited Time Offer! I can hear the fax machine alerting us now! 😊

For today’s digital buyer, the new and updated Marketing Funnel isn’t a funnel at all. It’s more of a looping buyer's journey, full of online twists and turns.

Thanks to the convenience of the internet, there are now added research and post-purchase experiences, relationship building opportunities and online interactions that help the online customer with their decision to use your business or your competitor.

Is your business ready to meet the new online buyer along the way?

Below is a story about a customer named, Ashley, and Ashley is looking for a plumber. Ashley is in her early 40’s, owns her home, and she’s married with two children. Let’s follow Ashley along as she twists and turns through her own buyer’s journey online, based on the new and updated Digital Marketing Strategy:

  1. First - Ashley wakes up, has her coffee, and then jumps in the shower to get ready for work. She realizes there is barely any hot water. She calls for her husband to check the water heater and he tells her it’s not working. She finishes with a cold shower. - Awareness

  2. When at work, Ashley googles “no hot water in shower” and, “water heater not working.” – Consideration

  3. Ashley reads a blog on a plumber’s website that came up about old water heaters and when to replace them. Ashley has no clue how old their water heater is. – Awareness

  4. Ashley googles again. This time, she types in, “how much is a water heater replacement,” and searches for a local plumber, but there are so many she has no idea where to even start. She and her husband must find someone fast and have decided to spend the money for a new water heater. – Consideration

  5. Ashley heads to her HOA Facebook page and then to the Nextdoor app to see if her neighbors have recommended a local plumber or have replaced their water heater recently. She texts a few of her friends and asks them for recommendations. - Awareness

  6. Ashley takes the recommendations and begins searching online for each one. She reads the company reviews, information about their services, and scans through their About pages. – Consideration

  7. Ashley finally picks three local choices and heads to Facebook to see if there are reviews and to see if any of her mutual friends like their pages. – Consideration

  8. While looking online, Ashley notices one of her top three choices has an ad at the top of Google that her friends recommended, and sees this plumber is running a special on water heaters. – Consideration

  9. Ashley clicks the Google Ad and engages with the plumbing company’s website chatbox. She fills out their online contact form and schedules an appointment with the plumber. – Purchase

  10. After the water heater is installed, Ashley is beyond pleased with the job he did and was thrilled to be taking hot showers again. She was pleased with the plumber’s service, the warranty and the pricing. She went back onto social media and gave the plumber a glowing review on his Facebook page. She commented on a Nextdoor post and told her neighbors about her great experience with the plumber. She receives a text from the plumber a few days after, asking her to leave a review on his Google My Business page. She happily leaves him a five-star review. – Loyalty Loop

  11. Fast forward six months. Ashley’s kitchen sink is leaking under the cabinet. She goes back to her saved websites and pulls up the same plumber’s site and clicks on water leaks. This section of his website takes her directly to his blog where he explains DIY fixes to try first for simple leaks. The leak has gotten worse so she knows she needs a professional who knows what he's doing. She clicks on his website link for updated specials, and for 20% off repeat customer service calls. She clicks the Call Now button on his site. – Awareness - Consideration - Purchase - Loyalty Loop

And there you have the NEW and UPDATED Online Buyer's Journey and Digital Marketing Strategy.

You can see how it worked for this plumber and for this buyer, and it can work for your small business or home service company too!

Before the internet, when the old marketing funnel had us throwing money at customers with endless advertisements, maybe 2% of those customers would ever buy or use the services advertised. The other 98% were mostly just annoyed or inconvenienced at all the ads being thrown their way.

In today’s digital world of research and reviews conveniently at our customer’s fingertips, you don’t need to hammer your customers with expensive, annoying, endless advertisements. Most small businesses don’t have the budget for that old style of marketing anyway. For today's buyer, you need to engage and connect with your customers with updated content on your optimized, mobile-friendly website; show up in Google Search Engine Results, and consistently engage with customers through your social media platforms and blog.

The new, digital marketing strategy is effective, but, as a business owner, we know that’s a lot of twists and turns to juggle while also running your own business.

Warp and Woof Media specializes in helping small businesses adapt and thrive with custom Digital Marketing Strategies that work. We’ll center your marketing strategy around building an online presence to help your business get found online. We'll work to make sure your business is ready for when your customers come looking for you.

Today, as a business owner, you have the opportunity to step outside the old funnel of mass prospecting and closing sales to building relationships and trust with your customers through blog content, social media content and customer engagement online.

The awareness in the new digital marketing strategy doesn’t happen from interrupting people with annoying ads. Awareness is built from your business helping customers find the information they’re searching for and giving them the resources they need to make the right decisions on their buyer’s journey.

Warp and Woof Media is here to help your business stand out through these twists and turns in the buyer’s journey. Our goal is to engage and connect your business with your prospective customers through online content and storytelling along the way. Warp and Woof Media offers custom digital marketing strategies that work for your business.

We will help you create a strategy to increase your presence online, connect with your customers online and get them knowing you, liking you and trusting you. Then, as we help highlight your business through the new online buyer's journey, your customers will contact you when they need you. They’ll become a loyal customer that loops back around to use your business services and products, and recommend you again, and again.

Let Warp and Woof Media help your small business navigate all of the new twists and turns and start building relationships with your potential customers. We’re here to help you step out of the outdated methods of marketing and start reaching your biggest marketing goals!

Contact us today for a free consultation with Patty or Allison!

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