Lesson 3: Serving Browsers, Shoppers & Buyers

A high converting website funnel begins and ends with satisfying your audiences intent at every contact point.

Knowing your “Bob” (your audience) is the first and MOST IMPORTANT step of any marketing process.

“A thorough understanding of what your audiences want and when they want it is the key to planning content with super high engagement.”

Taking the next step from understanding who they are and what they want is where they are at in the buying process.

They may be ready to buy if they have already done their browsing and “homework” beforehand online or elsewhere.

Or…

They might be searching for and researching what products and services might be suitable for their purposes.

I generally categorise audiences into three categories, which are actually stages of readiness to buy:

  1. Browsers
  2. Shoppers
  3. Buyers

Depending on where your audience is in the process, there will be different levels of interest and engagement.

Someone who knows what they want and is ready to buy what you offer, may still be deciding WHO they want it from.

If they are already familiar with your brand, and have seen reviews and other social proof beforehand, they may trust you enough to buy from you.

They might be wondering about price, what shipping costs, shipping times or reward points you offer.

They might be ready to buy, but the question is why should they buy from you – right NOW?

Again, creating a funnel is not just about onsite information, it’s about conditioning your potential customers to understand what you offer BEFORE they are ready to buy.

Rather than making your audience have to read your website to learn what your brand is about, or what you offer, why not start educating them before they even get there.

This conditioning process can be done on social media and also sprinkled throughout your content.

So before we dug deeper into these audiences, let’s identify some of the biggest problems we see with online businesses.

Problems:

  • Websites are targeting people at random stages of the funnel (not targeted) so the bounce rate is high or visitors are not converting.
  • They are not giving people everything they need to be able to make a decision to buy.
  • They are not satisfying visitor intent by creating content that delivers value early on and throughout their exposure to products or services.
  • They are not targeting Bob’s well enough, trying to reach too many people and are often paying way too much for that privilege.

So what does creating a marketing plan do?

Solutions: A well developed marketing plan helps you to:

  • Be selective and not spend time or money on people who aren’t ever likely to become customers.
  • Take an audience through a stepped process where they sell themselves.
  • Gives audience immediate satisfaction and answers their “obstacle” questions at every opportunity – so they can move closer to becoming a buyer.
  • Promise and deliver by sending your people to the right places on your website from outside sources. You want to deliver what you promise at every step, whether that be information or tangible goods.

And to make this economical, you need to do this without having to:

  • Spend months or years paying for unqualified traffic to test what you think might work.
  • Guess what your audiences want and how to give them that  – so you build trust before they are ready to buy.

Points to remember:

When people browse the internet, they are doing so for a multitude of reasons.

Sometimes people use the internet and particularly social websites purely for social reasons, other times they use it to research products and services, to fulfil a want or desire, or solve a problem.

If you are not online with the intent to buy something, then ads or content that is commercially motivated is an interruption. Sometimes it’s a welcome interruption – if the content is relevant to your interests. Other times it is an annoyance.

If you are an online business paying for the opportunity to capture an audiences intention, it makes sense to know who you are presenting your content to.

Obviously paying for the attention of people who are the most likely to be interested in the content, and products or services on your website makes more sense than trying to advertise via interruption marketing. Why market to a group of people who only a small percentage of which, are likely to buy.

Instead, focus on qualified audiences.

What is a qualified audience?

There are several different categories of potential buyers online.

As I stated above, sometimes people use the internet and particularly social websites purely for social reasons, other times they use it to research products and services, to fulfill a want or desire, or solve a problem.

People buy products or services to make them feel something. It’s not the thing they want, but the feeling or outcome that thing will give them as a result of buying it.

If you ask someone who bought a product or service that they liked about it they might say it was because of:

  • brand familiarity
  • comfort
  • style
  • looks cool
  • to be trendy
  • like the color or style
  • to solve a problem
  • to make life easier in some way

If they are looking for a service online they might say they bought it to:

  • have more time
  • impress the boss
  • work more efficiently
  • feel more in control
  • make more profit
  • save money

The common theme here is that behind every purchase is a desire to FEEL something or get some emotional payoff from making the purchase. If you were to do market research on what your customers or audience want or want to avoid, you could (and will soon) create a list of these reasons. We break these down further into who, what, why, where, when and how questions which we delve into in an upcoming lesson.

The key point here is that behind every internet search is an intent which you need to understand in order to be able to satisfy that intent with your content!

There are generally three different types of “buying” audiences: browsers, shoppers, and buyers.

They all have different intents- or more specifically – are all at different stages in the buying process. Think of your Bob and where Bob is at along his or her buying process.

Browsing Shopping BuyingBrowsers…

…are online for social reasons with no immediate intent to buy. For example, they may be visiting their Facebook page or reading the news.

This group of online users may see something they like while browsing, but they didn’t begin their online session with the intent to buy something.

Shoppers…

The next group is people who have already shown a small to moderate interest in a brand or type of product or service. They may not yet have a specific idea of what they want – rather they have a general interest in something. For example, they may like training shoes but are not sure what brand, style and color they are interested in.

These people are just looking around to narrow down what they may want. I call these people shoppers.

Buyers…

The next and what I like to nickname the hottest group of internet users are what I call buyers. These folks are the ones that know what type of “thing” or “service” or even brand they want and what specific features and benefits that product or service needs to provide to fit their requirements.

These people are in a different frame of mind from browsers and shoppers. They are looking to buy and are looking for indicators of value and trustworthiness. They are looking for WHO is most likely to give them the best post-sale satisfaction.  They may want to know WHAT the best deal is. They aren’t necessarily looking for the best price, but rather the best value, which means they’re looking at who are the best or right people or which is the best company to deliver the item or service they want.

This group of people are very sensitive to how well you handle their wants, fears, concerns and desires. They will be scrutinizing everything, whether consciously or subconsiously, maybe both.

There are really only three reasons “buyers” who arrive on site don’t buy:

  1. they don’t want what you have.
  2. they don’t understand or believe that you can deliver what they want through your products or services.
  3. they don’t trust you enough.

Why it’s important to define and categorize different online users.

Remember that people are generally using the internet for one or more of these three reasons:

  • to solve a problem.
  • to find something they want.
  • to be entertained and connect with other members of their tribe (other people like them) in some way.

Just like clubs, groups of friends, social groups etc, so too online users generally hang out in tribes.

Every tribe has its own personality, etiquette, language, common interests, pet likes and pet hates.

Your job as an online marketer is to know which of the hundreds of online groups specifically relate to your product or service and who the most likely people are that you can best satisfy. Then you as a marketer need to meet them WHERE THEY ARE AT in their buying process.

[bctt tweet=”As an online marketer you should always be asking yourself the question: “From my target audience, who are the people to whom I can deliver the MOST value to through my content, products or services?””]

Once you have clearly established who your audience are and what they want, you can then come up with content that is customized for each of these groups.

How to Lower the Cost of Paid Social Marketing

Think about each of these types of people, and come up with a list of topics that are relevant to each group.

  • How to’s
  • Pictorials
  • Instructions
  • Top questions
  • Top concerns people have about your types of products and services
  • Things that are interesting to them
  • Things that are entertaining
  • Educational information
  • Product tutorials

We won’t tell you exactly what to write for your own business, that needs to come from you based on your audiences unique needs, wants and desires as discussed in the last lesson.

By walking step by step through the process of mapping out your content, and publishing it in a methodical way, every visitor that could become a buyer, has a higher chance of becoming one.

Capture many opportunities to convert visitors into buyers.

You can move people through the stages of browser >> to shopper >> to a buyer, by offering them value and building trust through your content.

You can do this in an organic, and/or paid sequential manner when you have Facebook or Adwords visitor tracking on your website.

Start by writing down what each of your Browsers, Shoppers and Buyers want.

Doing this makes it much easier to know what content to create, content your audience will want to engage with.

What does your browser, shopper or buyer need to move to the next step?

I don’t expect a high number of audience members checking social posts on their Facebook page and seeing my brand for the first time to go to my store and buy my products or services immediately.

But if I know if visitors to my Facebook page belong to a specific group of people I can help with something that is important to them, there is an opportunity to create a relationship with them.

That may be a relationship that develops to the point they become a customer, if it’s a relationship that’s nurtured along the way.

Knowing what your audience wants, and when they want it, is an acquired skill.

So your homework for this lesson, is to separate your audiences into three different categories, browsers, shoppers and buyers.

The important task for you in this lesson is to determine what questions your Bob is asking at different stages of Browsing, Shopping and Buying.

Then think about what content you can produce on your website and offsite to satisfy your Bob at whatever stage he/she is at.

Bob Funnel

Thinking about your audiences, what do they want to know at each of the three stages above?

If they are at the browsing stage, what would topic would capture their attention in a way that you can follow up with them later?

If they are at the shopping stage, what questions could you answer or what could you teach them?

If they are at the buying stage, what do they need to feel to be confident enough to make a decision to buy?

How can you build trust along the way with social proof (reviews), an https secure website, guarantees and most of all having demonstrated value repeatedly?

Don’t be afraid to talk about your “weaknesses” and mistakes. If you’ve had grumpy customers, but they have ended up happy after you’ve corrected something, show that.

Show you are real, and that you learn and grow by listening to your customers. It’s a powerful and refreshing way to build social proof.

So, if you know who your Bob is by now, and you understand what Bob wants and dislikes, then the next thing to consider is where Bob is at in his buying processes. Help your Bob get comfortable with all things he needs to know before he’s ready to buy. Now, if we stretched your circle out lengthwise and turned that into a funnel, it would look like this.

Sales Funnel

At the stage of browsing, Bob isn’t necessarily very particular about the things that he wants from a product because he is not yet close to the point where he’s ready to buy it, but by the time he has shifted from being a browser to a shopper, he’s starting to ask some deeper questions about what he wants from your products and services.

For example, he’s starting to get an idea of the colors he might like or possibly if it was something that had options for a certain capacity or size, he’d be starting to think about how the size of the product and service may fit his requirements.

He has moved from browser to shopper mode, and now he’s starting to shop around for the things that he wants in a product or service like yours.

The next phase for Bob is that of a buyer. Buyers are much more critical and fussy about what it is they want and how they want it. By the time your Bob becomes a buyer, he or she is going to be interested in things like warranties, guarantees, or how you help existing customers when something goes wrong.

You can help reassure Bob – your audiences – that they can have confidence in themselves and their decision. They also want to know sometimes whether or not they’re justified in purchasing something if there is something else that they could spend the money on.

This thought usually comes in right at the end when they’re about to get their credit card out and commit to something, so you need to remind Bob why it is that he needs your product and service and why he can be reassured that it is a safe thing to do. Show him or her that he/she are going to be happy and satisfied when they have done business with you.

A great way to do this is with reviews, add them to general pages and just prior to checkout. All of your content should be broken down into browser, shopper, and buyer content because where you send your visitors from your offsite content such as social media and ads, etc, needs to send your Bob to pages that satisfies browser, shopper, or buyer intent.

This is why you need to keep referring to your map of where your Bob is in his buying process.

When you send traffic to your website, you should understand where they are at in their buying process from the very first step, such as a social media post, and to send them to a strategic page on your website that satisfies them, and again we’ll call them your Bob, at the stage they are at with the questions they want answered.

If you do a really good job of meeting their needs and satisfying them at every point that they are at, or every stage that they are at, you will be building trust and a solid relationship with your Bob. By the time you send Bob to a buyer page and helped Bob overcome all of the obstacles he/she has, Bob will be primed and ready to buy. It will be because he’s ready to do so, not because you have had to do any hard selling.

The best sales people in the world lead somebody to a sale by knowing what that person needs, when they need it, and delivering value early on, so the person essentially sells them self.

A website and marketing plan that is set out with this in mind converts far better than a random website with randomly laid out content. Whenever you add content to your website, you should know where that content fits in your map for browsers, shoppers, and buyers.on.

Write down all the ways you can think of to serve your audiences at the stage they are at using the worksheet attached. You can map out the different needs of your Bob and which content matches their needs. If you don’t have content yet, you can use this template to create your own map.

This map forms the basis of the first level we take you through when coming up with content for your own audiences. It is one of the key elements we take clients through to make the process of creating high converting content funnels for your website.

Download the Lesson 3 worksheet

Your Bob:

So, if you know who your Bob is, and you understand what Bob likes and dislikes, then it is time to consider where Bob is at in his buying processes. Help your Bob get comfortable with all things he needs to know, before he’s ready to buy.

At this stage of browsing, Bob isn’t necessarily that particular about the things that he wants from a product. He might not be close to the point where he’s ready to buy it, but by the time he has shifted from being a browser to a shopper, he’s starting to ask some questions about what he wants from your products and services. For example, he’s starting to get an idea of the colors he might like, or if it was something that came in a certain capacity or size. He’d be starting to think about how the size of the product and service may fit his requirements.

Bob has moved from browser to shopper mode, now he’s starting to shop around for the things that he wants… A product or service like yours.

The next phase for Bob is that of a buyer. Buyers are much more critical and fussy about what it is they want and how they want it.

By the time your Bob becomes a buyer, he or she is going to be interested in things like warranties, guarantees, or if anything goes wrong and how easy it is to fix.

They seek evidence that the decision they are about to make buy buying is a good one. They want to know they are spending their money wisely and that it is justified. This thought usually comes in right at the end when they’re about to get their credit card out and commit to something, so you need to remind Bob why it is that he needs your product and service.

Bob needs to be reassured that buying your stuff is a safe thing to do and that he will be happy and satisfied after he has made that commitment. Reviews on your web pages are one simple way to show him that other people have been thought the same thing and it’s been a good experience for them.

All of your content should be broken down into browser, shopper, and buyer content because where you send your visitors from your offsite content such as social media and ads. You need to send your Bob to the right pages with the intent to satisfy either their browser, shopper, or buyer intent.

When you send traffic to your website, you should understand where people are at in their buying process from the very first step, i.e. a social media post, and send them to a strategic page on your website that satisfies your Bob. If you do a really good job of meeting their needs and satisfying them at every stage of this process, you will be building trust and a positive relationship with your Bob.

By the time you send Bob to a buyer page, you have helped him/her overcome any obstacles to buying, and hopefully he/she is primed and ready to buy.

[bctt tweet=”The best sales people in the world lead somebody to a sale by delivering exactly what information and answers they need, at the right time.”]

A website and marketing plan that is set out with this in mind converts far better than a random website with content randomly added to it over time.

Whenever you add content to your website, you should know how that content relates to the needs of browsers, shoppers, and buyers.

About Mad Scientist Mia

I'm an Amazon author, who also has over 18 years of experience in PPC, Website Conversion Optimization, Search Engine Optimization, & Copywriting. All of that means I specialize in delivering the right people to websites as efficiently and economically as possible, then making the website better at converting visitors into customers. I also co-own Adventure Helicopters a helicopter scenic & charter business and love to fly things with rotors!

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