Advertising is most effective if it is aligned with the different, sequential phases of the purchase process. This applies equally to B2C and B2B transactions, whereby the individual phases may vary depending on the target group.
Taking into account the phases of decision-making is important, for example, when it comes to understanding why conversion is lacking despite high traffic via search engine marketing. In addition to many other factors, the reason may be that the visitors gained in this way are not yet intending to purchase. Those who enter a non-specific term such as “tablecloths” could very well still be in phases 1 or 2 (see below), whereas specification of a product name and specific details could indicate a more advanced phase.
Phase 1 – recognizing a need
There is no concrete interest in buying, but a latent openness for new impulses. General company branding supported by simple retargeting triggered by the web site visit work well in this phase. The biggest success factor here is the message itself. The user should have a positive experience, which arouses curiosity.
Phase 2 – ascertainment phase
Users begin to be interested in purchasing and collect as many sources of information that can provide guidance on the Internet. Advertisers should meet this search for information with good search engine marketing and start now at the latest with retargeting based on clicks.
Phase 3 – probing phase
Once users have gained orientation and classified the various options, the decision-making process begins. Dynamic targeting with concrete products now comes into play. Communication of discounts, bonus points or other benefits that may be decisive for the purchase decision also promise success in this phase.
Phase 4 – purchase
If the visitor could be transformed into a customer, this is also important information for retargeting marketing. They should no longer be targeted with ads for the purchased product. At the same time, they are potential customers for other goods, new product releases or even accessories for the purchased product once they have decided on this provider. Customer loyalty activities start here and can lead directly to cross-selling.
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