At the core of every business is the customer, as an SEO agency we know that growing a business centers on grasping your customers and buying trends, and optimizing all elements of the business around these needs and expectations.

We believe the key to unlocking the next step for a business, is understanding how a customer interacts with a brand through the internet and therefore optimizing in advance of a customer beginning their journey. This allows us to capture your business at the right moment in the sales funnel, creating a greater chance of conversion, better ROI and long term business growth.

This Customer Journey to Online Purchase Tool is a great first step in beginning to understand persona profiles and sales trends within your industry.

Key elements to consider are the difference in journey time between business sizes and the stage of the journey, where these users may be influenced. On top of this, at Polaris we also consider multi-device purchasing and how mobile users grow businesses

How Does the Customer Journey Work?

Types of interactions plotted on the tool fall between ‘More Often an Assist Interaction’ and ‘More Often the Last Interaction’, these include organic search, generic paid search, brand paid search, email, referral and direct.

For example, when using the tool we can see an organic search is often the very first point of the sales journey for a small business (under 500 transactions in 45 days) and will raise awareness of the brand, with generic paid search impacting the mid-term of the sales funnel and direct traffic ‘sealing the deal’.

Small travel plan

Switch this to a large business (more than 10,000 sales in 45 days) and display click advertising is the first port of call, with organic search appearing just after half way in the expected customer journey. The overriding factor here seems to be direct traffic has intent to purchase a holiday – in both cases.

Large travel plan

Thus, a bigger brand can gain initial awareness from a display advert, whereas a smaller business can effectively begin to compete with the bigger companies through effective SEO management.

What this allows, is an understanding of where to optimise within the sales funnel, who you’re optimising to and where a PPC budget should be allocated. For example, a smaller company is likely to receive more brand awareness from an SEO campaign managed towards the early stages of the sales funnel, backed up with a PPC campaign which is targeted more at those looking to convert, with an element of brand awareness to capture those who may return at a later point via direct traffic.

Naturally, there are a range of additional factors at play and effective SEO management could aid in conversion much earlier in the sales funnel.

The Difference in Organic Search at Different Stages of the Buying Process

This is where longer tail and targeted keywords come into play.

A small business optimized for longer tail keywords highlighting a specialism may actually see better results further into the buying process. This includes everything from effective page title management to grab user attention, to well thought-out site structure and onsite content. Offsite strategy should also play a key role here.

Will this work?

The image below shows the different impact an organic search term can have on your customer journey, dependent on when they interact with it. This again is based on a small travel business.

organic trends of travel

The suggestion is the beginning of the path creates awareness, the middle creates desire and boosts interest and as we mentioned above, those coming across the website organically at the end of the process are most likely to buy.

It is important to understand what the tool is telling us, putting this alongside your business and building the basis of a very strong SEO and PPC campaign.

Getting the Most Out of the Tool

Again, the image above doesn’t account for keyword structure or length – such as buying terms, but it is a fantastic insight into how to strategically plan a campaign with your SEO agency, in relation to your target audience and can offer valuable information to your overall SEM campaign build.

Questions such as ‘Do I need an email campaign?’ and ‘Is social media really worth while?’ can start to be answered as well.

It should also be noted that the tool does not currently cover mobile use within this journey. So it is important that an SEO agency carries out a full analysis of the user journey on multiple screens.

We like the tool and what it does, as well as its simplicity to use. However, it should only be seen as a starting point for your SEO or PPC campaign due to the nature of how many variables are associated with each segment of data.

At Polaris we like to build SEO campaigns with your business and growth in mind. Speak to one of our account managers today and see how can help you.

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