Online and offline often are seen as two distinct and separate worlds but the more we study the first and way we sell online the more we realize how useful it is to translate traditional marketing techniques on the web: mental processes are identical and the emotions are similar because we are the same people, online and offline.
A concept that I find very interesting to learn how to sell online is the so called “buyer’s journey”.
This process has been studied and explained by many. Among the many I chose to report an image from Hubspot, which well explains the main steps of the online buyer behavior and the characteristics that underlie it.
- The first step is the awareness. The user must first become aware of a need, problem or opportunity. This happens after reading online content for example, it’s a blog article or an ebook, which will help him to better identify the problem and an opportunity to be seized.
- Next is the consideration stage. User has clearly defined the problem and after searching he understood the various approaches that lead to the solution, and finally knows what to do about it (in order to take this opportunity).
- Third stage is the decision. User has now defined the solution to the problem, the approach that will be used and methods and strategies to follow.
The Online Shopping Behaviour and the role of Facebook
The question is: What is the role of Facebook in this process? Where does the advertising plays? Briefly: in all phases, but not in the same way.
Facebook is clearly useful in the awareness stage, because thanks to its audience can attract users (strangers) to our website where they can discover the details of our offer of products and services.
Facebook is also useful in the early stages of consideration and decision, but not as much as Google (or a search engine).
To explain the difference just take a look at this second image that explains the differences between a social media channel and a search engine. The first, Facebook for example, allows to generate a question, creating a need or a solution to a problem (awareness stage); the demand generated is then answered through research: this is where come into play the two other phases of the buying process.
So Facebook usually has only a role of awareness (which is why the best solution is not to direct sale on it); Yet, in recent years even Facebook can be used as a sales tool, only a small portion of users (see image).
Who are these users? They are the people who know us already, who have visited our website, or are our fans who follow us on the page. These people are potential customers, ready to buy directly from Facebook.
And that’s where is the power of techniques such as retargeting, which allows for maximum results (because in the “demand fulfillment” stage) at the lowest possible cost (because it only reaches the people that have already shown some form of interest).
Learning the theory behind an online purchase paves the way for great opportunities and enables you to avoid mistakes that are expensive (as direct sales to the wrong target).
See you next time!