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Web Marketing Targets the Buying Stages

By Judy Camp

Advertising has addressed the buying stages for years to create messages and choose media. A billboard, for example, is a great way to introduce new prospects to some products. At first, all you want is to create an awareness that you exist. By following all of the stages, the net allows better targeting than almost any other media...

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Awareness. Rather than using billboards, you can obtain space on other sites, such as a search engine or complementary site. Your only goal is a click-through to the your site or a response by email.

Information. With standard forms of media, this would include press releases and descriptive ads. With the net, you can provide free information about your products or your industry once the person has linked to it. Encourage the user to provide an email address where you can send regular newsletters. Your numbers will greatly increase if you don't require any other information at this time.

Appeal. With standard advertising, this is where you would create excitement or promise status with your message or your graphics. With the web, look for an area of interest to your users. Are they trying to sell products of their own, and you can help? Can you make their lives easier somehow? Can you increase their popularity? Be sure to address these issues, loud and clear.

Preference. Once you have a prospect's interest, point out your advantages over your competitors and provide persuasive reasons why you offer the best product or service. You don't need to name the competition, of course, or even refer to them, unless you know the competition has a strong presence in the buyer's mind. Testimonials are perfect for this stage, so they can hear from previous users of the product.

Purchase. The prospects are now poised for buying. To initiate the next step, last-chance offers, bonuses or special pricing can be used to nudge the prospects.

Reinforcement. Follow up to reduce buyer remorse and to encourage future buying. Use testimonials to let them know about other happy buyers, information on how to use the product purchased, and companion products to the one they bought. A current customer, if satisfied, is a prime target for additional products you offer in the future.

Gently bringing people from one stage to the next is much like the dating process, which is often compared to marketing. Users have given you permission to continue to give them information. This makes email one of the least expensive, least wasteful media opportunities. Gone are the printing costs, the postage charges, and the exorbitant ad placement fees often associated with traditional marketing communications.

With a little programming and some persuasive text, you can offer targeted messages for customers at each stage of the buying process. With standard advertising's shotgun approach, you can only hope to come close to the mark.

Judy Camp
(c) Paradox Productions, Inc.
All rights reserved.

About the author:
Judy Camp has been a writer and marketing manager for twenty years, and has focused on web marketing for the past five years. Her web site http://www.ourbusinessoffice.com provides resources for web businesses.

If you would like to place this article in your ezine or on your web site, please send an email with your request and your site's link to

Permission is granted, as long as the author bio at the bottom of the article is included, the article is not edited, and the links are intact.

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