The Online Buying Cycle

Marketing Grin's Online Buying Cycle

Every website should have a clearly defined user journey that helps to keep users engaged and moves them through the online buying cycle. This helps you to convert prospects into loyal customers.

An effective digital strategy will reach your target audience, increase visibility and drive qualified traffic to your site. Once on your site, it is down to the functionality and content to keep visitors engaged and to move them along the buying cycle helping you to convert visitors into long-standing, loyal customers.

A great site should not only be easy to use and look great but it should have a carefully planned user journey that moves users through the buying cycle. It needs to have clearly defined landing pages that are customised to the user enquiry and defined call to actions (CTAs) that guide users through the sales pipeline.Unknown Object


The Online Buying Cycle

Whether you are selling a product or a service, there should be a carefully planned user journey that moves visitors along the buying cycle. The main conversion for an e-Commerce site is obviously a sale, a macro conversion. The main conversion for a B2B company offering a service is a sales enquiry, a micro conversion. The user journey should therefore be set up to guide users towards these primary CTAs. Of course not every visitor will be ready to buy or to enquire about your product or service however it is important to keep them in the sales funnel so that they come back, if and when they are ready to buy. You can use a secondary CTA for this and effective content and email marketing can be used to move them through the buying cycle and help them to become ready to buy.

You may have fixed CTAs throughout your site but often your CTAs will vary depending on the landing page. This really depends on your industry and your business and there is no set rule and should be approach on a case by case basis.


Example Primary and Secondary CTAs

On the Marketing Grin site, the primary CTA is the ‘Got a Brief? Talk to us!’. Not everyone is ready to buy so to keep people in the buying cycle, we use the secondary CTA ‘Sign up to our newsletter’ where we provide free digital marketing advice which is hugely valuable to our target audience. As well as keeping visitors in the buying cycle, these newsletters help to increase reach and visibility with users sharing the content online.

Primary and secondary call to action examples

Designing Customised Landing Pages

Part of delivering a great user experience is making it easy for users to find the information that they are after. By creating landing pages specific your a range of products or a particular service that you offers provides users with the information that they want but also gives you page that you can use to promote your business. This not only helps you to bring qualified traffic to your site, directing them immediately to the information that they are after, it also helps to to improve your organic search rankings as it allows you to optimise specifically to that product or service.

Once a user has landed on your customised landing page, there should be clearly defined CTAs that guides them through the sales pipeline and moves them along the buying cycle.



Improving Your Sites Functionality

The first thing that you need to do to improve your sites functionality is to make sure that you have a carefully planned user journey which moves your site’s visitors through the buying cycle with carefully planned CTAs in place. Once you are in this frame of mind, you are halfway there. KPIs should be set up that measure conversions. Most online conversions are easy to track but you will need call tracking in place to accurately track telephone enquiries. As your visitor numbers increase, you can use A/B spilt testing to measure the change in conversions as you look to improve functionality.

For more information on functionality, have a look at a post I did a while ago on the different elements of a site’s functionality and how it improves conversion rates.


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If you have any questions, please post a comment below and I will answer it as quickly as I can. If you are looking at implementing what we have discussed or would like a website audit, get in touch to see how we can help.