Diagram showing the buying cycle

Visitors to your website fall into three broad categories – those who have never heard of your business before, those who know of you but don’t know everything that you sell and those who know exactly what they want to buy. So, the question is, which kind of person are you targeting with your website?

If your website is full of “buy now” kind of material, you are going to miss out on the people who have never heard of your business and don’t know what they want from you anyway. Yet, if you focus on building trust and credibility, you lose the people who want to “buy now” because they have to wade through several pages to get to what they really want.

These days, people give you seconds, indeed less than a second. If they cannot match the web page to their current desires and expectations they click away to find a site that can. People perceive this as quicker than wading through one website. Of course, perception and reality are often different things, but it means that with the way people now use the web, online businesses need to have multiple web experiences to match the variety of expectations.

So, for the people who have never heard of your business before you need a web page or site that builds trust and credibility, long before you even mention what you might have on sale. For the people who know about you, but aren’t aware of everything you sell, you need to raise awareness – which is where a good on-site search engine comes in, as well as email marketing. And for the person who knows exactly what they want, you need to land them on a direct, “buy now” page, otherwise they get annoyed with you and look elsewhere in the future.

When you build your web pages do you consider where your visitors are in terms of this buying cycle? Are you targeting people who know what they want, or people who have no idea that you have a solution to their needs? Whether people are at the start or end of the buying cycle will determine what kind of web experience they are expecting. If you offer a “one size fits all” website, you will miss all your targets.


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