Shifting buyer behavior isn’t an exact science. After all, you’re often trying to sway the opinions, choices, and ideas of real people with a wide-range of experiences. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In fact, there are a number of tactics you can employ to shift the behavior of your buyers, fight brand loyalty of other brands, and improve the overall sales and marketing efforts of your business.
The short answer: Yes! Businesses have the ability to shift buyer behavior through different strategies. Those strategies can include placing targeted advertisements, building strong customer relationships, and learning more about your target audience. Shifting your client’s or customer’s behavior benefits your business because it can help increase your sales and position your brand more competitively. But it’s not always a guarantee. You can’t magically make your customers do what you want, but you can increase the likelihood of changing their behavior by understanding them and knowing what drives their decision-making.
Here are the main types of buyer behavior to be aware of:
Complex buying behavior occurs when someone is purchasing something expensive, like a car, piece of heavy equipment, or a pricey insurance policy. When this happens, buyers tend to conduct a lot of research into the product or service, as well as the business or dealer that’s selling it. The consumer or client wants to make sure that what they’re purchasing perfectly fits their needs and they won’t regret spending the money.
Dissonance-reducing behavior, also known as limited-decision behavior, occurs when a buyer has few options for the product or service they want. An example of this might be a custom piece of furniture the consumer wants for their home. If there’s only two brands in their area that make custom furniture, their options are limited and they won’t have enough information to distinguish between the two options and make an informed decision.
Because of the limited options, buyers often make their decision quickly, in the hopes of avoiding any delay or dissonant thoughts (hence the name). The products or services that pair with this behavior are often also more expensive because of their unique nature. That creates more opportunities for buyers to feel anxious about a decision they don’t have a lot of options for, which can further rush their decision.
Habitual buying is when a buyer makes a quick decision based on little thought or research. This often occurs when buying from a brand they recognize or know, buying based on the lowest price, or buying from a business or brand they’ve purchased from before. It’s possible that these buyers first exhibited more complex behavior, but after already researching and making a purchase previously, they know what they like and don’t have to spend so much time making the decision.
Impulsive buying is when a buyer makes a quick decision without thoroughly examining what they’re buying. Though similar to habitual, this behavior generally includes a trigger for the buyer, possibly an advertisement or celebrity endorsement. They weren’t looking for the product or service, nor do they necessarily need it. Instead, they were intrigued by the product or service and decided they wanted it.
Customers exhibit variety-seeking behavior simply because they’re curious about what other brands or businesses have to offer. They aren’t switching to a new product or service because they were unsatisfied with the previous one. They just want to see how other brand’s differ and understand if the product or service they were using was actually the best one on the market. Though this could be the case for larger, more expensive products, generally variety-seeking buyers will practice this behavior on low-cost, low-risk goods.
Here are some strategies you can use to shift buyer behavior:
Monitoring industry trends, when paired with content marketing, is a great way to understand current buying and shopping behaviors as well as questions your customers might be asking. Using keyword research tools, like Google Trends or SEMRush, you can discover what your audience is searching for online and develop content to match those inquiries. Using that content, you can sway your customer’s purchasing behavior and inform them of the different products or services your company has to offer.
For example, let’s say your company sells construction and agriculture equipment. You conduct keyword research that shows your audience is constantly searching for the “best tractor brands on the market.” Knowing this, you can develop content that highlights the tractor brands you sell and why they’re the best tractors on the market for your customers. This, in turn, can help you rank better on search engines and generate more organic traffic for your business.
Building relationships with your audience helps them trust your business. You can use that to your advantage when promoting the products or services you sell. If your audience trusts your business, they might feel more inclined to purchase your goods, even if they aren’t the specific products or brands they’re loyal to. In fact, 77% of consumers say that a company’s customer experience is just as important to them as the quality of its products and services.
One of the best ways to build relationships with your audience is through content marketing. That’s because content marketing focuses on delivering helpful information they can use to solve problems or improve their lives. In 2020, 88% of businesses who had the most success with content marketing said they prioritized their audience’s informational needs over sales and promotional messages. This resulted in 86% of all respondents saying their audience viewed them as a trustworthy and credible source.
Collecting data can help you understand more about your buyers and their buying habits. That includes what brands they like to buy, what they already own, and what time of the year they tend to make purchases. Retrieving this data using expert data products, like EDA and RigDig BI, can give your salespeople the upper hand they need when approaching a new lead or prospect. Data collection also helps with the previous two strategies: understanding industry trends and building relationships.
You can use equipment ownership data to find comparable equipment in your portfolio and sway your sales conversation. If your data provides purchasing cycle insights, you can use it to your advantage by engaging with them before they start the buyer’s journey. Then, you can use your relationship with them to gain their trust and make the sale. Data is an amazing tool that can help with all of your strategies for shifting buyer behavior.
Targeted marketing helps you attract people to your business by showing them advertisements that relate to their interests and needs. For example, let’s say your dealership was trying to sell equipment to trucking companies. You could host ads on websites that you know those trucking companies frequent. By placing relevant ads on those sites, you have a greater chance of enticing people to your business and shifting their buying behavior to purchase the brands or products you offer compared to your competitors.
Randall Reilly currently has a number of digital platforms and websites where we host ads for dealers and other businesses that target consumers in industries like trucking, construction, landscaping, and more. Hosting your contextual ads on these platforms can help you weaken brand loyalty and show companies the benefits your products and services have to offer. Download our media kits today to see how you can use our digital platforms to your advantage.
Here is a list of steps to help you shift the buying behavior of your clients and consumers:
Before you start trying to shift your buyer’s behavior, it’s important to know what type of behaviors your buyers are currently exhibiting. Researching and understanding this helps you know how to approach your customers to shift their behavior in your favor. Start by reviewing the list of above behaviors. Does your company and the products you sell fit some of those behaviors better than others? For example, if you sell heavy equipment or high-ticket items, your consumers might be more likely to exhibit complex buying behaviors.
Once you have a better idea of where your company may fit, ask your customers and clients questions. Questions and feedback can help you understand how your customers move through the buyer’s journey and what convinces them or stops them from finishing their transaction. Gathering this knowledge can give you a better chance at shifting their behavior and making sure more of your prospects complete the buyer’s journey instead of bouncing to a different site or business.
Just like you need to understand your customer’s behavior, you also need to know how they interact with your business as an audience. Uncovering your target audience can help you create marketing materials and strategies to engage with them more effectively.
This includes learning about what type of content they consume, where they consume it, and the best way to attract them to your business or website.
For example, let’s say you want to send your audience targeted ads. Without fully understanding what content they like to read or watch and where they view it, you’re going to be throwing ad-after-ad at the wall until something sticks. By researching your audience first, you can see which websites they frequent and what social media platforms they use, to make sure your ads stick on the first throw.
Experimenting with strategies, like the ones on the above list, can show you which tactics work best with your target audience and grab their attention. Use tools, like customer relationship management (CRM) software, to capture data and information about your prospects and see how they respond to your strategies. Your first strategy might not work right away, so it’s important to be patient, but to also monitor your buyer behavior campaign. If things aren’t working, that might mean you need to switch tactics using insights from your current strategy and try again.
Consulting with experts, like Randall Reilly, can help you shift buyer behavior with the help of proprietary data, key advice, and tried-and-true methods. Randall Reilly knows how to engage with your audience, target them where they consume content, and entice them with the benefits you and your business have to offer. Contact us today to see how we can boost your sales and marketing efforts by directing your buyers to the brands you offer and shifting their behavior in your favor.