5 Key Stages of the Buying Process

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In this day and age, the customer journey is more involved and thorough than it ever has been in the past. Businesses and brands know firsthand that their customers take a lot into consideration before making a purchasing decision. They also know there are many ways to engage with their audiences before a purchase decision is made. For marketers, it pays to make the biggest impact with your customers at every stage in this cycle. But how can you stand out from the competition when it comes to providing a truly authentic and engaging experience throughout the course of your audience's buying process? Sure, there are multiple opportunities to do this, but sometimes the most effective forms of engagement aren't the most obvious. For instance, did you know that having one or more custom phone numbers can be a valuable asset to your ongoing marketing plan? In fact, vanity numbers are a crucial element of each marketing campaign and create an impact with your customers at each step of their journey to purchase.

Problem Recognition - The first step in a consumer's journey to make a purchase is likely the trickiest for marketers. This is the moment in which a customer says "here's an issue I'm having, and I need a solution for it!" This might be something as simple as, "my television is 6 years old and I'm not able to access the best quality for my favorite programs... I need a new TV!" Often these problems arise organically, and vary from case to case. However, sometimes it's up to the marketer to introduce the idea of a problem to the customer in order to lead them toward a purchase. If you are the marketer introducing the problem, you must make sure that the solution the consumer chooses is yours. One way is through the use of marketing a vanity phone number that can help reinforce the idea that this problem exists and provide a call to action. For example, an internet provider might introduce the idea of a problem for a customer by calling out a common issue (i.e. Slow internet?) as well as the solution to that problem (Maybe it's time to switch your internet provider,) followed by a direct path to taking action toward a purchase (Call 1-800-SWITCH-NOW.) As you can see, this is a perfect opportunity to not only introduce the problem and offer a solution, but also to allow a customer skip to the end of the consumer journey altogether.

Information Search - Now that the problem has been introduced, the real journey begins. A customer does their due diligence by researching possible solutions. Most often, this research happens by asking trusted sources or by going online. In both cases, a company's brand will play a vital role. If a brand is memorable, it is more likely to be recommended through word-of-mouth. If a brand stands out in the digital world, it's more likely to be put into the consideration set. This is a key opportunity for marketers to have influence over their customers by using every possible tool to stand out. Your brand is only as strong as its weakest link. While most companies think of their name, URL, and tagline as ways to make your brand stand out, smart marketers leave nothing to chance and provide a memorable vanity phone number that is easily associated with a brand, product, or service. For example, if your mobile pet grooming business already has a great website, why not give mobile users a direct way to get in touch with you immediately? (i.e. 1-800-PET-GROOM) A vanity number is so eye catching and effective that a study proved that Google Ads get more clicks if a vanity number is included in the message.

Evaluation of Alternatives - Even after searching for information about a particular product or service, most consumers aren't convinced until they've seen what else is out there. This evaluation stage is a crucial step in the journey - it can be a make or break moment. A consumer's next steps determines not only the immediate purchase, but also can have an effect on future purchases as well. More often than not, a consumer is going to be drawn to the brand they feel most connected to, despite the quality of the product or service. So it's more important for a brand to stand out from the competition in this stage by being personable, authentic, and possibly most of all: accessible. A customer has to know that their commitment to a purchase is going to be returned by a brand they can rely on, and one great way to make yourself accessible is via a custom phone number. Someone will be more willing to go with your company if you make it clear that you care and invite them to reach out to you. If you run a moving company, for example, take the guesswork out of how to get in touch with you with a custom phone number like 1-800-MOVE-NOW that you display everywhere: on your website, your trucks, your apparel, and your estimates. Especially when it comes down to consumer services, trust plays an important factor - build that trust by being easily contacted.

Purchase Decision - This stage in the buyer’s process is the moment where a consumer becomes a customer... or chooses to completely walk away from the purchase. This is not only your last chance to stand out, but also to make that purchase as simple as possible. It's also your last chance to remind your customer about the problem they had in the first place to reinforce the need a solution.. Why not kill two birds with one stone by utilizing a customized phone number that does both? 1-800-NEW-GUTTERS for example, not only reminds the consumer that they need new gutters, but also that they can quickly and easily call for an estimate. No additional research or evaluation is required at this point, so when it's finally time to pull the trigger or put the purchase on the back burner, make sure making a call is a better choice than walking away. Plus, if you get a consumer on the phone, you may be able to upsell them on other services. You can easily explain that a second service (such as power washing) is 20% off or that if they refer you to their neighbors, they will get a credit toward their next gutter cleaning.

Post-Purchase Evaluation - Finally, after a purchase has been made, you have the opportunity to not only retain customers, but to create advocates from them. Doing a great job or creating a memorable experience is up to you and the work you do, but turning customers into brand ambassadors can be easier than you think. Using a vanity phone number is a memorable way for your customers to share their experience with their own contacts and put them in direct contact with you. Say your customer buys the perfect gift for a friend, impressing the friend and their contacts. One of the contacts approaches your customer, inquiring: Where did you get that amazing Samurai sword? To which your customer can confidently say I called 1-800-SAMURAI, naturally. No matter where the customer is at within this buying cycle, there is a great opportunity for a vanity or custom phone number to help support and convince the consumer of their purchase. While we hope this has given you some ideas on how to integrate a vanity phone number into your marketing plan, let us just leave you with this memorable number for when you're ready to take the next step in boosting calls for your business:

Call 1-877-RINGBOOST to get started.

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