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Inbound Marketing

Why Flywheel Marketing Means Nothing Without the Buyer Journey

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Do you truly know the journey your customers are taking to convert? Find out why you need to define each stage and align it to your marketing flywheel.

Key takeaways

  • Flywheel marketing is a continuous cycle that shouldn’t end when a customer converts.
  • Your goal is to build loyalty and retention through marketing.
  • The buyer journey plays a major role, and each stage of it aligns with a principle of the marketing flywheel.
  • Define the buyer journey, be consistent in your content, rely on metrics, and identify points of friction as you get started.

Businesses run into trouble when they see sales as mere numbers, and that’s because a buyer is behind every conversion. A buyer is a person, and that person goes on a journey to reach the end. Every time.

Your inbound marketing strategy must account for this buyer journey. You don’t get a sale unless a customer successfully completes the journey. Every time you see churn, that means something – a roadblock you need to address – got in the way of the buyer journey. 

Flywheel marketing is a strategy that accounts for the buyer journey. Unlike the standard sales funnel, which has a top-down mentality, the flywheel is circular. A key concern is dealing with any friction in that wheel that causes someone to fall out of it.

The success of the marketing flywheel thus depends on a well-defined buyer journey. This post covers all the basics of how they’re connected.

What’s flywheel marketing?

Some businesses think that getting a customer is the end-all, be-all of marketing. But the marketing flywheel challenges that thinking, saying that conversion is only the beginning of what will be a long-term relationship. 

It all happens with key principles embedded within these three stages:

  1. Attract: The first goal is to get people to notice you, not to pressure them to buy anything.
  2. Engage: Now, pull them in by showing them you understand them.
  3. Delight: This is when qualified leads are ready to make a decision based on how they feel and what they’ve learned.

These stages should happen again and again as the wheel turns. You want your customers to keep moving through the flywheel and bringing in other people, too. The goal is to avoid lags and continue to build momentum with your flywheel.

Where the buyer journey fits in

You keep your flywheel in motion by understanding the buyer journey. You need to know what people care about and what’s driving them at every stage they go through. Then, you can target those stages with relevant, desirable content. It’s one of the most important parts of modern marketing. 

Fortunately, there are three stages of the buyer journey that perfectly align with the flywheel principles:

  1. Awareness: This is when the buyer is simply seeking more information. You want to attract them on a basic level by informing them and showing them you know your stuff.
  2. Consideration: Leads are in a little deeper at this point. They want to know that somewhere out there they can find a solution to their problems. You engage them when you show them you have that solution.
  3. Decision: Now, a buyer is ready to act on the best way to solve their problem. Delight them with content that shows them you’re the right option to meet their unique needs.

Once you understand these stages, it’s easy to align your marketing strategy with each one. Combining these two concepts helps them work in conjunction so you fully understand where people are in the buyer journey and what’s getting in their way in terms of converting to customers.

What happens if you don’t have a well-defined buyer journey?

We’ll give it to you straight: your marketing flywheel will stop moving without knowing the buyer journey. The whole thing falls short without it.

Say someone is in the Attract stage of the flywheel. It’s nearly impossible to connect your content to what they’re looking for without knowing what people want to learn about in their awareness stage. They won’t be interested in what you have to offer and will move on.

Plan out content for each stage of the buyer journey that keeps them moving through the funnel. This takes identifying your audience, learning about what drives them, and creating personalized messaging that resonates with those specific people.

Your goal is to inspire them with content – right when they’re ready to see it – so they don’t fall out of the flywheel.

How to synergize flywheel marketing and the buyer journey

Your marketing efforts become extremely powerful when you can combine flywheel marketing with a well-defined buyer journey. These three steps show you exactly how to implement a buyer journey for your flywheel:

1. Define your specific buyer journey

First is to outline your buyer journey based on those three stages of awareness, consideration, and decision. Write down exactly what your specific audiences are seeking throughout these stages. What are they hoping to learn? What pain points do they have? What are their online and purchasing behaviors?

2. Outline customer barriers

Next is understanding what throws people out of your flywheel. Where do they get stuck? What holds them back from going all the way? Put yourself in their shoes. What would put you off if you were seeking a solution? Address those barriers to make the flywheel smoother.

3. Get personal with content

The beauty of outlining the buyer journey is that you can craft content specifically for people in each stage. You can segment them out and get even deeper into what they might be thinking. Focusing on personalization also helps you understand where to post your content. For instance, which channels do people turn to when they’re in the information-gathering stage? 

A well-defined buyer journey allows you to walk the path right alongside your customers.

Tools for integrating successful flywheel marketing

Those three steps require data. The right tools help you gather insights that tell you:

  • Where people interact with your content
  • How they interact with your posts
  • Which pieces of content get the most reads
  • Your audience’s online behaviors and patterns
  • In which stages they stop moving through the flywheel
  • What sources they converted from

Use marketing analytics tools that tell you all this valuable info about what people are doing so you can continue to tweak your approach. The right metrics show you areas that need work and where you’re doing a great job attracting and converting people.

Keep close tabs on your conversion and churn rates, for example, but also find out where and why people are or aren’t converting. What obstructions do they keep hitting? How can you help them move past those roadblocks? 

Removing barriers keeps that marketing flywheel turning and turning.

How to overcome flywheel marketing challenges

Every flywheel will have its challenges, especially when you’re implementing the concept for the first time. How can you keep the wheel moving? These five tips will help you deal with common hiccups:

1. Be consistent

People get turned off easily by inconsistent brand messaging or interactions. By clearly defining your purpose and training employees on your values, you can create a business that is consistent across the board. This way, customers always get the same story, which builds trust.

2. Continuously monitor

You need to constantly monitor your flywheel, how it’s turning, and key metrics that may change frequently. You should always be willing to change based on data and what you’re noticing. Use tools available to you that automatically generate insight reports you can use.

3. Identify points of friction

When you’re monitoring, pay close attention to where people are getting stuck. These points of friction must be addressed to keep moving that flywheel. You may want to try giving people more options where they’re getting held up. For example, give them a choice on how to opt into a purchase, whether via email, a call, or a form.

4. Go above and beyond at the delight stage

The third stage, delight, is where you need to really shine. Consider everything your competitors aren’t doing that they could be. How can you stand out and show people you’re different? It could be one simple action. Show people you haven’t forgotten about them. Offer a special deal they can’t resist.

5. Revamp your content strategy

It’s probably time to take another look at your content strategy. You should know which stage of the buyer journey you’re targeting with each piece of content. Personalize your blogs, emails, and social posts to particular stages of the flywheel. Identify the channels you’ll use to get your audience to convert at each stage.

Customers want personalization. Understanding their journey with your brand and how to inspire them will help you boost retention and grow your business.

Flywheel marketing and the buyer journey: A match made in heaven

Flywheel marketing reaches its full potential when you can align it with a well-defined buyer journey. Only by knowing the steps people are taking can you inspire them along the way. Every single touchpoint they have with your brand needs to be impactful, even when they’re just learning.

Content is where it all starts. You need messaging that sizzles, adequately representing your brand’s voice and values. Then, you can make the meaningful connections that lead to a never-ending marketing flywheel that fosters long-term customer relationships and brand promoters.

To find out more about improving your content strategy, download our Ultimate Content Guide

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