3 Phases of an Online Purchase Lifecycle

The knowledge I am about to impart to you is partly adapted from a mini-course, “The Customer Purchase Lifecycle“, created by Kyle of Wealthy Affiliate.

One thing you must understand is that different consumers have different purchasing habits. Some consumers are more inclined to impulse buying and some are more conservative.

For the sake of explanation, we will look into the mass psychology of the consumers.

I will also be sharing with you how you can understand your consumers better and how you can use a proven technique to lure your consumers to purchase a product from your affiliate link.

The Online Purchase Lifecycle is a little different from the traditional…

In a brick and mortar business, the first phase is to create awareness for the product, business owners will normally go through the advertising agent (TV Ads, Radio, Newspaper, etc.) to create awareness.

Nowadays, more and more people have shifted to purchasing products online, and because of the nature of the internet, an information jungle, consumers is inclined to obtain knowledge and information before they make a purchase.

The 3 Phases of an Online Purchase Lifecycle

3-phases-of-product-lifecycleOf course there are the after-sales service phases, but we are not going to touch on that because, as Affiliate Marketers, our responsibility lies up to the initial sale.

The after-sales service, customer loyalty, repurchases will mostly be the job of the product owners.

Phase 1: Research Phase

In the Research Phase, people are looking for general knowledge and information, and probably seeking for some answers (i.e. A solution or a product).

They are not aware of the products out there in the market, and this group of people is most likely not the ones who are ready to purchase any products right off the bat.

phases-of-purchase-lifecycle-Research-phaseSo, if your website is only focused on providing general knowledge and information, you will probably be wondering why nobody is buying products through your affiliate link, even  though there are many consumers visiting your website.

Best approach: As suggested by the Wealthy Affiliate Mini-course, the best approach is to capture your visitors’ contact details (i.e. Email address) so that you can further communicate with your visitors which will eventually lead to the sale.

The above is a good approach for this phase, and to achieve that, you can write an article that shares general information, and arouse interest of your visitor by telling them, “Give me your email address, and I will send you the solution to your problem”.

If you are not sure how you can capture your visitors’ emails, you can start learning here.

Phase 2: Awareness Phase

In the Awareness Phase, consumers already know what type of product they want, and they are also aware of the benefits that the product can give them, but they have not decided on a specific product to buy.

phases-of-purchase-lifecycle-awareness-phaseBest approach: The consumers in this phase are ready to buy a product, they just need a little more convincing and the sale is yours.

The consumers are looking for someone whom they can trust (i.e. An authoritative personalities on the internet) or are looking for truthful feedback from other customers.

To grab the attention of these consumers, the best way is to write reviews on the product and maybe add some personal touch (i.e. Some reasons why they should trust you). This can be achieved if you have personally experienced the product firs thand.

But, if you do not have personal experience of the product, you can levy on other people’s review.

Phase 3: Purchase Phase

Consumers in this phase have already decided on the specific product they want to buy. It is very hard to convince them to buy some other products.

phases-of-purchase-lifecycle-purchase-phaseBest approach: Use certain keywords in your articles like “buy_product-name”, “where to buy_product-name”, “sign up to_product-name”, etc.

If your article gets a good ranking on those keywords, you are going to be very profitable because it’s a sale in the pocket.

Keep in mind: A Good Affiliate Website captures all 3 Phases.

How to understand your consumer better?

Before I write any article, I will always run through this list of items and jot down some phases-of-purchase-lifecycle-do-you-know-your-consumersnotes. I will also keep those notes in mind so that I will remember who I am writing for:

  • Who are you writing for and what do they want?
  • What phase of the purchase lifecycle does this article tackle?
  • What are the problems and frustration your audience face?
  • How can you relate to your audience and gain their trust?
  • The story of your ideal audience
  • What are the benefits of the products you are promoting?
  • How does the product solve the problem?
  • How will you lead them to buy your recommended product instantly?

The idea of this is so that you can get into your audience’s mind to feel and understand them deeply. Inherently, your audience will feel related to you, and you will gain their trust instantaneously.

Trust and reputation is very important in the online business and in any businesses. If you gain the trust of your audience, your business will thrive.

What is “The Story of Your Ideal Audience?”

I will always perform this little exercise so that I cover all grounds for all my targeted audiences.

Your audience are from all walks of life, and your main goal is to write an article that appeals to all.

To achieve that, I will always think of a friend or relative whom I know, and who is having the same problems as my audiences.

I will try to figure out the problems that they face and what leads them to find a solution.

If I do not have a friend or relative in that field, I will imagine.

An example…

Let’s say I am about to write an article to help individuals to gain financial freedom through affiliate marketing.

One of my ideal audience will be (based on my imagination):

3-phases-product-lifecycle-john“John is a single father of 2 young boys aged 5 and 7. He works 52 hours a week just to make ends meet, and he barely has the time to spend with his 2 sons. His 2 sons are in the care of his mum who is retired and has no other source of income other than her pension. John also has a mortgage and car loan to pay off. John wants a way out. He needs a 2nd income to supplement his current income, and he hopes that his 2nd income will outgrow his main source of income, so that he can finally quit his job and spend more time with his 2 kids”

With the above scenario, what can you deduce? Here are my findings:

  • People whom I am writing for has a full-time job and do not have enough time for their families;
  • It will be a challenge for them to even start a side business;
  • They have responsibilities and cannot quit their jobs unless they find another source of income;
  • They want to be financially free, but they do not know how;
  • They are not business or online savvy, so do not use bombastic jargon that will scare them off;
  • They are eager buyers if someone can show them the way to financial freedom;

Normally, I will do a total of 3 characters with totally different backgrounds and needs, but wants the same solution. This will ensure that my article will cover all aspects of my target audience.

So, in the situation like the above, the headline for my article would be something like “How to generate a second income without quitting your job?”, “How to spend more time with your family without having to worry about money” or something like “Make more money than a CEO in the comfort of your home”.

You can learn how to write awesome headlines that everyone wants a piece of, right here.

Your Goal as an Affiliate Marketer…

Your goal as an affiliate marketer is to capture all types of consumers in different stages of the purchase lifecycle.

Always understand your target audience, that way, you can easily relate to them and gain their trust.

Many writers lose sight of the fact that they are writing for their visitors, so they tend to write articles that are hard to understand from a layman’s perspective.

So, always keep in mind who you are writing your article for.

Did This Article Help?

Please feel free to share your comments about this article.

If you think that I have not covered some grounds or you have something that you would like to add, please, let me know. I am open to all ideas, and will be more than willing to discuss this with you.

Thank you for your time, and please help to share this article by clicking on the social media buttons (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus) below.

Your friend,


About the Author

Jack Cao is an experienced Internet Marketer who has vast knowledge and experience on Site Building, Traffic Generation, Search Engine Optimization, Copywriting, List Building.

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