There are three very important stages in the Customer Purchase Lifecyle that you need to be aware of. These are typically the controlling factors deciding how close a prospective customer is to becoming a paying customer (your ultimate goal). The better your understand these phases, the better you will understand how to approach the customer at those particular stages.

(1) Research Phase

People love to learn before they buy, they're hungry for information on a particular topic, however they may not have product awareness yet. Although some purchasing decisions are more spontaneous than others, people learn about a concept before they consider buying something, and this "learning" is done using many mediums. These could include television, Facebook, Twitter, a Google search, a magazine, personal contact, from a celebrity, or a news website.

People naturally gravitate online to complete their research, as it is the "information highway". You can find information on virtually anything through a simple search in Google, thus why the majority of the research is done on the net and this is where you can locate a good deal of people when they are in their research phase.

The best approach at this stage: During this phase, the best approach is to get people onto a mailing list or get them following you via your social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Google +). From there you can work towards walking them through the remainder of the process, as you are not likely to make an instant sale at this point. If you engage people at this point via your content, you will likely be able to get them to revisit your site at a later date as well.

(2) Decision Phase

Some people have already made up their mind as to what product they are going to buy, and they want it now. For most people though, they will go through a decision phase where they research a number of products/services and decide which one best suits them.

Someone's decision can be easily persuaded by reviews and personalized opinions of others. This is where a great Internet marketer can intercept an individual, showcase certain products that are relevant and of high quality, and deliver a convincing review to encourage a decision.

People at this point are typically looking for product reviews or further product insight via their favorite online channels, whether this is reading blogs, doing research in Google, asking people on Facebook, or sending out a tweet.

The best approach at this stage: This is a very good phase to pick up potential "customers" . At this point, it is best to review products or services that the person is looking for. Sometimes people are looking for negative reviews and you can also leverage these as there are many "debunk" products out there, in almost any market. Typical keywords within this phase revolve around review, scam, comparison, information, and versus (comparing one product to another). People are very likely to buy at this stage if they feel comfortable with your review and you can build immediate trust.

(3) Purchasing/Action Phase.

The final phase is the one that is profitable to us as Internet marketers. No commissions will be paid unless there is an action that takes place! Whether this is a click, a lead, or a sale, a visitor needs to become a customer to fulfill the lifecycle.

During the purchasing phase, it is very difficult to detour someone from their purchasing decision. They have done their research, made the decision, and now are fully prepared to buy. In an ideal world, you would be able to target all the people within this phase, but often times the research and searching is complete at this point. An example of a search term that would target people within this phase would be "purchase product_name, order product_name, buy product_name, best price on product_name".

The best approach at this stage: The ultimate goal is to get someone to this point, whether you are able to do so through manually walking them through the process, or you catch people in the decision phase and help them buy. If you are targeting the keywords as mentioned about (the buy type keywords), you simple want to point people in the direction of the product they are looking to buy (through your affiliate link of course) and you are sure to convert very high. This is the ultimate phase to catch someone in, but it is the most difficult to hunt these "ready to buy" crowd down.

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RubenV1 Premium
This lesson was spot on. I learned alot about internet customers delaying purchases until the toughly look at from all perspectives. Now I remember doing that same thing myself. Unbelievable how I changed as I gained confidence in the program. Thank you so much for turning me around for my own good!
zulqar Premium
Great analysis of 3 phases of buying process-
1) Research phase
2) Decision phase
3) Purchasing phase

Under phase #3 the training material reads like- “Someone who is searching the term "wealthy affiliate review" has probably already done a significant amount of research and are into the Decision phase. They may have started by searching the term "affiliate marketing" and found a website promoting Wealthy Affiliate. They then did some additional research and analysis on Internet marketing related schools to decide which program would be best suited for them. Finally, they search the program they are interested in joining, Wealthy Affiliate.”

The question is- if someone has already done research and made decision by visiting another blog site then the customer is already locked in by that blog site through a sticky cookie, correct? So even if the customer makes purchase using my link, I won’t get the affiliate commission.

From this perspective, isn’t it better to target customers at research phase?
Robert-A Premium
Only for that other site.
If they join through your site then you get the credit.
zulqar Premium
Robert, thank you so much for clarifying this matter!

Now I understand that if a visitor has landed on WA site through google search or through other blog site but did not sign-up, NO sticky cookie is assigned to the visitor. But when the visitor signs-up for free membership though a blog or ad link, only then s/he gets a cookie or gets tied to some other sort of record keeping.

Is my understanding correct now?
Robert-A Premium
You are going on the scenic route with this question.

If a person comes to your site from another site and joins WA through your link then the referral is yours no matter how many cookies other sites have.
If they signup from another site through a link that is yours, you get the referral credit.

Of course if they signup through someone else's link, even if its on your site then the other person gets the referral credit.

All clear?

Enjoy your Sunday.
TimMcKinlay Premium
So as long as the person visiting your site clicks on YOUR unique WA affiliate link and joins WA, that person becomes your referral.

It doesn't matter how many times they've clicked on other people's WA affiliate links prior to this, as long as they click on your WA affiliate link LAST, and then join WA, you get the referral.

And once you have that referral, they are yours for life. So you earn when they upgrade to Premium, when they complete their account setup and when they buy domains.
SamuelLange Premium
Thank you Kyle for your experience and wisdom in Key words and what attracts and keeps customers coming back.
This is not only for the short one off sale or search but a loyal for the long term customer that is what we are all after (network great information and product which keeps people coming back for more).
kmayorga07 Premium
this is an interesting article, i read a book called "way of the wolf" by jordan belfort that also simplified selling in a stock market environment, but of course it can transfer to any niche.. if anyone has any selling books they recommend please also leave them in the comments.
James155 Premium
When talking about reviewing products i really agree that this is a great way to acquire customers that follow through. This is of course if they trust your information. My question is this......How do you review products or services without spending loads of money buying all of them so you can check them out and review them? I think this is a great way to get customers but like i said, you need to know what you are talking about/be able to give honest and thorough reviews. If anyone has any insight on this it would be much appreciated!
smartketeer Premium
Excellent question James!

Well, as you pointed out, the best way is to actually try it out

But I guess that's a bit difficult if you are promoting luxury travels or private jets ... In which case you'll have to do a VEEEERY detailed research
James155 Premium
So are you suggesting that heavily researching the products you are wanting to review could be/is an alternative?

I know that using them or testing them first hand is the best way to review but i think that even if the products weren't 'luxury holiday' expensive then reviewing a few or basing your sales around the review stage will become very costly.
smartketeer Premium
Yep, that's my point :)
James155 Premium
would you say that researching products in depth is a viable way to review? Or do you think that it is a bit risky and could potentially lead to negative feedback/lack of trust?
smartketeer Premium
In my opinion is achievable. There are endless possibilities to access reliable information

Not to mention that you could create and run your own surveys before writing your own review
JerryHuang Premium