I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about how other people arrive at their purchasing decisions online, but I’ve never really scrutinised my own buying habits.
I figured then, it would be interesting to break down the steps of how I arrived at the checkout stage for my last purchase online.
The most recent occasion was to buy a hard copy of Paul Roetzer’s The Marketing Agency Blueprint.
£13.99 is towards the upper echelon of what I’m prepared to pay for a book nowadays, so when I spend that much, it really has to be a considered decision.
It wasn’t an impulse buy; most book purchases I make tend to be quite considered (although I am prone to the occasional rash purchase in charity shops).
Anyway, here’s how I ended up parting with my hard card earned cash for Paul’s book and the various ‘moments of truth’ that happened along the journey.
N.B. Why I buy what I buy is probably a relatively inane blog post subject for most people, so I don’t blame you if you switch off here…
Awareness & Evaluation
The first time I can remember becoming consciously aware of Paul’s book was through Andria Sarachino’s blog post: Why Hybrid Marketing Agencies Rule the Consulting World (and How to Prepare Your Agency for Domination), which is a pretty glowing review of the book.
There’s quite a few factors at play here that made me sit up and take note:
- It’s on the Content Marketing Institute, which I’ve found to be a pretty reliable source of information
- It’s written by Andria Sarachino, who’s head of outreach at Distilled — so an authority figure from an authoritative agency
- The title suggest a unique take on a subject that’s very relevant to me
After that post though, I kind of forgot about it. I probably made a mental note that it sounded interesting but I didn’t dig any deeper.
Then a few weeks later, I stumbled across Paul Roetzer again, this time on Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation podcast and whilst I don’t think he was plugging the book, it prompted me to make a conscious effort to follow him on Twitter.
Unusually, he followed me back. The guy’s follow/follower ratio is circa 90/100, so I’m guessing he follows most people back who aren’t spammers or robots. Still, most people of note don’t follow back.
Whether this had any bearing bearing on my future purchasing decision, I’m not sure. Either way, when I noticed the follow back it prompted me to think about the book again.
It’s difficult to remember when exactly it ended up in my Amazon basket, but all of what proceeded kept the book in mind for when I needed something new to read.
I tend to make an effort to ignore reviews on Amazon, as they’re usually too polarized. My basket is normally narrowed down to 3/4 books I’m interested in reading; one or two of these are bought, the others condemned to ‘Save for Later’.
This is the really critical stage of the process — I’m stood at the edge of the cliff, umming and aahing whether to complete the transaction. My ‘Save for Later’ is a graveyard of books that have tickled my interests before, but for whatever reason fallen short when it’s come to crunch-time.
What swung it then? It sounds relatively silly, but I really liked the graphic design and I liked the fact it was hardback. So much for not judging books by their covers.
I also spent a fair whack of time going through the reams of content on the book’s website, which reassured me it would be a worthwhile purchase.
All of what happened in the run up to this moment added to my perceived value of the book and convinced me to take the plunge.
On reflection, what’s interesting for me is what I didn’t do: I didn’t search ‘marketing books’ click on the top result and, oh hey, I’m at the checkout. Sounds obvious, but writing it down helps crystallise my own understanding of the funnel.
One thing I sometimes see and don’t like, is the tendency in online marketers to over simplify the sales process as a means getting people to invest in SEO. “If people are looking for x product and you rank #1 for it then $$$”
This isn’t really how buying anything on the internet — or anywhere else — works. Either way, it’s interesting to meditate on how you journey through the text-book marketing funnels and indeed, the whole ‘inbound’ thing..
I’m still waiting for the book to arrive, so I can’t comment on whether it was worth the money. If you work in marketing I think it’s as important to question and scrutinise your own buying decisions.
How unique these steps where to me, I’m not sure. Hopefully understanding what triggers my own purchase decisions will help me work out how to influence other people’s.
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