81% of consumers research online before purchasing online or in the store. – Paul Mallory 1

It’s true.

Most clients don’t instantly buy our products and services. And the book-buying experience is no exception.

Before your potential clients or customers give you their money, they’ll do some vetting. That’s where the book buyer’s journey comes in.

Understanding how your potential readers move from one stage of the journey to another will help you shape your content marketing strategy, sell more books, and attract your ideal reader or client.

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What is the Buyer’s Journey?

The buyer’s journey is every step your potential buyer takes to reach the point of purchase and beyond. But let’s focus on the journey from the time your potential reader starts feeling a pain or need and until she buys your book.

3 Stages of the Buyer’s Journey

The book buying journey includes things your ideal reader or client is thinking and doing consciously and subconsciously.

There are many ways to map the buyer’s journey. We can get extremely detailed in describing everything the buyer thinks and does. But in this post, I’ll give you a big picture, 10,000-foot view, to give you an idea of what your potential readers and clients go through before they hit the buy button.

There are three main stages your buyers go through to get to their first purchase from you: awareness, consideration, and decision.

Stage 1 – Awareness

In the awareness stage, your potential book buyer experiences a pain point or need but doesn’t completely understand it. She’s pain-aware but problem-unaware. She knows there’s a problem but doesn’t know exactly what it is or what’s causing it.

She immediately starts Googling the symptoms and pain points she’s feeling, trying to figure out the problem and the cause on her quest for relief.

She’s seeking basic information and is open to exploring solutions.

At the awareness stage, you can reach your target audience by providing informative and educational content that addresses the symptoms and pain points because that’s what they’re searching for online. You can also provide helpful information about the solutions available, especially yours.

You can help your potential reader or client by answering the following questions with your content:

  • What problem is or may be causing the symptoms?
  • What tools and resources can help her understand the problem better?
  • What are some solutions that can fix the problem?
  • What are the pros and cons of each solution?
  • What are the consequences of not addressing the problem?
  • How have others successfully tackled the problem?

By answering these types of questions through relevant and valuable content, you can effectively engage your potential buyers at the awareness stage, establish your credibility, and lay the foundation for you to keep working with her throughout the rest of her journey on the road to purchasing.

And guess what? Your book is just a starting point on this journey. If written well and strategically, your book will convert readers into clients. That’s another part of the buyer’s journey I’ll cover in another article.

Stage 2 – Consideration

In the consideration phase, your potential book buyer or client is now problem-aware. She knows what the problem is, or thinks she knows.

She’s searching for and evaluating optional solutions to her problem. She wants more specific information about her options and how these options meet her individual needs, expectations, and preferences.

At this stage in her journey, you can provide her with informative and persuasive content that answers the following types of questions:

  • What solutions are available to solve her problem or meet her needs? Are there books, online courses, coaching, consulting services, and training programs?
  • How do the solutions work?
  • How do the solutions solve her problem?
  • What are the solutions’ benefits and features?
  • What are the pros and cons of each solution?

By providing content that answers these questions during the consideration stage, you help your potential buyers or clients make well-informed decisions and move closer to purchasing the product or service that’s perfect for them.

And it won’t always be yours. But that’s okay because you want to attract your ideal buyer or client.

Stage 3 – Decision

During the decision stage, your potential buyer has already identified her preferred solution or method and narrowed down her options. She’s now in buying mode.

She’s looking for specific information to help her finalize her choice and eliminate her doubts and reservations. She wants to feel confident that her money will be well spent and avoid making a purchasing decision she’ll regret.

Here are some examples of the questions you can answer during the consideration stage to help her make it past the finish line:

  • Are there any case studies or success stories of others who have successfully used your solution?
  • How reliable or trustworthy is your brand or company?
  • What level of support or assistance will you provide after the purchase?
  • What pricing options or packages do you have available?
  • Do you have any special offers, discounts, or promotions?
  • What guarantees or assurances come with your solution?

Vital Nuances

These are the three broad phases in the buyer’s journey. However, in real life, the journey is much more complex. It can be broken down into extremely detailed stages marked by nuances, overlap, and backtrack.

Also, many factors impact how long it takes your potential client or customer to go from awareness to purchase.

One factor involves the nature of your product or service. For instance, the more complex or expensive your offering, the more touch points and time your potential readers and clients need to make the purchase.

However, understanding the gist of what your potential clients go through will help you craft a content marketing strategy that builds your authority and engages your prospects throughout their buyer’s journey.


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About the Author

SYLVIA MELENA is the Founder and CEO of Melena Consulting Group, a leadership and management consulting, training, and nonfiction book coaching company. She is also the two-time international award-winning author and #1 best-selling author of  Supportive Accountability: How to Inspire People and Improve Performance and its Spanish translation, Responsabilidad solidaria. She’s also the former Vice President of the San Diego Book Awards Association.

Supportive Accountability book by Sylvia Melena


Mallory, P. (2023, October 16). How many consumers research online before buying? ConsumerGravity. https://consumergravity.com/online-shopping-statistics/. Accessed March 28, 2024.

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