Content is not always about sales, but content marketing is. When you are writing for a client that wants to convert readers into customers, you will need to design your content to match the buyer’s journey.
In this article, we will focus on how to strategize content to match the buyer’s journey so your clients can capture and convert leads.
The reality is that there is not a single piece of content that will convert 100% of the time. There will always be people who are merely collecting information with no intention to buy.
So let’s focus on the people who are looking to buy today.
The buying process is a journey. People need to collect information, assess their options, read reviews, and eventually arrive at a decision.
Content is the primary vehicle in marketing strategies that takes a prospect from the hand and leads them down the journey of conversion.
What is The Buyer’s Journey?
In simple terms, it is the process every customer takes when deciding to buy a product.
When the buyer’s journey is optimized, the likelihood of a prospect to become a paying customer substantially improved.
The process is comprised of three stages:
- The awareness stage
- The consideration stage
- The decision stage
Each stage requires different types of content.
For example, you cannot try to convert a prospect before properly introducing the brand and its products, right?
Also, if the prospect is ready to buy, and you just keep sharing more brand information instead of allowing them to move on to the purchase, you are risking losing the sale.
The phrase ‘there is a time and a place’ is an excellent saying for this process.
So, let’s assume you have been hired by a client to develop content.
To properly design their content strategy, you will need to cover all three stages.
Let’s examine what type of content is best for each stage.
Stage 1: The Awareness State
The purpose of this stage is to create brand awareness. During this stage, the prospect has identified a problem they want to solve. Awareness is where it all begins.
Very often, brands rush to capture leads and convert them, deciding to skip the awareness stage. This can be a significant error. The awareness stage is the foundation of the content strategy.
During this stage, your audience is still confused and not sure what direction to choose. They do not want to be pushed and rushed into making a decision. They need to be nurtured and educated. Most importantly, they need to first become aware of the brand as a potential solution.
Content at this stage:
- Offers information, help answer potential questions, solve problems
- Is not pushing the prospect to make a decision
- Is easy to understand and explains why the brand is great
- Makes the customer aware of the brand’s existence as a potential solution to their problem
- Differentiates the brand from other brands in the industry by highlighting benefits and competitive advantages
What Type of Content Should be Used During the Awareness Stage?
During the awareness stage, the writer should focus on creating content that accommodates the above points.
- Blog posts
- Lead magnets
- Social media posts
Any blog posts at this stage need to focus on introducing the audience to the problem, educating the audience to possible solutions, and casually mentioning the brand.
Videos are the perfect opportunity to help show who is behind the brand. There is no selling through the videos at this stage. Videos should focus on introducing the team, the making process, and creating a personality vibe for the brand during the awareness stage.
Lead magnets can be an offering from the brand to the prospect in exchange for their email. There is no selling done here again. The brand can offer free guides, Ebooks, access to Webinars, etc. In exchange, they will collect the prospect’s email to use when the time is right for conversion
Infographics are also very popular to allow prospects to get a quick picture of the current situation. Visual content is essential in all stages during the buyer’s journey.
Finally, social media confirms that the brand is credible and wants to connect with potential customers, thereby building trust and credibility.
Stage 2: Consideration Stage
By now, the prospects have identified their needs. They are well aware they need to find a solution, and they are starting to consider their options.
If a brand builds a strong foundation during the awareness stage, the prospect is now considering the particular brand as one of their primary options.
Content at this stage:
- Clarifies the unique features of the brand’s product or service
- Pays extra attention to highlight the competitive advantages of the brand
- Explains details such as delivery options, refund policies, etc.
- Nudges the prospect to chat with a live customer representative
The more information you can pass on to the prospect at this stage, the higher on their list you move.
What Type of Content Should be Used During the Consideration Stage?
- Blog articles
- Case studies | original research
- Webinars and podcasts
- Social media
Any blog posts at this stage need to focus on highlighting the brand’s benefits and explaining its features and advantages. By this point, if the audience is still reading up on the brand, it means that they are looking for this information.
Videos at this stage need to also be about the product or the service. Such videos can include how to use the product, testimonials from others, explanatory videos, social proof videos, etc.
Case studies are an excellent opportunity to sell without selling. They involve research, findings, and projections. They are longer but are a fantastic opportunity for SEO. Original research can include surveys and polls to gather more information to be used in the overall content strategy.
Webinars and podcasts can continue to educate your prospects, but they need to remain product-centric (or service-centric) during the consideration stage.
Finally, social media is the perfect channel for sharing blog articles, videos, case studies, webinars, and podcasts to build a community around the brand.
Stage 3: The Decision Stage
When a prospect reaches the decision stage and considers the particular brand, it means that the previous two phases were executed correctly.
At this point, the ‘almost’ customers have decided to buy.
How can content help give the final push and convert them?
Reaching stage 3 should not be taken for granted.
Content at this stage:
- Confirm the decision the prospect has made
- Highlight any extra discounts or offers available
- Offer social proof from existing happy clients
- Be brief and to the point
During this stage, the content needs to be minimized to cover the essentials. Too much content here can harm the process.
Remember, the buying process is highly emotional. Emotions are also fleeting.
Any content at this point needs to include one or more calls-to-action (CTAs).
CTAs are the doors that lead the prospect to the checkout counter.
What Type of Content Should be Used During the Decision Stage?
- Blog articles
- User-generated content
- Social media
Any blog posts at this stage need to cover any offers, such as free demos and trials. At this point, any content being pushed out needs to show and not tell.
At this stage, videos need to be quick, create a sense of urgency, and highlight the best features of the product or service.
User-generated content is social proof that the prospect is on the right track and has made the right decision. Testimonials, product reviews, and real-life stories of how the product or service has helped other people are the perfect final touch.
Finally, current social media content that offers discounts, free demos, and trials, along with the rest of the stage 3 content is final confirmation that the company is doing well.
Once the cycle has completed successfully, it is now time to begin thinking about how to retain clients with smart content. But that is a topic for another day!