The Buyer’s Journey model can help you understand a buyer’s needs, problems, and behaviours throughout the buying cycle, so that you can develop appropriate and targeted content to address each stage of the process.
Since the typical Buyer’s Journey can be split into three stages — Awareness, Consideration and Decision — we’ll break down the typical content offers that map to each stage.
Content Marketing for the Awareness Stage
The Awareness Stage is the very beginning of a buyer’s journey to make a purchase decision. It usually starts when the buyer realizes he has an issue or problem that needs solving, and he begins his search for a solution. Depending on how eager or aggressive he is about finding a resolution, this phase may take a long time, or it may be quick. Regardless, you can tailor your content to specifically meet the needs of this phase, no matter how long the buyer is in it.
Your content here should identify and directly address the issues your typical buyer has (which are the reason they’re looking at your products and/or services in the first place). Content that fits the Awareness Stage of the Buyer’s Journey includes the following
- Blog Posts
- Social Media Content
- Research Reports
- eGuides or eBooks
For example, if your company specializes in ecommerce software, you could create content that focuses on the pain points of manually processing and fulfilling online orders, or the dreams that come with wanting to build your own online store, but not knowing where to start. Research reports or whitepapers showing statistics about the industry or that validate the pain points the buyer is experiencing are all great places to start.
Once you have made the Buyer “aware” that you are an expert in diagnosing their type of issue, you would then use your content to move them forward into the next phase of the Buyer’s Journey.
Content Marketing for the Consideration Stage
Once in the Consideration Stage, potential buyers have now identified the source of their issue or pain-point and some possible resolutions to the problem, and they are considering different solution options, which may include your products and/or services. At this stage, the Buyer is still in an educational frame of mind, and will be looking for information that will make them more confident and intelligent about their potential purchase.
Here are some examples of content offers that you should be providing to further qualify any leads in this Consideration Stage:
- Product Comparison Guides or Whitepapers
- Expert or Educational Content
These content offers will help Buyers “consider” their solution options with as much information as is available. Using the same example as above, your company would use this opportunity to highlight your own software solution and how it can help to alleviate or resolve the pain points or issues the buyer has flagged.
Content Marketing for the Decision Stage
Now that the prospective Buyer knows what their problem is and how they need to resolve it, it comes down to the Decision Stage, where they will be making a vendor selection or purchase decision (hopefully in your favour!). Buyers in the Decision Stage are qualified leads who will now look for the opportunity to speak with a sales representative, try a demo, or request a quote in order to make their final purchase decision. If you’ve done your working correctly in providing relevant content in the first two stages, all you have to do at this point is close the deal!
That’s why, at this stage, it’s more important than ever to provide content that has one goal in mind: to move these buyers to purchase your products or services. During the Decision Stage, we recommend including the following offerings in your inbound marketing strategy:
- Free Trials or Downloads
- Vendor Comparisons
- Case Studies
- Product Literature
- Analyst Reports
These types of content offers will add value to the sales process, leading the buyer to make their final purchase “decision”. In our example, your software company would provide case studies of similar success stories, or ROI calculations to show the value your software has in saving time and resources.
Follow the Breadcrumb Trail
All content should have a purpose. And all content should be tailored to reach specific audiences and for specific situations. Aligning your content marketing strategy with your Buyer’s Journey is essentially like leaving a breadcrumb trail to lead your potential buyers to a conversion — whether that’s contacting you for more information, for a free demo, for a trial download, or for an actual purchase.
It may now be time to review your current content calendar and make sure you’re planning to post content that fits the stage your customers are in. For more tips on implementing a solid inbound marketing strategy to bring in even more potential buyers, contact us for a free Inbound Assessment of your site and current practices by one of our certified Inbound Specialists.