Applying the Buyer’s Journey Stages to Content Marketing

A good marketer knows that content is essential for turning leads into life-long clients. However, successful marketers understand that you must use the right content at the right time to increase conversion rates. 

You’ll need to transform basic sales and marketing integrations into intelligent data to achieve this. But first, you’ll need to understand your buyers’ persona and the buyer’s journey. 

In this article, you’ll learn more about the buyer’s journey, and you can structure your content around it to enhance sales and marketing performance. 

Understanding the Buyer’s Journey

A buyer’s journey refers to the combination of stages a lead or prospect goes through before making a purchase.

While it’s possible for consumers to make an impulse purchase, you can’t hinge your revenue projections on it. Ordinarily, it takes time before a potential client makes a purchase. The buyer’s journey begins at the ‘unaware stage.’ This is where they’re not familiar with your product and brand. At times, they may not know that they need such a solution. 

For your content to be relevant and impactful, it must reflect where prospects are at in the buying journey. Otherwise, there’ll be a disconnect between your business and prospects, translating to customer churn. 

So, before developing your content strategy, you need to understand your audience, their challenges, how they think, and the methods they use to find solutions. With this approach, you’ll have content that resonates with your prospects. However, to present this content at the right stage of the buyer’s journey, you’ll need to align it with your marketing funnel.

It’s important to note that a buyer’s journey can vary between industries. Nonetheless, you can break the buyer’s journey into three main stages:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision

What Is a Marketing Funnel? 

A marketing funnel describes the various stages prospects go through leading to their purchase. It’s also known as a sales funnel. These stages start when prospects first visit your website and become an email subscriber, to the point when they engage with your sales representatives. 

Sales funnels have a cone-like shape from top to bottom. This is because fewer leads will be present in the funnel the lower it goes. More importantly, the further a lead is in the funnel, the closer they are to purchasing.

There are three critical stages to a sales funnel or a flywheel, and you should have content for each of these stages:

  • Attracting strangers
  • Engaging prospects
  • Meeting customer needs

Related: Top 5 Marketing Analytics Metrics for the Revenue-Driven Team

Why Create Content for the Buyer’s Journey Stages

Creating content for the different buyer’s journey stages will enhance your sales and marketing efforts. Some of the ways it will help you achieve this include:

  • It enables you to nurture prospects through buyer’s journey stages
  • It makes it easy to qualify leads for each of the buyer’s journey stages

Content Types for Different Buyer Stages

As leads advance through the sales funnel, their knowledge of your products and their needs will increase. So, you need to provide relevant content that takes them further and closer to becoming a paying client.

Awareness Stage

In the awareness stage, your client realizes they have a challenge or problem they need to solve. However, they’re unsure how to do this, so they begin gathering information.

While at this stage, you should not put effort into converting such a lead as they’re the least qualified. Instead, focus on providing the information your audience seeks. Content should focus on how to solve the problem and things they should know.

If you do this well, you’ll present your brand as a trusted resource and industry leader. In turn, this will increase the prospect’s likelihood of buying from you in the future.

Blog Posts

Blog posts are one of the most reliable forms of awareness-stage content. This is because, during this stage, prospects likely do not follow your specific platforms and social media and are not email subscribers.

So, to find information, they’ll do a quick Google search. This is why you want to have blog posts specifically for prospects at this stage which should be:

  • Free of marketing language and brand acknowledgments
  • Purely informative and geared towards solving problems and answering stages
  • Able to adequately cover initial queries
  • Easy to read and understand

To know the best content to use for this stage, determine the questions that prospects may have when looking for a solution for the problem you solve. 

Suppose you offer a product that helps organizations increase sales and reduce time to revenue. Then, you can have a blog post titled ‘How to improve time to revenue.’

Video

Data suggests that 82% of the data internet users consume is now in video format. So, not using video marketing in this day and age is like going fishing with a stick and expecting a bountiful catch.

Compared to text content, videos are easier to consume. Moreover, you can deliver more content in less time. Also, the retention rate of information with video content is much higher. But that’s not all. Video offers more significant branding opportunities without sounding even remotely salesy. 

As with blog posts, you’ll want to identify your consumer’s pain points and determine the potential search questions. The videos that offer the best results at the awareness stage include:

  • Q&A videos
  • How-to videos

When it comes to videos, YouTube is undoubtedly the go-to platform. But you have to cast your net wide. Social media such as Facebook and Instagram are great for video marketing.With such networks, use fun and engaging content about your brand. Then, for better results, you can make them seem like they’re a third-party’s product. 

Once you get your audience’s attention on social media, you can direct them to your YouTube page for more informative videos.

Infographics

The attention span of online users is low. So, it may be better to target awareness stage prospects with bite-sized content that’s highly informative. In this regard, nothing compares to infographics. These are engaging graphics that convey essential information in data form. They are ideal for the awareness stage because they’re:

  • Easy to consume
  • Highly shareable 

Related: Work Smarter, Not Harder: Optimize Your Martech Stack

Consideration Stage

When prospects reach this stage, they fully understand their problems and needs. What they’re now looking for are solutions.

Keep in mind that prospects are still not ready to buy at this stage. Instead, prospects want to learn about the available options and narrow them down. This is why many sales teams do not engage with leads at this stage. 

Your objective should be to show that the type of solution you offer best suits their unique needs. The best content types for this can include a variety of materials.

eBooks/Downloadable Resources

Downloaded resources such as ebooks are great for positioning your brand as an ideal option. Moreover, when a client requests downloadables, it shows that they’re considering your solution.

Downloadable resources work best when linked to other content types, such as blog posts and videos. When a client is done reading or watching, share a link with the resource with more information.

Aside from ebooks, downloadable resources include:

  • Templates
  • Guides
  • Tips sheets
  • Powerpoint presentations and slideshares
  • Tips sheets
  • Checklists

Ensure that your downloadable resources are value-packed. And even if you offer them for free, ensure you get something in return. This could be contact information such as emails to keep in touch with the prospect.

Comparison Videos

Comparison videos are an excellent asset for nudging consideration stage prospects to the decision stage. Since leads know what they want and you have a potential solution, don’t hold back. Use these videos to demonstrate how your solution can benefit them and deliver tangible value. Show how it performs in comparison with competitors and what more it offers.

Keep in mind a comparison video is not a commercial. So, even as you try to present your product as superior, do so objectively and take a neutral stance. 

Articles/Blog Posts

Blog posts and articles are the content form that works well at all the buyer stages. But you’ll need to use content that suits prospects in the consideration stage. Therefore, it should touch on the available solutions while positioning your brand as the best without saying so directly.

Live Demonstrations/Webinars

As prospects approach the buying stage, you should position your product as the ideal solution. Hosting a live demonstration or webinar is a great way to achieve this. It allows you to show how exactly your products work, the team behind them, and the kind of support they can expect. 

But you must be careful when using this strategy before the decision stage. Only do it if your prospects already engage with your brand actively at this stage. 

Decision Stage

When leads get to this stage, they’re ready to buy and know the best solution for them. The only thing they’re yet to determine is the ideal provider. In this stage, you market your company, and products and sales teams can begin contacting leads. 

Whitepapers, Case Studies, Reports, Use Cases

When prospects want to learn more about your brand, products, and how you’ve helped similar clients, use content forms such as:

  • Use cases
  • Whitepapers
  • Reports
  • Case studies

The goal of these content formats is to extinguish any doubt prospects may have.

Blog Posts

When it comes to digital marketing, blog posts should be your foundation. At the decision stage, avail content that promotes your brand. Moreover, tell clients the kind of service, experience, and support to expect. 

Timing Is Everything

There’s no doubt content marketing is vital for business success and growth. However, you may have the most engaging and insightful content but not achieve desirable conversion levels. If so, it’s likely because you’re not delivering the content to prospects at the right buyer stage.

Do you want to get better results from your content? Vertify is a platform that provides analysis of a prospect’s journey and recommends appropriate next steps. Request a demo today to increase conversions by aligning your content marketing efforts with the buyer’s journey stage.

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Author: Wayne Lopez | CPO | Vertify



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