On the surface, every sale follows a simple process, from discovering the problem to purchasing the solution. This process consists of extra stages that are part of the buyer’s journey.
Your goal, therefore, is to identify what stage customers are in and to guide them to make a purchase.
The best way to do this is by planning the content to reach consumers at the right stage.
Your content strategy must be specific to your business and tailored to the customers you are targeting.
Sales coach Wendy Weiss says that your chances of closing a sale are higher when you talk to a prospect. As such, you must make contact at every point and build up the relationship.
Parameters to Consider
Before you go through the buyer stages, you must understand three important parameters:
- the goals of your business
- the different buyer personas
- the sales cycle
The business goals affect the budget, the approach and the sales cycle. You must be clear on your mission. The sales cycle will be the duration for closing the deals. Some sales can take longer than necessary when it would be better to move on.
Now, here’s where you need to understand buyer personas.
Understanding Buyer Personas
A buyer persona is a profile of customers you are trying to attract to buy your products or services. It involves brainstorming and creating a fictional representation of the target customer.
The customers are divided based on factors such as status, age, gender, and buyer behavior. You can take into consideration a buyer’s aspirations, problems, fears and needs, as well as location, lifestyle, sexual orientation, education and other factors.
Businesspeople use this information to gain useful statistics to guide their sales strategies. In terms of content, you need to understand the personas you’ll be writing for at various points of the sales cycle.
The content will need to vary in formats to be effective. Keep reading to learn about the stages and the best content strategies to apply.
Stages of a Buyer’s Journey
We’ve been talking a lot about the stages of a buyer’s journey. Let’s look at what they are and what they entail:
- Awareness – this is where the prospect discovers or identifies a problem in their life. They start researching the problem to get a better understanding.
- Consideration – after understanding their problem, they are now looking for available solutions. They begin comparing which one will be better for their problem.
- Decision – at this point, the buyer lists their top solutions and picks the best one. There is a tendency to engage one’s emotions by choosing the option that “feels right”.
- Loyalty – this stage is about following up on the customer’s decision by providing valuable information. For example, this can be in the form of manuals or emails on product updates.
As you can see, each stage needs a different and targeted approach.
Once the business finishes creating the content, the next step is promotion. They can do that through social media, advertisements and search engine marketing.
So, how do you plan the content for each stage of a buyer’s journey?
The Best Content Strategies for Each Buyer Stage
Here are the best content strategies to apply:
1. Awareness Stage
The in-depth blogs you see around the internet are designed for the awareness stage. This is where the potential customer is aware of the problem but isn’t aware there are solutions. They don’t know about your product either.
Such “awareness” content is especially useful for companies offering innovative solutions to the market or creating new markets, like SaaS businesses.
You must use search engine optimization (SEO) to make your content visible online. SEO will help users find your product and learn how it can solve their problems.
Other strategies you can use include writing social media posts and guest posts. Companies that are more technical should opt for eBooks and white papers.
2. Consideration Stage
For this stage, the customer has already figured out what their problem is. Now they are reviewing the available options. Your job is to create content about the options and their features.
Thus, you’ll be writing reviews, expert guides, and case studies.
If you’ve mastered video marketing, this is a good time to write a script and record a product review.
3. Decision Stage
In this stage, the customer is willing to buy one of the products available.
Ninety-five percent of purchasing decisions are subconscious, according to a Harvard Professor. The customer then spends the rest of their time trying to justify their decision.
Your job is to help them with the justification by creating reinforcing content. This can include testimonials, product reviews, and vendor comparisons.
4. Loyalty Stage
This last stage comes after the purchase, and it is very important. This is where you allay any fears or uncertainty a buyer may experience.
Customers experience a moment of doubt about whether they bought the right product.
As such, your content should focus on building up the product. You should write user manuals, newsletters, and feature-specific articles.
By building up the product and making it easy to use, you’ll be making your customers loyal to your brand.
Use the Right Content Strategy to Succeed
Finally, ensure you time your strategy to the right point of the buyer’s journey. You have to meet the needs of the customer at each stage before they can move to the next one.
Remember to analyze the results of your content strategy. This helps you make improvements as you go along. Once you do this, you’ll find that you are gaining and keeping customers.
- How to Plan Content for Every Stage of a Buyer’s Journey - May 12, 2020