Many businesses understand the importance of their website content, blogging...and some even content marketing. Sadly, just knowing how important something is doesn't get it done. After the initial website content is created and the first few exciting blog posts are done, many businesses run out of ideas or just lose interest. One of the big problems stopping here is that they likely have not taken into consideration the buyer's journey. They likely created content focused around the final decision making. By understanding their buyer's journey and brainstorming content ideas around it they will not only be creating useful and fresh content, but they will also be creating content for the buyer in the other stages than the decision making stage. Let's explore this further.
Buyer's Journey Stage 1 - The Awareness Stage
This stage of the buyer's journey is commonly overlooked, especially by small businesses and manufacturers.
In this stage the person may not even know they need your product or service, let alone know who you are. If you create content that is only about your brand or your product, how is this buyer expected to find you. Sure, there may be ways that they will stumble across you, but with inbound marketing your goal is to be there when that buyer is in that stage.
To create content for your website, blog or content marketing initiatives, think about your buyer's pain points and write content focused on providing solutions to those problems. Keep in mind, they might not know your product or service exist, so your content must be general. Not sure what your buyer's pain points are? Ask some of your current customers why they started looking for a solution like yours.
After a buyer knows they need a solution, they will start researching (most will turn to Google). They'll be looking for education, reviews and testimonials in this portion of their journey, so be sure that type of content is readily available. Create downloadable education materials such as ebooks and whitepapers so that you can start capturing leads. Again, don't be brand or product focused yet with your content.
At this point you can also create content to help a person define their buying criteria. You want to educate them on what is truly important when they need to purchase something to solve their problem. In some cases you may have to shift their buying criteria to keep your solution as an option. Example, if people tend to buy on price but you're not the cheapest, write content around what other factors are important when making that decision (again, not product or brand focused).
Buyer's Journey Stage 2 - The Consideration Stage
This stage is when someone knows they need a solution to something and are comparing their options. If you've already reached these people in the awareness stage, you are one step ahead. They will already see you as a resource and hopefully an option. In this stage the buyer knows they need something, they know what will solve their problem they just have to decide where they will get it.
To create content for this stage you'll be creating items to send to leads. The content here is more product focused so you'll be able to talk a bit more about you, your products, processes, history, etc. Make reviews and testimonials readily available at this stage as well because the person is likely comparing you to a competitor.
Don't forget the real reasons that people are trying to find a solution and don't use typical marketing cliches to grab interest to your content. Consumers may be looking for things that make their lives easier or more enjoyable. Business are probably looking to increase revenues or profitability.
Often times the person researching is not the person making the actual buying decision. It would be helpful to create content that could easily be taken to the actual decision makers to help keep the process moving. The actual decision maker might be a parent, spouse ;), or CEO.
Buyer's Journey Stage 3 - The Decision Stage
This content can be brand focused...but don't overdo it. This person has chosen you already, so forget the pushy sales stuff. When creating content for these folks think about what might make the ongoing process easier, or what to expect after their purchase, or if it is a consumer product, easy to follow instructions or videos. Just because they've decided to purchase doesn't mean that you can forget about them.
Another area that might be helpful to create content around is how they can get the most bang for their buck. For this you might want to share case studies from past/current customers in which the process went as smoothly as possible.
We talk about "delighting" customers with inbound marketing...if you fail to continue to deliver VALUABLE content to your current customers, it's much more difficult to truly delight them.
You Can't Say You Have Nothing To Write About
Get moving!!! The first step is to define your buyer's journey, then start brainstorming and mapping out content around it. After that there is no stopping you! Remember, help is always here if you need it. :)