These days people shopping or making an informed decision about something go through various phases before coming to a conclusion, these phases are called the buyer's journey. Sometimes this "journey" takes a half hour, sometimes it takes months or even years. It just depends on the product, service, problem or the commitment to find a solution.
The first stage is the awareness stage. In the awareness stage individuals are discovering that they have a problem. They will be seeking educational content that is still neutral at this point. Example: Our freight shipping costs seem too high.
The second stage is the consideration stage. The individual has realized the problem and are committed to finding a solution to that problem. In this stage they are researching options, but most if not all options are still on the table. Example: Should we improve our shipping method, change vendors, increase rates, etc.?
The third stage is the decision stage. In this stage the individual has narrowed their options for their solution to a short list. Here they would be looking for reviews and comparing specific products/vendors. Example: We're going to change freight shipping vendors: Conway vs. Schneider.
Your goal is to send the right message to the right people at the right time. To succeed, you must be able to attract them when they are researching, they must immediately know it is the type of content they are looking for, and finally you must actually provide them with GOOD content. To help achieve these things you can start by knowing the types of keywords that they will either be searching for or that they are looking for in headlines or titles.
Remember, they may not even know they have a problem yet. Use these types of keywords:
The content you provide associated with these keywords must be neutral and not a sales pitch. This person will probably find this content through a search engine or social media. You should be converting these individuals to soft leads.
The person is aware of the problem, now they need to know options. Use these types of keywords:
This person doesn't want specific product information just yet, so again...don't push sales. Ideally this person got the content from email marketing/marketing automation, but they may also find you through social media or search engines.
The person now has a short list and is looking for validation. Use these types of keywords:
- pros and cons
Now this person is ready for product or vendor specific information, a demo, webinar. You can now move this person on to sales! This content should be delivered to individuals through email marketing/marketing automation. It is still however possible they find the content through a search engine or social media.
Go forth and conquer! You should be mapping out your content. Use some of these keywords or similar to be sure you are reaching them at each stage of the buyer's journey.