Think about the process you go through when you want to make a purchase. There are steps you take to research your options to determine the best one for your need. Of course, there are times where we will make a purchase based on emotion. But, the more expensive the purchase, the more likely you will take the time to do your homework. This process you go through is called the buyer’s journey. And if you are marketing your business, you need to understand this journey so you can create a content marketing strategy that offers the right content at the right time.
What is a buyer’s journey?
The buyer’s journey describes the path someone takes to make a purchase. When you have a need, you will take steps to:
- Discover what possible solutions are available
- Evaluate them in the context of your situation
- Decide which option is right for you
It can vary based on your industry which is why you need to understand how your customers make a decision to work with you.
Stages of the buyer’s journey
There are three stages to the buyer’s journey:
- Awareness – The buyer becomes aware that they have a problem or need and begin the research process for a solution.
- Consideration – The buyer is using their research to narrow down their options.
- Decision – The buyer evaluates and decides on the solution that will best meet their needs.
If you provide content to address the concerns in each of these stages, you help the potential buyer understand what you offer and how you can help them.
Content for Awareness
During the awareness stage of the Buyer’s Journey, prospects are experiencing a problem. In many cases they are not sure what the solution is and are trying to see what is available. Most likely, they don’t know who you are or that you exist.
Your goal in the awareness stage is to increase the awareness of your business to the potential buyer that is looking for options. This is not the time to sell but the time to educate. Take this opportunity to establish you as an expert. Make the solution easy to understand with enough depth to help them determine if it is right for them. Great types of content for this stage include:
- Blog posts and articles
- Attention-grabbing social media posts
- Easy to use templates
Many of these can be used as a lead magnet to begin the process of turning the visitor into a qualified lead.
Content for Consideration
The consideration stage is where this prospect is starting to research possible solutions. The buyer will be looking for content that helps them compare the various options. Offer information that helps them determine whether your option will work for them.
Your goal for the consideration stage is to help convince the buyer to make your business part of the shortlist of potential vendors. The content needs to position you as an industry expert who knows how to solve the buyer’s problem. It needs to build trust in your solutions because most potential clients want to spend their money with a brand that they can trust.
Great types of content for this stage include:
- White papers
- Case studies
- Buyers’ Guides
This type of content helps these buyers get a deeper understanding and will convince them that your business is one to take seriously.
Content for Decision
In this stage of the buyer’s journey, the prospect has narrowed down their solution choices and are evaluating them. The content you provide in this stage is about you and your business. You are now competing with others in your industry and you need to demonstrate why you are the best option for them.
Your goal at this stage is to provide content to convince these buyers to purchase your products or services. Great types of content for this stage include:
- Complimentary assessment
- Video testimonials
- Estimates, quotes or pricing
- Demos and free trials
- Comparison charts
- Discounts and special offers
This content is now all about you. Make sure this content projects all of your best qualities. By this time, this prospect should be on your email list. Make sure you send them great content via email, sending them to your website for more.
Map your content to your audience needs
You need to intimately understand your buyer and the journey they use to decide what products and services they purchase. Don’t just copy your competition. Every business is unique and you need to determine what you need to help your audience make that purchase decision. Understand your audience and develop a content strategy that provides custom content to help the buyer in each phase of their journey.