Have you ever felt stuck when it comes to populating the next month’s content calendar? Are you producing a ton of content, but it’s not inciting action among your web visitors? Since we’re all about conversions and revenue at AlphaMind, it’s time you learn how to align content with buyer journeys. By tailoring your content to where customers are on the buying journey you can start reaping content marketing results like those cited by the Content Marketing Institute:
- Content marketing’s conversion rates are 6 times higher than other methods
- Content marketing generates 3 times the amount of leads per dollar spent compared to paid search
- Content marketing generates more than 3 times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62 percent less
- Small businesses with blogs get 126 percent more lead growth than those that don’t have blogs
In the B2B industry, 47 percent of buyers will engage with at least three to five pieces of content before even talking to a sales rep, according to Demand Gen Report. Your customers’ behavior may vary, but if you want the people who interact with your brand to actually buy from you, your content needs to be angled toward a conversion every step of the way.
First, You Need Buyer Personas
We’ve outlined the very basics of creating a buyer persona here, which involves extensive market research and then turning that data into what your typical customers are like, what they want, and what they need to alleviate their pain points.
Once you know what the buyer is like as a person, determine how they behave online.
- What questions are they typing into Google?
- What articles do they like to read?
- What prompts them to do research online?
- What types of images, tones, words, videos, and calls to action make them like a brand and make them most likely to click “purchase”?
Knowing your customers enables you to create content they’ll enjoy consuming and will share with their friends. You become the subject matter expert they turn to when they need their questions answered. The trust you build makes them look to your brand when they need the solution you offer.
You’ll likely have multiple buyer personas. Divide those into the percentages of the business they give you to determine the frequency of the types of content you’ll produce.
Map Out the Buyer Journey
Detail everything your potential customer is doing or thinking during each part of their journey, from awareness, to consideration, to a decision.
- The person realizes they have a problem: What caused this problem? Why do they want to solve it?
- The person asks friends and family for recommendations: What online channels do they use to get personal advice? Do they head to social media, Q-and-A forums and sites like Reddit, or are they using dark social like WhatsApp or Google Hangouts?
- The person conducts searches to better understand the problem: What’s their preferred search engine? Have they turned to social sites like Facebook for search over a site like Google?
Content types for the Awareness stage: Blogs, whitepapers, e-books, how-to videos, infographics, educational webinars, educational podcasts.
- The person researches solutions: How are they searching for answers? What types of search results will they take time to click on?
- The person learns more about brands that offer up helpful information related to their problem: Do they read blogs or watch videos? Do they sign up for email lists, and if so, what emails are they most likely to open and consume?
- The person researches online reviews about brands they’re considering: Do they use Yelp or read Google reviews? Do they head to social to vet potential businesses?
Content types for the Consideration stage: Case studies, data sheets, demonstration videos, product-focused content like webinars and product information sheets.
- The person is ready to make a decision: At what point do they determine they’re ready? How many times do they typically need to interact with a brand to get to this point?
- The person may have narrowed down the decision to a few select businesses: What keeps a brand in the top running for a customer? What is the typical deciding factor: price, customer service or something else?
- The person may talk to a sales or customer service representative with final questions, or try out a free trial, before pulling the trigger: What’s their preferred way to get in touch with your brand? On your website, through social, live chat, etc.?
Content types for the Decision stage: Free samples, trials, and consultations, coupons and estimates, personalized demonstrations.
Use your buyer personas to get much more granular with specific actions typical customers are taking at various points in the journey. A teenage girl may be using Snapchat to ask friends for advice during the awareness stage, while a 50-year-old product researcher may be consulting with a LinkedIn Group for a B2B question. One buyer may love to delve into technical data sheets during the consideration phase, while another would prefer a quick 1-minute explainer video to get the gist of your product.
The research you do when creating buyer personas should also clue you in to:
- Websites the person frequents
- Preferred devices
- How much research they typically do before purchasing a product like yours
- How they prefer to talk with your brand, and how you can integrate that communication channel into your content format
The more detailed you can get with behaviors along the journey, the more opportunities you’ll have to create content that resonates.
Choose Which Content to Feature at Which Point of the Journey
Now it’s time to take each component of the customer journey and devise content ideas that are relevant and helpful. Matchup appropriate content solutions for what the customer wants at each time.
If they’ve just clicked on your brand’s blog after searching for information about their problem, giving them a product sheet that’s all about what your business offers isn’t relevant when all they want is general information and can turn them off. If they’ve already visited your site several times, read 10 of your blog posts, and signed up for an email list, delivering a branded e-book to their inbox makes perfect sense. A free trial after they’ve read it may be a welcome offer they’ll appreciate.
What Happens After the Buyer’s Journey Is Completed?
Technically, the buyer journey should never be complete for your brand. You want each buyer to:
- Buy more from your business again and again
- Leave positive reviews for your business
- Act as a referrer for your business
This means, even after the decision phase, you’ll want to also factor in stellar content for buyers so they become loyal customers and tell all their friends about you. This is where you can delight and develop your relationship with your existing customers.
Analyze Your Content Conversion Efforts
At every step in the journey, you should have an analytics tool in place (like Google Analytics) that shows you what journeys your potential buyers are actually taking, and what content is converting best at each phase. This allows you to evolve an agile content plan so that you make the most of your time and money when creating content.