How to Create the Right Content at the Right Time
Knowing your customers is an essential first step for any content marketing program.
Within the process of inbound marketing, building out robust buyer personas that detail who your prospective customers are and the pain points they experience that your business can solve serves that foundational function.
There is another important step in knowing your customers that will make your content marketing efforts more effective: Where they are in their buyer’s journey.
Most prospects take incremental steps through the sales cycle. The role of your content program is to lead them through their individual journey toward a purchase. Let’s take a look at the different steps prospects go through along the buyer’s journey and discuss the types of content you can offer to address each step.
In this stage, a potential buyer is just coming to the realization that they have an issue that needs solving, or an opportunity they want to pursue. Think about how this relates to your business.
For example, for a sporting goods retailer, each season brings a new round of prospects into the awareness stage. Once fall is in the air in Vermont, skiers and snowboarders are checking out their existing gear and becoming aware of purchases they need to make to get fully outfitted for the snow season.
Awareness stage content speaks to people looking for insight, education, and resources that give them a broad understanding of the solutions available within an industry. For the sporting goods retailer in the above example, the fall is a great time to publish a checklist of winter gear to help prospects determine if their gear is in working order as a piece of awareness-level content.
This would be a valuable resource for prospects searching the internet to learn more about this topic and something they remember as they move into the next stage of their journey toward a purchase.
Now your prospect knows they have an issue that needs fixing, and they are actively seeking solutions and moving closer to a purchasing decision. They want to know whether your solution or product is the right fit.
The content you create for prospects in the consideration stage is designed to nurture a lasting relationship, establish yourself as a trusted source of valuable information, and highlight why your company’s solutions are a good fit.
Furthering the example of the sporting goods store on the cusp of winter, a great piece of consideration content would be a guide to choosing the right snowboard, or a comparison of snowboard features between two top brands that the store carries.
This content is highly relevant to the prospect considering making a snowboard purchase and authenticates the store as an expert in the field.
At this point your prospect has researched their options, understands the costs, benefits, and drawbacks of each, and is ready to choose a solution. A content marketer’s job now is to create content that nudges them toward closing a deal with your company.
For the sporting goods shop in our example, an effective content offer for those in the decision-stage would be a product description with a free demo offer. Enhance the offer with a compelling call-to-action – “Demo this snowboard today!” – as a final enticement for prospects to convert into satisfied customers.
Notice how the content offered at each stage of the buyer’s journey complement each other – a gear checklist, a product comparison, and a free demo offer – to lead prospects through the sales cycle.
Understanding how your business can speak to your prospects at each stage of their buyer’s journey will help you attract leads and nurture them through the sales pipeline. It’s the best way to ensure your content marketing program results in increased sales.
Thanks for stopping by,
Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in October 2017 and has been edited and updated in March 2022.