It’s true that content marketing is an integral part of any inbound marketing campaign. But how do you know if the content you’re creating is actually speaking to your audience? And more importantly, how do you use content to help guide them through the buyer’s journey?
In this post, we’ll explore how to create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey – from Awareness to Decision.
What is the buyer’s journey?
The buyer’s journey consists of three stages that every buyer moves through on their path to making a purchase. These stages are classified as the awareness stage, the consideration stage, and the decision stage. Each one has a unique set of research requirements from the buyer, for whom you’ll be making content for.
In the awareness stage, the buyer is trying to give a name to their problem. If you were unhappy with how slow peeling potatoes was, you might start asking questions like “Why does potato peeling take so long?”
In the consideration stage, the buyer has given their problem a name and is now seeking out possible solutions to that problem. Then, in the decision stage, the buyer decides which solution or strategy is right for them.
Creating content to target buyers at each of these stages can help you make sure that your customers are making their way through the buyer’s journey properly and help your company stay top of mind as they look for answers and solutions.
Content for the Awareness Stage
As we noted above, the awareness stage is when the buyer has realized that they may have a problem or opportunity and are trying to give a name to it. They’ll be preoccupied with researching their problem in order to understand the implications or causes. In our example on potato peeling, you might likely take to the internet and do a Google search for “Why is my potato peeler so slow?”
The awareness stage is different from the consideration stage because at this point, the buyer isn’t quite looking for solutions to their problem. Instead, they’re concentrated on researching the problem itself so they can fully understand it.
There are certain types of content that do exceptionally well at helping people learn about their problems or opportunities.
- Educational Content
- eBooks & Guides
- White Papers
- Research or Analyst Reports
Try using these content types to help customers better define their problems.
Content for the Consideration Stage
Once they buyer reaches the consideration stage, they’ve successfully given their problem or opportunity a name. They’re now dedicated to finding solutions to the problem or opportunity. In our example, you would likely be looking into different potato peelers or potato peeling methods.
Since the buyer is on the search for every option in terms of solutions or approaches to their problem, expert-level guides and comparison white papers are great content tools to provide at this stage of the buyer’s journey.
Be sure to compare your product or service with your competitors so that the buyers can learn how your approach compares to the other available options they’ve been reading about in their research. However, you should keep the copy as informative as possible and avoid sounding too salesy or pushy. You might even want to leave your company’s name out of it and speak more generally about the products.
Content for the Decision Stage
A buyer reaches the decision stage when they have given their problem a name, researched solutions, and are ready to decided which is the best way to solve their problem – and which company or product to use.
At this stage, live demos (if they make sense for your products or service) are a powerful tool. With a live demo, you can show potential customers the kind of results they can expect when using your product. In the potato peeling example, a live demo of our company’s electric potato peeler might be exceptionally effective at showing customers how well the product works.
Other useful content types at this stage include:
- Product or Vendor Comparisons
- Free Trials
- Case Studies
The goal of using content at the decision stage of the buyer’s journey is to help your customers understand exactly why your product or service is right for them and how it will solve their problem the best.
Stream’s Kick-Start Step: To get started creating content for each step of the buyer’s journey, concentrate on one product or solution that your company offers. Then, come up with topic ideas for content your team could create for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Be sure to think about the buyer and what questions they might be asking at each stage.
By using content that’s specially tailored to the stages of the buyer’s journey, you’re much more likely to speak to your customer’s pain points and guide them through the purchase process. To learn more about content marketing and the inbound methodology, check out our FREE eBook, Inbound Marketing 101.
All the best,
-Christopher Wirth is the Inbound Marketing Team Lead at Stream Companies, a full-service Philadelphia-area advertising agency.