The journey of a potential customer and the pieces of content they consume along the way is a subject near and dear to my heart, and it makes the cogs in my brain start to turn.
When I am researching products and services, I always look at the content being served to me at various points during my journey. Let’s explore the buyer’s journey from the beginning of research to making a purchase.
Beginning the Journey
The beginning of the journey for a customer is when marketers are creating awareness for their product or service. This comes in all different shapes and sizes. Depending on the product or service, the marketer may be addressing pain points the potential customer knows they have, or even pain points they hadn’t realized they were experiencing.
When creating awareness, the types of content you need are different from those further down the funnel. I recently attended a presentation at Content Marketing World that presented the sales funnel for the visual generation, which was defined as ages 14–42. In this presentation by Amy Balliett, she stated that “91% of people want to see something visual in the first three pieces of content.” My takeaway is if you have something you could communicate in iconography or an infographic, this would be a good place to have it in your content strategy.
In this awareness phase of the journey, if the potential customer already knows what pain point they are trying to solve for and are searching for a solution, your search engine marketing (SEM) plans come into play here. SEM encompasses both SEO, organic search for your website, and pay per click (PPC) on search engines. These two work together behind the scenes to help deliver content for those who know they have a pain point and are trying to find products and services to solve it.
What do you do if your potential customer doesn’t know they have a pain point you are trying to solve with your products and services? This is where targeted ad campaigns, public relations, paid social, and related tactics can help you push potential customers into a journey with your company. B2B companies with this issue would be wise to utilize an account-based marketing strategy in this situation. A consumer products company should identify its target audience by demographic and utilize whatever platforms that demographic uses to deliver its campaign to them. Both can be very effective if thought out and planned for prior to producing.
What content should you create for these platforms? Keep it educational in nature, maybe with some thought leadership in the form of videos, graphics, or other content.
Entering the Middle of the Journey
When potential customers are engaging, they have made it to the middle of the journey. They are showing interest, starting to consider products and services, and may even give cues of intent to buy. What type of content do they need to push them to make a purchase?
In the middle of a customer’s journey, they will want deeper content to help them evaluate if your product or service is really the right choice for them. Tactical content in this part of the journey needs to include more videos. Recent studies have shown that more than half of potential customers who visit a landing page without a video will immediately leave.
This is a good time for drip emails to start. These emails allow small pieces of information to be sent to potential customers over a period of time, allowing them to take more action when they are ready.
Additional pieces of content that are helpful in this middle portion of the journey include ebooks, white papers, case studies, and webinars. Think about the questions stopping potential customers from purchasing. Try to answer those questions through the content you provide to help them feel more comfortable with your company and the products or services you provide.
You need to showcase your company’s value proposition in your content. At Content Marketing World, I learned about the Edelman Trust Report, which determined that 68% percent of consumers need to see your value proposition 3–5 times before they trust you. When creating content, ensure you add your value proposition to help consumers build trust in your company.
Nearing a Purchase
The last phase of a potential customer’s journey to purchase is the commitment. This stage is the most exciting for both the customer and the company. The company gets to record a sale and the customer gets something new – how thrilling!
The best types of content for this phase of the journey include free trials just prior to the commitment, tutorials, and how-to videos. These will make the transition to purchase much more enjoyable. Ensuring this last stage of the buyer’s journey is pleasant and without issue will lock in a loyal customer for years to come.
Creating a content strategy that carefully thinks through how a potential buyer will interact with each piece of content throughout their journey can have a long-lasting effect on their overall experience with a company.
A negative experience could prevent the customer from making another purchase in the future and tarnish the company name not only with that customer, but also with others they will likely tell about their experience.
A positive experience will create customer loyalty and brand recognition, resulting in an additional potential pipeline for the company. Happy customers will pass on helpful content and relate their positive experience with the company to other potential customers.
A well-thought-out content strategy helps to ensure the lifetime value of a customer grows not only with them, but also with potential customers in the future.
Kreber Has the Expertise You Need
With more than 100 years of experience, we’ve built a reputation for our hard work and dedication to delivering creative ideas and positive outcomes for retail and B2B clients. As an independent content marketing agency with a history of thinking ahead, we create and grow opportunities that allow our partners to thrive. We take pride in our mission to Think, Create, and Deliver compelling content that’s visually stunning, innovative, and purpose-driven within the creative market. We use our century’s worth of industry knowledge to help our clients save time and money, execute successful campaigns, utilize technology, and handle the strategy, planning, creation, management, and distribution of advertising and marketing content. From print and digital content marketing to social media marketing and everything in between, we’re the advertising agency of choice to bring any vision to life.