You know how people love to say “Life is a journey, not a destination?” Well, the same can be said about content marketing. Your audience is on a journey and you even though your product and/or services are the destination, you are the tour guide. Research shows that only 4% of the visitors that come to B2B websites are ready to buy. Content plays a vital role in retaining and nurturing the other 96%.
Content mapping - How do I get there?
Planning the route is the first step for every traveler, and it should be for every marketer as well. Mapping your content is essential: every time you create content you need to know who you are creating it for. You may know who your target audience is, but potential customers are also all at different stages of their journey. Some will be new to the information you are providing; others will have had multiple exposures to your messages. You need to guide them through every step of the journey in order to stay relevant. By providing more “staged” content, you will enhance the awareness of your company, its products, and services.
There are marketing channels that are indispensable for your integrated marketing campaign: blog posts and social media. But you can’t produce enough to fulfill the needs of your audience at every stage. So get ready to map newsletters, white papers, case studies: whatever content is right for every stage of the buying cycle. Consider your buyer persona and the key information your prospects need.
First-timers – The education stage
When you are writing your content for someone who has no idea who you are or what you do, you need to educate, inform, and engage. Or just inspire. Blogging is the most popular type of content used at this stage of awareness. It helps your business to appear in search results and positions you as a subject matter expert. How-to articles, infographics, and webinars are a great way to be educational, but not condescending toward your audience.
Spellbinding storytelling will also help to make the content engaging for your readers. Just remember it should be all about them and not about you. At this stage they don’t really care about your products or services, it’s more about how you help them identify risks and solve problems. Social media will help you further with engagement and spreading the influence.
Good acquaintances – The solution definition stage
This is the content for the people who already know who you are, what you do, and what services/ products you offer. They also know exactly what they need: they have done their research, understood their needs and are now looking for the perfect solution for their business.
Here you need to emphasize how you are different from everyone else and why you are the perfect provider of the solutions for their problem. The content you need to provide for this stage should go into things at a much deeper level. Things such as white papers, case studies, and user testimonials are great examples. You can go in detail about the problems you solve, solutions you provide, your products and services, and their effectiveness. Another great way to expand your content library with eBooks, product demonstrations and reports.
Middle of the road audience members – The selection and validation stage
These audience members have pretty much all the knowledge about your company that they nee. It’s now just about receiving reassurance and proof that your solutions work. They know that they have a problem, they know about all the solutions that exist, so now you have to show them how your solution is the best one for them and that you’ve walked this path many times before. You can do this via testimonials, case studies and stories that demonstrate your products and services effectiveness.
Content marketing is effective when it comes to demand generation and lead generation and nurturing leads. It is useful when it comes to business development and ongoing client development, so keep reading.
There and Back Again – The implementation stage
You already have customers, who like your product/service and are looking forward to establishing a connection with you. This will also make it easier for your customers to recommend you to their colleagues. Here is the stage where you upsell your products and services by sending information about changes and upgrades. You can also engage them by providing more information about products they have already purchased. This builds customer loyalty and establishes your place as an expert. One of the most effective marketing tricks is to offer low cost products to consumers and engage them to upgrading in purchasing more expensive solutions.
You can also consider holding seminars or client-centered events. You can create guides or FAQs or start LinkedIn groups so that your customers have a place to express their sentiments about your product/service, ask questions and give feedback. Consider even holding workshops especially created to educate your clients about a particular area of interest, promotions and…keep those newsletters coming.
You need to understand your audience as a whole, your products, and services in order to be able to create content for any stage of the buyer’s journey. You shouldn’t be focusing only on one segment of your audience. Most companies focus their content only on the purchase stage of the lifecycle: take a look at your website, emails, social media posts: do you provide information for returning customers? Or are you focused primarily on selling points, assuming that everyone is ready to make a purchase.
Become the tour manager
Just like the best tour managers, your goal is to create a content marketing strategy that follows a roadmap, has taken into account your audiences and the different stages of the lifecycle, and turns your prospects into influential brand advocates. Delivering valuable content, and building strong relationships are your route to success. Enjoy the trip!