How to Position Your Company for Each Stage of The Buyer’s Journal

There’s a fundamental shift occurring in the marketing world. A shift in approach and methodology that we at Verge Pipe Media are embracing whole-heartedly. This shift is Inbound Marketing.

The buyer's journey

Inbound Marketing is promoting a company through various forms of content which serves to attract customers through the different stages throughout a purchase. These stages are referred to as the Buyer’s Journey and this journey is the foundation to this new methodology.

In this post, we want to take a quick look at this journey. We also want to provide you with some practical ideas for how your company can create content to match each stage of the journey. Matching your content correctly allows what you produce to gain better qualified leads for your brand.

The Buyers Journey

Awareness – At this stage people are beginning to recognize that they have a problem. Maybe it’s that they have a fever, their throat is sore and want to know what’s wrong with them. Or a mother has been thinking about taking a family bonding trip, but isn’t sure where to start her research. They are aware they want or need to take some action and are ready to research what to do next.

Consideration – At this stage they are fully aware of the problem they are facing and are actively looking for a solution. They’ve figured out they have strep throat and they want to know their options for relieving the symptoms. The mother would be looking to find options for the best family bonding trips in their area.

Decision – They have looked at a number of brands to find the best one that fits their needs. In the case of the person with strep throat, they can visit a physician, go to the ER, or visit an easy access clinic. They will be able to decide what fits their insurance plan. The mother would have her list of local options and would be able to make a decision based on the family’s needs and price range.

What Content Goes Where?

By now you’ve gathered how specific content offers are more relevant to buyers at specific times during The Buyer’s Journey. That basic premise is true, but now let’s discuss how you as the marketer can decide which one of your content offers to choose for each stage.

You will need to have a firm grasp of your buyer personas and how their behaviors may differ during the process. This will help you to determine what specific content types are most relevant to them along the Buyer’s Journey. Below is a quick reference guide to help you plan your proper content types.

Awareness – Content should be vendor neutral and include words like troubleshoot, issue, resolve, risks, improve, upgrade and prevent. The type of content produced should be in the form of analytics or research reports, white papers, eBooks and basic educational content. 

Consideration – Content should be mostly vendor neutral and help explain available methods to solving a problem. You should include words like solution, provider, service, tool, software and device. The type of content produced should be in the form of comparison white papers, expert guides, videos and other live interactions.

Decision – Content should be VERY vendor heavy and provide documentation, data, benchmarks and endorsements to recommend your product as the solution to the problem. The type of content produced should be in the form of vendor comparisons, case studies, trial downloads, specific product literature and live demos.

Now What?

It has been proven that leads nurtured with targeted content produce and increase of in sales opportunities of nearly 20%. So it goes without saying, that using the tips above can help you produce and deliver the right content at the right time.

From here, work to map and catalogue your entire content library as it stands currently. Look to see if you have the proper content for each stage. Re-categorize items into the areas mentioned above and mark down pieces of content that need to be produced. While this step may seem laborious, there are many examples of content inventory worksheets offered by Hubspot that can help with this step.

We hope this brief rundown on producing content for the buyer’s journey is helpful. We can’t stress enough that matching your content correctly to each stage will help you gain better qualified leads and better sales opportunities.

For more Inbound Marketing insights, subscribe to my blog here.

This blog was originally published for Verge Pipe Media.

 

 

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Five Steps to Joining the Online Conversation

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The conversation hog.

We all know the person. You ask a question or try to engage with them and they immediately launch into a monologue. You find yourself trapped and unable to escape without seeming rude.

The same sort of thing exists online. It’s the company or brand that doesn’t take into account where someone may be in the buyer’s journey, otherwise known as the research process that people go through leading up to a purchase.

The brand publishes content that is all about them, or says how much better they think they are than their competitors. They try to dominate the conversation and force a reader to digest a monologue that isn’t very informative.

Don’t be a conversation hog. Follow these tips for developing a content process that will help you contribute to the conversation, not dominate it, and ultimately reach your ideal customers at the appropriate stage in the decision making process.

PLAN
In order to create content that is informative and speaks to the right stage in the buyer’s journey, you first must plan accordingly. Are you going to offer something to the reader and “gate” it behind a landing page or make them fill out a form? Will it be a blog post or web content that is accessible to anyone on the Internet?

Picking the best format for your content is all about buyer personas or the fictional representations of your ideal customers. Identify the topics that matter to your personas through detailed research. This can be done via keywords, internet forums, FAQs, or popular industry news. Then match the appropriate content to each stage of the journey.

CREATE
Remember, any piece of content you create should be mapped to where your personas are in the buyer’s journey. The content should also be easily digestible. Make your content easy to consume. Make most of your content educational for your readers. Don’t get overly promotional with your material until you are writing for someone in the decision making stage.

Finally, focus on the information part of the content first. Don’t get caught up in designing something beautiful and lose track of your information. Always prioritize great writing over trying too hard to make it look nice.

DISTRIBUTE
So, you’ve done your planning and you’ve written a strategic and informative piece of content. Now what? It’s now time to choose the appropriate distribution channel to feature your content. The right distribution technique will get your content in front of the right person at the right time. Again, it is all about reaching the customer in the appropriate stage of the buyer’s journey. You should also keep in mind that it is important to devote as much time to content promotion as you did with content creation.

Your content can be distributed as a blog, a website page, a landing page, through calls to action and social media channels, as well as in marketing emails. Choose the appropriate channel based upon your persona research.

ANALYZE
How can you be sure your content succeeded without analyzing it? You can’t! You must analyze the performance of your content in order to capitalize on what is working, and make changes to what is missing the mark.

Popular analytics to measure are number of page visits, leads generated, social proof or social share-ability, inbound links, content performance by author, content performance by topic, and content performance by format. Each of these factors can help you determine your content’s success.

REPEAT
You’ve done your research on your buyer personas, written that dynamite piece of content, distributed it to your customers on the appropriate platforms and have crunched the numbers. Now it’s time to repeat what was successful.

Actually, in addition to replicating what is successful, you should always repeat this content creation process. It is the proven and effective way to help you write remarkable content. Without dynamic content, your inbound strategy won’t be effective and you will ultimately be another conversation hog!

These steps to joining the online conversation will stand to benefit your brand’s engagement rates and online visitors.

For more Inbound Marketing insights, subscribe to my blog here.

This blog was originally published for Verge Pipe Media.