Content marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies in boosting loyalty and credibility and driving growth in your business. But to get the most out of its perks, you should employ the best practices for your niche and plan your content according to the needs and interests of your customers. You can ensure producing relevant content appealing to your audiences by considering their buyer’s journey.
So how can you optimize your content according to your buyer’s journey? After doing your research, content audit, and planning, you can come up with content topics suitable for each buyer stage. The awareness stage content must be about explanations of their problems and possible solutions, while the consideration stage must explain these options more thoroughly. Content at the decision stage must discuss questions or concerns about your brand.
Content marketing is a reliable strategy for businesses to foster a strong relationship with audiences. Especially today, when consumers are getting more skeptical and pessimistic about brands, content marketing offers a breath of fresh air by providing valuable content without asking them anything in return. This allows them to demonstrate their authority and foster trust. But doing this requires giving what the consumers need at the right time.
To produce the right content suitable for your audiences’ needs, you must align it according to their position within their purchasing journey. The buyer’s journey refers to a consumer’s process before they make a purchase, from learning more about their problem to gauging why they must choose their brand. The stages of the buyer’s journey you should align your content to are:
The buyer’s journey stages start with potential customers seeking answers to their questions or solutions to problems, called the awareness stage. During this stage in the consumer journey, audiences are aware of their problems and need solutions to those pain points. They don’t know the cause of these concerns yet, so they search online to learn more about them.
For example, the sales of a start-up business have been stagnant, and not many audiences know about their products and services yet. This business hasn’t defined a solution yet, and everything is on the table: they can rely on the word of mouth of their existing customers, invest in traditional marketing, or build their own sales marketing team.
The consumer knows they have a problem and looks up more information about it and ways to solve it. They don’t know your products and services or company yet. While you should boost brand awareness, it’s important to note that you should avoid too much self-promotion at this stage. Any audience can spot promotional content easily, making them bounce off your page. Stick to considering their search intent and giving them what they need.
The consideration stage is when audiences actively consider solutions to their problems as they gain a deeper understanding of their pain point. This stage tends to be crucial because the possible solutions they search for depend on what they’ve gathered from the awareness stage, from information to vocabulary.
While consideration stage buyers actively look up options, they’re not yet ready to buy anything. But they’re eager to try one of their options. At this stage, they already know your brand and service if they were engaged in any of your content or you landed in any of those they’ve read. They might even believe your product or service can solve their problems, but you must still build confidence in them by establishing trust and credibility.
Users in the consideration stage have many to think about, specifically if they trust your brand and product or service to get the job done for them. At this stage, you may even find that they’ll interact with your brand more. They round up the pros and cons of your product or service compared to other potential solutions in their list. For example, a startup business starts considering its options and assesses the pros and cons of each option.
The decision stage is when a user has made a purchase decision. They’ve already chosen the product or service to solve their problems at the right price, but they haven’t bought it yet – it’s important to note that this still doesn’t mean they will make the purchase. This stage is also where your sales team has interacted with potential buyers the most.
Users in this buyer journey stage will make in-depth research about other factors in your brand, like warranties, paperwork, customer service, maintenance cost, and others. Brands should set themselves apart from competitors to build confidence in potential buyers. It’s also common for potential buyers to experience the fatigue of choice, so brands must keep the buying process as easy as possible.
With our example, the start-up business has already decided to try your service after becoming aware of its problem and considering other potential solutions. They haven’t made their purchase yet, so it’s important to give them a little push. Some brands hold free trials.
Content marketers must align their content towards different stages of the customer journey to get the most out of their content marketing strategy. Doing this ensures creating content relevant and valuable for potential consumers, driving more traffic and leads and delighting users. Publishing high-quality content that appeals to users of various stages allows your brands to:
Brands that create pieces suitable for customers in various stages can efficiently nurture these users until they reach the next stage of purchase. The buyer’s journey allows you to maintain user-centricity on your content, eventually driving growth in your business.
Content marketers must create content suitable to consumers of various stages to guide them through the sales funnel efficiently. This allows them to establish credibility and build a strong relationship with users until they make profitable consumer actions. To create content for every stage of the consumer journey, brands must:
For a content marketer to publish content for consumers of various stages, they must know who these audiences are first. Gaining a deeper understanding of them allows you to determine their pain points and know what content to produce, from its topic, type, and format to the language you should use. You can learn more about their purchasing behavior and experience at every stage once you get intimate with your audiences.
Having rich and high-quality data about your audiences allows you to create valuable and relevant content that drives more traffic and leads. It can also help you develop an efficient content marketing strategy that promotes sustainable growth in your business. To do this, you should create buyer personas.
A buyer persona is a fictional character representing different audiences. They might be fictional, but they’re not drawn out of thin air – they’re made up of your consumers’ common characteristics with evidence from the real world.
Having a buyer persona allows you to visualize your target audience better. You can keep your content properly aligned with your audience's interests and pain points by giving them a face. Here’s how to create this:
The best way to learn more about your audience is to talk to them. You can find loyal customers and call them, asking for their feedback about your product or services. You can ask them what they like or dislike about your brand. Content marketers might also want to keep track of conversations about their brand or within their niche. They can also conduct surveys.
Now that you’ve gathered in-depth information about your audiences, you should organize your data to assess them more efficiently. This way, you can spot similarities in their behavior, interests, and experiences. You might want to delve deeper into patterns in their responses, like phrases, remarks, or words.
Organizing your data allows you to spot similarities and patterns. You should then gather this information and segment them – these segments will serve as the characteristics of your buyer persona.
Create your buyer persona with the data you’ve grouped by coming up with a character and filling out its demographics. You can keep this as detailed as you can and add descriptive mannerisms or buzzwords you’ve gathered during interviews with them or looking up conversations in communities. Some of the traits you should fill out are:
If you’ve already started creating content, you might want to audit them first before recalibrating your content marketing strategy. Performing an audit of all the content created allows you to determine possible bottlenecks or gaps in your plan, giving you an idea of what you should work on next. You should ensure that your content effectively covers your buyer persona according to various stages in their purchasing journey.
You can do this by rounding up all the content your brand has created, including the ones you’re still planning to write in the future. To keep this more organized, you might want to add a column for its:
This allows you to have an in-depth assessment of your content and determine where you may have fallen short, like having more content addressing the awareness stage and little towards the consideration stage or not having enough on the decision stage.
An effective content marketing strategy is aligned towards defined goals – these goals can be long-term or short-term, which you may gather from assessing your content audit. Having specific goals allows you to get the most out of the value of every published content.
Content marketers optimize content according to the customer journey to reach a broader audience and establish credibility and trust throughout their decision-making process. Defining your goals helps you ensure that the assets of all these efforts contribute to your business’s overall growth.
After planning and preparing your content production thoroughly, research the best topics suitable for consumers in various stages. You may use different tools or research keywords that your target audience usually searches according to your niche.
Awareness stage content should help consumers solve problems while being aware of your brand. Because of this, your topic should be about providing information about the pain point they’re experiencing and possible solutions. Come up with a title that discusses these problems and possible solutions, like:
Topics like these cater to visitors frustrated about their problems but haven’t figured out their causes or solutions yet. Choosing the right search queries and keywords allows your audiences to find you.
During the consideration stage, your topics must help audiences choose the best solution to their problem, which must also lean toward your product or service. Some of these topics include comparisons, lists of best products, or discussions on the features of your product or service. You can also offer free trials at this stage.
The topic of your decision stage content must be about setting yourself apart from your competitors to ensure purchase from the potential buyer. You must address possible concerns or questions about your product. Your topic should be more about the effects and benefits of products, FAQs, or testimonials. You might also want to create a compelling landing page about your services.
Now that you’ve come up with the most suitable topics or keywords, you should start creating content according to the right buyer's stage. You should create high-quality content consistently to set your brand up for thought leadership.
Awareness stage content must articulate thoroughly an audience’s problems with ample context, highlighting various approaches for solving them. They must aim to define, clarify, and contextualize.
Consideration stage content also delves into these questions and solutions but provides a more in-depth explanation of your product and how it differs from your competitors. Decision stage content must address further questions and possible doubts your potential consumers might have about your product. To create content, you must:
Determine the most suitable content type according to the stage of the buyer’s journey you aim to address. You can write a blog post, category, or product description or create a video or ebook. Aside from the content type, you must also determine its formats, like how-to blog posts, listicles, testimonials, product reviews, or news articles.
Identify the right angle that will attract your readers and keep them hooked, deeming your content relevant and valuable. To do this, you should circle back to the search intent to determine what your audiences are looking for. For example, audiences searching for listicles of the best products or services would want fresh results.
End with a suitable CTA to guide your readers on what they can do next, seamlessly converting them toward their next actions. This also allows you to encourage them to enter the next stage of their purchasing journey.
It’s one thing to create content suitable for an audience’s buyer’s journey. But connecting with them at the right time and place and nurturing leads are other challenges many content marketers face, especially if they’re only engaging with them on a single platform.
That’s why you might want to upgrade your content marketing strategy and consider incorporating cross-channel marketing – this is an approach that uses multiple marketing platforms to form a coherent and sustained marketing message from one platform to another. This provides audiences with a holistic experience as they go through various stages of their buyer journey.
To further elevate your content marketing efforts, you can also explore incorporating automation into your processes, especially if you’re applying cross-channel marketing. Automated tools will boost your efficiency while saving time and effort. Some tools you can consider are smart content and multi-touch attribution.
Smart content allows audiences to see the right content suitable to their interests. These types of content show up after following a sequence of if-then commands from the user’s prior interactions with your content. On the other hand, multi-touch attribution is a method of gauging your marketing efforts by keeping track of a user’s touch points until conversion. This allows you to assess ads or contents that work and those that didn’t.
Like most, if not all, of your marketing strategies, you must monitor your progress. Keep track of the benchmarks determined when you were creating your content strategy. These numbers will give you data-based insights that will help you make informed decisions. The status of your key performance indicators will tell you which of your plans have worked and which you need to adjust.
Data analytics will serve as detailed metrics that help you assess and make needed changes in your content strategy. No matter how thoroughly you’ve planned them, you’d still encounter bottlenecks.
The buyer’s journey is necessary for creating valuable content your audiences might find appealing, as these types of content resonate with their interests and pain points. With this, some content tends to be more suitable for a specific stage than others. Some of these are:
These are some of the content ideas that might be suitable for every stage of the buyer’s journey. You’ll be able to come up with more unique ideas that delight your audience once you’ve gained a deeper understanding of them.
Optimizing your content according to the buyer journey of your audiences allows you to produce one that highly appeals to them based on what they need and where they’re at. Doing this allows you to gain and nurture high-quality leads until they make profitable consumer actions. Producing user-centric content also boosts your credibility and strengthens your relationship with your audiences.
You must perform thorough research and preparation. You must create content suitable for each stage – content for consumers in the awareness stage must inform, contextualize, and educate about their problems and possible solutions to these concerns. Content for the consideration stage must discuss these solutions in detail and compare them to others, and those for the decision stage must address doubts or questions about the products.