We’ve all heard the talk about content. “Content is the currency of the web. Marketing is content. Alright! We get it. Content is important to all online marketing. However, before we start to churn out blog posts, web pages and whitepapers, it’s just as important to take a deep look at our customers’ content needs at each point of the buying process.
Without a consumer-centric approach, your content may cause frustration and confusion for your customers, which can result in a costly loss of business. A purchase-ready web visitor will be frustrated if he or she must wade through product information on their way to a shopping cart. Alternatively, a top-of-the-funnel prospect who browses your tweets will be turned-off by constant sales pitches.
Consumers will typically follow the same buying process. For each stage of the buying process your visitor’s needs will change, so the type of content you deliver also has to change. Take a look at the list below and see if you notice any holes in your own content plan.
- Awareness: SEO, Social Media, Paid Advertising, Blog Posts, Branded Communities
- Consideration: Forums, eBooks/whitepapers, demos, calculators, tools, videos, infographics, research studies, buyer guides/checklists
- Preference: Testimonials, product trial videos, user reviews and ratings, industry recommendations and awards, case studies, user generated content (message boards, forums, review systems etc).
- Purchase: UI/UX in the purchase process, promotions, sign-up tools, shopping carts, easy instructions, pricing structures, pretty contracts.
- Loyalty: Private advocate communities (FB Groups, private login sites), community of current users (email newsletter, message boards), FAQs, online and phone support, free goodies, rewards for being awesome, insider information, and advocacy tools.
Sure, it’s complicated to organize and produce the perfect piece of content at each one of these key moments, but there’s an easy way to get started. Look at the typical sales funnel process from the consumer’s perspective.
- What kind of content do you provide during each phase of the customer journey?
- Does your content help or hurt the customer? (Is there unnecessary information? Can you make the process easier?)
- Note the areas where you lack, and plug the holes you find.
A digital marketing ecosystem is a large beast with multiple platforms. However, with a consumer-centric approach, you can ensure that you efficiently and effectively use the time and money spent to produce and distribute content. Find the holes in your current content plan and begin work on a strategy to fill those missing needs. Your marketing content will improve along with your ability to generate sales and awareness for your organization.
This post was based on “Content and the Customer Journey” from Room 214’s Quarterly Digital Marketing Trend Report. Get the full content marketing guide when you download the full report for free.