Do you know where your online readers are in your typical customers’ buying journey?
Inbound or content marketing on a business blog or website works to attract potential customers but it depends on how well you connect to customers at the right time with the right words that inspire action.
Just as it’s important to make sure your blog or website content appropriately appeals to the type of customer you’re trying to attract, it’s also important to connect it to where those potential customers are in the buying journey.
- Some people who read your blog might not even be thinking about purchasing services like yours.
- Others may just be starting to explore options.
- Others may be looking to buy your product or hire a professional services firm like yours right now.
Knowing that your readers are at different places in this journey, it’s your job to ensure your content appropriately matches the map.
The Customers’ Buying Journey:
Divide and Conquer
Consider each place that a customer is in the buying process. Rather than separating them out based on different services they need, you’re separating them based on where they are in the process.
Now make sure you have content that addresses each phase. Remember: someone at the start of the journey will eventually need to read the content you’ve targeted to the other stages, so your role is to move them through the content easily as their needs change. Below is a simple way to think of where your prospects are in the buying process. For many B2B companies, this is more complex and there may be multiple people involved at different stages. (I will walk through a more complex buying process in a future post.)
- For the Explorer: Explorers, who are just beginning to research what companies like yours do or how they can solve their problems on their own, want rudimentary information. For them, create content centering around basic 101 concepts, definitions, and frequently asked questions. Remember: they may know nothing about your field, so start slow and don’t take for granted that they will understand something that comes naturally to you. Yet, don’t dumb it down so much you insult them!
- For the Searchers: Those that are beginning to search for solutions that you can provide need a bit more information. You can write about what to look for in services like yours, compare options, and offer a little DIY advice (the great thing about DIY posts is that they often still lead the potential customer to your door, once she realizes she doesn’t want to do the work herself!). She’s already done her basic research, and now she’s ready for a savvier level of content. At this stage, she may be price sensitive, so avoid discussing pricing until you’ve sold her on the value of services like yours.
- For the Buyers: These folks are ready to buy. They’ve done their digging and know pretty much what they need, though you might change their minds if you can offer a better solution. Now you can talk about benefits of services like yours, the cost benefit, how it will help their businesses grow, etc. You can write case studies of brands you’ve worked with to demonstrate the value of what you do. Essentially, content for this group needs to sell…without selling your product directly.
If you’re going to mention pricing (and you don’t have to) as a way to disqualify anyone who doesn’t have the budget to work with you, now is the time. It’s best to mention a price range, or “prices starting at” to avoid pigeonholing yourself for a price quote.
Include a call to action in these posts. Encourage readers to contact you for a free consultation, and link to your website’s page that discusses the services you’re writing about. Don’t just leave them hanging; make sure they know what the next step is to get started in working with you.
Remember, you don’t have to do a hard pitch through content. Simply by providing valuable offers and blog posts—for every step of the customer buying journey—you’ll instill trust, and they’ll be more inclined to reach out to you once they reach that buying stage.
I hope this post takes away some of the mystery of content marketing: How blog posts and web pages pave the way to lead generation and client acquisition. Content marketing is great when it provides problem-solving information for your readers, targets their needs and creates desire to know more about how your business can help them.
Got questions? Let me help. I’d love to hear from you at 703-728-1336, or here.