Content Marketing Tips for Each Stage of The Buyer’s Journey
The Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey describes the series of steps prospects go through before making a purchase decision. It is one of the most powerful content marketing tips you can follow to understand and control the decision making process.
Creating content for each stage in the buyer’s journey is the cornerstone of effective content marketing. If you can help prospects understand, review and decide what to buy, you can have a marked impact on their purchase decision.
In this post, we’ll give you a brief overview of the buyer’s journey. After that, we’ll help you figure out what kind of content to create for each stage in this journey.
The Buyer’s Journey Explained
When it comes to making a purchase, very few customers make an outright decision when first given an offer. Most go through a series of discrete steps before making a purchase decision. This series of steps is called the “buyer’s journey”.
Typically, the buyer’s journey is divided into three broad stages. These are:
- Awareness: In this stage, the buyer first becomes aware of his problems and starts understanding it better.
- Consideration: Buyers in this stage start evaluating different solutions available to them.
- Decision: In the third stage, buyers compare a handful of solutions and make a definite purchase decision.
In some cases, the buyer’s journey might also have a fourth stage, called Advocate. Here, the buyers turn from customers into fans and evangelists.
You must understand that the buyer’s journey is not always a linear process. Buyers can jump from one stage to the next, or even drop out of the journey completely. Your job, as a marketer, is to make sure that the buyers stay within the process as much as possible and make a decision in your favor.
By creating targeted content for traffic and each stage in the buyer’s journey, you can not only control how buyers make their purchase decision, but also leave a positive impression (which, in turn, influences their purchase decision).
In fact, according to this content marketing tip from Rand Fishkin of Moz, leaving a positive impression is the very point of content marketing.
Creating Content for the Awareness Stage
In the awareness stage, buyers are primarily interested in learning more about the problem. In some cases, they might not even know they have a problem yet. Any content you create for this stage, thus, must help prospects become aware of, and understand their problems better.
Awareness stage keywords
The first step in the content creation process is to create a list of keywords buyers use to learn more about the problem. This is a two step process:
- Identify the core problem your product solves. For example, a CRM helps sales reps manage contacts, track relationships, etc.
- Plug these problems into a keyword tool along with the words listed below..
Awareness stage keywords usually have the following words in them: solve, troubleshoot, how to, understand, resolve, upgrade, improve, optimize, prevent, what is, etc.
Thus, awareness stage keywords for a CRM tool might be “how to manage sales relationships”, “improve sales contact management”, etc.
Awareness stage content
Once you have a list of keywords, it’s time to create targeted content. Since buyers are mostly interested in learning about the problem, in-depth guides work best.
Try to create the following content types for this stage:
- Blog posts
Since buyers still have very limited knowledge about the problem, this content should be easy to understand and follow.
Creating Content for Consideration Stage
By the time they reach the consideration stage, buyers have already consumed several pieces of content and have a strong understanding of the problem. Hence, all content you create for this stage must help buyers evaluate different solutions.
Consideration stage keywords
Consideration stage keywords target solutions instead of problems. The process for finding keywords is the same as above:
- Identify the core problem your product solves.
- Plug this problem into a keyword tool along with the words listed below.
Consideration stage keywords usually have the following words in them: tool, plugin, solution, software, service, supplier.
For example, consideration stage keywords for a CRM can be “plugin to manage sales contacts”, “customer relationship management tools”, etc.
Consideration stage content
In the consideration stage, your content should engage prospects in choosing a solution that works. The following content types work best for this:
- White papers
This content should require higher investment from the reader in terms of time or data. It’s a good idea to offer it only after prospects share their email and other contact details. You also want to include relevant CTAs to guide prospects towards making a purchase decision.
Creating Content for Decision Stage
In the decision stage, buyers already know their problems and its possible solutions. Now they need some final affirmation before making a purchase decision.
The decision stage can be further divided into two parts:
- Comparison: This is where buyers compare two or more products, picking one that fits their needs.
- Purchase: This is where buyers, after selecting a product, find the best place to buy it for the cheapest price.
Decision stage keywords
Keywords in the decision stage largely focus on helping buyers compare, review and purchase the product. Use the following words in your keyword searches to find relevant keywords:
- Comparison: Use words such as compare, review, evaluate, test, pros and cons, versus, vs. ratings, along with product name(s) or categories. For example: “compare CRM tools”, “Salesforce vs. SugarCM”, etc.
- Purchase: Use words such as discount, coupon, buy, purchase, along with a specific product name or category. For example: “salesforce coupons”, “buy sugarCRM online”
Decision stage content
Buyers in this stage need validation of their own choices. The best way to do this is by creating demos, reviews, and case studies that show off the product’s benefits and use-cases.
The following content types work best for the decision stage:
- Customer testimonials
- Case studies
- Benchmark reports
- White papers
As always, try to show, not just tell people about the product. Walk them through possible uses of the product, ideally through visual content such as videos.
Creating targeted content for each stage of the buyer’s journey is one of the most important content marketing tips you can follow.. By finding keywords that work in each stage, and creating the right content type, you can help buyers make a decision in your favor.
What is your process for creating content for each stage of the buyer’s journey?