As brands, we want to make it onto our target customer’s ‘short-list’. But we frequently don’t create enough content for every stage of the customer journey. Often, we focus on just one stage or a single content type.
In the previous article we learned that developing a set of buyer personae or avatars for your target customers is the best way to make your content ‘hit the mark’. It is increasingly important to create content for your Ideal Customer Avatar to find for every stage of the customer journey which is what we’re covering next.
Google has done extensive research into buyer behaviour over the years, based on the extensive data it can access. One concept you really need to get comfortable with is ‘The Zero Moment of Truth’. You may already be familiar with it – it’s the point at which a prospect calls or contacts you for the first time.
Google’s own research indicates that as much as 70% of the customer’s research and decision-making is already completed – before they get in contact.
“In between stimulus and point of sale, we discovered decision-making now includes extensive research. Consumers go online to read reviews, comparison shop, look for deals, and more. Marketers that reach consumers here – the Zero Moment of Truth- will gain a true competitive advantage.” Think with Google
This is why it is so important to understand your customer’s journey and what your buyer personas or ICAs will find most relevant and helpful, to them.
We have adapted and developed a content classification model for this:
Stage 1: general research, mild interest, not urgent (reach: raise awareness, inform)
Stage 2: recognised need, trigger event, more interested (convince: make the shortlist)
Stage 3: decision time, deeper research, need to choose (convert: why choose us)
Stage 4: post-purchase ‘honeymoon’, reassure, add value (upsell: why recommend us)
If you are ready to map content against your target customer’s journey, Part 5 of our online programme, Content Marketing Conquered, guides you through the process, step by step.
There are many different content formats
Any content – text, graphics, audio, video, photography – that sits online and carries a link (url) back to your website = inbound marketing. Here we have captured most, but not all, of the different ‘vehicles’ your content can travel around the internet within. These can sit on your own website, on social media, on someone else’s website. All help with SEO, page ranking and domain authority.
Try to avoid: one common oversight we see with many clients is an imbalance of content. This occurs when content has not been mapped out for the customer journey, there is too much from some stages, too little for others. There may also be a lack of variety – consumers may prefer different content formats. Why else would video or photo sharing social platforms be so popular.
Don’t forget to: include customer-facing colleagues at each stage of content planning. Arrange regular catch-ups with customer-facing colleagues or run cross-functional workshops to set the scene, then create a feedback loop to encourage colleagues to share insights with you.
Why not try: to conduct an audit of your content to identify gaps in content for the different stages, content formats (audio, video, text, images), the balance between ‘why choose our products & services’ and ‘why choose us’. A content audit provides the foundation for future planning and easy access to existing content.
As well as creating content for different stages and formats, your content can support your sales process by feeding links and snippets into emails or automation streams – set up a logical sequence. This is what Marcus Sheridan refers to as “Assignment Selling”.
“… companies that understand the value of content beyond the “find” phase, and use it for the selling, nurturing, and retention cycles of a customer—will ALWAYS see tremendous value in producing content. And those that don’t understand this value, will worry about their industry having “too much content.” Marcus Sheridan
I have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of marketers as they embrace or fine-tune their CONTENT MARKETING and have concluded that success is built on three pillars:
- Empathy & Customer Insight
- SEO & Targeting
- Content Planning & Distribution
You can certainly compete on quality and you may not need to win the quantity game depending on the sector or industry you are in.
In the next article, we are going to learn how to define your value proposition and dominate your niche.