Customer acquisition is getting increasingly difficult, with more competition and content shock making it harder than ever to capture your audience’s attention.
As a result, according to Semrush, the top three content marketing challenges we currently face include:
In this age, we understand content marketing can seem daunting. Where do you start? Which channels should you use? Who’s your target audience? What types of content should you write?
Does this sound relatable? If so, keep on reading.
To begin, it’s important to acknowledge that a lot of your content may be optimised for SEO, in order to rank in the search engine results pages. However, above all, your content must be audience-first. The modern customer is extremely savvy and will do their research before making a purchase, digesting all the content they can get their hands on.
We’ll run you through how to create a bullet-proof content marketing strategy to target potential customers at each stage of the buyer’s journey, satisfying their needs, addressing their pain points, giving them all the necessary information to make an informed decision and driving them closer to conversion. We’ll cover…
The buyer’s journey is a model used to describe a customer’s entire journey with a brand, starting from becoming aware of the brand, all the way through to making a purchase. The journey is made up of three stages: awareness, consideration and decision. This can be visualised in the form of a funnel: the content marketing funnel.
Here’s a breakdown of the content marketing funnel:
The awareness stage is the first step of the buyer’s journey, where potential customers are first being introduced and engaging with your brand. Here, customers will have a problem and be seeking to understand what is causing it. This is the ‘what, who, why and how’, so your content will need to educate and inform your audiences, without pushing your product or services too much. The main goal of TOFU content is to attract as many relevant users to your site as possible and focus on them – not you – so, save the sales talk for later on!
At the consideration stage, the buyer has identified their problem and is considering options to solve it. They are still not ready to buy anything, so your content should simply be serving and explaining the different options of possible solutions – perhaps, in the form of demos, comparisons, solution offerings, case studies and explainer videos. At this stage, you want to gain the trust of your audience and build a relationship with them.
Some typical keyword modifiers at the consideration stage include: affordable, reviews, best, top and the most effective.
At the decision stage, your prospective customers have now assessed all their options and decided where they want to get their solution from – hopefully your brand. They may be ready to buy or are looking to answer their final questions before purchase. At this point, you want to be providing them with anything that will help them convert, like free trials, demos, testimonials, FAQs, product pricing pages. It’s acceptable to be a bit more ‘salesy’ at this point as your customers are ready for this type of content. Some keyword modifiers may include test, buy, book now, trial and discount codes.
The funnel gets narrower as it goes down as many leads will drop off and only a small number will become paying customers.
Remember, the marketing funnel will change depending on your customer base, with one of the most significant differences being B2B and B2C audiences. In most cases, a B2C audience will glide through the funnel on their own accord without the need to speak with a brand representative. Whereas, a B2B audience will require touch points with sales representatives at an earlier stage. It is crucial that you customise your funnel according to your audience. Did you know that the average B2B buyer will consume 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchase but just 3-5 pieces for the average customer?
All that being said, we can take the buyer’s journey one step further. Introducing the marketing flywheel….
The marketing flywheel takes the buyer’s journey up a notch, incorporating the after-sales customer journey and looking at the process as a cycle. Overlapping slightly with the buyer’s journey, the flywheel includes three stages: attract, engage and delight.
Attract: this phase is where you attract potential customers with useful content, using tactics such as search engine optimisation, social media or paid advertising.
Engage: the engage phase encourages potential customers to engage with your brand and consider your products or services, through personalised email nurturing, for instance.
Delight: the delight phase is where you build brand loyalty and offer your customers post-sales support, turning them into brand advocates and repeat customers. This could be through customer services, loyalty schemes or surveys.
This final phase is becoming increasingly important as word-of-mouth becomes one of the most influential ways to drive sales, with 81% of buyers trusting their family and friends more than advice offered by businesses, Moreover, a customer’s lifetime value (LTV), how much a loyal customer will spend on your brand over their lifetime, is typically higher than the cost to acquire new customers (CAC)!
Let’s take a look at the different types of content you should be creating that will focus on attracting strangers, engaging prospects and delighting customers.
When it comes to attracting strangers, it’s all about providing upfront value with no strings attached. By this, we mean creating engaging content that will catch the attention of new audiences, entertain and educate them. There are many different types of content that work well at this discovery stage, including:
At the engagement level, prospects will be looking for more information about how to solve their problem and completing their final bits of research before purchasing. Your content should be focused on making the process as seamless as possible, creating a business case for your brand and separating your products or services from competitors. This could be in the form of…
Delighting customers is essential to retaining customers. Content at the delight stage should focus on providing after-sales support, explaining how to maximise the use of your products or showcasing new features. Some content you can create for this stage includes:
When it comes to actually mapping out and creating content, there are a number of things to consider. Here’s some food for thought…
We encourage you to organise your mapped content into a comprehensive editorial calendar with all the relevant information. In this way, it is easier to segment your content, attribute it to your buyer personas and plan ahead.
Here’s a top-level example of what this could look like for an organic shampoo company:
Your editorial calendar should include due and publish dates, key themes, buyer personas, buyer’s stage, content type and title as a bare minimum. It is up to you how granular you go with your calendar, from adding corresponding social media posts, visual assets and more.
Let’s recap. If you’re doing to take anything away from this blog – here are my top tips when it comes to building a content strategy:
If you’re interested in building a content strategy to guide customers through the buyer’s journey and turn website visitors into paying customers, check out our content marketing services or get in touch with our team for more information.