Content marketing is a growing strategy for gaining consumer interest. It strengthens your company’s personality, your understanding of your audience, and your conversion rates. The right content strategy can do all this because it leverages emotional storytelling.
Tapping into the emotions and motivators of your audience will help you build real connections with them, while bringing them through the buyer’s journey reliably and effectively. There are three key components to making a truly fantastic content marketing strategy: understanding where your consumers are along the buyer’s journey, creating content that connects, and inspiring action within your target audience.
This is a big topic and an incredibly important system to get right if you want to reliably drive conversions for your business. With that in mind, we’re taking the time to go through best practices in-depth and explain how you can get the most out of your content marketing.
That being said, we know you have a life, so we’ve split this topic into a two-part series. Let’s dive into the first three stages of the consumer journey and how you can use content marketing to cut conversion costs while generating measurable interest in your brand.
Understanding the Importance of the Buyer’s Journey
There are six stages to the buyer’s journey: awareness, interest, consideration, purchase, post-purchase, and repurchase. At each of these stages, your consumers are looking for different types of information before they can be ready to move through the marketing funnel. Quality content and blogging is an incredibly effective way to get your audience the answers they’re looking for while keeping them engaged.
In fact, 78% of consumers prefer getting to know companies through articles and 47% of buyers read 3-5 pieces of content before deciding to make a purchase. Content marketing within the buyer’s journey is an effective and powerful tool for building your consumer base.
Connecting with Consumers at the Awareness Stage
The first stage of the buyer’s journey is awareness, this is when every one of your competitors is vying for attention from your target market and standing out above the noise is key. Right now, your prospective buyer is focused on their needs and on the main pain-points that your products or services address. Here, educational blogging is your most valuable tool.
During the awareness stage, your consumer isn’t simply becoming aware of your company and competitors, they may be becoming aware of your industry as a whole as well. Your content here should focus on the problems they’re experiencing and how your industry can help. From a big-picture understanding of the issues at hand to specific examples of how your offerings are the best solutions; addressing the pain-points of your audience is how you’ll gain their attention and trust at this stage.
A great example of doing this right is the Grow From Acorns content campaign. This was an ingenious content strategy created by an investment application provider to explain some of the complexities of their industry, saving and investing money as a whole, and how their app can help no matter your income level.
Through effective blogging strategies, Grow From Acorns was able to take its big, complicated industry and bring it to its consumers in bite-sized pieces. Trust is everything in marketing and when you’re asking consumers to manage their money through your business it can get incredibly difficult to build the right connections.
This campaign provided resources for understanding, managing, and investing money for anyone, even those who weren’t using their app. This expertise and reliability inspired consumer trust, advocacy, and qualified lead conversion.
Keeping their Interest
Now you’ve caught the eyes of your target market with educational content, how do you keep them coming back? You’ve already established your expertise and reliability for the problems your consumers are facing, it’s time to bring them into the next stage of the buyer’s journey, the interest stage.
This is when your consumers start to dig deeper. Your educational content has led them to understand the issues and know the industry, now they’re beginning to look for the right solutions. This is where premium content marketing starts playing a bigger role.
Throughout the interest stage, your prospective customer is looking to learn more, to dive deeper into what sort of solutions your industry, and more specifically, what your brand can offer. During this phase, they may even be willing to try out some of your premium content offerings. These are longer pieces of content like whitepapers, ebooks, webinars, workshops, and videos that can bring your consumers more specific answers for what they’re looking for.
At this stage of the consumer cycle, buyers want details and your content strategy needs to deliver. But let’s say you’re a smaller company and something like a whitepaper or explanatory video is just too daunting. Don’t sweat it, analytical blogging and how-to content can be equally as effective here as long as you know how to do it.
For example, let’s take a look at Buffer’s Marketing Library. This was a content marketing campaign that took blogging to another level. Buffer is a company that sells campaign planning software. As their products work to give people a platform to build out their marketing initiatives, they’ve opened up a library of in-depth how-to resources to also provide the know-how their customers need to properly drive interest. They didn’t simply create a super long tutorial on using their software, but opened a full and rich digital library of content that tackles everything from consumer persona development to how the ranking algorithms on specific social media sites work. They repurposed their know-how to create real value for consumers that brought loyalty, advocacy, and shareability to new heights.
Leveraging Interest into Consideration
Consideration is the third stage of the buyer’s journey and where things move from education and engagement to consideration for purchase. This is when consumers want to know what it would be like to buy from you, the details of your products, and why they should seriously examine your company as an option. Here, content pieces such as demos, trials, pricing charts, and case studies are key to convincing your target market that your company is worth their time and money.
During the consideration stage, your consumers know what they’re looking for and are ready to figure out if your business is the one to provide it. It’s important to respect their understanding, motivators, and worries while being willing to give them the specialized information they need.
In order to do this, you must understand what exactly your audience’s motivators, pain points, and worries are. Now is the time to break out those in-depth persona charts and tap into your market’s purchase motivators. This step requires mutual understanding, patience, and respect.
Tapping into the true motivators of your audience can be a tough order, that’s where initiatives like the IKEA Try Before You Buy Campaign can really start to shine. For this campaign, IKEA took a very streamlined approach to inspiring consumers to buy their furniture by letting them take a sneak peak at how their room could look.
This is an Augmented Reality, or AR system that took in the dimensions and composition of the actual space their prospective customer was looking to furnish and virtually put the pieces they were considering right into the space. It allowed the target audience to really get a feel for the overall effect, fit, and aesthetic that purchasing their products would make.
The campaign gave their consumers the confidence to take that final step and make the purchase. The key here is giving people a taste of what you can offer in a way that makes them want to invest their time and money in your brand.
Until our part two is released, remember what we’ve learned so far. Understanding each stage of the buyer’s journey takes time and aligning it with both your audience and your brand demands a robust content marketing strategy that helps you stand out.
Remember that you should be patient and that connecting with your audience at each stage will be the key to success. Consider how your brand can offer something unique to your consumers, how your approach and voice can develop real audience interest and loyalty.
At this point you’ve got your consumers at the edge of their seats, ready to buy into exactly what you’re selling. We’ll get into the actual purchase stage as well as how to navigate post-purchase communications and inspiring repeat business in part 2. We’ve still got three of the most influential pieces of the buyer’s journey to share with you, so be sure to check back in with us soon!