Before we dive into the second half of the buyer’s journey, please note that this is part two of an in-depth series. Part one can be found here.
Now that we’ve covered how effective content marketing can bring your consumers through the awareness, interest, and consideration stages of the buyer’s journey, it’s time to get into the last three stages. The second half of the buyer’s journey focuses on the purchase, post-purchase, and repurchase. Using your content marketing strategy to create emotional connections with your consumers during these phases will be the key to advocacy and repeat business.
Leveraging your unique positioning, content here should center around creating communities and forums. This will allow your consumer base to become deeply connected to your brand as well as each other. When your brand is a community, it doesn’t end at purchase.
A Quick Recap of the Buyer’s Journey
In part one of this series, we talked about how different types of content marketing can strengthen your chances of bringing your target market through the first three stages of the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey is a process most consumers go through when finding and deciding on a brand to remedy their specific pain points. This six-stage system begins with awareness, transitions into interest, and is followed by consideration.
In this second installment, we’ll be starting at the purchase stage and talking through the process of moving into the post-purchase phase, and how to keep customer interest in order to leverage original content and encourage repeated conversions in the repurchase stage.
The Purchase Stage
It’s about time we got to the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the purchase or conversion event. Content marketing is integral to making sure that purchase goes off without a hitch while leaving your consumers feeling confident in their choice to buy from you. Many companies make the mistake of thinking that the buyer’s journey ends after a purchase has been made, but this is a critical point where you can encourage your customers to come back and turn them into full brand advocates.
In the moments leading up to purchase as well as those right after, people get nervous. This is your opportunity to reassure them that buying this product or service from you is absolutely the right choice and avoid the woes of abandoned carts.
At this stage, providing product tutorials, client testimonials, and product quality facts will make all the difference for your consumers. Give them the reasoning they need to justify the purchase of your offering from your brand specifically. A great tip here is not to shy away from common concerns. Addressing your audience’s questions head-on will build the trust and confidence your buyers are looking for.
A great example of consumer understanding and reassurance is McDonald’s “Our Food. Your Questions,” campaign. This content marketing promotion used both videos and behind-the-scenes blogs to educate consumers on what was in their food, where that food came from, and the standards with which it’s prepared. This followed much negative publicity about the health concerns surrounding McDonald’s food that they decided needed addressing.
By informing people on their sourcing, sustainability initiatives, and food safety regulations, they were able to convince many consumers of their good intentions and practices. This led to a resurgence of purchases.
Since the campaign launched, McDonald’s has received and responded to more than 15,000 questions with text updates, new videos, and even some photos of their different processes. This is the type of content marketing that brings your customers peace of mind and gets them buying from your brand as well as recommending it to their friends.
Perfecting the Check-in: The Post-Purchase Stage
Keeping your customers interested after they complete their purchase can be tough, but it is the difference between a one-time buyer and a loyal customer. At the post-purchase stage of the buyer’s journey, your customer’s emotional connection to your brand becomes extremely important. The way to leverage content marketing here is through emotional storytelling. Tapping into their purchase motivators, interests, and core values will be what keeps buyers interested and coming back.
This stage is when your brand needs to have a real angle, where your industry and the passions of your consumers need to converge to build out content that adds value and interest to your brand. Great ways to do this include continued learning, stories and use cases about the purchased products, and even stories in parallel interests. Getting your buyers interested in your content for the sake of its story or the advantages it can offer will be what keeps them engaged with your brand and open to new conversion opportunities.
The surf gear company Rip Curl was able to connect with their customers on a deeper level through their Search Campaign. For this project, they leveraged both the existing interest from their recent buyers and emotional storytelling to bring their consumers content that would keep them coming back. This is the search for the perfect wave. A huge part of the surfing mindset is a love for the sport and its connection to the ocean.
By understanding this key motivator, Rip Curl created a content marketing initiative where experienced surfers could talk about some of their greatest waves. Through this content campaign, they challenged top surfers from around the world to take a break from the competitive grind and remember what it’s like to simply surf for the love of it, to go in search of a perfect wave.
Encouraging Repeat Purchases: The Re-Purchase Stage
Convincing past buyers to buy from you again is an incredibly valuable objective across industries. Gaining new consumers is an expensive endeavor, especially when your audience is a fixed or slow-to-grow market. At this point your customers know about your brand, it’s offerings, and your customer service practices, but getting them to make another purchase comes down to educating them on more of your products or services.
They may have already heard of and decided they didn’t need these products, or not heard of them but feel that what they’ve already invested in can do the trick. The best thing to do here is to make sure they know how your different offerings can enhance each other and deliver much more in the long-run.
Make sure that your audience understands how much purchasing another item or service from you can help them when looking to achieve their overall goals by explaining the value of consolidation, product compatibility, or simply the advantages of working with an already trusted vendor. One effective strategy to accomplish this is through blogs and newsletters.
Blogs can be great for going in-depth and explaining the advantages of making the right purchase decisions, but getting them in front of the right audience has always been a top issue. When you already have the contact information for your target market, things can get easier, so direct their attention to the right content with a well-designed newsletter. Or you can create an online community and get creative.
The American Express OPEN forum is a place where consumers can get together and ask their questions, acting as a great way to keep people engaging with their brand. They then took it a step further and began publishing blogs through it on tips and services for growing your business as well as reaching your personal financial goals. This allowed American Express to inspire additional service use while giving their community great tips for reaching their personal goals and allowing them to converse about it all in the same place.
Elevating Your Brand Through the Buyer’s Journey
A consumer’s decision to buy is multi-faceted. Understanding their different concerns and priorities throughout the buyer’s journey can help you connect with your audience on a deeper level. It’s these stronger relationships that create a loyal consumer-base and keep customers coming back. When looking to gain awareness, speak broadly. When building interest, get into the details.
During the consideration stage, stand out with unique offerings and sneak peeks. When it comes to purchasing, combat your buyers’ nerves by answering their questions and being transparent. Keep them engaged by promoting content that’s interesting for who they are, rather simply than why they should buy. And finally, get your customers buying more of your products with tips for using multiple offerings together to accomplish more.
The buyer’s journey is a great way to separate out the progression each buyer goes through, but finding them along their journey and communicating at each step is a process unique to your specific audience. Working with an agency that can do the work and reliably deliver measurable results will drive real growth for your brand and create lasting consumer relationships.
If you’re looking to do more for your content marketing strategy, get in touch with one of our experts today!