The methodology mentioned above is referred as Inbound Marketing that includes attracting strangers on the internet, converting them into leads, and eventually into delighted customers. But the real question is how do you attract these strangers and earn their trust in order to form a long-term customer relationship? The answer is content. Great content will always attract information seekers who are lurking over the internet to find information about a product or service and make a decision.
Before creating the great content, it is important to understand and define exactly who you’re creating it for. Now this is termed as Buyer Persona– the people who are your target audience and you want to sell your products or services to them. Once you understand who your buyers are, you’re ready to create steps for buyer’s journey.
What Is The Buyer’s Journey?
Not all people think alike. Same will be the case with your different types of buyer persona, and the next step that you’ll want to take is to map each persona with the buyer’s journey. HubSpot defines the buyer’s journey as a detailed research process potential customers go through before reaching or leading up to the purchase decision. In layman’s term, what questions, problems or opportunities do your potential customers have that could be answered or solved by using your product or service? The content you create will be designed according to various stages defined in your buyer’s journey. If you don’t know about the important lifecycles of a buyer’s journey, how will you create content to mould the decision of buyers in various stages of the journey in your favour?
There are three common and important lifecycles of any business:
1. Awareness Stage
Prospect’s realize about their needs or encounter some problems that needs to be resolved. They start researching(on the internet) to more deeply understand and define their problem. They also look for solutions online.
2. Consideration Stage
Prospects have clearly understood their need or problem and now are juggling through options of products or services that best suits their needs. They are committed to researching and understanding to reach to a conclusion.
3. Decision Stage
In the final lap of making a decision. But before doing that they need to be doubly sure about whether they are making the right decision or not. Hence, they look for second, third or ‘n’ number of opinions of other people who have witnessed the products or services by a company.
4. Mistakes most Digital Marketers make
Most companies and their marketers concentrate their effort or the bulk of their online content on the decision stage( Buy Now, Join our club and get one membership free!, etc.). What most marketer leave behind is the focus on other stages of the customer lifecycle, that mostly answer the customer’s question-why? Inbound Marketing(a type of digital marketing) does encourage the marketers to create content for each stage of the buyer’s journey because it’s critical for long term success. It helps build trust and frames your company as the industry leader in the product/service segment that your company caters to.
A Dummy Example
Using Content for Buyer’s Journey
Client: Video Production Company Startup
Persona: Marketing Head
In this stage a business owner is trying to find various marketing solutions available but wants to find a unique one- one that resonates with his potential customers.
Question: What type of online marketing solutions will move my company forward?
For example: tips for startups for creating engaging content for their social media channels.
Now the business owner knows a bit more about engaging content through video and wants to know more about other options.
Question: Video could be a great solution for telling our company story. What type of other video options are there? What is the video process?
Content that could be useful: Case studies featuring client success, webinars, and infographics. For example: The Video and Production Process explained.
The owner is ready to make a decision that he’ll move forward with a video production company that would brand his company. The content will be produced to showcase his company better than all the rest.
Before doing that he looks for online reviews and ask some direct questions from the video production company.
Questions: Why you do video best? Are you right for me?
Content provided by the video company: Culture-focused blog posts by internal employees. Video demos, feature checklists etc. For example: How to prepare for a video shoot checklist.
Understanding the questions asked by your various buyer personas helps you better map out the content for each stage. Hence, it is very important to understand the buyer’s journey for your digital marketing success.