The concept of the customer journey has been around longer than I have. It describes the process an average person goes through from initial exposure to a product right through to buying it and then beyond. It?s a logical journey that rings true with the vast majority of consumers.
It?s also a journey that any content marketing campaign should play an active role in at all stages. Projects often only consider the initial introduction stage and leave it there. That?s a mistake. By supporting the customer journey throughout, you stand a much better chance of conversion.
The customer journey
What is this customer journey? It is often referred to as a sales funnel and describes the various steps a person makes during a typical buying process. It goes a little like this:
Awareness ? The prospect becomes aware they have an issue for which they need a solution. Broad research takes place while they have yet to make any decisions.
Consideration and evaluation ? More detailed research highlights potential suppliers and start to make comparisons between brands and products.
Purchase ? The prospect has shortlisted potential suppliers and is ready to make a purchase. The final decision is made and the purchase goes ahead.
Post-purchase ? After-sales service and continual support keeps your company in the mind of the customer.
Web content for each stage of the journey
An effective content marketing strategy will provide content that addresses all stages of the customer journey. It will pay particular attention to the awareness and post-purchase stage, but all will be addressed within the campaign.
First we need to identify your target market, their position, size of their business, potential problems that you can solve and their probable budget. This information helps us create marketing personas and these personas play a crucial role in a campaign.
Writing content for the awareness stage of the customer journey is all about publishing content highlighting how your offering solves a particular problem, offers specific benefits or makes life better, easier, cheaper, more streamlined or more efficient for one of those marketing personas.
You can then create blog posts that covers as many of these as possible. Supporting content in the form of guest posts, social media activities, video, infographics ?or podcasts can all play a part of relevant to your audience.
Consideration and evaluation
The consideration and evaluations stage is where you strengthen the content and concentrate more on features and benefits, your company, its reputation, the type of technologies or solutions you use, the typical types of service you offer and slightly more detailed information about your offering.
Typical forms would be longer blog posts and articles, white papers, case studies, eBooks, demonstration videos and technical specifications.
At the purchase stage, decisions are about to be made so it is useful here to offer incentives to convert. At this stage, you will be being compared to other vendors. Customers will likely be doing wider searches to assess your reputation, checking reviews and making that final decision.
Content opportunities here are in the value-add category which also feed into post-purchase. They would include instructional articles or videos, troubleshooting guides, hints and tips, tutorials, case studies, featured customer interviews, review feedback and social proof types of content.
The purchase has been made and your product has been implemented. Now is the time to build on that relationship. By keeping your company in the mind of the customer, they are more likely to buy from you again and recommend you to others.
Typical content forms would be newsletters, troubleshooting guides, FAQs, how-to articles or videos, optimisation guides, supporting blog posts, update notifications and reminders.
By producing good quality content across as many channels as possible, you create a wide net to capture prospects. This all contributes to building authority and reputation, both of which helps at the purchase stage.
If you need help generating quality content for the customer journey, contact Coastal Content today. We would be happy to help!