What is the Buyer’s Journey?
The buyer’s journey outlines the phases that a shopper goes through before making a purchase. These phases are 3, in general, being: awareness, consideration, and decision. The buyer is the hero in your story, not the other way around.
During the first phase, the buyer is looking for an answer to a problem they’re facing. At this point, they aren’t aware of what can solve said problem.
During the second phase, the buyer would have developed a clearer idea of why they’re facing said problem and have begun looking at potential solutions. At this point, shoppers would be attracted to content that explains how to solve the problems they’re facing.
The third phase is when the buyer’s journey comes to an end. Once shoppers have reached this point, they are no longer looking for solutions, rather for which company can best respond to their pain points and help them resolve the issues they’re facing; this is where they decide whom to purchase from.
How to Create Content for the Buyer’s Journey
Consumers rarely just Google what you offer, go to your website, and buy straight away. Before consumers officially consider your offering, they’re browsing blog posts, watching videos, checking reviews, consulting their friends, and interacting with groups.
So, unless you’re providing material that customers are looking for early on, you’re unlikely to be in the consideration pool. However, if you do appear earlier in the buyer’s journey, you will have the potential to engage them and affect their judgment call.
Analyzing the buyer’s journey allows you to produce relevant and concrete content for every stage, and here’s how:
- Develop your buyer personas. A buyer persona is a “fictitious person” you build based on market research to reflect the common features of your customers. Identifying what they’re looking for can assist you in creating the relevant content.
- Brainstorm and map out content ideas you think might interest people of the different personas. Brainstorming is a key component of every successful campaign, whether written or televised. By doing this, you will have a more structured and organized foundation to actually begin developing the content for each of the stages.
- This is done in parallel to step 2; organize your ideas into 3 sections to match each phase (awareness, consideration, and decision). This will further your understanding of your personas’ preferences and needs, thus making your content creation a little less complicated.
- Manipulate your ideas into types of content relevant to each phase.
- Studies have shown that buyers at the awareness stage prefer blogs posts highlighting their pain points, checklists, informative webinars and podcasts, explainer videos, and everything in between. CTAs here would guide them into the next phase. As for the consideration phase, buyers prefer comparison guides (pros and cons for different “solutions”), case studies, free trials / samples. They interact with CTAs at this point to lead them to the next phase. Regarding the decision stage, buyers tend to look for more inclusive free trials, consultation offers, and even branded videos. CTAs here lead them to the purchasing page.
Content for the Different Phases of the Buyer’s Journey
How do you approach each phase? How do you decide what to write, who to write for, and how to write? This is both easy and complex. It’s simple because, in principle, distinguishing the stages of awareness, consideration, and decision is rather simple provided you understand the notion and meaning of each.
In practice, however, this is far more challenging to do – you must understand exactly what to execute at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Here are our content strategies for delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time for the right reasons. Anaphora is useful in more than just the world of literature.
Content for the Awareness Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
Consumers can’t interact with your brand if they do not even know you’re there, correct? So, how can you help them reach you? The short answer is via awareness stage inbound marketing.
You’ve definitely seen a sales funnel at a certain point, but you might not realize that each phase requires different inbound marketing methods, content for the buyer’s journey, and initiatives. When you’re at the top of the funnel vs the bottom of the funnel, your content requirements will shift.
You are at the head of the funnel if you are attempting to raise awareness about a product or your brand as a whole. At this level of awareness, your aim is to develop content that would resonate with a wide range of people to filter those who might become potential clients.
So, what content should you generate for the buyer’s journey and how?
- Articles and blogs. For valid reasons, blog posts and articles are by far the most prevalent type of awareness stage content. This sort of information is helpful without being overbearing, and it is typically obtained through a simple Google search. Typically, people consider brainstorming to be the most difficult aspect of building a blogging strategy. These aren’t queries you anticipate consumers asking regarding your products or services in specific. Rather, concentrate on the questions they’d ask to assist them in solving their dilemma. Make a note of the questions and worries that your potential clients may have prior to making a purchase to generate a plethora of theme ideas. SEO will help your website rank better in search engines and make coming across your brand and offerings easier.
- Webinars and podcasts. We’ve already written a blog post about this, so just click here to read it when you’ve got the time. Less words boggling your mind here; you’re welcome.
- Video content. People’s attention spans are getting shorter. Few have the patience to read large, monotonous, and information-packed articles. So, to keep your content engaging, investing in video productions is among the best bets. Clever explainer videos for the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey can completely revolutionize your company and raise tremendous exposure. Consumers enjoy it, as evidenced by the fact that 77% of people follow an explainer video lasting up to 2 minutes. This sort of video is appealing to millennial consumers if you are targeting the younger generation in your organization.
There are several types of videos to choose from, based on what you’re offering. Here are some of the most popular and effective styles or types:
- Explainer Videos. Explainer videos will help you share a subject that is dear to your heart in a warm and emotional way. Explainer videos in the awareness stage have an impact on us in ways that few other forms of media do. They can tether strong emotions and present them in a shareable way that captures all you’re attempting to communicate. Furthermore, and most importantly, explainer videos for the awareness stage explain to your prospects why they are experiencing X issue and what you have to offer to fix it.
- Educational Videos. Educational videos are an excellent tool for informing your target audience about your brand. This video style should provide straightforward information on a broad topic related to your business. Because this information is relevant to the target audience, your brand will be noticed even if you are not attempting to make a sale explicitly. In this approach, you portray your company as an authority in a specific industry, bringing actual value to your brand. Additionally, potential clients would respect your company’s selflessness in disseminating information.
- Q&A Videos. Q&A videos are an excellent approach to interact with and meet the requirements of your target audience — more of a customer service approach. At this point, they need to ask a few typical questions and get suitable answers. This video format will allow your company to address these issues and objections straight on, adding value to your brand image. They must offer clear and thorough responses to any questions that viewers or potential clients may have. Furthermore, it demonstrates to viewers that your company is always accessible to meet their demands.
Content for the Consideration Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
At this point, they know what their pain point/s is/are and what they need to resolve it/them.
This is usually when visitors begin to look around and explore their alternatives. If they aren’t totally happy with your option and the material you’ve created to market it, they will leave your website or social media channel and possibly never return. What is the alternative? You’ve created content that is so entertaining and informative that the audience can’t resist believing in your brand and all it has to contribute, rendering your product or service even more enticing.
So, with that in mind, let’s look at the many sorts of content for the buyer’s journey that you can generate to convert more prospects into clients throughout the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey.
- Case studies and whitepapers. A case study may be utilized in both the consideration and decision stages at the same time to persuade the viewer that your system actually works by demonstrating that the source delivers outcomes for their clients by implementing the solution. By offering information and quantitative statistics about the end solution, a successful case study will speak to the person’s emotions and intellect.
- Cost calculators. It’s all about the budget. If your product is a low-cost alternative, don’t simply say it; construct a calculator that a prospective customer can use to discover how much each choice costs (and how they can save with you). Cost calculators don’t have to be complicated—or even look like calculators. Sometimes, the less complicated the better. A custom built calculator could not only display and explain pricing, but it can also screen out customers who cannot afford your services. Building a cost calculator, on the other hand, is quite tough, even for large companies and web developers. Check out this guide to show you how to create your own website cost calculator.
- Webinars and podcasts. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again. Webinars and podcasts are a great addition to content for the buyer’s journey and for all companies of all sizes. Webinars and podcasts will allow you to reach these shoppers on a deeper level and persuade them that you truly understand what you’re doing. However, the content for webinars and podcasts at the consideration stage is different than that in the awareness stage. Here, you can go into more detail regarding your offerings and will thus take your prospects on a journey into the how-to and added benefits you can give them. Furthermore, they can serve as a product or service comparison guide, which is essential throughout the consideration stage.
- Video content. Your current objective is to persuade a website visitor that your organization is the ideal choice. Offer them more education and make an impression with your brand. Videos at the Consideration stage can be somewhat longer and more information-rich, but not too long. Aim for 2-3 minutes of video, since if you go longer, you risk losing your prospect’s interest. The following types and styles of videos are ideal content for the buyer’s journey at this stage:
- Corporate videos. A corporate video is an umbrella term used to identify all sorts of video communication that your company would utilize to market your brand to the audience. This type of video has several advantages, among which are further raising awareness of your brand and delivering information about both your company and the product or service you’re offering. Carefully created corporate videos will attract more people to your brand by showing how you provide customer service and the benefits of your products or services, yielding greater ROI and allowing your company to increase sales. This is attributed in great part to the Call-to-Action incorporated at the end of the video which entices your audience to interact with your brand, which substantially encourages them to choose you over your competitors.
- Behind-the-scenes videos. These videos are incredibly effective at displaying the individuality of your company’s brand. What’s more, this video format humanizes it. People, as has been established, are social beings. For example, footage of employees working and having fun together can be used to promote team culture. This increases engagement with your brand. Your firm can also incorporate footage of a product’s inception and release. These pieces form the face of your company’s brand and demonstrate to your audience that you are normal people just like them, touching them emotionally, which has been shown to provide significant advantages when prospects are deciding which company to engage with.
- Training or demo videos. Training and demo videos are great to demonstrate how your product or service works. This is something that most prospects look for because they find that demonstrations further a brand’s credibility and trust that their offering functions properly. People are typically visual learners; they must see your product or service in action to truly understand its worth. Instead of just telling your audience how wonderful they are, demo and training videos demonstrate their value. These videos, which can range from infographics and whiteboard animation to live-action, are an important point of connection between your product or service and the end user.
The Decision Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
The decision stage is reached when a visitor has conducted sufficient research and is ready to select the company or product they believe is the ideal fit for them. This is where you can brag about yourself. But don’t be too conceited; avoid phrases like “the best” and the like. Customers respond to these statements because they influence them emotionally, but no one likes a loudmouth.
For this reason, it is better to opt for content for the buyer’s journey like this:
- Testimonials. Testimonials are among the most effective content for the buyer’s journey for showcasing your product or service’s value because people tend to believe other people more than they believe the brand itself. This is attributable to the sense of equality rather than disparity in hierarchy, as well as to feeling of connection to similar audiences. The brand itself will very rarely talk about the disadvantages of their products and services, though discussing them adds more credibility to the offerings because nothing is perfect. Testimonials can either be in the form of simple screenshots or “decorative” sections on your website (carousel, text with colored / animated borders…) or videos. Studies have shown that 89% of consumers look at reviews before making a purchase. These videos can include one testimony or a few pieced together. Whichever style you choose, video reviews can be very convincing.
- Free trials. Who doesn’t like free stuff? (No one, that’s who). What better way to determine whether you want to buy a product than to try it out? For years, car dealerships have used the “test drive” strategy because it simply works. If the product or service ticks all of the buyer’s checkboxes, all the sales staff needs to do is resolve their arguments and close the deal. As product-led development emerges as the new buzzword in effective marketing tactics, we have the potential to demonstrate rather than inform. Product-led growth is letting your service or product do the majority of the marketing and demonstrating value to consumers before you urge them to purchase something or occupy their time with a conversation. You could offer:
- Free premium trial
- Free 7-day trial
- Coupons and/or a discount post-trial
- Personalized demos
- Free templates
- Exclusive free offers
- Consultation services (live meeting / email / whatever floats your boat). This works in tandem with cost calculators, for one, and has proven to be one of the most effective methods to close deals because the live interactions boost customers’ confidence in the brand and encourage them to make a choice. The strongest consultation services alleviate the fear of going into a sales transaction by providing something tangible that prospective clients can walk away with (a plan or practical advice) in compensation for their time. Though they don’t always reap positive responses, consultations, especially when free, dramatically increase engagement and the probability of closing deals. Thank you, calls to action.
Now that you’ve (hopefully) found out what type of content is the most suitable for each phase of the buyer’s journey, what are you waiting for to implement? Keep in mind, though, that pushing content to your target audience is not the most ideal path to take.
Though undeniable and often inevitable, do what Robert Frost says and take the road less traveled by and invest in an inbound marketing strategy which pulls people in rather than pushes content to them.
This marketing tactic is much more effective because it makes your audience feel like they’re the ones in control and thus makes them more likely to comply with your efforts. Contact us for assistance in improving your website and social media standings to take your company to the top.