In my work creating eNurture campaigns, I partner with both marketing and sales professionals. The goals and expectations of each aren’t always the same. Many marketers focus on promoting the brand and product. Sales teams focus on closing the deal and generating revenue–fast! When everyone shifts their focus to the customer, your company wins. Developing a trusting relationship with your customer is a strategic imperative. Customer-focused content builds trust and facilitates this relationship.
Content for Each Phase of the Buying Cycle
According to Hubspot, only 4% of visitors to your website are ready to buy. How do you capture the attention of the other visitors? You help them with content that gives them what they need at each phase of the buying cycle.
The right kind of content depends on where a prospect is in the buying cycle. We define the buying cycle in five phases: awareness, interest, consideration, purchase intent, and loyalty. Related Infographic
Early in the buying cycle, people become aware of a business challenge. They want information about industry trends and potential solutions. They aren’t ready to read long guides detailing all the steps to fix a problem or to sit through a 60-minute webcast. Content at this phase must grab a prospect’s attention. The most effective content at this stage includes: snackable social content, infographics, blogs, 2-page briefs or short animations that explain the problem and available options.
In the awareness phase, you develop rapport with your prospects and awareness of your brand. Once people understand the issues, they become interested in researching potential solutions and partners. They seek information that will help them narrow their choices and find the best solution for their situation. You can offer more detailed and long-form content such as: solution briefs, success stories, case studies, slideshares and animated videos that describe how others have used your product or service to fix their problem. The goal in this phase is to establish your brand as one that they can trust for valuable information.
Once the customer is ready to consider specific solutions, you can present content that is specific to your brand or products. Present the benefits of your solution and describe how partnering with your company makes them successful. Promote your product in all its glory with branded solution briefs, videos, eBooks and data sheets, but remember to keep your focus on solving customer’s problem.
Almost ready to purchase a solution, the prospect wants information about next steps, common pitfalls, and details on how you can help them implement and support your solution. They want to know what it’s like to do business with you and why they should partner with your company long-term. The prospect is a hot lead—ready to speak with your sales team. Content at this stage could include: detailed guides, product demos and white papers that walk them through the implementation and user experience.
Content marketing after the sale builds loyalty by boosting customer satisfaction. Designing a pleasant buying experience and staying in touch with your customers post purchase results in repeat customers and social evangelists for your product or brand. It offers you opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling, which maximizes your revenue potential. Serve up warranty and service information. Offer product news or new solutions that might be of value to them. You’ve helped them solve a problem, and they’ve purchased from you. They trust you. Don’t let this valuable relationship go to waste through inattention.
The Bottom Line About Content In the Buying Cycle
Offer useful content at each stage of the buying cycle to guide your prospects to: engage with your company, purchase your product or service, and become customers for life. Keep your focus on solving customer problems, alleviating their pain, and building their trust with useful information at every touch point. You will convert more leads to customers and your customers will reward you with their loyalty and referrals.