Many business owners work extremely hard on their content only to find that it’s not actually converting. Why is that? Read on to discover the most powerful marketing strategies you can use to make memorable, compelling content that meets the customer where they are in their journey, and ultimately converts into sales.
The Power of Structured Content
Part of the reason why your content might not be converting is that there are gaps in your content. You might not be answering the most frequently asked questions that people have about your industry. More specifically, maybe you aren’t answering the most frequently asked questions about your own products and services.
A major issue is that many companies fall into the common trap of performing random acts of marketing. Without a structured editorial calendar, it can be incredibly difficult to reach potential clients where they are in what marketers call the buyer’s journey. Effective marketing strategies and systems take the guesswork out of what content to produce at any given time, and nurture customers through the process of a purchase.
The Buyer’s Journey As Part of A Successful Content Marketing Strategy
When marketers talk about the buyer’s journey, they are referring to the stages a customer goes through leading up to a purchase decision. These stages are:
- Awareness. The buyer first becomes aware that they have a problem that needs solving. They’ll start to research potential solutions, typically on a search engine like Google.
- Consideration. The buyer identifies a few companies that provide a solution to their problem. They’ll compare and consider options.
- Decision. The buyer selects your business as the best solution for their needs. This is what marketers call a conversion.
Each stage warrants its own crafted content, which pushes potential buyers down through the funnel to come out the other side with a purchase. To help achieve this, you can develop and add offers, or downloadable resources, often called content upgrades. These allow your target market to receive your best content in the form of eBooks, infographics, white papers, or videos in exchange for names and email addresses.
Understanding the Marketing Funnel
As mentioned above, at each stage of the buyer’s journey, a customer is going to be looking for different information. Smartly structured content creation and offer pushes can lead your customer from awareness to decision, with your company making the final conversion. This strategy is called a marketing funnel. In this system, content is divided into three categories, each corresponding with a stage of the buyer’s journey:
- ToFu (Top of the funnel). This is not related to the dried soybean product (which scientific studies have proven is gross), but rather awareness-level takeaways like blogs, podcasts, videos, newsletters, etc. These are broad, informational pieces that capture as many relevant searches as possible.
- MoFu (Middle of the funnel). For those in the consideration level, offer them educational resources, webinars, surveys, etc. As customers look for more in-depth information, provide higher level content to nurture their interest.
- BoFu (Bottom of the funnel). This could look like case studies, consultations, demos and trials, testimonials, etc. Invite buyers to engage directly with your business or product, leading to a final conversion.
Why Buyer’s Journey Stages Matter For Convertible Content
Why is it important to know where your potential buyer is in their journey? Before you start to write content, you need to know who you’re writing it for.
One of the golden rules of content development is to know the audience you plan to promote your content to. If you’re writing awareness-level content when your buyer is already at the decision level, you’ve missed an opportunity to convert since your content is forcing them backwards.
Similarly, if your customer is in the awareness level and just dipping their toes into research, don’t rush decision-level content with commands like “Buy Now” or “Contact Us”. This may be seen as pushy, and worse, it doesn’t work. Like any relationship, you have to nurture it.
Don’t Rush the Process
This brings us to the middle and most often overlooked stage: consideration. Too often, we create awareness content and expect it to immediately convert. When it doesn’t, it’s because we neglect consideration level content and MoFu offers. Using tracking technology such as HubSpot can show where your buyer is in their journey, lead-score them to a rubric, and develop an editorial calendar around this data to accelerate your content marketing strategy.
When we develop our editorial calendar we literally say, “This content is for users in the consideration stage to push them down the funnel to make a buying decision.” That’s the level of specificity you need to make sure your content converts.
Real-World Examples of the Buyer’s Journey
Buying A Car
To best illustrate this, let’s use the analogy of buying a car.
When you go to buy a car, you never just buy the first car on the first car lot that you see. It is way more involved than that.
Usually the journey begins for a particular reason. Maybe your current car broke down, or you’ve decided it’s time for something new.
You are asking yourself what kind of vehicle you’re looking for.
Am I going to get a sedan? An SUV? Maybe even a sports car?
You’ve determined what type of vehicle you’re going to get—let’s say it’s an SUV. Now, you just need to figure out some specifics.
What make, model, color, dealership, etc. will you go with?
For new customers embarking on the buyer’s journey, the transition between these stages is usually unconscious. However, it is the information you receive, and the order in which you receive it that ultimately leads you to the car you are going to buy.
We can even apply the buyer’s journey to the orthopedic and spine surgery space.
The bicyclist in the example above also goes through the marketing funnel when making a medical decision.
The cyclist develops a nagging back pain that won’t go away, and needs to do some research about what to do.
The cyclist researches and reviews doctors, and finds out which providers work with their insurance.
The cyclist chooses one provider over another due to qualifications, proximity, or ease of scheduling, and makes an appointment.
Are You Stuck Doing RAM?
If you aren’t using the buyer’s journey to accurately create content, you might be doing what we call RAM (random acts of marketing). If you’re falling into this trap of ineffective marketing strategies, here are some solutions to consider:
- Develop an editorial calendar. This is a smart way to chart your course and take the guesswork out of content before you even develop it.
- Color-code your sitemap. If you get very active within your sitemap and go through your webpages, color-code content as awareness, consideration, or decision-level content.
- Look for weaknesses. If you’re not able to show how to easily move from an awareness-level page to a consideration-level page to a decision-level page on your sitemap, it probably means your buyer can’t either and those are the gaps in content you want to focus on first.
Making Content That Converts
A study from CEB shows that customers are already 57% through the purchase process before they approach a supplier.
That’s a big deal. When you create really great content, it will shorten the sales cycle. It means you’ve already pushed your target audience through each stage of the buyer’s journey. When content gaps are left unfilled, it’ll only lengthen the sales cycle and, as we know, time is money.
If you would like more information on the buyer’s journey, powerful lead nurturing strategies, and crafting content that converts, please reach out. I would be happy to walk you through it personally.
Enjoyed our discussion here? Gain more great marketing insights by watching our latest Digital Marketing Masterclass, where we break down the 5 Metrics That Are Critical to Your Digital Marketing.