Whether we realise it or not, each purchase that we make as customers or that customers make with us, will have seen us go on a journey. The journey time can vary for each different customer and type of purchase, but essentially, we will each go through a specific process.
What is the buyers journey?
The buyers journey is the process a customer will go through to gain awareness of a need/problem/opportunity, research and evaluate potential solutions and then purchase a new product or service.
The customer will go through 3 stages:
- Awareness - The buyer realises they have a need/problem/opportunity and look to define it and identify a solution
- Consideration - The buyer has defined their need/problem/opportunity and begins to research options to solve it
- Decision Stage - The buyer will interact more with one or two options and then make their purchasing decision
As the brand you would follow the buyers journey and help progress them through to conversion with these 3 stages:
- Engage - Create and promote valuable, targeted content that will attract and engage the potential customer helping them with their need/problem/opportunity, converting them to a lead.
- Nurture - Create more valuable, targeted content that starts to help your new lead to identify solutions to their need/problem/opportunity, offering helpful advice that is non salesy and that positions you as an expert, helping to progress them towards the decision stage.
- Convert - At this point the potential customer is ready to purchase and may well be deciding between your product/services and 1 or 2 other options. This is where you would truly present your solution, outlining all of the info that the potential customer would need to know to buy from you over your competitors. Including content around the product and service spec/breakdown, price, reviews and testimonials, offers and purchasing terms.
How does this help you grow your business?
In order to attract, nurture and convert the right, loyal customers, you need to ensure that you are offering valuable, targeted, sometimes topical content at the right time to the right audience. Understanding these key stages in the buyers process, will help you map out your customers journey so that you can plan, create and promote the right content to grow your business. If you can get your content in front of your target customer at the right time and then continue to nurture them, you will gain the know, like and trust factor and bring them to conversion naturally without a hard sell. Content marketing takes a commitment, but once it gains momentum you will have created an efficient, high converting machine.
In order to plan your content, you will need to map out your customers journey and to do that you will need:
- A true understanding of who your customers are, what their challenges, needs and motivations are, where you can find them and how your business can help. Check out this post on creating customer avatars to get clear on your target audience.
- Understand the questions that your potential customer would have at each stage of their journey and how they would interact with you content and brand.
- Decide on what kinds of content would attract and resonate with your customers at which stage of the journey and work out which topics lend themselves better to each medium. I.e