There are many things that happen along the way on the buyer’s journey from research to purchase. Understanding the key milestones in this journey can help you increase your chances of attracting – and converting – more of your favourite type of customer.
The key is to focus on a single buyer profile or target customer sub-group at a time, and create a separate set of content milestones that match the profile at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
There are as many different journeys to reach the point of sale as there are types of customers, however, no matter which route they may take, there are three basic stages for every buyer.
1. The Awareness Stage
This is the earliest stage of the buyer’s journey. Something happens to a person and creates a want or a need, which then compels them to go looking for a way to address it. Whatever the trigger, or the circumstance, this person has an outcome in mind and is now seeking a product or service to achieve this outcome. This is your potential customer.
It is during this stage that you need to ensure this potential customer becomes aware of your business and what is has to offer that will satisfy this need or want.
Content strategy ideas for the Awareness Stage
- Identify a set of micro-targeted key search terms that speak directly to the buyer profile you wish to focus on, and build them into your SEO campaign.
- Publish content on other sites or forums that directly address the needs or interests of a buyer profile.
- Write or commission a ghost writer to create editorial (or advertorial) for e-magazines or print publications whose readership includes your target audience.
- Create a separate landing page specifically aimed at a single customer profile or sub-category, and optimise it using the micro-targeted key search terms you have identified.
- Use Social Media channels to generate engagement around a narrow subject that appeals to the targeted buyer profile.
2. The Consideration Stage
This is the middle stage of the buyer’s journey and can take different pathways, depending on the level of consideration required and the urgency of the customer to achieve an outcome. It may involve comparisons between products or services you offer, or debating the differences between you and your competitors.
With more people doing their own research on a product or service, much of this consideration stage takes place well before you are even aware of the customer. You may not even hear from them until they have decided what they want and who they want it from – if it isn’t you, then you will not be hearing from them at all; one of your competitors will. You need to provide the information sought during the consideration stage to help the buyer to continue their journey in your direction.
Content strategy ideas for the consideration stage
- Create links on your site to informational content pages using language that is most relevant to the buyer profile.
- Provide informational content that addresses their specific needs, on your website’s product or service pages or as a blog post on or pointing to your site.
- Set up a Q&A page or section that addresses their most common concerns.
- Display testimonials from customers who fit the buyer profile you are targeting.
- Create a means to compare products or service packages on your site
- Use a news feed to showcase favourable articles or reviews on other sites
- Create a portfolio or set of case studies to give real examples of your work/products that match the needs of the target buyer profile.
- Ensure calls to action have the type of contact method favoured by this type of customer.
3. The Decision Stage
In this third stage of the buyer’s journey, the decision will be made (if it hasn’t been already) to buy from you or engage you for your services. Your focus now is to make it easy for the customer to act on this decision.
Content strategy ideas for the decision stage
- Be clear about the products or services on offer – what do they get for their money?
- Design any packages or special offers with the customer in mind – is it appealing to the buyer profile you are targeting?
- Make sure your call to action is obvious so they don’t have to hunt for it.
- Make the final leg to the point of sale the shortest
- Confirm and follow up
- Gather only what information the buyer is comfortable giving – it’s only your first date
There is still a lot you can do to make or break the sale, but as far as your website is concerned, the job of generating business is done. However, you can continue to have a positive influence on your preferred customers through your website and social media channels, to sustain the relationship well beyond the point of sale. This does not have to be the end; merely the beginning of something more meaningful.