Every business has a unique buyer’s journey. Before you can develop the perfect content strategy, you must understand how your customers work their way through it. But in understanding the process, there are a few simple ways to classify the stages. Some organizations prefer the funnel, classifying stages by the top, middle and bottom of the funnel. Others define it as awareness, then consideration, ending at a final purchase decision. You should find the right mapping that aligns to your customer process and makes sense for your business.
Regardless, it’s a marketer’s job to provide helpful information and ultimately educate prospects to better navigate this journey to purchase.
Dive in below to learn about some of the key areas we evaluate when helping our clients map out their buyer’s journey and develop content strategy.
Know Your Audience
“One of the best ways for content marketers to build trust with its customers is by demonstrating a deep awareness and understanding of the experiences of our audience,” says Content Marketing Institution. To help identify qualified prospects and understand their goals, speak with current customers and find out what their buying process looks like. Also, interview your sales team. This can help you understand their current targets, how they interact with prospects and where there may be gaps in the customer experience.
During these discussions, look to uncover the following about your potential customers:
- Industry background and context
- Customer buying committee titles and roles
- General demographics
- Buyer decision-making authority and involvement
- Day to day business concerns and pressures
- Key messages and how to position your solutions/services
Focus on Critical Marketing Touchpoints Throughout the Content Journey
Whether digital or in-person, a touchpoint amounts to any time a potential customer engages with your business. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that are relevant to your team and review these metrics during each touchpoint to understand the most essential and pivotal moments during your customer’s journey, especially across multiple channels. This will help you deliver content via the correct marketing channel, at the optimal time. It’s important to take an integrated approach to this process and make sure you’re providing a great user experience across all channels.
Pinpoint Your Marketing to Sales Lead Hand-off
According to Marketo, “Sales and marketing alignment can lead to a 32% increase in year-over-year (YoY) revenue growth.” As you keep your prospect top of mind, it’s crucial to know which function is “responsible” for managing interactions with them during all stages of the journey. Establish a defined lead hand-off process so marketing and sales aren’t tripping over each other. There are a number of available Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools that can easily track content prospects are engaging with, sales and marketing activities as well as customer interactions to help keep the process organized and in sync.
Next, identify key “make or break” moments in the sales process. Arm your reps with sales enablement tools and highly relevant information to better engage customers at those critical points in the journey. You also want to ensure marketing and sales are speaking the same language to your key target audiences. Use insights from your prior research to craft key messages that show you’re listening to what your prospects are telling you. Some great examples of useful sales enablement tools include:
- Case studies
- Customer testimonials
- Battle cards
- Competitor research
- Objection handling documents
- FAQ sheets
- One pagers
- “Social Selling” posts
Follow up with the sales team regularly for feedback and to learn about any gaps they still have. Continue to communicate about new industry trends impacting customers. And finally, make sure that everyone on the team knows what information is available and how they can easily access it.
Don’t Forget Post-Sale Customer Engagement
You’ve won the business, but the buyer’s journey isn’t over. Once you have a new customer, it’s important that they have all the information they need for implementation — and keep them coming back for more!
Consider where it would be appropriate to serve up new information. According to LinkedIn, “63% of consumers expect personalization as a standard of service and to feel they are recognized.” It’s important to continuously add value for your customer, which can enhance the chance of renewal or additional purchase. This type of content could include thank-you notes, user guides, email newsletters or recommendations for related products or services.
Create New Content to Fill in the Gaps in the Buyer’s Journey
Now that you’ve identified the path and key moments in your buying journey, continue to look at any potential or emerging gaps within your existing content and campaigns. Create an editorial calendar and start building out new content. Once it’s crafted, don’t “set it and forget it.” Continue to optimize your content by setting goals, capturing data and adjusting based on your learnings.
Author: Jason Wilson, Account Manager, Outlook Marketing Services
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