Aaron Agius is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the award-winning global marketing agencyLouder.Online.
Content marketing has always been about helping a target market build a stronger connection with a brand. When done effectively, the end result is a stronger pipeline, more leads and more revenue for a business.
A lot has been said in recent years about the customer journey, also known as the buyer journey or sales funnel. But how do you take the content you create and map it to your customer journey?
Let’s explore what a customer journey is and how to ensure your content aligns with it so you’re creating engaging, profitable brand assets.
What Is The Customer Journey?
The customer journey is a process that explains how your customers interact with your company over time. It begins from the moment they realize they have a problem all the way to becoming a loyal customer. There are four main stages of the customer journey:
This is when the customer first realizes they have a problem. Let’s say they have a leaky roof. They’ll probably start looking for potential solutions such as DIY methods and roofing contractors online.
At this stage, the customer will start looking at potential options in greater detail. They’ll start comparing the benefits of different roofing materials, pricing and the reputation of roof repair companies. The information they gather will influence their ultimate decision.
Eventually, the customer will gather all the information they think is necessary to make their decision. They’ll probably have a shortlist of potential companies to hire to solve their problem. If you’ve created a seamless journey, they’ll be more confident in purchasing from you.
Once the customer has purchased from you, they’ll be evaluating whether or not your service met their expectations and if they would contact you again in the future. They may reach out for help or have additional questions, so making sure they are taken care of is a crucial part of creating loyal customers.
Why Is Your Customer Journey So Important?
Knowing your customer’s journey from start to finish gives you guidance for your content. Instead of just churning out random content without direction, you can create focused content that meets the needs of your market exactly where they are.
If you only produce content for one stage of the journey, you risk a large number of prospects falling out of your funnel before they purchase from you.
Now, it’s time to start mapping your content to your customer journey. Let’s take it step by step:
You need to understand the journey your customers go through and what they need at each stage. When (and what) is the first point of contact? How many steps does the customer need to take before buying? What specific information is most helpful at each stage?
As with any type of marketing, building out a customer avatar is crucial. While the four steps of a customer journey are universal, knowing your customers’ needs, desires, doubts and demographics will help your content shine.
Create a chart or diagram to help visualize the customer journey in chronological order, and use it whenever you feel lost creating content.
Now, it’s time to identify where your customers are getting lost or experiencing friction in the journey. Track your prospects’ progress through their journey. Is there a particular point at which they get stuck, take too long or simply fall off?
For instance, if Blog Post A is only generating half the conversions of Blog Post B but has twice the number of visitors, there’s an obstacle. Customers are clearly not getting the information or confidence they need from Blog Post A to move swiftly into the next stage of their journey with you, and you need to analyze why. You may find the content needs a major overhaul, or that it is better suited for another stage of the customer journey altogether.
With the major stages and pain points mapped out, it’s time to create your content for each stage of the journey. Here are some examples of content for each of the four stages:
With awareness content, you must quickly capture attention. Mention the customer’s problem while offering a solution (or answer) right away, such as:
• A short explainer video for your landing page or social media campaigns.
• Facebook ads that directly call out your market: “Would you like to (achieve end result)?”
At this stage of the journey, your customer knows they have a problem and is actively looking for the right solution. It’s time to explain why yours is the best with content like:
• Email newsletters (that are informative, not spammy).
• E-books that prove your authority on the topic.
Resistance and scrutiny will be the highest at this point. Your content needs to reduce the fear of doing business with you while presenting the benefits of acting now. For example:
• Long-form blog posts that deeply explain the advantage of your solution over alternatives.
• Product demonstrations or walk-throughs so the prospect knows what to expect and can visualize themselves as a customer.
• Limited-time offers or discounts (to be used sparingly to avoid being “salesy”).
Now you’ve earned a new paying customer. You still need to provide ongoing value to make sure they stay on board and even send referrals your way. You can do this with retention content like:
• Surveys to get direct feedback about how you can improve.
• Email campaigns that help your customers solve their problems in new ways.
They say content is king. But it’s not enough to produce excellent content. You need to create the right content at the right time for each stage of the customer journey. Meet your customers where they are with the content they need to advance through your sales funnel.
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