Thanks to the overwhelming amount of content online, creating engaging content is an extremely difficult thing to do these days.
But, if you plan your content to align with your customer journey, it will pay off in a big way.
As a business owner, a large part of your success will come from your ability to map your content to the customer journey as this will allow you to present your audience with the right message, at the right place, at the right time.
If you don't understand your customers, it will be very hard for you to focus your efforts and achieve the desired results with your marketing campaigns.
This post outlines 5 effective ways to map your content to a customer journey so you can craft content that is aligned with each stage.
Why It’s Vital to Match Content to Your Customer Journey
Effective marketing requires you to have different types of content as part of your marketing strategy. You need to view your content creation from a strategic point of view.
The secret to getting increased engagement from your audience doesn't lie in the quantity of content, but in intention.
You must create content with the intention of using it to address business objectives, namely to:
- Create Awareness;
- Develop Trust;
- Convert; and
If you create content that caters to these five stages of the customer journey, then you will have an asset that provides a great return on investment.
In other words, you need different kinds of content for each stage of the customer journey so that you create a seamless experience from the very beginning of your interaction with a potential customer.
Here's how you can do this successfully for each of the key decision steps:
1. Awareness Stage Content
Awareness is the first stage of the customer journey. The content at this stage is designed to generate awareness for your product or service with your target market.
When your target audience isn't aware or does not have top-of-mind awareness of your brand, product, or service, creating awareness must be your first objective.
Depending on your type of business, you can build awareness through:
- Blog posts, articles, explainer videos, and infographics published either on your site or on third-party media outlets.
- Testimonials from customers who have used your products or services.
- Reviews on websites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook.
- Advertising and promotions to draw attention to your educational content.
Keep in mind that a customer's journey doesn't always start on your brand's website. They could have become aware of you for the very first time through any number of channels, including social media posts, videos, online reviews, etc.
But, no matter where they learned about your business, you want to ensure that when your visitors are introduced to your brand for the first time, that experience is positive, seamless, and consistent if they return to you through a different channel.
Important Note: This type of content is very different from the content at the buying stage. For people to buy from you, they need to trust you. Trust is at the heart of all transactions, and the more people trust you, the easier it will be to get them to buy your products.
So, follow the next step to start bridging the gap between someone being aware of your product and them trusting you enough to buy from you.
2. Evaluation Stage Content
The second stage of the customer journey is evaluation. This is where the customer is now aware of your brand but has not decided whether or not they are interested in doing business with you.
At this stage, you have to create top-of-the-funnel content that will answer any questions they may have and offer them additional information about your business, products, or services.
This type of educational content should demonstrate your expertise and authority in your industry. It should also make your value proposition clear.
Your prospect might not be ready to buy yet, but they are eager to find out more about your solution and your unique approach.
They want to know your story and if you don't provide them with one, they will likely compare your business to others based solely on price.
Some of the content you might consider for the evaluation stage includes:
- Weekly or monthly newsletters to match the interests of your audience
- Explainer videos on social media (social media plays a huge role in the evaluation stage)
- Short but insightful e-books, guides, etc. that offer valuable information not easily found elsewhere
- In-person or online presentations so prospects can learn and engage
- Case studies to show prospects how others in similar situations achieved the desired results
- FAQs that target the questions and doubts that prospects might have about your product
The bottom line is that people don't want to be sold – they want to be educated. If you just commit to educating your target audience, they will sell themselves.
3. Consideration Stage Content
The consideration stage is the third stage in the customer journey - and it's the best time to start building a strong relationship with your new visitors.
At this stage, the buyer is aware of you, you've got them interested in your business, and they are considering you. This is where you should find creative and effective ways to build trust and give them more reasons to choose you over your competitors.
In order to start earning their trust, you have to let your prospects get to know you better, and one of the best ways to do this is through blog content.
Not only does blogging give you a simple way to offer your audience the information they need about your company, products, or services, but it also helps you maintain continuous engagement with your visitors while allowing you to demonstrate your authority and expertise in the industry.
The best content for the consideration stage includes:
- Blog posts and guest posts
- In-depth videos, guides, ebooks, and whitepapers
- Webinars or podcasts
- Facebook and Instagram live experiences
Now that you've developed interest and familiarity with your audience, they are more willing to consume longer pieces of content from your brand. This means you have an opportunity to delve even deeper into what makes your brand spectacular.
A great way to maintain engagement at this stage is to provide your prospects with sample content.
This can be any type of content that is a tangible representation of the end result they can expect. This includes cheat sheets, workbooks, assessments, checklists, and so on.
Basically, you can use anything that will help your prospects understand the product they are potentially buying and possibly even turn those who don't buy your product into raving fans.
Just remember to maintain your brand image across all your marketing channels as this can make your prospects’ decision-making process a lot easier.
4. Buying Stage Content
Now your visitors are ready to buy. You have convinced them that your business is the best choice. However, they still want a bit more reassurance.
Your job at this stage is to keep their focus and provide them with the reassurance they need.
The best content to help you do this includes:
- Customer experiences
- Customer testimonials
- Third-party validation
- Case studies
- Product demos or trials
It's crucial to keep your prospects engaged during the planning stage. This means that, in addition to creating content that helps allay their final doubts, hesitations, or reservations, your content strategy will have to include other tactics, such as social media ads, shopping cart email reminders, etc.
Be sure to infuse a sense of urgency in your promotional materials to encourage your prospects to take the necessary action to complete the purchase.
Once a prospect becomes a paying customer, you can then provide them with “purchase” content that helps orient new customers. At this stage, the goal is to use content to keep the experience high.
The type of content you can use for this includes:
- Access to behind the scenes content
- New Customer kits
- QuickStart guides
- User manuals
- Result worksheets
5. Referral Content
This type of content is designed to arm your happy customers with referral ammunition.
In order to generate tons of referrals for your business, you need to develop a formalized process that will allow you to automatically and systematically integrate referral content into everyday interactions with customers and prospects.
Some of the content you might consider for this stage include:
- Gift certificates
- Referral videos
- Collaborative presentations with strategic partners
- Business cards with referral offers
Now you have all the information you need to make your content marketing strategy one that is customer-focused and effective.
Use the tips listed here to help you craft the right message that will resonate with your audience at each stage of the customer journey so you can increase your conversions and boost your bottom line.
Is your content aligned with your customer journey? Let us know in the comments section below!