In most cases, a buyer does not purchase a product or service simply on a whim. They generally experience some problems, triggering them to buy something to alleviate those problems. This process they go through is called the buyer’s journey. So, to close a deal, understanding the buyer’s journey is crucial.
Only then can you create content that positions you as an authority in your industry, while helping the buyers along their journey.
This blog post delves into this journey, its stages, and the content formats that tend to work in each stage. Let us dive in!
What Is the Buyer’s Journey?
A buyer’s journey or customer lifecycle is the path a buyer takes to purchase a product or service. They go on the journey before, during, and after buying your offering. It typically starts from the point where they realize they have a problem to the moment they make a purchase to solve that problem.
What Are the 5 Stages of the Buyer’s Journey?
Buyer journey mapping helps you distinguish among the different stages in the journey. However, the phases or stages a buyer passes through, during their journey, vary from one brand to another.
Nevertheless, the five usual stages a buyer goes through are:
1. Awareness Stage
The prospect in the awareness stage is experiencing a pain point or symptoms of a problem and seeks to alleviate it. To clearly understand their problem, they may be looking for informational and educational resources.
2. Consideration or Evaluation Stage
In this stage, the prospect will have clearly defined and understood their problem. They are now likely to research and understand all the available methods of, or approaches to, solving their problem.
3. Purchase or Decision Stage
The third among the stages of the buyer journey is the purchase or decision stage. Here, the prospect has already chosen one or more solution methods or strategies for their problem.
Now, they are compiling a list of vendors providing their chosen solution strategy and narrowing it down to one vendor. Selecting a vendor means the buyer will make the final purchase decision.
4. Retention Stage
The buyer’s journey is not over even after they buy the product. You also need to turn your customers into loyal, returning ones. So, the retention stage is about helping your customers get the most satisfaction and value from their purchase.
This will help you build a relationship between your customers and your brand, encouraging them to return to your website to make a purchase.
5. Advocacy Stage
Finally, when you succeed in providing enough value to your customers as a way to retain them, you will have loyal, satisfied customers.
These customers, in turn, will talk positively about your brand to other people and become active advocates for your brand. Therefore, your brand will benefit from your customers’ word-of-mouth marketing.
Understanding the Buyer’s Journey in Sales and Marketing
A buyer would not be interested in watching a live demo of your product when they are not ready to buy it yet. Or they may not want to read an informational blog post when they have already decided to purchase the product. Offering these content pieces at the wrong time adds no value at all, from the buyer’s perspective.
So, it is crucial to publish content that your buyer can relate to. If that does not happen, the prospective buyer is going to feel disconnected with your brand and head over to your competitors for better value.
Therefore, understanding the buyer’s journey or the customer’s lifecycle is important. This information can help you document a content strategy by mapping your content to different stages in the buyer’s journey.
Mapping Content to Each Stage in the Buyer’s Journey
Once you have understood the different stages in the customer’s lifecycle, it is time for buyer journey content mapping. In other words, you should start crafting content for the different stages and tailor that content to its relevant stage.
Content Types for the Awareness Stage
Blog posts are an ideal content format for the awareness stage. You can include informational advice and original data to create long-form blog posts (ideally, more than 1,200 or 1,500 words).
It is one of your brand’s assets aimed at discussing your target audience’s pain points and educating them about the topic or problem they are facing.
This brand asset is not only discoverable by searchers but also crawlable by Google and other search engines. You can promote each blog post on social media as well.
Writing ebooks or electronic books enables you to showcase your authority on a topic with more depth than a blog post allows.
When you create an ebook on a subject your target customer cares about and answer their concerns in an engaging manner, they perceive you as trustworthy.
Ebooks are also a great option for downloadable content. So, you can use them as lead generation tools.
By offering your target audience the chance to access your valuable information in exchange for their contact information.
Social Media Posts
Social media is a great avenue for creating posts specific to each social channel as well as promoting other pieces of content. Whereas blog posts tend to be much longer, social media posts are generally short-form, biteable content pieces.
Depending on the social platform you use, you can create and share:
- Stories or Reels (videos)
- Articles, and more
Tools or Kits
Sometimes, informational content may not be enough to push your buyer persona toward taking the desired action. They may need a little more utility in some cases.
Therefore, it is a good idea to create tools and personalized kits to help the customer along their journey toward a purchase.
For example, if you own a travel booking website, you may have plenty of content pieces on budget trips. It can be difficult to estimate the cost of a trip, though.
So, you can provide a free calculator on your website that allows them to enter their expected travel dates and destination to receive a customized quote. In this way, you can provide a lot more value to your customers than other travel booking websites can.
For complicated tasks, people may simply want or need a blueprint of the things they need to do to achieve a specific goal. A helpful checklist offers a list of the steps the target audience needs to take towards their goal.
The idea behind a checklist is that while reading it, people can mentally check off the things on the list one by one.
Most checklists appear in the form of infographics, but you can also find them as blog posts or downloadable offers.
A whitepaper is your organization’s formal, information-packed guide or report on a certain topic. More specifically, whitepapers should provide information that cannot be easily discoverable anywhere else.
The valuable information may include the opinions of relevant industry leaders, statistics from a survey, or anything else. This is so that your target audience understands the usefulness of the report and is urged to get it.
To enable the readers to dive into the subject they are reading about at their own pace, you can transform whitepapers into downloadable offers.
Content Types for the Consideration Stage
A case study establishes that the business has provided their offering to their client, whereby the client has achieved certain results. It provides detailed information about their solution to the buyer persona to appeal to their emotions.
In this way, the case study is meant to convince the reader that the business’s offering is valuable.
The idea is to show the persona that if the business could help a similar client in the past, they can help the persona, too. You can use case studies both in the consideration stage and in the decision stage.
Product Comparison Guides
Product comparisons are a great option to make your target audience consider your solution among the ones they are researching. Such a guide explains and compares two or more products’ features, benefits, and relevance to your buyer persona.
In the end, it may cite one of the products as the best of the lot, motivating the reader to choose that product out of all.
A web seminar where speakers and presenters provide information typically through videos is a webinar. You can either host a webinar live or pre-record it to show its sessions to your audience at a certain time.
This opens up plenty of possibilities to provide information to an audience that wants to know more about the solutions you can offer them.
Content Types for the Decision Stage
In the decision stage, reviews from your existing customers give your prospects extra reassurance that they are making the right decision. Also, make it easy for your prospects to find these ratings and reviews.
Testimonials are honest recommendations from existing or past customers who have benefited from your products or services. Featuring testimonials on your website proves to your prospects that your offerings do what you claim they do.
Discounts and Offers
Sometimes, businesses tell their personas to purchase their offerings soon if they do not want to miss out on exclusive benefits. It is a strategic way to prompt their personas in the decision stage to buy their offerings.
For example, coupons and discounts offer the product at a reduced price, convincing the prospect that they are losing this opportunity to get such a valuable product at a lower price than usual.
Before buying a car, people tend to take it for a spin to decide if they should buy it or not. During the test drive, people can see for themselves whether the car checks all their boxes.
Similarly, you can offer a free option upfront with some limitations on your product’s usage. This would give your buyer persona ample time to see for themselves what your product is like and how it can solve their problems.
Taking your prospects on a walk-through of your offering will also answer any questions they may have.
Content Formats for the Retention Stage
Your product may require some set-up or installation knowledge. In that case, in-app messages or onboarding emails can help the buyers understand how everything works.
Follow-up Support Emails and Calls
Providing customer support through follow-up calls and emails tells the buyer you seriously care about them. It is a great opportunity to gather the buyer’s feedback, whether positive or negative.
They can tell you about any issues they may be facing while using your product, allowing you to deal with those issues immediately.
Product-focused Blog Posts
Your buyers will also appreciate any blog posts that dive deep into each of the product’s features, benefits, and use cases. If you have any other products usable as add-ons with the primary product, your blog can recommend those to your buyers as well.
Content Types for the Advocacy Stage
Setting up a referral scheme allows you to ask your customers to spread positive messages about your brand. In return, you can reward them with freebies or exclusive discounts!
Priority Access to New Product Launches
Another way to make your customers feel special is by giving them priority access to new product releases. With the opportunity to test new product features or other new products and give feedback, they feel valued and become your brand’s advocates.
Conclusion: Understanding the Buyer’s Journey is Key
By understanding the buyer’s journey, you can create and map custom content to each stage of the journey. Done properly, this process can have the greatest impact on your brand’s relationship with your customers.
However, every customer or buyer persona may have a unique journey. In that case, you may lack the time required to map out the journey for each persona and then tailor created content to each stage of the customer buying journey.
You can reach out to the Digital Marketing Professionals at MyTasker instead. They can help you empathize with your buyer personas and provide them with the right information at the right time. The result? More closed deals and more revenue!