Strategy Session: Using Content Marketing along the Customer Journey

Strategy Session: Using Content Marketing along the Customer Journey

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As we all know, one of our most prevalent challenges in the imaging industry continues to be encouraging people to buy at brick-and-mortar locations. I read a blog recently on UserGrowth.com titled “How to Use Content Marketing to Drive Sales through All Five Stages of the Customer Buyer’s Journey.” It offered an interesting perspective on how to use the right content marketing strategy to drive sales.

Over 80% of consumers say they conduct research before making a purchase decision. While they might want to start a dialogue with you, they don’t necessarily want to be told what to do. So how do you make them notice you?

Web advertising was replaced by the broader term “digital marketing.” It used to be that you could stop potential customers with a banner ad that might drive them to your website. However, with average click-through rates now hovering at around 0.17%, those days are pretty much gone.

One of the ways we can make an impression on our customers is identifying what stage of the buying cycle they are in and presenting them with content. But not just any content. If you provide relevant content to potential customers at the time they really need it, you increase your chances of becoming not only a trusted source but also a destination for purchase.

The Five Stages of the Customer Journey & Content Marketing

According to marketing principles, there are five stages of most buyers’ journeys: Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, Loyalty and Advocacy. Providing the correct and most relevant information and advice along the way that aligns with their journey could put you into their consideration set. Moreover, it can make you their purchase destination. I’ll review each one.

Awareness

During this stage, your prospects are just starting the research journey. It’s the perfect time for them to find out that you exist! The web is very competitive; search engine pages are jammed with companies wanting to be first in line, with maybe more developed SEO (search engine optimization) capabilities than you have.

According to the blog, “Since your buyer is just entering the market, the content for this stage needs to be a light read that whets the buyer’s appetite. And since they are not yet highly qualified leads, your job is to relay information in an easy, concise and relatable manner.” Content marketing Buyers-Journey-Strategy-Session-2-20Subsequently, your blog posts might answer questions like: “How do I solve a lighting problem?” Or, “How do I shoot soccer games?” You can provide a short video or an infomercial. At this stage, you’re offering them something for free, while at the same time establishing your credibility as well as your desire to help.

Consideration

During this stage, consumers have already decided “what” to buy, or at least narrowed it down. However, they’re still trying to determine “where.” Based on the fact that your product or service is solving a real problem for them, if the price is fair and if the pain is big enough, they might be ready to pull the trigger.

According to the UserGrowth.com blog, the consideration stage is a crucial time for both you and the buyer. “Not only is the buyer trying to figure out whether your product or service is right for them, but you also need to find out whether they fall into your true target audience, whose authentic interests really match your offering. In essence, your potential buyer at this stage needs to be convinced that you want more than just their money; the only way you can do so is by producing content that shows how you stand out from the pack.”

This means offering classes; making sure they know you’re an “authorized” dealer; and/or ensuring you have complete product selections of hard-to-get products, such as an esoteric lens.

Conversion

You’re about to make the sale. Make it easy for them. “Consumers and businesses today love personalization and interaction, which is why it’s essential for you to give them the perfect blend of both. The content you create should not just be highly customized, but it should also be persuasive enough to ensure you close the deal,” User Growth asserts.

Here’s where you can offer webinars on in-depth product information, or one free class to learn about a specific product. (Hands-on is something Amazon just can’t do!) Invite customers in to get a hands-on review of the product they’ve been researching. Post a blog like “The Top 10 Questions Our Customers Are Asking about This Product.”

Loyalty

This is where both you and the product are on the line. Your new customer is expecting great product performance, and amazing customer service. Of course, the key to growing your business is not to make one sale but to make the next sale.

You should immediately establish a relationship with your customer. Send an onboarding e-mail welcoming them as a customer. Include the name of someone in the store they can personally contact. Tell them about your help desk. Send them a survey to see how you did. Further, make sure you stay in touch with them. Make it the start of a beautiful (as well as profitable) relationship.

Advocacy

Sometimes marketers fall short here, because they think the sale is made and the relationship is over. Now is the time to make sure that nothing goes wrong and that your new customer becomes your new social media advocate.

One bad experience—(you didn’t call them back; your salesperson was a little impatient; the product doesn’t work and you tell them it’s the manufacturer’s problem)—can lead to negative social media reviews that spread like wildfire.

On the other hand, someone with a very positive review might be happy to share their experience. Turn these customers into brand advocates. Give them a hat or T-shirt. Offer them exclusive content now as a member of the “family.” Invite them into your rewards program. Everything you can do to make them feel exclusive, including encouraging them to talk about it, can only lead to a long-term relationship—and to their friends becoming your next customers.

For more information or blogs around content marketing, be sure to visit User Growth at usergrowth.io/blog.

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