How to Create Content for Every Stage in the Buyer's Journey
Have you ever bought something immediately after seeing it? Perhaps you have, but this isn’t the norm. Typically, it takes a person several stages before they become a customer. This is called the sales funnel and it can include anything from looking up a product online, to subscribing to an email list, to chatting with customer service on a messaging app.
People move through the sales funnel at different rates. At any given time, you have prospective customers at various points in the funnel. Some may be just learning about your products and services while others are ready to make a purchase. To keep people in the funnel, you need to nurture them. The way to do this is with content.
Understanding what types of content are effective can be a challenge, though the internet has made it easier. By understanding your audience, you can create content that addresses your prospects’ needs. Let’s learn more about the three parts of the funnel and the types of content to create for each one.
Three Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
There are three main parts to the sales funnel: the top, middle and bottom. Below is more information on each stage.
- Top of the funnel. This is the “awareness” stage and it happens when people become aware of a product or service. In this stage, people look for answers, resources, opinions and more.
- Middle of the funnel. In the “evaluation” stage, people do heavy research to come to a decision as to whether or not the product is the right fit.
- Bottom of the funnel. The “purchase” stage is when people determine what needs to happen to become a customer, such as signing up for a service or adding an item to their shopping cart.
Types of Content for Every Stage
Now that you know the stages that prospects move through, let’s discuss the types of content that produce the best results.
Awareness stage: Hook readers with the right content.
At this point in the funnel, people look for information. It’s your job to produce content that addresses these questions in a way that’s appealing and useful. There’s no guarantee that people will buy from you, but you can at least create an enjoyable experience for them.
For those who do find your content interesting and engaging, they may move to the middle of the funnel. This means that you have been successful in capturing their attention. The most effective forms of content in the awareness stage are ebooks, whitepapers, videos, checklists, how-to posts and webinars.
Evaluation stage: Show prospects that you have the best solution.
Once people are aware of your brand, it’s time to show them why your product or service is the best fit. This is your time to shine and let prospects know what sets you apart from other brands.
I do want to point out the importance of letting people know if they’re not the right fit. Your products and services may not be right for everyone, and you can create better relationships by being honest. If you sell your products to the wrong people, you’ll hurt your brand later on with lowered customer satisfaction and reduced trust.
The best types of content for this stage include product webinars, case studies, data sheets, demo videos, samples and FAQs.
Purchase stage: Get people to buy from YOU.
In the bottom of the funnel, customers are ready to make a purchase, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be from you. To nurture prospects in the right direction, you need conversion-focused content. This can be achieved with a strong call to action and a compelling offer, such as a free trial, live demo, consultation, estimate or coupon.
A good CTA and offer nudge prospects toward your brand, so don’t hesitate to give them what they need to feel comfortable. If you know that your solutions are the right fit, it’s a relationship worth putting into.
Customer Retention is the Final Piece
I also want to take a moment to bring up the retention stage, which often gets left out of the typical buyer’s journey. But, it’s important to remember because returning customers are highly profitable and often worth more than new customers. They already know your brand and how your products and services work, so you don’t need to nurture them through the funnel.
To boost retention and keep your brand front and center, reward customers with loyalty, membership and referral programs. For example, Amazon’s Prime program drives a lot of engagement for the company, even with its cost of $119/year. By signing up, customers get a ton of perks, such as fast and free shipping, music, movies, books and more.
With so much competition between brands, it’s the little things that will make you stand out. Rewarding customers along the way builds trust and increases loyalty, so invest in strong programs that keep people coming back.
Content has a job to do. You can better understand your content’s role by determining what part of the funnel it serves and how it guides people closer to your brand. For an overview of your existing content and tips for creating customer-focused material for each stage in the funnel, contact Yakima Branding at at 509-901-9735 today!
Yakima Branding – WSI – August 2021