More than likely, the buyer you were targeting last year already has evolved. Buyer behavior continues to change, largely as a result of technology, research habits, stakeholder profiles and information overload.
According to a 2019 Gartner report, changes among B2B buyers include:
- An increasing number of Millennial decision-makers, many of whom are distrustful of sales reps.
- Buyer indecision brought on by information overload. About 88 percent of B2B customers said it was daunting to have so much high quality information available..
- More stakeholders involved in the buying process, resulting in a more complex target audience.
As customers continue to evolve, content remains a powerful influence as part of their conversions. However, to be effective, it must be the right message delivered to the right customer at the right moment of the buyer journey. Otherwise, there’s an increasing possibility that it will be designated as part of the buyer’s content overload problem.
You can boost conversions among your customers by building a content strategy that covers all stages of the buyer journey. Use these five tips for a process that’s guided by a deep understanding of what your customer really wants from you at different stages.
1. Keep the focus on the customer. As you’re building a content strategy, maintain a customer-focused marketing approach at every stage. Instead of trying to “sell” to the customer, you’re in the position of making every attempt to “help” the customer.
By intentionally developing a strategy that guides the buyer through a path that feels right to them, you can create meaningful customer experiences that lead to brand engagement and, as a result, an increase in conversions.
2. Gain a deeper understanding of each persona. After selecting the personas to focus on, start developing a better understanding of who they are. Explore their needs and challenges at varying stages of their buyer journey. Create a comprehensive picture through customer analysis, using a martech stack solution to answer questions like the following:
- What are the customer’s top goals?
- How would the customer define success?
- What are the customer’s top challenges? Pain points? Frustrations?
- What is the customer’s role in the company?
- Are there any other stakeholders? Who? How many?
- What type of questions will the customer have at each stage of the buyer journey?
- How is the customer currently seeking answers? (Industry associations, competitors, online publications?)
- How quickly will the customer make a decision?
- What are the major barriers to the decision-making process (cost, implementation, etc.)?
- Which factors are more likely to help the customer make a decision (customer testimonials, pricing options, demos, ease of implementation?)
3. Map a buyer journey for each persona. Answer customers’ specific questions at every stage of their personalized buyer journey. Each of your customers should feel as if the experience is all about them; they shouldn’t feel pressured to buy.Using the answers you’ve gathered about your persona, map a buyer journey at these stages for each persona:
- Awareness - Provide answers that remove the barriers buyers may be experiencing — long before they can feel confident about considering the options that can address their needs and challenges.
- Consideration - As part of the Consideration phase, clearly outline your company’s differentiators. Keep in mind that customers will want to know the answer to the question “Why you?” Outline a strong case for why they should continue to keep you in contention for a final purchase decision.
- Purchase - Create a seamless transition from Consideration to Purchase by addressing any obstacles.
- Retention - Support customers with valuable content that helps them with their post-purchase needs and challenges. This is the key to encouraging brand loyalty.
Make sure you’re developing comprehensive buyer journeys. Consider pulling additional insights from the journeys experienced by current customers. Use those insights to anticipate the needs of similar prospective buyers along their buyer journey.
Also, use analytics to develop an approach that addresses the complex needs of multiple stakeholders.
4. Develop content that provides value at every stage. With insights gathered about your customers, choose the type of content that will be most impactful in helping them gain the information they need.
Consider using a mix of content options for various stages of the customer journey — based on what will have the most influence in guiding your prospects to an ideal solution. Use data insights to determine how to provide each persona with the right message in the right format at the right time in the customer journey.
For instance, you may find that customer testimonials, such as case studies, are more influential during the Awareness stage; they can instill brand trust at a time when it’s most critical, according to marketing leaders polled in a recent survey. The same can be said of a brand-sponsored research study. Incorporating it at the Awareness stage can be used to address the needs of skeptics.
And the use of video at all stages of the buyer journey may be ideal for customers who need materials that can be easily presented to a team of stakeholders. Personalize them for personas by pairing testimonials of similar customers as part of their content journey.
As part of this initiative, compare how your content performs against your competitor — especially in areas that have been identified as important by your personas. By building a comprehensive database of content around relevant themes, you can establish your brand as a subject matter expert in the industry.
Different content types can include blogs, podcasts, videos, social media posts, infographics, articles, e-newsletters, case studies, industry reports, research studies, FAQ’s, checklists, user guides and company updates.
5. Evaluate and adjust content campaigns. Commit to regularly measuring how well your content campaigns are performing for each of your personas. Make adjustments as necessary to improve conversion rates along the buyer journey.
Tools like content intelligence can provide actionable insights about which types of content are more effective in guiding customers to a decision. It also can provide insights about how your content is performing compared to that of your competitors.
Your prospective customers are searching for the answers to their needs and challenges. By developing a content strategy that demonstrates you understand them and are a partner on their journey, you will make it easier for customers to trust your brand to guide them to the right solution.
Learn more about how content intelligence provides the actionable insights you need to guide your strategy. Contact us for a demo.