The Internet is kind of like the universe -- it seems to be constantly expanding. Every day there’s a new startup online, a new blog going live, a new podcast streaming. In all of the content, it can be difficult to stand out and attract your clients to your business website. How do you reach them when it seems like everyone else is publishing, creating, and sharing similar content?
You use the buyer’s journey to help you meet your clients where they are and create content that speaks directly to them. It’s that easy, and that hard.
What is the buyer’s journey?
The buyer’s journey is the process (or journey) that a potential client goes through before making a purchase. Leveraging the different stages in the process by creating content that addresses each stage can help you connect with your customers and move them through the buyer's journey.
In its broadest sense, the buyer’s journey has three stages: the awareness stage, the research stage, and the decision stage. Each stage has its own challenges that need to be addressed as well as optimal content types and subjects you can use during each stage.
This is the stage that starts it all. During the awareness stage, your client has realized that she has a problem. She doesn’t know what the problem is, but she knows that it’s there. In this stage, your client is actively looking for information that will help her properly identify the problem, or at least give her an idea of the symptoms of her problem.
As a content creator, your job during the awareness stage is to create content that helps your client identify her problem. Blog posts, videos, podcast episodes, and content upgrades or lead magnets all work well during this stage -- just make sure to include your awesome personality. If you’re going to help your clients identify their symptoms, checklists are a great option. Examples of content that fits well in the awareness stage includes:
- X Ways to Tell if X (You’re Stressed, You’re Selfish, You’re an Alien)
- How to X (Spot Mould on Your Fruit, Identify a Failing Marriage)
Awareness stage content in action
Let’s say you’re a yoga trainer who focuses on introducing non-yogis to the practice. One of your big selling points is that yoga helps people reduce stress, so you’ve created an awesome checklist to help people determine whether or not they’re stressed. This checklist runs through the symptoms generally associated with stress: difficulty breathing, trouble sleeping, headaches, muscle tension, and more.
Amanda, a self-employed mom-of-four, has been experiencing muscle tension and headaches for a few weeks. She thinks she might be stressed, but she’s not sure. She finds your website after a quick Pinterest search, and she decides to check out your site. Amanda finds the checklist on your site and goes through it. After she checks off most of the items on the list, Amanda realizes that she’s stressed.
Because of that checklist, Amanda was able to identify her problem (she’s stressed), and she’s ready to move on to the second stage of the buyer’s journey.
After your customer has identified her problem, she’s ready to look for solutions. At this point, she may have a rough idea of what her ideal solution is, but she’ll still research at least a little to help ensure she makes the right choice.
To connect with your customers in the research stage, you need to create content that outlines different solutions and their benefits. While it’s great that you mention your services and their benefits in your blog posts, you’ll also want to let your clients know that there are ways to DIY their solutions. Promoting your services as the only solution can be off-putting to potential clients, especially if they feel that it’s not the right fit for them.
Content formats that work well during the research stage are similar to those during stage #1 (blog posts; video tutorials; content upgrades), but it’s the subject matter that differs. This stage is where most of the how-to process posts and tutorials fall.
Subjects that fit well in the research stage include:
- X Ways to X (Destress, Lose Weight, Increase Productivity)
- X Reasons to X (Hire a Designer, Buy a Personalized Mug)
- Insider Tips for Working With X (a Designer, a Yoga Trainer)
- How to X (Remove Mould From Your Fruit, Put Passion Back in Your Marriage)
Research stage content in action
Amanda knows she’s stressed, and while she’s aware that one of the solutions available to her is to eat an entire tub of ice cream, she figures that there has to be a better solution. She browses your site until she finds your blog post called “15 Ways to Kick Stress to the Curb.” Amanda reads your post and finds several solutions that she likes, including the one about working with a yoga instructor. Amanda has moved into the final stage in the buyer’s journey.
By the time your customer reaches the decision stage, she has a clearly defined solution in mind, and she’s ready to act on it. Hopefully, the solution in question is working with you, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. In the decision stage, it’s likely that if your client has decided to work with someone, she hasn’t yet nailed down her professional of choice.
This is your time to show her why you’re the best choice for her and how your specific service or product can help her. Your content in this stage should be focused on showing the benefits of your specific services or products. Now’s the time for your client success stories, case studies, portfolio pieces, and testimonials.
Decision stage content in action
Back to Amanda, who’s ready to be stress-free. Amanda knows she wants to work with a yoga trainer, but she’s not sure if you’re the right trainer for her. She finds some of your case studies on your blog as well as a video testimonial some of your clients created for you. Amanda consumes your content, assesses her finances, and decides that you’re the right fit for her. She contacts you about working with her.
Incorporating the buyer’s journey in your content
Does the buyer’s journey always work that flawlessly? No.
Oftentimes, people will decide that the DIY strategy works best for them, but it’s crucial to have content that addresses each stage of the buyer’s journey to connect with a wider range of customers. Too often we focus on creating content in the awareness or research stage and neglect the decision stage.
While it’s important to have content that helps people identify and solve their problems, you need to have content promoting your specific products and services. If you don’t, you could be losing out on sales.
Your buyer’s journey content table
One of the best ways to ensure that you cover your bases and create content for each stage of the buyer’s journey is to create a buyer’s journey content table.
Write the buyer’s journey stages across the top of the table (along with your goal as a content creator for each stage) and the different content formats you’re comfortable with along the side of the table. Brainstorm ideas for each stage of the buyer’s journey and write them in the appropriate space.
You can also do this with your current content. Categorize your blog posts, videos, or opt-ins by which stage they fall into. This can give you a good idea of any gaps you have in your content strategy. It’s important to create content in all three stages of the buyer’s journey because your customers won’t all be in the same stage. The good news is you don’t have to create a new piece of content for each stage. You can repurpose your existing content.
Be a tour guide
Think of yourself as a tour guide, showing customers the different ways they can achieve their goals.
Creating high-quality content that speaks to each stage of the buyer’s journey will help you attract and inform customers. You want to make sure that each person who visits your website, regardless of which stage they’re in, has relevant content that helps them progress through the buyer’s journey. Hopefully, that journey will end in a new client, but if it doesn’t, you’ve established yourself as a valuable resource.
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