The purpose of content marketing is to stimulate buyer activity and enhance a brand’s visibility throughout their decision making cycle. It’s difficult to deny the value of content when as much as 57% of all purchase decisions are made well before people even contact a supplier.
In practice achieving that isn’t so simple. Lean a little bit too far towards using sales speak and you’ll lose the reader and leave a bad taste in their mouth. Lean a little too much towards being strictly informational and you’ll start getting the stink eye from your boss.
Different stages of a buyers journey
Content marketing is a promise to people that they can rely on a brand to provide relevant and useful information. To deliver content that is primarily designed to help them. A good content strategy delivers great content for each of the 5 stages of the buying cycle.
Each stage requires a different approach to selling and a different type of sales message. The best way to design your content strategy for each stage is to use a call to action that drives the reader towards the next stage, instead of trying to get them to convert prematurely.
The formula for enabling more B2B sales
Creating content to match the entire buyer journey is the foundation of reaching people and increasing the relevance of your brand. You don’t want your content to sound like an over glorified sales pitch, neither do you want your sales managers to put you in the ‘Public Relations Activities’ box.
Content sells, you just have to show them that you haven’t come empty-handed to the party. When creating content for e-commerce make sure your content delivers the following results:
Deliver better leads
Take a moment and look at the figure above.
Notice how each stage complements the next, meaning that at each of these stages you have an opportunity to prep the reader to move towards a purchase decision. Relevant and useful content will ensure that people value information delivered by you and consume your content as they move forward in the process.
In practice, this is a better lead qualification process.
Improve customer trust
Chances are that most people visiting your website will not convert the first time, the second time or even the fifteenth time. And that’s okay.
You want people to turn to you whenever they are in need of assistance – that’s the promise of content marketing. People normally move between various stages of the buying journey before finally deciding to make a purchase. Each new and return visit will give you a chance to learn more about your customers and build an emotional bond with them.
The goal is to keep them coming back for more.
Show them what they’ve missed
Each new interaction is a possibility to find a new customer and each return visit is a chance to improve your understanding of a customer segment. Use your insights to help your sales team improve their process and develop better propositions – or in some cases even discover previously unknown opportunities.
Here’s what you have to understand about content marketing; without good content, there is nothing to market. When people are looking for a solution, you should be guiding them through their decision-making process.
To exclusively use paid advertising without content is to take away from your bottom line.
The days of Mad Men marketing – where you make an ad and people buy without question – are long gone. Today you need be like a good friend; there and ready to help when your customers need you. Good content will ensure that you always show up at the right time, in the right place and this is where the value of good content marketing pays dividends.