Article by Venkat Subramanian, President & Chief Operating Officer
Showing the right thing at the right time can make the crucial difference between closing a deal instead of losing a buyer's interest. While many organizations are good at providing numerous and detailed information about their products and services, they fail to fully understand the process in which their potential customers will engage with their website content and marketing material.
Successful and growing businesses have discovered that they need to organize their marketing and sales materials in such a way that their buyer's go on a journey. This journey gives the buyer exactly what they need when they are ready for it, which ensures that they will feel more confident in moving forward. There is another added benefit of putting your buyer's on a journey. It lets you know where your potential customers are in the sales cycle and what next steps you should utilize to progress the buyer even further down, all the way to a close.
❱❱ In most buyer's journeys, there are 3 stages:
Let's talk about the first stage: awareness. In this stage, the buyer comes to the realization that they have a problem. You may ask, what are buyers doing during this stage? Typically they are researching symptoms they are experiencing. They will engage in educational content to more clearly understand and properly diagnosis their challenges. Lastly, based on their findings, they determine whether or not the solving the issues or problems should be made a priority.
How should you engage customers at the awareness stage? Organizations need to highlight their expertise and industry insight by providing specific educational content that will direct buyers to the next phase of the journey. Keep in mind, this type of content should be informational, not sales focused. Examples of the types of content you need to create and promote during this stage are:
- Analysis Reports
- Educational Content
The next stage is: consideration. At this point in the journey, the buyers have committed to addressing their problems. Their goal becomes to find the best solution for their problem. Many organizations neglect to understand that there is more than one way to solve any given challenge customers face and it is during this stage buyers will consider all of their options and solutions available to them.
How should you engage customers at the consideration stage? Businesses are going to want to utilize downloadable or interactive content in the consideration stage. Your content should showcase the specific advantages your solution provides over others in the market. Also at this point, you should give them free content in exchange for some contact information so you can then begin sending them personalized content. Below is a list of the kind of content you should be pushing out in this phase:
- Expert Guide
- Tutorial Video
- Charts/ Tables
The final stage is: decision. The buyer has determined the best approach to solving their problem. It is at this point they are interested in buying. Now if you were responsible for bringing them to this stage, you are already at the top of their list because you have built that trust with the journey. However, it is still necessary you reveal the benefits of doing business with your brand as well as any and all edges your brand has over your competitors.
How should you engage customers at the decision stage? It is time to show the buyers what your products can do, their superiority in contrast to other solutions and why your solution fits their needs. Any content that gives buyers the specifics they need in order to differentiate your offerings from the rest is the kind of content that will lead to a close during this stage:
- Case Studies
- Live Demo
- Comparison Docs
- Free Trials
❱ FINAL THOUGHTS
Don't forget that the primary purpose of the Buyer’s Journey is to take advantage of the thought process of the customer so your business is better positioned for addressing the needs of the market. Focus on making content available through the right channels and ensure that each piece of content is available at the appropriate stage. If you are having trouble thinking that through, imagine yourself as the buyer and ask yourself if the content you have provided has value at its appropriate stage. If the content you put out there doesn’t help your potential customer, it will be difficult for them to trust you further down the journey.