This article is part of a series on The 8 Steps of an Effective Content Marketing System for Your Business. A FREE e-book is also available to download.
Content marketing works best when it’s delivered to the right target, at the right time, using the right message to drive interest and sales. Now that you’ve created a buyer persona, it’s important to identify the stages of your buying process and the key questions for each stage of your sales process. Doing so will allow you to start mapping out the type of information and content needed at each stage of the buying process and nurtures the buyer all the way through to the close of the deal.
Although each buying process is different, there are some commonly shared stages:
- Recognize needs
- Define characteristics and quantities
- Develop specifications
Discovery / Consideration
- Search for companies / suppliers
- Solicit proposals or quotes / research price
- Evaluate proposals (B2B)
- Supplier / company selection
- Performance evaluation and feedback
Map Your Content Marketing Strategy to Questions in the Buying Process
For each stage of the buying process, identify the most frequently asked questions or information prospects are seeking. For each question, provide answers and topics (these answers will drive the focus and direction of your content strategy). Finally, determine the best formats for delivering these answers (i.e. social media networks, email, blog posts, e-books, webinars, etc.)
As an example, the discovery and consideration phase is often where content can make the most impact. Content at this stage should be sales-neutral, offering unbiased industry information. Such content could take the form of infographics, blog posts, webinars and videos that educate your audience — giving them confidence to move to the next stage. The most important thing to consider during this phase is to keep content interesting and highly targeted to your consumer base.
Create a content map that matches each of the buying stages to the questions, answers, and formats (Download a Content Map Template)
Answers / Topics
Formats / Channels
|Discovery / Consideration||22.214.171.124.||126.96.36.199.||188.8.131.52.|
Identifying Where Prospects are in the Buying Process Stage
There are four ways to effectively identify where your buyers are in the buying process. Leveraging the use of technology will help with all four approaches.
- Analyze the prospects’ behavior during their website visit(s). Did they attend a webinar? Were they looking at pricing or product pages? Did they search for your company using certain keywords?
- Ask what stage the buyer is in on a landing page form or via social media interactions.
- Make various unique offers commensurate with the stages of your buying process such as webinars, phone consultations, and self-assessment checklists to gauge your prospects’ responses.
- You can also analyze how your current customers moved and interacted online with your company throughout their buying process to determine how your content would correspond to each phase.