How you can see an increase in sales by mapping content to the buyer’s journey
We recently wrote about how to create buyer personas. Truly knowing your customers and potential customers is incredibly important to any marketing strategy, especially lead generation. To truly understand your potential customers, the second piece of the puzzle is knowing the journey they take towards becoming a customer – i.e. the buyer’s journey.
According to an Accenture study, 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research at some point in the buying process. And according to Forrester, 59% of buyers prefer to do research online instead of interacting with a sales rep because the rep pushes a sales agenda rather than helps solve a problem. This online research process, or the zero moment of truth, is the key to understanding the modern buyer’s journey today.
By the end of this blog post, you will understand what a buyer’s journey is and how you can create a buyer’s journey and content marketing map for your marketing strategy.
What is a buyer’s journey map? Why do you need one?
The buyer’s journey is the process buyers go through when purchasing a product or service. To reach your potential customers at the zero moment of truth and throughout their buyer’s journey, you need to have relevant and useful content and touch points in place to help guide them towards making a purchase.
The typical buyer’s journey includes 3-6 stages, as outlined below. The buyer’s journey may vary by business.
Understanding your buyer’s journey will help you create content that serves to answer key questions at each stage of the journey, and nurtures customers to the next stage – bringing them closer to becoming a customer. In this way you can map your content marketing strategy to your buyer personas and your buyer’s journey.
What does a buyer’s journey and content marketing map look like?
Below is a sample buyer’s journey, including the stages Awareness, Consideration and Decision. In a buyer’s journey and content marketing map, outline the definition of each stage, as well as ideas of content that will help convert your potential buyers into actual buyers.
In this example we mapped the buyer’s journey of “Buyer Persona Beth,” who is looking for a home builder. We mapped how she would go about making this decision (the buyer’s journey) as she chooses to use the fictional Home Sweet Home Builders, as well as the content solutions, calls to action, and promotional strategies that align with each stage of the journey.
The awareness stage begins the process, when Beth has decided to look for a homebuilder. Through market research, including interviews and external sources, we know that during this stage, she may be asking friends for advice, googling for tips to pick a homebuilder, and beginning to research what goes into the home building process.
The general types of content to have in place to reach potential buyers in the awareness stage include:
- General Blog Articles for SEO
- Gated Downloadable eBooks/Whitepapers
- Helpful Infographics
- Industry Reports
- Introduction Videos
- “About” or “Our Story” Web Pages and Social Media Content
Now that Beth is aware of the homebuilding options, she has transitioned into the consideration phase by selecting a few options of companies that could build her home. In this phase, helpful content serves to differentiate Home Sweet Home as the best home builder for Beth.
Here are some examples of compelling content types that can serve to explain why you are the solution:
- Case Studies
- Competitor Comparisons
- Educational Brand Specific Blog Articles
- Product Feature Videos
After comparing home builders, Beth has been referring back to the content provided by Home Sweet Home. She’s pretty sure that Home Sweet Home knows what they’re talking about and is the best home builder for her, but now she wants to fully understand their track record and what it will be like to work with them.
Types of content that help establish trust and explain what to expect in the buying process include:
- Case Studies or Testimonials
- Sales Collateral
- Live Demonstrations
- Product Promotions or Free Product Trials
By the end of this stage, if your content was compelling enough, your sales process should be expedited.
Knowing your buyer personas and buyer’s journey(s) allows you to fully understand the information that your potential buyers need to make a purchase, and create content that resonates in each stage of their journey.
Defining your buyer personas and mapping your content to the buyer’s journey are the beginning stage of attracting, acquiring, qualifying, and nurturing more prospects for your business. In combination with a lead generation and lead nurture strategy, as well as marketing automation software, many businesses have seen an average sales increase of 34%.
Contact us to talk about how you can build a marketing strategy that impacts sales.