Content: Why it really is “king” and how to maximize its impact across the three stages of the buying cycle
You’ve probably heard the statement “content is king” more times than necessary and to the point where it’s now engrained in your mind. No matter how cliché, it absolutely rings true. However, just having a solid bank of content is not enough for it to resonate with your market and drive sales – a comprehensive strategy needs to be developed which includes the types of targeted content that will be created and the channels through which it will be sent. And all of this is dependent on knowing the stages of the buying cycle your prospects are in, and proving content based on their needs. In fact, 60 percent of consumers say they feel better about—and are more likely to buy from—a company that delivers just-in-time, customized information. Below you will find information on the three stages of the buying cycle and how your content strategy should be altered for each.
Awareness phase. Also referred to as the exploration phase, at this stage you need to focus on providing educational content that hits on the pain points of your prospect. Solutions to their problem should be identified through content that outlines industry-relevant issues and how to overcome them, not heavily branded information on your product or company. Content examples for the awareness phase include industry research, topical blog posts, educational webinars and white papers. Once prospects indicate that they are interested in learning more, they will be transitioned to phase two of the buying cycle.
Evaluation phase. In this phase, prospects have an understanding of the issue and may have an idea to address it but aren’t fully there yet. As a result, they’re looking into different solutions and companies that can help with their need. While bridging the gap between educational and product/service information, your content approach at this phase should be focused on how your company can help solve their needs. Content should show your key market differentiators, and assets can include product specific blog posts, demo videos and case studies.
Purchase phase. Here, the prospect is almost ready to go, but they have specific needs that must be met before the deal is closed and a pretty solid idea of what they want. They will be comparing their choices of top businesses, so your company must stand out and now is the time to provide brand specific information. Help them make their decision in favor of your company through customer testimonials, product literature, buyers’ guides and success kits.
A robust content marketing plan ensures buyers receive the right content to help them progress down the funnel by choice and at their own pace. Keep your prospect moving down the pipeline by including a clear call-to-action in each piece, so they always know how to progress to the next step.
Interested in learning more content marketing best practices? Download our white paper on tips for a killer content marketing strategy.