With every piece of content you create, be it a blog post, video, podcast, or eBook, you should be thinking about how you can meet the specific needs of your buyer personas. And if you’ve invested the time to define meaningful buyer personas that go beyond demographics, you should be bursting with ideas for content.
But the buck doesn’t stop here. You also need to think about the buyer’s journey.
The buyer's journey, as defined by HubSpot, is "the process buyers go through to become aware of, consider and evaluate, and decide to purchase a new product or service". It consists of every thought or action a prospect has from when they are first experiencing a problem or symptom, to when they make a final purchasing decision.
To define the buyer’s journey, you need to think about why buyers might seek a solution like yours, how they go about researching options, who or what influences them along the way, and what things they consider when they come to choose between different solutions.
So, what does all this mean for your content strategy? And how do you define the buyer’s journey for your company?
Establishing a foundation for content creation
The buyer’s journey consists of a three-step process:
Awareness Stage (What do I need?): A buyer becomes aware they have a need and has expressed symptoms of a potential problem or opportunity. They start gathering information to help them understand this problem or opportunity and decide whether it should be a priority.
Consideration Stage (What are my options?): A buyer has defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity and starts reviewing their options, assessing which may best meet their needs and eliminating those that don't.
Decision Stage (Why should I buy now - from you?): Having narrowed the field, in the decision stage a person has defined their solution, strategy, method, or approach and is ready to make a decision.
The information and solutions your prospects are searching for will vary according to where they are in the buyer’s journey. So content intended to generate awareness will be different from content designed to convert leads to customers.
If you can establish the journey your prospects go on as they become aware of, evaluate, and decide to purchase (or not to purchase) your product or service, then you can create content that will resonate with your buyer personas and nurture them as they move through each stage of the buying cycle.
Defining your company’s buyer’s journey
You know the three stages of the buyer’s journey, but what do the Awareness, Consideration, and Decision stages look like for the people you want to attract to your business?
When done well, your buyer personas should tell you much of what you need to know about the buyer’s journey. But if you haven’t already established your buyer personas, interview your customers and prospects and speak to your Sales and Marketing teams for their insights.
These are the questions you want the answers to:
Defining the Awareness stage
- What are your buyer’s goals and pain points?
- What triggers them to seek out a new solution?
- How do buyer’s educate themselves on things to do with their job or industry? (i.e. where might they look to help them understand the symptom they are experiencing?)
- How do buyer’s decide whether this is something that should be prioritised? (i.e. what will convince or stop them from proceeding to the next stage in the buying cycle?)
Defining the Consideration Stage
- What are the categories of solutions buyers might investigate?
- What do they want to achieve and what are all the solutions that could help them to do that?
- How do they educate themselves on these options? (For example, are they more likely to read a white paper or listen to a podcast? This will inform the type of content you create.)
- How do they perceive the pros and cons of each category of options?
Defining the Decision Stage
- What factors do buyers use to evaluate the available options?
- What do buyers like about your offering?
- What concerns do buyers have about your offering?
- Who else is involved in making a final decision and how might their perspective differ?
- Do your buyer’s need to make additional arrangements upon purchasing your solution, such as training programmes?
Mapping content to the buyer’s journey
Once you have defined the buyer’s journey, you can create content that will resonate with your buyer personas at each stage of their journey.
Awareness Stage content
Awareness Stage content should help your buyer identify and understand their problem or opportunity. So create high-level, educational content that is easy to consume, such as blog posts, videos, eBooks and research reports.
Consideration Stage content
Consideration Stage content should help buyers define what is important to them in managing the problem or grasping the opportunity identified in the Awareness Stage. So create content that evaluates all the possible options; their pros and cons, and to what extent they can help them achieve the personal or operational results they are seeking.
Decision Stage content
Decision Stage content should help your buyers make the most educated buying decision possible. You know the factors they consider when making a final decision and what their possible concerns are, so you can use this knowledge to nudge or persuade them towards your solution. Though be careful not to overtly sell your product or service. Instead, focus on creating compelling case studies, demo videos and client testimonials that demonstrate the value of your solution.
You should also know who else is involved in making the final decision. So if you know, for example, that the purchase has to be signed off by the C-suite, consider a blog that outlines how to convince the C-suite to invest. You should also know the finer details your buyer is likely to be thinking about, like how to implement a new solution or training requirements, so create content that also helps them with the bigger picture.
In defining the buyer's journey, you create a solid foundation for your content strategy. You can create content that will meet your buyers' specific needs throughout every point in the buying cycle, allowing you to connect with them, build trust and credibility, and nurture them through the process.