Content is to inbound marketing as oxygen is to humans: the latter can’t exist without the former.
Your inbound marketing strategy needs content to draw people in at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
As we discussed in an earlier post, the buyer’s journey is the three-stage research process that a potential customer uses before deciding to purchase your product or service. Those three stages are awareness, consideration, and decision.
Let’s take a look at some of the content you can create to speak to customers at each stage.
At this point in the journey, customers aren’t really thinking about your company and what you make or do. The stage gets its name from the idea that customers are aware they have a problem, and are looking for ways to help solve it.
Here are some of the most effective types of content to attract people at this stage of the journey:
- Lists – Let’s say our hypothetical content creator is a mechanic, and the buyer is someone whose car won’t start. A blog post titled “10 Reasons Your Car Won’t Start” would be very helpful to someone in their situation.
- How-to posts or videos – Let’s stick with the same imaginary customer, and say they’ve narrowed down their problem to the battery. But they’ve never jump-started a car before. This is where a how-to post – or even better, a step-by-step video – would be helpful.
- Whitepapers – These would be much more detailed, authoritative pieces of content on a specific problem and its potential solutions.
- E-books – More colorful than a whitepaper – filled with graphics, infographics and other charts – an e-book is nonetheless another form of downloadable, informative content aimed at helping customers find solutions to their problems.
In the consideration stage, a buyer has developed an understanding of their problem and has begun to look at a few different companies to help them find a solution.
Some of the types of content you’d want to create for this stage include:
- Case study – Let’s go back to our fictional mechanic. They want to be able to explain why they’re good at what they do. So they create a case study, which is an in-depth report on how they managed to solve the exact problem our hypothetical customers are having.
- Webinars – A great way to explain the benefits of your company and how you stack up compared to your competition, webinars can help you generate leads and lend a personal touch to your inbound campaign.
- Demonstration videos – If you’re not able to do a live webinar, consider making an instructional video that can be downloaded and viewed multiple times. It can include information about your product or service as well as testimonials from happy customers.
- Data sheets – A good way to provide information to prospective buyers, and also to collect contact information. (This should also be your goal with anything that’s downloadable: get people to fill out a contact information page in exchange for your content.)
- FAQs – An internet staple, the Frequently Asked Questions page will help answer the questions your customers are bound to have. This can be a separate page on your site, or you can run an ongoing FAQ series on your blog.
- Free samples/consolations – Giving away free samples is easier for, say, a soapmaker than for a company that installs aluminum siding. If you can’t offer a free sample, maybe offer some free on-line advice. It’s a solid way to let people weigh you against your competitors.
At this stage, you’re near the finish line. The customer has determined their problem, they know what they need to solve it, and they’re ready to choose someone to help them.
The content you create at this stage can include:
- Free trials – A good option for a company that offers a subscription based product.
- Live demonstration – If you can’t offer a free trial, offer a guided demonstration that lets customers meet your sales team as you show off what you do.
- Coupons – People will be more likely to buy from you if the know they you’re offering a discount.
Remember: in every stage, be sure to promote your content on social media – while also monitoring conversations to help you know what your customers are concerned about.
If you’re wondering what would help customers find you on their buyers journey, IQnection can help you create content designed to appeal to your site’s visitors. We’ll give you the oxygen to let your inbound campaign breathe.