Anyone working in content marketing will be familiar with the buying cycle (or sales funnel) and understand the importance of creating content accordingly. However, at times it can be difficult to know exactly what type of content to write that will best encourage leads to pass to the next stage in the buying cycle.
For this reason, we have created this guide to help you plan each stage of content and receive the optimal number of conversions.
At the first stage in the buying cycle, content should target prospects who may know very little or even nothing about your company. This means that in addition to optimizing content for search engines to increase qualified traffic, you also need to be sure that visitors will enjoy your content, remember its source, and share it with others. The best content at this stage is anything that will help prospects begin to view you as an authority. This could include (but is certainly not limited to):
- Detailed how-to-articles
- Helpful lists
- Infographics presenting interesting and useful data
- Surveys, polls and social quizzes
- Social media giveaways
Whatever content you choose to create must at this stage must be free from sales pitches. At this point in the buying cycle, prospects are not ready to make a purchase - and if you come across as pushy rather than helpful, you may lose a future sale. Instead of using your Call To Action (CTA) to solicit a purchase, make a smaller ask by encouraging the customer to leave a comment, share your content with their friends, follow your social media page, subscribe to your email newsletter, or even download premium content.
At this stage, your prospects are considering your company against your competitors. You can use great content to show them that you are the best option without being too pushy. The best type of content at this stage is anything that demonstrates your reliability, trustworthiness, and superior quality. Content that is helpful during the consideration phase includes:
- Case studies
- Product/Competitor comparisons
At this stage, it's recommended to end each piece of content with a CTA inviting prospects to check out your premium content or inviting them to receive a free trial or demo.
At the decision stage, your prospects have turned into leads and are finally ready to decide whether or not to buy from you. This is your chance to show them that you are the right choice. Content that is helpful for those ready to make a decision includes:
- In-depth case studies
- How-to articles that focus on using your products
- Testimonials from current customers
- User reviews
- Special offers
- Information about pricing
Choose what content to present to individuals by examining data that reveals their past behaviors and interests. If you do make a sales pitch, it must be on a product or service you know the consumer will find interesting.
It is also important to ensure your content remains consumer-centric and does not veer into the marketer-centric territory of outbound marketing. Keep CTAs short and simple, inviting leads to make a purchase, receive a discount or special offer, or talk to a member of your sales team.
Reconversion and Advocation
The buying cycle is far from over once you have completed an initial sale with a customer. Repeat business is far less time consuming and less expensive than seeking out new prospects; therefore, it is essential that you maintain your relationship with your clients. Furthermore, your customers can help you with content marketing by spreading the word about your company, products, or services to others on social media. Content that fulfills the above requirements may include:
- Feedback forms
- Information about special offers
- Free giveaways
- News about upcoming events
It is best at this stage to end content with a CTA that encourages consumers to share content with their friends. You might ask them if they know anyone else who may benefit from the information, and incentivize their share.
Make sure you always use these guidelines to ensure you are providing users with the right content at the right time. Such practice can significantly improve your conversions, increase your number of repeat customers, and impact the overall success of your business.