Your business needs a rock solid content marketing strategy for two fundamental reasons. First, to help your target audience know with clarity that your company can help them reach their goals. Second, to help you get higher rankings on Google as a thought leader in your industry. 

Creating the Right Content at the Right Time

Unfortunately, prospects don’t wake up one morning, decide they want your product or service, suddenly call you and offer to send you lots of money. Unless you’re Google, Amazon, Walmart, or the like, a call out of the clear blue sky from a customer with money in hand just doesn’t happen.

No, for the rest of us mere mortals, there’s a lot of work that has to be done before we can earn a potential customer’s business. For starters, we need to produce valuable content about who we are and how we can help solve their problems. To successfully accomplish this, a comprehensive content marketing strategy needs to be put into action.

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Content created digitally has a significant advantage over traditional content (i.e. postcards, door hangers, direct mailers, etc.). A content marketing strategy affords you the ability to publish timely content, having it at the ready when your audience is actively searching the Internet for your services. You’ll never be too early or too late delivering your content.

For example, let’s say you own an IT consulting company. One of the services you provide is cloud migration. Sending out a mailer to your target demographic is one way to announce your services. However, is your timing right? If you’re too early, chances are once they’re ready to start looking for assistance migrating to the cloud, they’ll have long forgotten about you. Or, maybe they’ve already migrated to the cloud by the time they receive your mailer. What a waste of time, energy, and money sending your mailer to them. In either scenario, your timing is woefully off.

3 Buyer’s Journey Stages & Content Marketing

Before selecting a company to work with, buyers go through various buying stages. They want to make sure that when they do make a final decision, it’s the right one. Thus, they do extensive research on their own without initially speaking with you directly.

Knowing this, you’ll want to develop a content marketing strategy that addresses every stage of the Buyer’s Journey. Your job is to provide them with the content they need at each stage. Doing so will ensure when they’re ready to move forward, you get the call. Let’s discuss the Buyer’s Journey and the types of content that aligns perfectly with each stage.

1) Awareness

In this stage, the buyer has become aware they have a problem that needs to be solved. The type of content you publish for this stage needs to articulate your company’s values and should educate them about your services.

Blogs:
Use blogs to tell valuable, effective, and relevant stories to attract the right type of client to your company. The key here is consistently creating new blog articles to communicate with your target audience. 

Ebooks:
For prospects seeking a little deeper explanation on a topic, ebooks fit the bill nicely. An advantage of offering ebooks is they require a commitment from the prospect before they can download it. It’s a ‘Get and Give’ scenario. Get more content by giving us a little information about yourself. Once the prospect gives you their information, you know they’re interested and a lead is born.

Videos:
You don’t have to be an Academy Award winning director to produce great, educational video content. There are lots of tools on the market that can help you create fun, quirky, viral exploding video content that your audience will enjoy. So, don’t over think it. Focus on telling a memorable story and be sure your sound quality is high so your message can be heard easily.

2) Consideration

This is an extremely important stage. Here, the buyer is considering all of their options to resolve their problem. They’ve narrowed down their list of vendors and you’ve made the cut! However, before they move to the Decision stage, they want to dig deeper into your services. Here is some content the buyer will find helpful and will keep things moving along to the next stage in their Journey.content marketing strategy too

White Papers:
Dive deep into the technical aspects of your services. Show the buyer not only how things work, but why things work the way they do. Use white papers to provide an advanced explanation of your methodology. 

Comparison Data:
Show the buyer how your products work compared to the competition. Understanding what buyers need will help you use data points to highlight the benefits of your product, emphasizing how well your products align with their specific needs.

Analytical Reports:
Provide reports demonstrating how your products and services outperform your competitors. Show the buyer how you can save them money, help them operate more efficiently, decrease customer service calls, improve processes, etc.

3) Decision

Great news! The buyer has chosen a solution to their problem and your company made the short list of vendors they’re interested in working with. Congratulations! But don’t celebrate just yet. There’s still a bit more content to deliver, but you’re almost across the finish line.

Case Studies:
A great way to show how well your services have worked for others is to provide case studies. As with all forms of content creation, tell a compelling story. Mention their problem, show how you worked with the client to resolve the problem, and list all of the ways the client benefited by working with your company.

Testimonials:
You can brag about yourself, touting your abilities and all the wonderful things you’re able to do. However, if a client says nice things about you, well now that’s something! Your customers should be your biggest fans. Reading success stories from your current customers about how you’ve helped them accomplish their goals will go along way toward establishing trust in your company.

Free Trails:
Everyone likes to take a test drive before buying a car. Are you able to offer a free trial? Doing so allows your potential customers the opportunity to ‘test drive’ your products or services before committing to a purchase. It also gives them a chance to see what a joy it will be to work with you.

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