In today's business landscape, an endless sea of companies all compete to solve customer problems. A catalog mailed is simply one of many in a mailbox. A high-ranking search result alone isn’t enough to convince today’s consumer. These are traditional marketing approaches.
No, customers in our modern world want to know who they are doing business with. Are they trustworthy? Are they knowledgeable? Are they transparent? These are the principles the inbound methodology was built on!
Buyers don't want to be pursued, or pressured, or sold anymore. They want the power to decide what they want, and when they want it. How do they fulfill these desires? They go online and search for someone who can educate them, not sell them.
The beginnings of any sale begin with establishing a relationship. It's the principle that inbound marketing is built on. To truly connect with today's buyer and build your sales, you need to understand their journey.
Understanding the Buyer's Journey
According to inbound philosophy leader Hubspot, The buyer’s journey refers to the research process a person goes through when purchasing a product or service. Everyone goes through this process, whether they've purchased a car, ordered take-out, or even something as small as choosing a brand of toothpaste.
So what are the steps in the typical journey of a customer? Let's take a look:
- Awareness Stage - An individual has recognized a problem or opportunity, and begins researching to educate themselves.
- Consideration Stage - The individual has a thorough understanding of their issue and is now searching for an approach/method to solve it.
- Decision Stage - The individual has compiled a list of potential vendors/products who can solve their issue, and is working to narrow down their list and make a final purchasing decision.
From a marketing perspective, its important to use the buyer's journey as a guide to how you can best form a relationship with your audience. If an individual is firmly in the "awareness" stage, you can provide relevant content to match their current progress. What works for someone at this stage will differ from someone in the "decision" stage of their journey.
Meeting the Buyer as their Journey Progresses
There are some important questions you should ask yourself from a marketing perspective when crafting a content strategy for each stage of they buyer's journey. Let's take a look at each section:
Awareness Stage Content:
- Does my content clearly identify a solution to a particular issue?
- Does it better educate an individual looking for answers?
- Does it convey a message of why their issue should be made a priority?
- Does my content help clear up any initial misconceptions a potential buyer may have about my brand/product?
Consideration Stage Content:
- Does my content compare/contrast your services with that of competitors?
- Does it provide a deeper understand of what makes your product unique?
- Does my content provide the opportunity for more personalized interactions?
Decision Stage Content:
- Does my content show the positive experiences of past/current customers?
- Does it lay out best practices on how to implement and get the most out of their impending new purchase?
- Does my content provide further opportunities for personal education and sharing their experience with others?
When creating content to meet the customer at their stage of the journey, your overall goal is to persuade a buyer that your brand/product is best suited to handle their issue. And that begins with building trust.
Learn More about the Inbound Marketing Approach
Draft quality content, help people along their journey, and they will reward you with their purchase and their future loyalty! Follow inbound principles, and your customer base will grow. It's that simple.
To learn more about this important approach to reaching today's customer, check out our complete guide to Inbound Marketing.
Need help in generating ideas for content to attract customers in each stage?