We have all done impulsive shopping and indiscriminate buying at one point, but even these seemingly split-second decisions go through a journey that ends with you spending your hard-earned money. It may seem like you decided to buy instantly, but the truth is you were just on a buyer journey and had gone through the earlier customer journey stages beforehand. The day you decided to “give in to the impulse” was when you arrived at the very last of the sales funnel stages.
As business owners, it is crucial to have an in-depth knowledge of your customer’s path to purchase. It will also benefit you to learn the different buyer journey stages to create an online content strategy that will usher customers through the sales funnel stages you crafted specifically for your business.
In this article, we’ll answer the question, what is the buyer’s journey and provide ideas for content that you can use for each stage. By the end of this blog, you’ll know how to engage audiences as they experience your customer journey stages by creating content that converts website visitors into paying customers.
What Is the Buyer’s Journey?
Blogspot describes the buyer’s journey as a “path to purchase,” wherein a prospective buyer becomes aware of a product or service and evaluates its merits before buying it.
A prospect advances through three customer journey stages:
1. Awareness Stage
The customer realizes that they have a problem and wants to understand it better and how to solve it. A customer in the Awareness stage searches Google for general information, looking for informative videos, articles, infographics and other content that offer helpful information.
2. Consideration Stage
The customer knows enough about their pain points that they are now looking for potential solutions to their problem. They are doing more in-depth research, this time about their different methods and approaches.
3. Decision Stage
The customer has decided which course of action to take. They could choose to buy a product, pay for a service and sign up for a subscription – any method they decide is the best. At this stage, they are interested in purchasing details like how much to pay, where to get the best deals, which brand offers the best value for money and so forth.
In a traditional setting, sales representatives assist customers and talk them through their buyer journey in-store. However, now that customers have access to information at their fingertips, their buyer’s journey no longer starts and ends when visiting a store. Instead, they go through the buyer journey stages whenever they are online – anytime within the average six hours and 58 minutes people spend online daily – and they can even proceed at their own pace.
So how do you facilitate a potential customer’s buyer journey in light of their independence and freedom to exit the funnel whenever they want? By ensuring that customers encounter buyer’s journey content appropriate for the buyer journey stages they are in.
“You want content to be both relevant and engaging for each individual, based on where they are at in the buyer journey,” said Amber Warner, Conversion Rate Optimization Strategist at Thrive. “If you can do this, it’s more likely that your buyer will convert.”
In the next section, you will learn tips for aligning your online content strategy with your customer’s journey.
The Best Content Types for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
To identify what buyer’s journey content you need to produce, you should understand what your customers feel and look for at each stage of the journey. The nuances will be unique to each industry or market, but we can simplify their journey into this:
1. Awareness: Exploring the problem
2. Consideration: Discovering possible solutions
3. Decision: Finding a provider of the best solution
With these in mind, we can identify these examples for each stage, starting with Awareness stage marketing.
• Social media posts
Ideally, content for awareness stage marketing should offer a lot of upfront value (information not tied up to a paywall, membership or subscription) and won’t require any commitment from the reader. It instead aims to inform, educate and earn your audience’s confidence in your expertise.
Blogs are excellent for providing easily digestible information. They are also helpful in ranking your website through search engine optimization (SEO). We have written several blogs on content writing and optimization that you should check out.
As for ebooks, whitepapers and webinars, they are ideal for audiences looking for more academic or extensive information. These are technical pieces of content, and readers will be more discerning of their quality. We highly recommend hiring the best content writing service if you want to produce these.
Videos are also very promising for Awareness stage marketing and could even be worth consulting a video marketing expert. The demand for video content is increasing, and video has become an essential marketing tool. Working with a video marketing company will help you leverage people’s growing preference for videos and produce video content that converts down the line.
• Comparison guides
• Downloadable resources (i.e., templates, checklists, ready-made charts)
• Case studies
• Ebook guides
• Explainer videos
For the consideration stage, your online content strategy should position your business as an authority or subject matter expert whom audiences can trust. So you’re not just providing general information but also engaging readers and making them feel that you are able and ready to help solve their pain points.
Comparison guides and case studies serve this purpose well because you can give concrete examples of how your product or service solves pain points – and specifically, with comparison guides, show why your offerings are superior to the competition.
Meanwhile, free resources like charts, tables, and templates can earn your readers’ trust. They give credibility to what you’re talking about in your blogs and other Awareness stage content. Offering something useful for free also shows your sincerity in wanting to alleviate your audience’s pain points.
If you hired a video marketing company for informative videos, you might as well work with them on producing explainer videos that focus on your products and services. Videos on how to use your products are good examples. They simultaneously educate customers about a pain point and put your products forward as the best remedy or solution. Hiring an established video marketing company ensures your videos will be high-quality and have marketing value. A video marketing expert can also advise you on using video to make your website’s buyer’s journey experience more satisfying.
• Shoppable social media posts
• Shoppable website content
• Live demos
• Free trial offers and coupons
• Email marketing content
With the Decision stage being the last in a customer’s path to purchase, it is the best time to show audiences content that will give them that final push to buy what you’re offering. We can consider the purchase page or cart as the Decision stage on a website. Adding an offer for live demos, free trials and discount coupons can be the incentive they need to become paying customers.
Incentives help audiences move forward in their buyer journey instead of opting out. Warner recommends adding elements that help move audiences through their journey and the sales funnel.
“For example, add a clear call to action on the page to invite people to engage with your brand or website. Even better, considering having an incentive or an offer on the page,” our CRO expert advised.
You can also maximize email subscriptions by offering exclusive, time-limited offers and remarketing. After all, repeat customers no longer need careful hand-holding through the Awareness and Consideration stages and would be receptive to content designed for the Decision stage.
Finally, you may have noticed that we didn’t discuss social media posts earlier in the Awareness stage. It’s because social media content can also serve the Decision stage and even the Consideration stage. The social realm is so fast-paced that consumers can find content that will usher them through all three stages of the buyer’s journey by simply scrolling through a feed or timeline. Shoppable social media content, which enables people to “add to cart” or buy an item directly from the post, even makes it possible to address all three buyer journey stages on one page.
“Using a whole page can be effective in really addressing all the buyers’ needs at their point in the funnel,” said Warner. This strategy, however, may not work in all industries. You cannot, for example, condense the buyer’s journey for a law practice or medical treatment, unlike with fashion, retail or recreational gaming. “It really depends on the brand,” Warner confirmed, and as business owners, you know what approach works best for your business.
Buyer’s Journey vs. Sales Funnel
Before concluding this blog, let us briefly differentiate the buyer’s journey from the sales funnel because it’s easy to confuse and interchange the two.
The buyer’s journey is the customer’s path to purchase, while the sales funnel ushers a customer into buying a specific product or service.
When producing content for the buyer’s journey, you educate the buyer and point them towards the best decision that may or may not be what you offer. On the other hand, the sales funnel is a carefully designed sales journey specific to a business. The end goal of a sales funnel is to convert a visitor into a paying customer. Whether you’re creating content for the buyer’s journey or sales funnel, leveraging the skills of one of the best content writing services in the business will stand you in good stead.
If you want to learn more about the sales funnel, Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing methodology should interest you. Many content marketing services are based on inbound marketing because it combines the perspectives of the buyer’s journey, and sales funnel stages into a hybrid content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing Services – Why You Need Them
Planning is crucial for content marketing, which you’re doing when creating buyer’s journey content. Of course, it’s good if you already have talented writers on your marketing team. However, you will also need online marketing experts who can help you map out a content strategy that covers all stages of the buyer’s journey and puts your sales funnel into action.
Hire a team known for its quality content writing service and expertise in content marketing like Thrive. We offer all-inclusive content marketing solutions, so you can get content that improves the buyer’s journey experience and helps your website rank higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Most importantly, our experienced SEO writers and marketing specialists can help you understand your buyer persona better. It’s the key to determining the content that suits each stage of your buyer’s journey and creating content that converts.
Choose quality content writing service from an established digital marketing company like Thrive. Check out our services and browse our blog to have an idea of the content types and the quality we produce.
We also offer a free proposal for first-time clients. So get in touch with Thrive today.