How To Tailor SEO Content for Each Phase of the Purchasing Journey
As marketers, we understand that the occasional impulse buy happens. Who hasn’t been lured by a tantalizing candy bar strategically placed near the supermarket cashier? But the reality is, most consumer purchases are not spontaneous decisions. They’re the result of a well-trodden path known as the buyer’s journey.
The buyer’s journey is a three-stage process that every consumer navigates towards a purchase. These stages are Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. However, this journey isn’t always a smooth sail. Various factors can derail consumers or steer them towards your competitors.
This is where strategic content creation comes into play. By crafting content that resonates with each stage of the buyer’s journey, you can guide your customers towards your business offerings. When timed right, your content can influence their purchasing decision, while positioning your brand as a trusted authority in your industry.
In this article, we delve into the intricacies of the buyer’s journey, exploring each stage in depth, and identifying the optimal content types to leverage at each stage.
The Three-Phase Consumer’s Journey: A Fresh Perspective
Traditional marketing models often highlight the sales or marketing funnel, which outlines the customer’s journey from the seller’s perspective. This approach, however, can involve six or more stages and primarily focuses on the company’s objectives.
On the other hand, the buyer’s journey provides a fresh perspective, charting the path to purchase from the buyer’s standpoint. This customer-centric view prioritizes the buyer’s needs and motivations over the company’s goals.
The three stages of the buyer’s journey – Awareness, Consideration, and Decision – form the cornerstone of this model. By understanding these stages and delivering tailored content via suitable marketing channels, you can effectively engage your audience and nurture their purchase intent.
According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, 77% of marketers are now focusing on content specifically designed for the buyer’s journey. This shift in focus underlines the importance of strategic content creation in today’s competitive marketplace.
Stay with us as we explore how to make the most of each stage of the buyer’s journey, ensuring your content not only captures but also sustains your audience’s interest through to the final purchase decision.
“There’s Something Wrong!” – The Awakening in the Awareness Stage
The first stage in the customer’s purchasing journey is a moment of awakening – the realization of a problem or a ‘pain point.’
A pain point is an unresolved issue that causes frustration to a potential or existing customer, which we will refer to as the ‘buyer’ in this context. Think of it as a need that’s yearning for a solution.
For instance, a common pain point for a consumer (B2C) could be: A night-shift worker struggling to sleep during the day.
On the other hand, a business (B2B) might face a different kind of problem, like a restaurant constantly receiving negative reviews on social media.
In this phase, the buyer begins researching their problem to understand it better and define it.
Returning to our examples, both the night-shift worker and the restaurant owner would start by trying to comprehend their respective issues. The worker may search online for phrases like “How can I get more sleep during the day?” or “Why can’t I sleep when it’s light out?” After reading several health articles, they might conclude that they’re suffering from shift worker insomnia.
Similarly, the restaurant owner might look up “How do I handle negative Yelp reviews?” or “Why am I getting bad reviews on Google Business Profile?”
During this phase of the buyer’s journey, the primary focus should be on educating buyers and helping them define their problem. According to a Demand Gen Report, 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. This statistic highlights the importance of providing informative content at this stage.
However, it’s crucial to remember that the goal here isn’t to create content that immediately converts. Such an approach may not resonate with buyers who are seeking to learn rather than purchase. Instead, this stage is about earning the buyers’ trust and positioning your brand as a knowledgeable authority. This approach sets the foundation for a relationship that can lead to future conversions.
“Which Solution Works Best For Me?” – The Evaluation in the Consideration Stage
Having identified their pain points, buyers now enter the second phase of their journey – the Consideration Stage. Here, they’re actively exploring potential solutions, comparing different products and services, and weighing their pros and cons to find the best fit.
As an illustration, let’s revisit our night-shift worker who’s grappling with sleep issues. At this stage, they might delve into various remedies – from melatonin supplements that can reset their sleep cycle, to blackout curtains and earplugs that could create a conducive sleep environment even during the day.
Similarly, the restaurant owner plagued by negative reviews would likely start researching reputation management agencies, which specialize in combating such online issues.
In a survey by HubSpot, 72% of buyers turn to Google during their consideration stage. This statistic underscores the importance of ensuring your product or service is easily discoverable and well-represented online.
Showcasing Your Solutions: The Brand’s Role in the Consideration Stage
The Consideration Stage presents an opportune moment for brands to step in, showcasing their offerings as viable solutions to the buyer’s problem. It’s not about hard selling but rather about educating the buyer on how your product or service can help them.
According to a study by Conductor, consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand immediately after they consume early-stage, educational content.
But remember, it’s not just about you. Buyers are likely comparing you with your competitors. Hence, it’s crucial to highlight why and how your solutions stand out. Whether it’s your superior quality, unrivaled customer service, or innovative features – make sure your unique selling propositions shine through.
In essence, the Consideration Stage is all about helping the buyer evaluate their options and understand why your solution could be their ideal choice.
“I’ve Found My Answer!” – The Commitment in the Decision Stage
We’ve now reached the final lap of the customer journey funnel – the Decision Stage. At this juncture, buyers have spent considerable time and effort understanding their problem, exploring potential solutions, and weighing their options. They’ve shortlisted their preferred type of product or service. Now, they’re ready to select a provider and commit to a purchase decision.
Making the Final Leap: From Consideration to Purchase
Let’s revisit our sleep-deprived night-shift worker. After thorough research and consideration, they’ve decided that melatonin supplements are their best bet. Now, they’re deep-diving into specifics, comparing different brands like Nature Made and Natrol, or evaluating the pros and cons of Nature’s Bounty Melatonin.
Meanwhile, the restaurant owner, determined to combat negative reviews, has chosen to hire a reputation management agency. Their search queries now focus on the finer details – “Rize Reviews reputation management pricing” or “reputation management agency reviews.”
According to data from Startup Bonsai, 48% of marketers prioritize improving their sales funnel. This statistic highlights the importance of this stage. Your brand needs to be there, providing the last bits of information that can push the buyer to choose you over the competition.
Securing the Purchase: The Role of the Brand in the Decision Stage
In this crucial phase, brands need to reassure buyers that they’re making the right choice. This is the time to showcase your product’s value, demonstrate excellent customer service, and provide any additional information that can ease the buyer’s decision-making process.
For instance, if you’re the manufacturer of a melatonin supplement, providing detailed product information, showcasing positive customer testimonials, and offering a satisfaction guarantee could be the deciding factors for our night-shift worker.
For the reputation management agency, showing successful case studies, outlining pricing clearly, and offering a free consultation could tip the scale in their favor for the restaurant owner.
Remember, at this point, it’s not just about getting the sale. It’s about winning a customer who trusts your brand, believes in your product, and might come back for more or even recommend you to others.
Tailoring Content to Match Each Buyer Journey Stage
Understanding the customer’s mindset at each stage of their journey is essential when creating content that aligns with their intent and needs. As Sara Martin, Director of Content at EverEffect – Digital Marketing Agency, puts it,
“Content in the awareness stage is designed to help someone realize they have a problem. It’s not yet about positioning the brand as the solution. That comes later. The right platform for this content might be social media if the target audience is millennials. As you move further down the funnel, the focus shifts to presenting the brand as the guide that helps solve the customer’s problem.”
Awareness: Identifying the Problem
During the awareness stage, potential customers are seeking reliable information and resources to understand and define their problem. Blatant sales pitches are likely to deter rather than attract them. Instead, content at this stage should aim to help consumers contextualize their pain points.
- Blog Posts: Not only do these educate buyers, but they also boost your SEO Optimization efforts. The ideal length for your blogs can vary based on your audience and topic. However, a general rule of thumb is to aim for more than 300 words.
- Social Media Posts: Quick facts, informative snippets, and educational content on social media platforms can effectively raise awareness among consumers seeking swift answers.
- Webinars: With 244.4 million people in the U.S watching videos online according to Oberlo, webinars can be an impactful medium for disseminating valuable information. Statista reveals that while young people consume the most educational content, individuals across all age groups enjoy learning from online content.
Consideration: Exploring Solutions
Upon successfully identifying their pain points, buyers are now prepared to investigate potential solutions. At this stage, your focus should be on providing detailed information about your offerings and demonstrating how they can fulfill the buyer’s needs or goals.
Though buyers aren’t ready to purchase yet, they’re open to exploring solutions and potentially testing them out. Therefore, your content marketing strategy at this stage should primarily be informative, also taking the opportunity to present your product or service in comparison to competitors.
- How-To Videos: According to Techsmith, 83% of respondents prefer watching videos for informational or instructional content. Engaging, high-quality videos that deliver value can effectively capture and retain your audience’s attention.
- eBooks: Ideal for addressing complex topics, eBooks allow for more in-depth discussion than blog posts. A good content marketing service can help you create effective eBooks and ensure they reach your target audience.
- Whitepapers and Case Studies: Particularly effective for B2B clients, these demonstrate your industry expertise while subtly positioning your brand as a potential solution provider.
- Product/Service Comparison Guides: These help potential customers decide which solution is best for them. Comparison guides or blogs detailing the pros and cons of your offerings provide high-value content, build trust, and position you as an authority.
Decision: Solidifying the Choice
At the decision stage, buyers are ready to conclude their journey. This signifies that your content strategy has been largely successful. However, it’s not time to rest yet – you need to convert these prospective customers into actual ones.
The goal now is to persuade your audience that your solution is the best option. To do this, you’ll need to employ content types and copy that address any remaining concerns and facilitate the decision-making process.
- Case Studies: These can provide the final push for buyers who need further assurance that your product works and is the most suitable solution for their problem.
- Free Trials and Demos: While risky, this method can significantly boost conversions by allowing leads
Content Marketing Solutions: Tailored to Engage Your Customers
Compelling online content is a key driver of success. By aligning your content with the buyer’s journey, you can maximize both your results and your return on investment from your content marketing initiatives.Our team at EverEffect has empowered numerous clients to harness the power of the buyer’s journey, propelling them towards their digital marketing objectives – be it amplifying brand visibility or augmenting website sales. We’re ready to do the same for you. Reach out to us today at 888-506-2183 to explore our suite of services.