The buyers’ journey is a concept that defines the purchase process as a journey during which the consumer advances from the awareness stage to the purchase decision, by receiving information that answers specific needs and questions.
It’s similar to the sales funnel, but the buyer can go back and forth and spend more time in one stage before making the purchase decision. There’s no standard length for this journey, and some customers may decide not to buy anything at all, after spending weeks analyzing a solution.
In today’s article you’ll learn how to identify and create the best type of content for each stage of the buyers’ journey: awareness, consideration, conversion and loyalty. I’ll use as example a company I collaborate with – Hypervibe, health/fitness industry, producer of whole body vibration machines.
First step: Understand the buyers’ journey
The company produces vibration machines, so let’s see how to fill in this spreadsheet using the first buyer persona – the new mom looking to lose weight.
This potential customer reaches on our website searching for a solution to help her lose the baby weight faster, so in the first stage of her journey (awareness), she should learn how our products can help her accomplish this goal. In other words, how the vibration machines produced by Hypervibe can help her lose weight.
Assuming she’s not familiar with whole body vibration or with Hypervibe as a brand, another thing we need to do in the Awareness stage is convince her that this company is the leader in WBV. So at the end of Stage 1, this woman will know our brand, will be familiar with our products and will start considering purchasing our product as a solution to her problem.
In the second stage of the journey (consideration), this woman needs to be convinced that our product is indeed the best on the market and that it can definitely solve her problem. So we will need to help her understand the value of our product, the advantages it offers in comparison with other similar products from competitors, the technical specifications of our product, as well as the additional benefits (besides weight loss) she can experience by using our product.
At the end of the 2nd stage, the woman is already considering buying our product, but there’s one thing missing: the validation, or the assurance that she’s making the best decision by investing in our product. So in the third stage of the journey (conversion) we need to show her how our product helped other people with the same problem as hers (customer reviews, testimonials) and we need to give her some sort of warranty.
Finally, in the last stage of the buyers’ journey (loyalty), we should provide support, education and training so as to help her get more familiar with this niche, understand our product and its benefits better, and encourage her to become a brand advocate.
As you can see, when creating the buyers’ journey, we try to anticipate what the user needs at each point in order to advance inside the marketing/sales funnel.
Before deciding what types of content to create for each of these stages in the buyers’ journey, you need to do one more thing: decide what your marketing goals are for each stage.
Now that the buyers’ journey is complete, it’s time to identify the best types of content for each of the stages. If you already have content on your website, try to see where each piece of content fits in this spreadsheet.
Step 2: Create content for the buyers’ journey
You can’t perform a content gap analysis without knowing what content you already have on your website, how / whether it answers your visitors’ questions, and whether it fulfills your marketing goals. The content audit process has already been discussed in a previous article, so I won’t detail it again, but I’ll continue with the same example to help you fill in your spreadsheet.
For the first stage of the buyers’ journey, the Awareness stage, you need a piece of content that educates the visitor and helps him or her get familiar with the product and brand. A good solution is a landing page optimized for a targeted keyword (vibration machine weight loss for example), which offers information on how the WBV machine can help the user lose weight, and briefly introduces the brand to the reader.
This landing page can fulfill the first marketing goal (drive traffic) through its well-optimized content, but in order to direct the user to the next stage of the sales funnel, it needs a clear Call to action. You need to tell your visitor what to do next, while keeping in mind both your next marketing goal (lead generation) and the visitor’s need (be convinced that the product is the best and can solve the problem).
An easy way to do this is by inviting the user to read a detailed article that explains how the product works and what are its benefits, and by adding a downloadable resource at the end (User guide, E-book on the benefits of your product, Product comparison chart or video etc.). This way you get the user’s email address (second marketing goal), and the visitor receives enough information to make a decision.
The almost convinced user returns to your website to buy the product. At this point he needs assurance, so you can add links to research articles, video and written testimonials, or product reviews, to push the sale.
Finally, delight your customer with more educational content (blog articles, newsletters, educational videos, training videos, social media posts), offer customer support (support site, forum, live chat, social media pages), and encourage social sharing.
If you need help sketching your buyers’ journey or developing content for the four stages, don’t hesitate to comment below or to contact me!