Up to 80% of your customers search online for products and services before making a purchase decision. There was a 20% increase in this last year alone. 60% of people begin looking for your product or service with an online search engine like Google and Bing. Googles’ own reporting showed that people have completed 60% of their thought process before they’re ready to talk to anyone about purchasing. It is this portion of the thought process (during their research phase) where your content needs to address their needs, questions, and pain.
As Digital Marketers and as content writers, we talk a lot about the customer journey and marketing funnels. Why? As previously mentioned, 60% of your customers journey is already completed before they contact you. Since a strong inbound sales funnel can increase your bottom line, making the job of any sales staff easier and more productive, nurturing your prospects with content that aligns to their position in the marketing funnel can provide up to a 20% boost in sales.
A typical customer journey includes 3 phases. Your content strategy should address each phase with articles and other content designed for each phase. The first stage is awareness. This is where your potential customers are looking for answers, education, data, and “who” may fit their needs. The evaluation stage is next. Here your potential clients and customers will be deciding “why” or “if” you fit their needs. Next is the decision or purchase phase. This is where they are figuring out “how” to become your customers. So, your content should answer the questions: who, why and how.
1. Great Content Attracts Leads
As people begin their online search for a product or service, your content can attract them with articles, videos and social media posts designed to address their pain, answer their questions, and educate them. They become aware of you as an option to solve their problem and begin to trust you and your company has their expert. You become their go-to person for advice and answers to their challenges.
2. Great Content Converts Prospects
This is where content demonstrates to potential clients why you are the best fit and that you are the expert that they need. Guides, testimonials, FAQ’s, videos, and white papers are options at this stage. Here you’re building a relationship and establishing trust between the audience and your brand.
3. Great Content Closes More Clients
At the decision stage, people are looking for how they can become your customer. Your offer and calls to action at this stage can have a big impact on your conversions. Effective types of content at the purchase stage include case studies, free offers, demos, and product literature.
Every business will have a different sales funnel sculpted by their unique customer journeys. Building an understanding of your customers, then developing a digital marketing funnel around your industry and unique buyers and creating content to “fit” their needs at every phase of their journey will attract, convert and close more customers.
That’s not all. The White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that it costs businesses six times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. With planned digital follow-up activities and a firm grasp on customer services best practices, you can delight your clients by exceeding their expectations. This is where your best and least expensive advertising begins: referrals and word-of-mouth.