Your 2019 Content Marketing Playbook – Part 6: Content Marketing Isn’t About You, It’s About Your Customers
Content marketing requires a fundamental shift in the way marketers think. Where traditional marketing focuses on the business such as by selling products, content marketing flips that on its head.
Traditional marketing may look like: “This is why you need our product or service.” – and then tells you how/where to buy it. It’s very business-centric.
Content marketing, by contrast, asks: “How can we help you?” – and then delivers the answer. It’s customer-centric.
Content marketing is much less about business promotion and sales and much more about helping the customer address a problem or need. This makes the customer central to content marketing success.
Content Marketing And The Customer Relationship
Content marketing puts the audience’s need for information at the forefront. Yes, the idea behind content generation is to get found, but more than that, it’s about relationship-building. By putting your customers’ needs first, you’re establishing trust and building a bond with them. You’re presenting yourself as a helpful resource, a trustworthy source for answers to specific pain points. You’re building credibility and authority.
Brand awareness and respect is extremely important in today’s competitive marketplace. Not only are consumers inundated with marketing materials of all types and from all angles, it’s easier than ever for them to take the initiative and research products and services. There’s simply an overwhelming amount of information available and consumers need some way to differentiate providers, brands, and products from one another.
Content marketing helps provide this differentiation by:
- Making it easier for information about your business to be found, and
- Establishing your brand or business as a trustworthy resource or authority in the industry.
Consumers buy from businesses with which they feel comfortable or that they trust. That comfort may derive from simple name recognition or brand awareness. It may come from positive reviews, referrals, or recommendations. It does not always stem from direct experience with or exposure to the business. Again, this is where content marketing provides value to the customer and, by extension, to the business – it helps establish a positive connection in the consumer’s mind with the business, product, or service. When the time comes that the consumer is ready to make a purchase, the brands that they’ve already connected with or invested in emotionally jumping to the top of their mind and if everything aligns, they make a purchase!
This process is the end result of the long and winding Buyer’s Journey.
The Buyer’s Journey
The Buyer’s Journey is a phrase used by marketing strategists to describe a consumer’s decision-making process. It’s generally thought of as having three stages:
- Awareness Stage. The consumer realizes they have a need or a problem.
- Consideration Stage. This is the research phase. Consumers define their need and conduct research to find appropriate solutions.
- Decision-Making Stage. In this final stage, the consumer makes a purchasing decision.
Today, the vast majority of the Buyer’s Journey happens before the consumer ever reaches out to a business to express interest or make a purchase. As we mentioned above, consumers have access to all sorts of data and information and they use that access to move themselves along the first and second stages of their Buyer’s Journey.
Using The Buyer’s Journey In Your Content Marketing Strategy
If consumers are experiencing most of their Buyer’s Journey in Stages 1 and 2, businesses must get information about themselves out in front of those consumers long before the consumer is ready to make a purchasing decision. If they don’t, the consumer will never know about them and will take their business elsewhere. Marketers need to start making connections with consumers in Stages 1 and 2, long before they become customers. Here’s how to provide relevant content at each stage of the Buyer’s Journey:
- Awareness Stage. The Awareness Stage is all about helping consumers become aware of your brand. At this stage of the Journey, buyers aren’t even aware of your company, let along how you can help them. They might not even quite be aware that they have a need yet. How do you market during this stage? By building awareness about your brand, company, products, and services. This content is focused on helping buyers understand what you do and what you offer to them and how you can alleviate their pain points. You’ll want to provide loads of useful content that can be used by consumers to research. Think educational materials like white papers, analysis reporting, and industry studies as well as testimonials or customer reviews to help build your credibility. Leave out the sales pitch and just focus on “This is the problem. Here is our solution.” The best place for this type of content is your website in a Resources section. Be sure to include an opt-in form on the page so interested consumers can sign up to receive other relevant content from you. You’re helping them with their needs identification and research, while also planting the seeds for lead generation. Remember, this stage is still about building trust and authority. Don’t push for a sale.
- Consideration Stage. The Consideration Stage happens when consumers have done their research and narrowed their choices down to a few different companies. During this stage, they will do more in-depth research specific to their final contenders. They’ll begin comparing what you have to offer with your competitors and try to determine which business will be able to help them the most. It’s during this stage that consumers will start to make themselves and their needs known to you. They may request specific information about a certain product or service or they may reach out to sales reps. They may request a demo. When this happens, pull all the data that you have on the consumer’s interactions with your company up until now to deliver a tailored presentation to their pain points. This is also the point where you can start to mention pricing and move from general marketing terminology to more nuts-and-bolts terms and financial terms like “reduce costs”, “increase revenue”, or “ROI”.
- Decision-Making Stage. The third and final stage of the Buyer’ Journey is when the sale happens. Consumers will be looking for practical information. How soon will the product be available? What do they need to do to prepare? What kind of customer support will they receive? They’ll also be looking for reassurances that they are making the right decision. It’s time to bring out the customer testimonials, awards and recognitions, case studies, and anything and everything positive about the product or service they’re considering.
Once the purchase has been made, your job isn’t over. Now is the time to provide outstanding customer support. Continue to offer information about customer case studies or best practices or implementation tips and guidelines so they can make the most of their purchase – and continue to develop goodwill towards your business!
Keep the content going! Share information about advanced features, similar or complementary products, or business accolades, advancements and new products. You want to remain top of mind when the time comes to renew or replace the product. Another benefit to this customer care approach is to encourage evangelizing. This is when customers are so happy with you that they go out and advertise for you. Evangelizing may take the form of word-of-mouth recommendations, positive reviews, testimonials, or case studies. This form of advertising is incredibly powerful and effective because it’s the only one that does not come from the business itself, but rather from satisfied customers.
Create A Roadmap For Your Buyers’ Journeys With Help From Orlando Content Marketing
To really succeed with content marketing, you’ll need to think like a customer and consider their pain points and individual Buyers Journeys. Make it about them, not you. If you need help developing a content strategy that supports the Buyer’s Journey and your overall marketing efforts, contact Orlando Content Marketing. We can help you get started with a content plan, fine-tune your current efforts, or develop audience profiles that will help you identify your buyers!
We hope you’ve found our 2019 Content Marketing Playbook series of blog posts helpful! Content marketing is here to stay but it doesn’t work the same way as traditional marketing techniques. These posts were designed to help you get started with content marketing without being overwhelming. For additional help and support, reach out to us at 407.461.4368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.