Understand thy customerArticle
Content marketing is the perfect demand generation platform, allowing you to nurture leads, enhance brand awareness, convert your visitors into customers and increase your overall reach and sales. It is all about producing content tailored to your potential and existing customers so as to induce their behavior in your favour.
Research your target market thoroughly
The more information you have about your potential and existing customers, the better you will be at churning content that suits their needs. This includes thorough research on their tastes, content seeking and consumption habits, preferences, practically everything about them. Identify what your customers are searching for, what are their pain-points, what is it they desire, what platforms are used by them to engage with other potential customers and more.
Create targeted content for different stages of the buying cycle
After gaining a thorough understanding of your target audience, the next step is to map the customers to the stages of the buying and sales cycle and customize your content creation and delivery accordingly. In order to do so, you’ll have to provide the right content to the right visitor at the right time to advance them through the sales cycle successfully. Here are the various stages along with actionable tips to help you map your customers to the appropriate stage in the buying/sales cycle and generate content accordingly:
Stage 1: Awareness – This is the stage where your customers recognizes a problem or need that can be met by acquiring a product or service. The customer may or may not be completely aware of the problem or the need or how it can be solved. Enabling brand discovery is important in this stage by making sure that you customers are able to find you in the right place.
Actionable Tip: Use videos based campaigns as our study found that videos are the most effective and most widely used tool (used by 83% times) by B2B marketers.
Stage 2: Consideration – During this stage, your customers are very cognizant of a particular problem and are looking for solutions to fix it. They will be comparing various vendors in terms of pricing, features and other points of considerations.
Actionable Tip: Use case studies and white-papers to showcase thought-leadership. Include comparison charts on your site that highlight key selling points to help you stand out from the competition.
Stage 3: Intent to Purchase – As potential customers enter this stage, they already have a good idea of what they’re seeking and want to know more about how you can fix their problem. Your content strategy at this point should be to showcase your unique selling points in such a way that your potential customers are pushed to the next stage.
Actionable Tip: Make use of webinars as they are found to be the most effective in terms of lead generation.
Stage 4: Purchase – Once a lead’s information has been captured, he has to be nurtured and given incentives to purchase your product/service.
Actionable tip: Use ample numbers of articles in this stage as 35% of B2B marketers feel that articles are the best trigger to influence a purchase and close a sale.
Stage 5: Satisfaction – A customer who has purchased a product or service and has a positive perception of your brand is what you need to aim at attaining during this stage.
Actionable Tip: Use a good mix of Case Studies, Webinars and Online Videos to successfully re-enforce your customers’ purchase decisions.
Stage 6: Engagement – Engagement is the stage where there is a constant dialogue between you and your customers. Your content strategy should involve disbursement of content that will aid them in consumption or induce them to move to the next stage and repurchase.
Actionable Tip: Use Infographics Blogs and Webinars, and promote them via Social Media, Search and Mobile as this tactic is found to be the best means to engage an existing customer.
Stage 7: Repurchase – The stage where your customer returns to make additional purchases, your content strategy at this stage should focus on providing your customers with exceptional content with an aim to make him return for more.
Actionable Tip: Create Whitepapers and Case Studies pertaining to your solutions and the industry you’re operating in and distribute them via Email and your Website help in conﬁrming positive brand experiences and triggering repurchases.
Stage 8: Loyalty – Loyalty is demonstrated when your customer continues to invest in your brand’s product/ service.
Actionable Tip: Use Blogs, Newsletters and Webinars to help drive loyalty.
Stage 9: Advocacy – The stage where your customer raves about your offerings and communicates positive reviews about you or your brand.
Actionable Tip: Leverage Case Studies, Whitepapers and Articles on third party websites to increase customer advocacy. Sharing these at Events as well as through Social Media and Email would help in reaching customers who are at the cusp of moving from loyalty to advocacy.
Customer not content is the king
Content marketing has brought the spotlight back to consumers’ behavior. Without having an adequate understanding of your customers’ tastes, preferences and habits, or the stage of the buying/sales cycle they are, it is impossible as a marketer for you to create content that appeals to them.
We hope these tips will help you create targeted content to suit the needs of your target audience. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.