The content your business produces should be planned and tailored to help you achieve the goals outlined in your marketing strategy. Without a clear focus on your objectives, you run the risk of wasting time and resources on producing content that doesn’t generate results.
According to the B2B Content Marketing 2020 report from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, the most common goals firms achieved through effective use of content in the past year were:
- Creating brand awareness (86%)
- Educating their audience (79%)
- Building credibility/trust (75%)
- Generating demand/leads (70%)
- Nurturing subscribers/audiences/leads (68%)
So what content types should you be focusing on to reach your objectives during the three main phases of the customer journey: awareness, consideration and decision?
Raising awareness and educating
The vast majority of businesses out there are looking for ways to generate and drive awareness of their brand among their target audience. If you can capture the interest of prospective buyers before they’ve made any firm decisions about their preferred products or services, you’re on your way to winning their business and (ideally) building a long-term relationship with them.
Blog posts are a common and highly effective content type for companies working to increase brand awareness, partly because they’re a great platform for SEO. A well-optimised, search-friendly blog will help you achieve greater visibility in Google and get more organic traffic flowing to your website.
This is also the time to focus on educating your customers, and one of the most fun and engaging ways to do that is with video. A ‘how to’ video, for example, can give your audience something genuinely useful and relevant in an engaging, easily digestible format.
The power of video as a marketing tool is undeniable, so if it’s not a part of your strategy, you’re depriving yourself of some great opportunities.
Entertaining and visually impactful assets like infographics can also prove highly effective in grabbing people’s attention and conveying information that’s valuable to them.
Once customers are aware of your brand and potentially considering buying from you, it’s time to focus on nurturing that interest and supporting them on their way to taking further action.
Educating and informing is still important at this stage of the customer journey, but you need to be more specific and go into greater depth than in the awareness phase. Think about how you can deliver something that people can’t get with a quick Google search or a bit of online research.
One way to achieve this is by producing a piece of long-form, in-depth content like a whitepaper or a downloadable guide. Assets like these give you the scope to go much deeper into subjects that really matter to your audience, showcasing your knowledge and capabilities in the process.
Furthermore, high-value content like this can be put behind data capture forms on your website, giving you another way to collect leads and customer contact data.
Another option that can prove highly productive at this stage is to host a webinar, which lets you explore a subject in depth and demonstrate the value of your product offering while generating new leads.
As sales leads approach the end of their purchasing journey, they’re preparing to make a final decision on whether to buy from you, to go with one of your competitors, or possibly to not make a purchase at all.
One of the best ways to encourage prospects to take the first option is to show how you have delivered results for your customers many times before. This can be achieved with content types like customer testimonials and case studies.
The final stage of the purchasing cycle is also a good time to provide detailed product descriptions and demonstrations. Whereas in the awareness stage it’s best to avoid being too ‘salesy’, in the conversion phase you can get straight to the point and make your case for why your offering is stronger than that of your competitors.
It’s important that the content you use at this stage is highly personalised and specific to the buyer, to reassure them that you understand their needs and priorities. Delivering an excellent user experience and customer support throughout the purchasing journey will give the customer confidence that you will maintain these standards after the sale is completed.