Whether your business is well-established, just starting up, or not launching for another couple of months, there is always an opportunity to create content that will help you make online sales. One strategy that a business at any stage can pursue is to create content to help your potential customers along with the steps of the consumer decision journey. In this post, we’re going to look at different types of content that can be beneficial during the consumer decision journey.
Photo Credit: Laura Dinneen on Flickr
Attract Your Target Customers
Before you can get potential customers into the purchasing funnel, you have to get them to your website. To do this with content, you need to evaluate who your potential customers are and what they are interested in. You can start this evaluation by creating buyer personas for your products or services.
Once you’ve defined your potential customers, you should be able to answer the following question. What is your potential customer base interested in? For online marketing agencies, it is probably SEO and social media. For creators of a Twitter app, it would be all aspects of Twitter usage.
If you’re not sure what your potential customers will like, take a tour of your competitor’s blogs. You can tell by the social engagement on each post which topics resonate best with the business’ audiences.
Create the Trigger
Once you have established an audience, you will want them to start considering your product or service. In order to do that, you will need to give them a reason to start the consideration process.
The best way to do this is to illuminate areas your potential customers needs assistance in. Identify their pain points and then highlight them through your content. An online marketing agency could talk about how their potential customers need better rankings in search and a more engaged following on social media. A Twitter app creator could talk about how potential customers need a better way to manage their engagement and cut out the clutter.
Once you plant the seed in your potential customers’ minds about things they may not have even realized they need help with, you will have turned them on to considering what your business has to offer. While it never hurts to include a call to action to buy your product, submit a lead form, or setup a free trial, remember that this isn’t necessarily the end of the consumer decision journey.
Give Them Comparisons
No matter how good your solution is, your potential customers are going to want to research their options. There are two ways you can handle this. You can continue to write about about all of their pain points and how your business can solve them, pretending that your competitors do not exist. Or you can hit the subject head on and give your potential customers the comparisons they want on your own site.
One of the best examples of this is Progressive. Progressive doesn’t just promote their own insurance – they allow you to see quotes from their competitors so you know you are getting the best rate. And they also fully encourage their customers to use websites like Marketreview.com in order to ensure that they understand the lingo insurance companies use. Sure, this probably sends some of their potential customers to their competitors. But it also attracts many more potential customers to their site because they offer the ability to make the comparison in the first place.
Comparison content is not always limited to your competitor’s products and services. If you offer similar products and services, you can create comparison information between them. A great example is when you are shopping for a new Apple computer. You can compare all of the main features of the desktops against the laptops, or the laptop styles against each other. If your business offers services, offer them at different levels that way people can choose the level of assistance they need at a price that fits their budget.
Close the Deal
So how do you close the deal and help your customer go from consideration and evaluation to purchase? Aside from placing strong calls to action throughout your website – especially on the blog and near other pages with content geared towards potential customers – you can help them feel confident about their purchasing decision.
One of the best ways to make a potential customer feel like they are making the right decision is by including testimonial content from people they will recognize and people they will relate to. Getting testimonials from well-known influencers in your industry is an obvious win, getting testimonials from customers who are similar in business size or type will show that others have received the kind of results they want.
The key is to make sure the testimonials are realistic. Some potential customers might be turned off of your product or service if they think the testimonials are fake because of the lack of a person’s image next to their review or the fact that the image of the person looks like it is from a stock photo site. Include real testimonials with real photos, people’s names, and business names. Better yet, include a link to the person’s website or social account.
If you want something more powerful than a written testimonial, try video testimonials instead. You can post a few on your website itself, and if you have more, link potential customers to a playlist of them on YouTube.
For those that work with well-known brands, you should see if your customers are alright with you adding their logos to your website. This may be impressive enough to potential customers that testimonials won’t even be necessary.
Keep Them Loyal
Closing the deal and getting the purchase is not everything. You will want your customers coming back for more. The best way to do this is through email content. Get your customers on your mailing list and keep providing them with the same valuable content that attracted them to your business in the first place.
Also make it easy for customers to help themselves on your website through comprehensive support content. If you have a support team, let them be in charge of creating content to solve the most commonly asked questions they receive. Have them create troubleshooting tutorials to work through common issues customers run into. This content isn’t meant to replace your support team – it’s simply meant to help those who may prefer finding a digital resource than picking up the phone or sending an email.
As you build a loyal customer base through the content you provide, the added benefit is that your loyal customers will become your best brand advocates. There is nothing more powerful than a word of mouth referral, and your happiest customers will likely provide that for anyone they know who is in need of your business’s products and services.
What other ways do you use content to help customers with through the purchase process?