Editor's Note: Determining your buyers remains an ongoing challenge. That's why we thought the time was right for a good reminder to stimulate new ideas by bringing this piece back onto the true buyer's journey.
Would not it be great for your prospects to follow your well-designed sales funnel or well-defined buying path?
But honestly, you know they do not do it (even if your content marketing strategy supposes it).
"Buyers have control. And they do not go from step 1 to step 2 of step 3 of this process that you define as being quite linear, "said Anna Talerico, co-founder of Interactive Ion , in its ContentTECH presentation. "They are jumping everywhere. They explore. They compare. They do their self-education on their own terms and in the same time frame. "
More than 70% of shoppers do more than half of their searches online before making an offline purchase, according to Forrester research shared by Anna.
Given (1) that you do not know when the consumer starts his journey, (2) the consumer rarely follows a neat path, and (3) the consumer who ultimately buys has generally learned early the choice of his brand, what's a content buyer to do?
Do you abandon the pattern of the buyer's journey? Certainly not.
While your buyers are embarking on a chaotic journey, Anna says, you still need content to satisfy your buyers at each of the traditional sales stages. This is the basis on which you can build your editorial plan – to detail the topics and formats that will help your buyers the most.
If you have not described in detail your buyer journey, do it now. To help you, consider one of these useful guides:
How to execute content
OK, so we agree that it is essential to align your content and distribution with the messy course of the buyer. But how do you provide content that really helps your buyers navigate their meanders? And how do you make sure they can access this content when they want it?
Although the buyer's journey is non-linear, you can defeat it by creating content for the traditional stages unexpectedly to create a combination of content that gives buyers what they need, even when you're not do not know if they need it.
How do you create a good mix? Broadcast for the chaotic – mix your content formats and make them accessible no matter when or how the buyer arrives at this stage of the traditional buyer 's journey.
For this post, I use a shared buyer path model in Optimize Content Marketing by Facilitating the Buyer's Journey and add a fourth step – retention / loyalty.
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Formats of the content
Let's see how to use a combination of content types at each stage of the journey. The key is to create the content in this most relevant format for the scene.
A Survey Demand Metric reveals that 97% of participants said that interactive content was enough or very effective at educating shoppers, while only 70% said the same for static content. Research also shows that the ability of interactive content to convert buyers is almost twice the capacity of static content. Interactive content, as Anna explains, allows self-exploration.
Discovery (initial steps): Interactive computer graphics, lookbooks, quizzes, diagnostic assessments
Examination (Intermediate): Interactive eBooks and White Papers
Decision (Terminal Milestones): Concept-Specific Content – Evaluations, Research Solutions, Calculators
Conservation (in progress): Interactive Support Response
The ability of an interactive content to convert buyers is almost double that of static content via @DemandMetric. Click to Tweet
RELATED HAND-HELD CONTENT: Interactive Content: Cool, Mean, Funky Trivia
Video (and Visuals)
As Juan Mendez wrote : "The videos are also very useful to retain the audience and can increase the intention to purchase 97 % . In addition, the video is ideal for sharing cool content on your favorite social media channels. "
The videos are excellent for audience retention and can increase the 97% purchase intent. @ juanjo101 @mediapost Click to Tweet
Discovery (initial steps): Educational – help viewers understand how their problems can be solved
Consideration (intermediate steps): Explanant – detail (does not clearly show) how your product or service solves the problem
Decision (terminal steps): Demo videos, testimonials or "about" – illustrate the value and credibility of the brand
Conservation (in progress): Tips on the specific features of tools and solutions
RELATED CONTENT HANDPICKED: 5 types of video to add to your marketing on social networks
White Papers and E-Books
CMI's 2019 study shows that more than half of business-to-business marketers (54%) say white papers are more effective at mid-term. Thirty-four percent say they are the most effective at the beginning and 14% at the latest.
54% of business-to-business marketers say that white papers are more effective mid-way through the buyer's journey. @cmicontent Click to Tweet
Discovery (initial steps): Interactive and interactive research
Consideration (intermediate steps): solution-oriented
Decision (last stage): Value-based
Conservation (in progress): In-depth overview, avant-garde concepts
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Nearly half (49%) of business-to-business marketers successfully use face-to-face events, which are almost evenly split between the three steps on which they are most effective.
Discovery (preliminary stages): Webinars
Consideration (Intermediate Steps): On-site Activation During Events Attracting Your Target Audience
Decision (Last Stage): Organize events or meetings with your company.
Conservation (in progress): User Workshops and Conferences or Meetings Reserved for Customers
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Other types of content
We know that you use a lot of other types of content. Here is a brief overview of some of them to give you an idea of how to integrate them into the buyer's journey.
Discovery (initial steps): Blog articles that respond to questions
Consideration (Intermediate Steps): E-mail Information Letters and Content Crossroads
Decision (terminal steps): Testimonials on your website, third party sites
Conservation (in progress): Print Magazines and Mobile Applications
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To find and deliver the right content at the right time, it's essential to stop thinking about your buyers who are taking the simplest route. Instead, determine the type of information your buyers and potential customers need at each step and create specific content at this stage in a combination of formats. Then make it accessible when and where your buyer is ready to consume it.
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Cover image of Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute