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As consumers, we're constantly bombarded by messages and advertisements telling us the new thing that we NEED to have in our lives – cars, insurance, beer – even deodorants are being sold to us every single day.

We're exposed to nearly 3,000 advertisements each day and so we install ad-blockers, use DVRs, and skip YouTube ads all in an attempt to get to the real content that we originally wanted. These ads are seen as interruptions, inconveniences, and nuisances.

Think about the last time you made a large purchasing decision – something like a car, for instance. Did you visit YouTube and start searching for "best car ads"? No, you searched for consumer reports, research guides and other information that helped you come up with an informed buying decision.

Then we get to work and our whole mindset shifts — instead of thinking through how we can create valuable content that aligns with the research process of a buyer, we create the same ads just like the ones we spent so much effort trying to avoid.

By taking some time to better understand the buyer journey, we can identify areas where we might be able to stop producing ads and instead focus on creating helpful content that helps buyers makes informed decisions.

What is the buyer journey?

The buyer journey simply refers to the purchasing process that consumers progress through as they are searching for products and services.  While the journey is not totally linear, most buyers go through a progression from research to consideration and, ultimately, make a decision based on a variety of factors.

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Identifying Your Specific Buyer Journey

Savvy content marketers spend time uncovering the specific steps that qualified leads and prospects take to making a purchase. Take a step into the mind of an ideal client.

By doing a few simple surveys, phone calls or sales interviews, you can often get a better understanding of what keeps your potential customers up at night.

  • What questions do they ask?

  • What are their common barriers?

  • Where is more education needed?

  • How can we create content online that will help expedite the process and reduce barriers?

  • What are the problems they will have prior to searching out your product or service?

  • What kind of solutions would they be looking for to help solve those problems?

  • How does your product solve those problems?

  • How will the prospect know that you can solve their problems?

Now that you've done your research, here are a few ideas to help you take this information and apply it to your content strategy so that you can convert more leads and close more business:

Create Diverse Content Offers

Not everyone who visits your website will be looking for the same thing. Creating diverse content offers will help you understand where visitors, leads, and prospects are on the buyer journey.

What is a Content Offer?
A content offer is any add-on content that you make available to website visitors. Many content offers will be presented via a form or landing page as a way to convert more leads on a website. Content offers can be templates, checklists, calculators, lists, white papers, e-books, guides or manuals.  

By creating content offers that align with your customer's readiness to purchase, you can gauge where they are in the process.

Take a look at the questions your buyers are asking during each stage of their research journey and identify the types of content that would help them reduce barriers, answer questions and move closer to a purchase.

Different types of content will be more helpful at different stages of the process, here are a few ideas to help you get started.

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Use Lead Nurturing to Move Your Prospects Down the Funnel

Once you have a full library of content offers for each stage of the buying process, use tools like lead nurturing to make the most of your content library.

What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of using follow-up messages (usually email) to connect with your prospects and usher them further in the decision-making process. Using a marketing automation tool, like HubSpot, Marketo or SharpSpring, it's easy to make automated lead nurturing workflows that allow you to send relevant messages to your leads and prospects.

Go back to your buyer journey map and look at ways that you can connect with your lead list by sending them information that's relevant to their next step in the process. If they downloaded a high-level checklist or white paper, send them something that helps them in their consideration phase.

Conclusion

Not all content is created equally. It takes research, strategy and planning to create content that aligns with the buyer journey and helps convert strangers into qualified prospects. By understanding the unique needs of people searching online, you'll be able to be better understand how to create content that aligns with what your visitors are looking for online.

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