No matter where you look these days, you will find content marketing. Every time you go online, you come in contact with some facet of it. Assuming that you are part of the huge percentage planning to use some form of content marketing this year, it is vital that you understand its role in the customer journey. This will give you a better idea of the best way to create a strategy that will result in high conversions.
The Purpose of Content Marketing
By now, everyone is familiar with content marketing. However, only a few truly understand all that it incorporates. Of course, at the core, it focuses on the creation and distribution of relevant, consistent and valuable content to drive profitable action from existing and prospective customers.
On the other hand, simply publishing content does not mean you have an effective content marketing strategy in place. The difference between content marketing and content publishing is the plan to drive customers to profitable action. This means having a firm understanding of the customer journey.
The Customer Journey
The most commonly recognized stages of the customer journey are discovery, consideration and decision. Each stage is made up of a number of various steps.
The very beginning of the customer journey is the discovery stage. At this point, the customer has discovered a need and are searching for a solution. This stage can happen in an instant or take some time depending on how much of a priority the need is to the customer and how quickly they take action.
Next on the journey is the consideration stage. The customer evaluates a variety of solutions to find the one they feel best meets their needs. Just as with the discovery stage, the length of the consideration stage will vary depending on each individual customer.
The final phase of the customer journey is the decision stage. This is when the customer will evaluate the solution they have chosen in order to justify a purchase. If all goes according to plan, they will follow through with the purchase. If they decide that the chosen solution is not quite right, they go back to the consideration stage to evaluate alternative solutions.
If you have not taken the time to view content marketing from the perspective of the customer journey, you will be amazed. A new perspective will essentially alter your content marketing approach.
At the discovery stage of the customer journey, the primary goal of content marketing is to create an awareness of a specific need. Then, align that need with a number of issues that relate to business.
First, you will need to loosen the status quo and then help customers commit to change. This is done through the promotion of awareness and driving urgency to act.
In the consideration stage, you will help the customer identify what is needed to solve the problem identified at the initial stage of the customer journey. Align the solution with specific business needs faced by the individual customer.
Once you arrive at the decision stage of the journey, you have convinced the customer that your solution will adequately meet their needs. All that is left for you to do is simply seal the deal.
This is the time to focus on validating the reason your product or service is worth buying. This may be difficult when there are a lot of alternatives available, but you have already made it through the consideration stage. So, you are close to the end of a successful customer journey.
The thing that will set your content marketing campaign apart from all the rest is providing appropriate content for the situation. This means posting content that is right for the current stage of the customer journey.