How Content Marketing Supports the Customer Journey
The buyer’s journey can be messy. We tend to hesitate even when we find a product online that we’re interested in. When we aren’t in the store to see and touch the product, we try to learn everything we can to make sure both the business and product are top-notch. “Could’ve-been” sales are disappointing for consumers and businesses, which is why the content marketing customer journey is essential to understand.
What’s the Customer Journey?
A customer journey is the path of interactions a customer has with a company or brand. It’s how they go from being aware of your brand to becoming advocates of your products and services.
The customer journey may include direct interactions, such as contacting a customer service team, or indirect interactions, like hearing about a brand from a friend.
5 main phases of the customer journey are:
- Awareness. Awareness is perhaps the most important stage. Without it, the rest of the buying journey can’t happen because customers can’t buy a product or service they’re unaware of. This stage is when you use content marketing to get your brand noticed. You want people to understand your product or service and, more importantly, how it eliminates a pain point for them.
- Consideration. Consideration is when potential customers compare your product or service with other options. They’re trying to decide which product or service best fits their needs.
- Purchase/Decision. This phase is when your potential customers are ready to buy. They need information and assistance to guide the actual purchase.
- Retention. Retention is less about gaining a happy customers and more about keeping them. What brings them back? A responsive customer support team, valuable information and updates, access to promotions, and customer appreciation tactics are some of the best ways to retain your clients. Ask for their feedback too! You need to know what they’re thinking and how you can improve their experience.
- Advocacy. This step is the gold medal phase for you. You’ve won if you have clients who advocate for your brand through word-of-mouth recommendations and send other consumers your way. Advocacy is the customer journey transition from a new customer to a lifelong supporter. Hold tight to those individuals because they’re the key to growing your business.
The marketing side of the customer journey is represented by the marketing funnel. It guides the steps your business should take in every phase of the customer journey.
How Content Marketing Supports the Customer Journey
Content is crucial to the success of your business. When planning your content strategy, consider how it can assist your brand. You can use content marketing to support the customer buying journey in many ways, including:
- Targeting Potential Customers. Content can target potential customers in each stage of their buying journey. You can provide photos, case studies, videos, blog posts, podcast episodes, and more throughout every stage. Different types of content meet varying needs of your audience.
- Building Trust. The best way to build trust with your clients is to produce quality content consistently. Your content can answer questions, pose ideas, and provide encouragement. Clients know that you listen to them when you create the content they ask for.
- Generating Leads. Content marketing is often the first way a person comes to know about your brand. It’s easy to share, reaches wide audiences, and is usually free to access. People want to support a brand that engages with them through personal, helpful, friendly content.
- Providing Answers. Content is a quick and effective way to showcase valuable information that’s simple to understand. Graphics, video tutorials, and website Q&As are just some of the ways content provides answers to clients. You can be the one-stop shop for answers to their questions about your industry.
Content for Each Phase of the Customer Journey
The key to the content marketing customer journey is ensuring you have content available for each phase your potential customers experience. In other words, it’s the content you create in each stage in the marketing funnel. After all, people come to your brand at different stages. You want to make sure you’re serving them all with the information they need at that point in their process.
The best content marketing approach for each stage of the customer journey is:
- Blog Posts for Awareness. More than 90% of online experiences start with a search engine. People use Google to find what they want and need — to answer their questions and solve their problems. Your audience wants to understand your product, what it does, and what your brand stands for. Blog posts work really well for laying this foundation and helping customers find you through search.
- Long-Form Content for Consideration. Long-form content helps potential customers get the information they need to decide if your products or service is right for them. Informative content to use at this stage includes how-to guides, e-books, research reports, and case studies. You want to reflect why your brand is the best choice and back your stance with reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers.
- Service Content for Purchasing. During the purchasing phase, customers need helpful content to guide them through the process. Make sure your website offers seamless checkout or booking. Also, provide helpful content through a Q&A page, a contact page, and a chatbot like Podium, so customers can get immediate answers to their questions.
- Relationship Content for Retention. When it comes to keeping customers, you want to serve their information needs through regular content that helps build a relationship with them. Content for this phase includes regular blog posts, a consistent email newsletter, and webinars.
- Promotional Content for Advocacy. OK, we know this one sounds a little out of place. Shouldn’t you use promotional content to attract customers? Actually, not really. People don’t like promotion at the awareness stage. They like information. At the point of advocacy, your customers are willing to recommend your brand, but they just may not think about it. Contests, giveaways, and even referral programs help remind and reward them for recommending your brand, which they love.
Help is On the Way
Does the customer journey still seem a little messy? Maybe it is. At Content Journey, we specialize in the content marketing customer journey. We can make sure you have quality content ready to serve customers during every phase. Contact us, and let’s chat.