Gone are the days when consumers would make impulse decisions, especially for big investments. Instead, they take the time to research companies before making any purchases. Are they reliable? Are they competitive on price? Are they the best in the market?

This is why, as marketers, it’s important to understand what your organisation’s buyer’s journey is. This will help you to then utilise your content to engage your prospects at every stage of the funnel.

With advancements in technology and content marketing at an all time high, buyer’s are more informed than ever before and less likely to respond well to pushy sales tactics. Marketers need to be smarter about the message they’re putting across and by following the inbound marketing methodology, can ensure leads are presented with relevant content, tailored to their needs and in a timely manner.

What is the Buyer’s Journey?

Before you can begin to utilise your content to engage prospective buyers, you must first understand what the buyer’s journey is and how it works. Often used by an inbound marketing agency, the buyer’s journey outlines the steps marketers need to take to help nurture a prospective lead to their ultimate goal. The buyer’s journey is split into three stages: attract, engage and decision.

Buyer’s Journey: Attract stage

During the attract stage, also known as top of the funnel, your prospective buyer will start their journey here. They’ll likely not have heard of your brand or product before, but they will be experiencing a problem or pain point that your services could help them solve.

Before you consider how content channels can assist with this, you’ll first need to understand your audience. Knowing how they think, where they go to find their answers and ways they find solutions will ultimately determine how you market to them. You can do this by crafting buyer personas of your ideal customers.

Your goal should be to create informational content that is designed to help the customer, not push your own sales targets. The awareness stage is purely for educational purposes, helping potential customers identify their challenges and whether or not they want to treat this goal as a priority.

Buyer’s Journey: Engage stage

Once your potential buyer has identified their problem or pain point, they move into the engagement stage, also known as middle of the funnel. This is where some of your sales tactics should align with content marketing.

At this stage, you’ve already captured their attention and they are now committed to finding solutions to their pain point. Your goal as a marketer is to understand how your product or service can solve their problem. Consider how your competitors are currently using their marketing strategies to target potential customers and why you should be considered a thought leader in the industry.

There are plenty of ways to do this, but relevant and helpful content is a must. Providing resources to prospects is essential for nurturing them to find a solution that’s right for them.

Buyer’s Journey: Decision stage

At the decision stage, also known as bottom of the funnel, your potential buyer has already decided on a solution and is ready to make a purchase. But this doesn’t mean your marketing efforts should cease here. 

It’s important for your sales and marketing teams to align their strategies to ensure you’re adding value to new and existing customers and helping them achieve their goals, whilst maintaining a good relationship. Going above and beyond their expectations is what will help you retain customers for life.

Now you know what the buyer’s journey involves, it’s time to discuss what content channels you can use during each stage to adequately nurture potential customers down the marketing funnel and towards a purchase.

Content channels for the attract stage

It’s important to be aware that a large portion of your prospects may be in the attract stage of the buyer’s journey when they first encounter your brand. That’s why it’s crucial the content you’re utilizing is purely for informational purposes. This way, you’re seen as a thought leader providing helpful content for all.

Some of the common channels for the attract stage are blogging, video, search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media marketing. At this stage they are gathering general information, therefore blogging is one of the most effective ways to grab audience attention. This is where an SEO content writer will be able to add value to your business.

There’s no point in writing content aimlessly, you’ll need to ensure any copywriter is proficient in SEO best practices. Performing keyword research is essential, including relevant links and ensuring your page is crawlable by Google is how to get your brand noticed.

Social media is another way to gain organic traffic and can have a significant impact on brand awareness and encourage sales leads. It’s been said that 56.8% of the world’s population is active on social media. Taking this into account, it’s more essential than ever for companies to have an active social media presence as many people’s first impression of a brand is through their social media accounts.

Similar to blogging and social media, video marketing has a high impact for businesses globally. Utilising video on your website and via a YouTube channel provides users with a platform to become more informed on certain subjects and can help them solve their problems with ease. Video is much easier to digest than the written word and is often the medium people use to search for information.

Content channels for the engage stage

Popular content channels for the engagement stage are comparison guides, case studies, free samples and email marketing. At this stage, your prospective buyer is conducting comprehensive research into multiple brands, therefore your content marketing strategy still needs to be informational, though can start to include minor sales tactics.

This is where long form comparison guides can be highly beneficial as they provide a user with extensive research and potential solutions to their issue. Similarly, case studies are an excellent way to convince prospects that your company’s product or service is the best way forward. Despite the fact you’ll be referencing your own brand, your case study needs to be focused on the customer.

If you’ve captured a prospects email address through a downloadable guide, this is where you can begin to nurture them through email marketing. Be careful not to send too many emails as this can have a potential customer becoming unengaged. You’ll want to make sure your emails are engaging and providing useful information or tools to help guide your prospect into the decision stage.

Content channels for the decision stage

When a prospect moves to the decision stage, this is where they’re almost ready to make a purchasing decision. There may be some final concerns or questions they need answered before committing. During this stage, your marketing efforts should now be directly focused on convincing your potential customer to buy your product or service.

A trial, online demonstration or free sample can also be an effective way to allow potential buyer’s to test your product or service and see if it is the right one for them. By doing this, you’re actively showing customers that you care about their experience and feedback on your business.