In inbound marketing, quality content is a must. Every article you create should tie into a buyer journey stage. Here are the various stages of the buyer journey, also known as the customer journey, and what you should be writing for each stage.
Quality Content for Inbound Marketing
Many small businesses unfortunately produce content that is a collection of random concepts, or sales material disguised as thought leadership. Regrettably, this content is not focused squarely on what makes their prospects tick.
To get the most out of your inbound marketing effort, your quality content should address what is going on in the prospect’s mind. It starts with why they would make a purchase in a first place.
There are 7 reasons anyone buys anything (not any specific order):
- Make money
- Save money
- Save time
- Reduce risk
- Reduce headaches (figuratively)
- Look good
- Feel good
As a prospect consciously or unconsciously gravitates to one of these reasons, they go through a buyer journey. Effective marketing content addresses each part of this journey.
Pre-Sales Buyer Journey Stages
Before your prospect buys from you, they go through 3 buyer journey stages:
- Awareness of an issue or problem
- Research of ways to address the problem
- Selection of products or services that will solve the problem
You should write quality content to answer questions they might have at each one. Once someone purchases, the buyer journey isn’t over. There’s more.
Post-Sale Buyer Journey Stages
Getting repeat customers is a lot cheaper than acquiring new ones. The marketing metric that measures this is known as CAC, or cost to acquire a customer. Reducing CAC increases your profits as well as your company’s valuation because it shows that you have a path to recurring revenue. This is especially important for SaaS (software-as-a-service) companies.
In order to reduce CAC, put effort into creating happy customers. You can do this by following the 3 stages of the post-sale buyer journey:
- Onboarding to learn how to use your solution
- Adoption of your solution so it becomes part of the buyer’s routine
- Success to show that your solution was worth the investment
- Expansion to sell more to an existing buyer
To address each stage of the buyer journey, create content clusters based on what a buyer would be thinking at their stage. Use search engine optimization to identify what questions are popular. (More on this: my favorite keyword discover tip)
Quality content isn’t just about writing articles, or at least it shouldn’t be. Your audience will consume content in different ways, so repurpose as much as you can.
For example, multiple blogs can be converted into a downloadable guide. Extract key points from articles and you can create a slide deck for SlideShare. Narrate the slides and you’ve got a video, which you can distribute as a webinar.
Too many companies create content for the sake of making content because they heard it’s the thing to do. There’s no strategy to it.
Examples of Marketing Topics
Writing quality content for each stage of the buyer journey can follow a general format. Use these types of headlines that talk to the different experiences your prospects are seeking. The buyer journey stage is in parentheses.
- What is <your topic>? (awareness)
- How to <your topics> (research)
- X vs. Y (selection, comparing yours to competitors)
- Case study (selection/adoption, showing how others are using your solution)
- Use case (selection/adoption/expansion, showing new ways to use your solution)
Quality content for inbound marketing addresses every stage of the buyer journey. When executed with a clear marketing strategy, it can generate an avalanche of qualified leads.
Author: Raj Khera, publisher of MoreBusiness.com