So, you’re taking on the daunting task of filling a content calendar for your business. Bold move!
The standard buyer’s journey (Awareness > Consideration > Decision > Purchase > Loyalty) is pinned to your wall. You’re staring at it, but it’s not helping you surface ideas. You’re looking at sooo many empty boxes on your content calendar and wishing inspiration would strike.
Bang! Here’s inspiration.
In this article, we’ll share Bruck Marketing’s take on the buyer’s journey. It’s a powerful launchpad for ideating content topics and developing deeper empathy for your customers.
The 7 Stage Buyer’s Journey
- Symptoms – Imagine you have a cough (symptom).
- Workarounds – You don’t yet know what’s causing it, so you search for your symptoms on the web. You read that lemon and honey help relieve coughs (workaround), and you start making Hot Toddys on the regular.
- Problem – As your ailment worsens, you go to the doctor and get diagnosed with a respiratory infection (problem).
- Solutions – Now that you know what’s going on, it’s easy to find a variety of medicines (solutions) that help resolve the infection faster.
- Brands – Your work isn’t done. There are so many brands (brands) producing this medicine, some with more convincing packaging, some with lower prices, and some with familiar names.
- Features – Some brands tout key benefits (features) that you’re convinced will improve your recovery.
- Your Brand – Ultimately, you hone in on one brand (your brand) and make sure it checks off all of your must-have criteria. And you make a purchase.
Your content can provide insight to buyers at every one of these stages.
Stage 1 – Symptoms
Your customer may not even know what problem they have yet. They haven’t diagnosed it. They may be searching (the web or elsewhere) for their symptoms.
Make a list of symptoms that may be relevant to your offering. Each of these is a potential blog topic.
If you work with an SEO guru, have them check the search volume associated with each symptom to help you prioritize. They’ll also want to suggest some long-tail keywords for you to include in your blog.
Repeat this step for each phase below. You’ll end up with a massive and intentional list of topics and keywords.
Stage 2 – Workarounds
When a customer first identifies a symptom (or even a problem), they often try to solve it with familiar tools and resources they already have. That’s an opportunity for you.
- Create a template or resource that can serve as a workaround/stopgap solution.
- Put it behind a form. Collect contact information.
- Nurture that relationship until your brand is familiar to them.
- Make sure the workaround tool reminds the customer of your brand, website, and contact info every time they use it.
You’ll have a massive advantage by the time this customer is ready for a real solution.
Stage 3 – Problem
Some clients know they have a problem, and they know what that problem is. It’s easy to assume they also know the solution—don’t jump to that conclusion.
The problem you solve should be vivid from the opening lines of your website home page. If you solve more than one problem, your services/offerings pages should lead with those problems, not just the description of your solution. And case studies and testimonials are a great way to showcase specific problems you’ve solved without implying you’re a one-trick pony.
Stage 4 – Solutions
Some customers have figured out what solution they need. They find themselves in a great, big, new world. And they are hungry to learn.
Give them a how-to guide for solving the problem themselves. Maybe they’ll be able to. But, more likely, that guide will show them how much work they can save by hiring you.
This audience will benefit from content that provides a clear overview of what this type of solution can do and what features solve what problems. Give them webinars, blogs, and whitepapers. Don’t just sell your solution to buyers at this stage. Instead, convince them it is worth solving at all, and show them what solving it looks like.
Give them plenty of calls to action. They may not be ready to buy today, but they’ll be eager to take toe-dip steps.
Stage 5 – Brands
Once customers know what they want, they will likely search for the top brands that provide this solution. It may seem nuts to mention your competitors. But you get to control the narrative if you provide them with that list of top brands.
Stage 6 – Features
Feature comparison grids (by brand) are popular, and some customers will appreciate you providing one. That approach might be right for you.
But consider presenting each brand’s offering as a different experience and plan. That way, rather than racing to the top on features and the bottom on pricing, you can compete by providing a fantastic experience customers must have and can’t find anywhere else.
Now pick the 1-3 killer differentiators your brand should be world-famous for providing. Emphasize these so hard in your website copy and sales collateral that customers memorize them. Repeat them by providing short testimonial quotes from customers who love those differentiators. And write at least one blog about each of these differentiators.
Stage 7 – Your Brand
Holy smokes—customers are searching for your brand by name! That’s fantastic.
- Make sure they find you. If you Google your brand by name, are you among the first few results? SEO is hard work. But winning a top spot when someone searches your brand name should not be. If you need help, contact us.
- Make sure they know how to contact you! Is the “Contact Us” button easy to spot on your website?
If you are a B2B, remember that your reader may be a champion looking to sell your offering to a committee of deciders. Help your champion help you. This audience is ready for deep-dive content like whitepapers and case studies. Don’t make them work too hard to find this stuff!
Present your business as the safe choice. Show them that others have had success working with you, that you have many customers, and that you retain them for a long time. Share your amazing performance metrics.
Bonus Stage – Maintenance
Many solutions don’t live up to a buyer’s hopes and dreams. Often there’s unexpected work involved in maintaining the solution. Consider what topics these customers may be searching to try and fill gaps, maintain what they have, and continue to make forward progress.
Consider your existing customers. How many of them came to you at each of these stages? Cater your website copy to buyers at the stage you’ve had the most success winning over in the past.
Understanding where the bulk of your customers are in this journey will give you a significant empathy boost, leading to deeper connections, shorter sales cycles, and greater brand loyalty.