The COVID-19 has certainly changed the way nearly every business operates. The impact of the pandemic is tremendous on every country around the globe and every business has been touched by it in some form or the other.
The impact on marketing activity has also been noteworthy, particularly for businesses that earlier relied on face-to-face strategies like conferences, trade shows, and exhibitions. However, these businesses are now finding new ways to offer their services and products and adapting to new strong marketing strategies. The content here plays a major role and businesses that provide innovative content and engage their customers throughout their purchasing journey are the ones who will thrive through these unprecedented times.
We all know that content is king, but why is it so vital for the modern customer journey in 2021? Let us take a look at that. However, before moving on to that let us explain the customer journey.
What is Customer Journey?
Customer journey is the touchpoints or connections a buyer has with your business. There are 5 stages of a customer journey from awareness to buying and advocacy. It is the brands’ role to make the journey positive and enticing for their customers.
The awareness stage helps the potential customer realize they have a need or issue. They will start gathering information about their needs or issues. The customer will become aware of your company through a website, testimonial, social media, or blog post. This is only possible if you consistently post informative and relevant content. This is the top of the funnel, so forming a wide network is just the beginning.
Next, comes the evaluation stage, and your business and maybe others providing similar products/services as you have made it to this stage. In this stage, potential customers investigate the solutions. They are not ready to buy yet as they still need to understand what the best option is for them. They do more research and like to read content such as instruction manuals, specifications, FAQs, product descriptions, and product reviews to know more. So, you need to consistently keep posting informative content helping them understand you have the right solution.
When customers enter the acquisition stage, they are now ready to make a purchase. For most businesses and brands, this is the goal, however, it is not. Once the customer has made their purchase, your role is to keep your business on top of their minds and continue to get them to communicate with you often. This can include as simple as a like or comment on your brand’s social media posts or pages or more involved such as repeat purchases.
Retaining your customers is essential for ROI. Research by Adobe indicated that when you are marketing for your current online customers, they account for 40% of revenue yearly. This is a great ROI, so, in this highly competitive world, it makes sense to continue wooing your existing customers. Provide after-sale services like offering discounts, coupons, or free shipping.
When you have retained the customers through various add-on-services and benefits, they become brand advocates. They will be glad to share positive experiences they had with your brand’s product or service. They share the information either through word-of-mouth, write a review on your social media page, or Google My Business page for others to see. With this, you will have more customers and a study indicated 71% of buyers are more likely to buy your offerings reading reviews.
Also, smart companies get benefits by mapping out the customer journey. The customer journey map illustrates various touch points they have with your brand during the buying journey.
Now let us look at why content is so important for the modern customer journey.
More customers are online and hungry for content
We have seen an influx of customers online than never seen before. This is because to stay safe they prefer to buy online and have more time to know about your brand. So, providing them lots of content can help you gain trust and build meaningful relations. Provide your customers the content that demonstrates your trustworthiness and knowledge, post fun and relatable content engaging your audience so that they come back for more, and keep 2-way communication open to understand their needs. This will help you get remembered for a long time and customers will come back to make more purchases.
The online world has become competitive
One of the straight results of the coronavirus pandemic is that most of the businesses to stay afloat have shifted to online space and this has significantly made the online world more competitive. Businesses that were already online continue to perform well, but with new competitors they are facing new challenges. Individuals are consuming online content at a very high rate. An average B2B shopper consumes 5 content pieces before talking to a sales representative and about 17 content pieces throughout the customer journey. This is an extraordinary volume of content consumed in the buying decision-making process. Thus, it is important that brands produce more content.
Content is the greatest way to convey your products are great
When it comes to selling more of your offering, content is a great way to tell your potential customers how good your products or services are. However, the utmost advantage of content comes when you deliver the right content to the right customers at the right time of their buying journey. You need to create proactive, tailored, and timely communications with your content helping your customers make a decision. Without changing content delivery, companies who push products rather than solutions appear less sensitive or helpful. In times of uncertainty, the brands who show their customers how they can benefit and support them are the ones to succeed.
The importance of content is not novel, but the content types created and utilized throughout the customer purchase journey are changing forever. One thing you need to adapt is how customers now want to be engaged. This comes down to producing new types of content and marketing strategy that express your customers about how you can help them succeed.
Content Ideas for Customer Journey
As your audience can vary widely based on industry and intent, you need to do persona research to get to know them better. By understanding their needs, you will be able to create effective content that best supports their journey to make a purchase.
Blogs are ideal pieces of content that target the awareness stage. You can write blogs targeting a pain, problem, or other topics your audience wants to discover and then post it to your website. With this, you are creating a brand asset that is crawlable by Google and discoverable by search engine users. You can also promote your blog across other digital channels to generate more awareness.
For the tasks that are complex and have a lot of moving parts, your customers need a simple way to navigate through them, and what better than a checklist. It spells out easily what they are supposed to do to achieve their end goal. For instance, buying a home is complex and if you provide the audience with a checklist specifying the steps to be taken, it makes the process a lot easier.
Sometimes, your customers may need more information about their problem. This is when instructional videos play an important role. With how-to videos, you can demonstrate how your product works so that they understand it better and make a buying decision.
Product Comparison Guides
Comparison guides are helpful in the evaluation stage where the buyers are still considering solutions for their problem. A product comparison guide helps them make a decision. The comparison guides could be on the advantages and disadvantages of a certain product where disadvantages are outweighed by the advantages.
Case studies are effective in both the evaluation and acquisition stages convincing the consumer that the solution offered by you works well for them. A good case study should appeal to the emotions and logic of the persona by offering comprehensive information and quantitative data on the final solution.
Coupons are appealing to the customers as they offer fear of missing out (FOMO) mindset. By reducing the price of your offering by a certain amount, the coupon handles the price objection while convincing the potential customer that they will be saving some amount if they use the coupon. This is enough to win the customer and repeat sales. You can make coupons interactive like offering spin the wheel on your website, where visitors have the chance to get a coupon before checking your offerings.