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James Perrin

Enhance Your Content Marketing Using The Buying Cycle

29th May 2014 SEO, Content Marketing | 3 Comments


Buying CycleIs your business thinking about producing online content? Perhaps you already are but you’re not really seeing the benefits; well ask yourself, do you have a strategy? Is your content working for you the way it should be?

For anyone producing content marketing, there are some fundamental considerations before you start spit balling and brainstorming. Audience, goals, and how you’re going to track your content’s performance are an absolute must – otherwise what’s the point?

So at what point does the sale funnel fit into all of this? Let’s look at the stats for a bit of context. According to Marketing Sherpa’s 2012 SEO Benchmark report, 70% of B2B buyers use search engines at the start of their buying process. That’s a lot searchers which have the intent to buy – but aren’t yet qualified. Add to this the fact that 50% of sales leads aren’t yet qualified and that lead nurturing through Content Marketing can garner 4 to 10 times the response rate compared to email marketing [Source: Hubspot].

For your content to be more productive it’s therefore important to map it against various stages of the buying cycle. If you want to see website users reading and acting on your content, you need to know who they are and at what point of the buying cycle they’re at. The best place is to start is establishing buyer personas (something we will be showcasing in due course) and from this you’re ready to start mapping.

What Is The Buying Cycle?

In the context of ecommerce or converting online, every user will go through a cycle before and after making a purchase of goods, services or ideas. Typically this is broken into the following distinct phases:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision
  • Retention and Advocacy

Customer Funnel

The time it takes to reach from start to finish will depend on the user and the complexity of the goods, services or ideas being purchased. Therefore, to make the process more efficient and to improve chances of converting, it’s necessary to ensure you have the content to reinforce ideas and strengthen a user’s relationship with the brand and product.

What Are The Stages Of The Buying Cycle?

Awareness
Goal

Attract visitors and prospects through search engines, social channels and B2B groups.

Objective

Create sharable, memorable and optimised content

Types of content

  • Blog posts (guides, tips and lists)
  • Whitepapers
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Memes
  • Curated articles
  • Microsites
  • PR
  • Competitions

Desired action

  • email subscription
  • add RSS feed
  • follow on social media
  • share content
  • leave a comment

Consideration

Goal

Help visitors find a solution to their problem and choose the best site, service or product on offer

Objective

Create content to showcase your offering, to assist with research and educate reader

Types of content

  • Case studies
  • Testimonials
  • Buyer guides
  • Reviews
  • Comparative articles
  • Video demonstrations
  • Webinars
  • Tutorials
  • FAQs

Desired action

Visit service or product pages, watch a demo video , attend a webinar or tutorial, start a free trial, or download a resource.

Decision
Goal

Convince and convert visitors as to why your offering is the best

Objective

Give evidence and make it easy for users to understand the value

Types of content

  • Case studies
  • Testimonials
  • Tutorials
  • Special offers
  • How-to’s (articles and videos)
  • Troubleshooting (articles and videos)
  • Help and support content
  • Glossary of terms
  • Comparative pricing

Desired action

  • Start a free trial
  • Speak to a member of staff
  • Claim a discount or special offer
  • Enter details
  • Calculate ROI

Retention & Advocacy

Goal

Obtain returning custom and spread awareness of brand

Objective

Create shareable, memorable and optimised content

Types of content

  • Surveys
  • Competitions and promotions
  • Discounts and giveaways
  • Newsletters
  • Email marketing
  • Feedback forms

Desired action

  • Tell a friend
  • Give existing users a motive to share
  • Tell and inform others

How Can You Measure This?

To measure the effectiveness of your content marketing you need to know of the specific KPIs available. Clearly, the KPI of choice will depend on the desired action of each stage of the buying cycles, but an example of what you could choose could include:

  • Social KPIs (e.g. shares, followers, likes, comments etc.)
  • Brand mentions (across social networks, PR efforts, links/shares etc)
  • Search KPIs (keyword searches, organic traffic, landing pages etc.)
  • Sales (Enquiries, leads, upsells)
  • Customer Service (web support enquiries)

What Do You Need To Consider?

For anyone looking to produce B2B or B2C content marketing, you must think about how your users will use and interact with the content.

Is it enough to just produce content to facilitate the SEO process? Or do you need to consider a more integrated strategy? Well to get the most of your content you must think about how it will fit within your overall digital strategy. For more information check out what Digital Marketing integration means for your business.

Today’s digital landscape moves across search, social and branding; including a plethora of social platforms. For you to market your business online there are more tools, platforms and strategies than ever – whatever your budget. You just need to make sure your strategy is working for you and your online business.

To find out more information get in touch today to see how Koozai can help.

Image Credits

Purchase Process via BigStock

Customer Funnel via BigStock

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About the author

James Perrin

Content Marketing Manager, James Perrin is a regular contributor to the Koozai blog. Well experienced in sales and marketing, James also has a passion for journalism and media, especially new media. From the latest industry related new stories to copywriting advice, James will provide you with plenty of digital marketing information.

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