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Content Marketing And The Buying Cycle

James Perrin

by James Perrin on 11th June 2014

Video Transcript

Hi. Let’s kick off with a quick question. Are you seeing a return on

investment from the content that you’re marketing?

Well, we know that creating content for content’s sake doesn’t work. Okay,
we know we need a strategy. But have you considered mapping your content
marketing with the buying cycle? Well, let’s what we’re going to start
talking about today.

Now, the buying cycle, very, very briefly is a series of processes in which
a website user or visitor will go through before and after transacting on
goods, products, or services. The way in which content plays a role in this
is it helps to facilitate this process. It can strengthen a user’s
relationship with a brand, and it can help solidify an idea using content
to help move from stage to stage.

So looking at this very briefly, this is a very, very top level overview of
a buying cycle. You have the four or five various stages. Other buying
cycles will be more comprehensive than this, but this is a top level
overview, and it’s a good starting place for us to start mapping our
content marketing efforts against. For each stage, we’re going to look at
the goals, the objectives, the types of content you want to create, and
more importantly and crucially, what are the outcomes, what are the desired
outcomes of each stage?

So let’s kick off with awareness. Now the goal of awareness is really to
drive new traffic and prospects to your website from search engines and
social media. So what’s the objective? How do you go about doing this?
Well, you want to create content that’s memorable, shareable, and well-
optimised.

So the types of content at this stage really are to get that awareness out
there. So blog, videos, that type of thing is a good starting point. So
guides, tips, tricks, top ten lists, that type of thing works really well.
But where you’re going to see a big impact are things like big PR
campaigns, big outreach programs. You’re going to look at competitions,
infographics, press releases, that type of thing.

How you’re going to measure this and what the desired outcome really
revolves around engagement. So you want to start seeing people sharing your
content, liking it, the number of social shares. You want to look at the
number and the quality of comments. Have they downloaded your newsletter?
Have they signed up to your newsletter? Have they added your RSS feed?
Those are the questions you want to be asking. If they have, you know
they’re on to the next phase – the consideration phase.

This is where your users and your website visitors will be looking for a
solution to their problem, and it’s up to you and your website to offer
that solution to whatever their problem may be. So really at this stage,
the objective is to assist with their research and to help educate them.
Now the ways in which you can do this is by creating content that’s more in-
depth; in-depth articles, buyer’s guides, how-to guides. You want to be
looking at tutorials, webinars, white papers, things that are going to add
additional value to their experience.

So how do you go about measuring this, and what do you want the desired
outcome to be? Well, have they downloaded that white paper? Did they attend
that webinar or that tutorial? Did they watch that video demonstration? If
they have downloaded that webinar or that white paper, you know they’re on
to the next stage. They’re ready to make a decision.

Now, the goal of the decision-making phase is all about convincing and
converting, but you don’t want to go in for the hard sale and ram it down
their throats. The objective here really is to increase their confidence
and showcase value as to why your website is the best offering and your
product is the best offering.

So how do you showcase that value? Well, what you want to do is you want to
look at your USPs. Are you the quickest? Are you the fastest? Are you the
cheapest? Do you offer the better value? Are you the most comprehensive?
Are you the most thorough? Whatever your USP is, this is where you want to
be selling it, at the convince and the convert stage.

Now the types of content that you want to create at this stage revolve
around the support network, the troubleshooting, that type of stuff. You
want to be able to show them that if they do have any problems, this is all
the customer service type content that you’ve got at your hands, at your
disposal. You want to showcase that. You want to look at providing
troubleshooting content.

So the way in which you measure this, the way in which you look at the
desired outcome, you want to start looking at conversions. So have they
submitted their details on a contact submission form? Have they called you,
using Infinity Call Tracking? Have they entered their details? Have they
signed up for that free trial? Anything that requires an action, a
conversion, okay you know you’ve done a good job.

So we’ve covered the first three stages, and arguably those first three
stages are a lot harder than the last phase. The last phase is something
that gets overlooked all the time amongst very many online businesses, is
keeping hold of those loyal customers, because if you keep hold of them and
you make them happy, they’re going to tell a lot more people. And this is
all about the final phase. It’s retention and advocacy.

Now the goal here is to obtain returning customers, and you want to expose
your brand to lots more new users. So what content do you create to obtain
returning customers? Well, you want to start looking at things like
questionnaires, surveys, feedback forms. You want to look at running
discounts for loyal customers, that type of thing. That’s very easy to
measure. Again, it goes back to the type of content you’re creating, but it
could be:  Have they engaged with it? Have they downloaded it? Have they
utilized that discount form?

The difference with advocacy is that you want to start making sure that
those loyal customers, those brand advocates are telling their friends. So
in terms of telling their friends, you could offer a friend discount, like
an introductory package. You could offer content that revolves around
introducing your brand at that very, very beginning stage again. So really,
the objective here is to create that memorable, that shareable content that
those advocates are going to tell their friends about and showcase to their
friends, and that will help significantly when it comes to making sure that
you’re actually achieving a return on investment when it comes to your
content marketing.

So just an overview. To start off with, we’ve looked at the various stages
of the buying cycle and how you can map your content marketing efforts
towards those. As we said at the top of the video, no longer are the days
of content creation for the sake of it exist. We need to start looking at
strategising, and one way in which we can do that is looking at the buying
cycle and mapping our content marketing efforts against each stage of that
buying cycle, and then we’ll be able to truly see a better return on
investment from our content marketing.

That leaves me to just say thank you very much for watching, and for more
information, please visit any of the social profiles coming up now.

James Perrin

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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