The Write Content at the Right Time: Exploring the Customer Journey & Stages of Intent

the customer journeyLearning to move potential customers successfully down the customer acquisition funnel is the goal of most content marketers.

We understand that providing the right information to our potential customers at the right time during their purchasing journey is key to creating conversions.

The difficulty lies in figuring out what the “right” content is at each stage.

The customer acquisition funnel consists of five stages: the awareness stage where clients begin general searches for information on a product or service; the consideration stage where clients are aware of their need but are not sure yet what to buy; the conversion stage where clients have identified what they need to purchase to satisfy their need but have not picked the specific company or product; and finally, there are the loyalty and advocacy stages which are related to customer retention and relations.

For obvious reasons, we must first master the awareness, consideration, and conversion stages in order to move our customers to the last two stages.

Here are some tips and examples on how to deliver content that speaks to potential clients at each of the first three stages and helps move them down your pipeline.

The Awareness Stage

As marketers, we should have a fairly good idea of who our target audience is by using demographic profiling.

The trick is casting a wide enough net that we can catch the potential customers that have the highest chance of turning into a conversion.

People in the awareness stage search using informational queries that include words such as what, where, when, how, etc…

Real Life Example

FTD sells fresh flowers for everything from birthdays to get well soon gifts. However, this specific example is focused on weddings.

Their target audience with this piece of content is people who are in the first stages of planning their wedding.

The couple is aware that they need flowers for their big day next autumn, but haven’t made a decision on the type or color florals they need, or who their florist will be.

The couple is looking for ideas and inspiration on which types of flowers or bouquets to consider.

Customer Awareness Example

Delivering content at this stage that is focused on ideas rather than sales is key to helping move the potential clients on to the next stage.

Content that includes tips sheets, ideas for great flowers by season and/or price, and even lists of great floral choices based on region, will help move these clients from the awareness stage into the consideration stage.

The Consideration Stage

As customers move into this portion of the funnel they have probably narrowed down their wants or needs, but are still considering which products or services to choose from that will meet those needs.

At this stage you want to start delivering comparison type content. Customers are searching using commercial queries such as best of lists, reviews, types, options, costs, compare, reviews, etc…

You want to make sure that you have content that makes this process simple and moves clients closer to choosing your brand.

Real Life Example

HubSpot is a popular CRM platform and inbound marketing and sales software.

Customers in the consideration stage know that they need a CRM platform to help take their growing business to the next level, but they really have no idea where to look for more information or which services to consider.

They may have heard of a couple of brand names mentioned when speaking with colleagues, but they’ve never had to make this decision before and are looking for more information as they consider options to make an informed evaluation.

Consideration Stage Example

HubSpot does an excellent job of explaining what you should expect from and look for in a CRM platform.

They provide information on how to evaluate CRM platforms and start to build customer awareness of their brand and their products without getting into hard core sales pitches.

This helps to move potential clients into the most important stage, the conversion stage.

The Conversion Stage

At this point, the customers know what they need to fulfill their needs and they have intent to purchase something.

The goal here is to convince the customer to purchase your product or service over those of your competitors.

Now is when you want to start offering incentives and focus on clients that are using sales terms in their queries.

Words like buy, cheapest, offers, coupons, best, free shipping, etc. all indicate the customer is in the conversion stage and most likely have a brand in mind.

And if you have done a good job on the first two stages, the brand will be yours!

Real Life Example

In this example, Native does a great job converting health-conscious women who are searching with the phrase “buy natural deodorant” by clearly listing their natural ingredients right on the product page.

As a final push, they’ve even listed several real-life video testimonials to instill confidence in their customers that they’re making the right choice by selecting this product.

Conversion Stage Example

Moving to the Final Stages of Loyalty and Advocacy

When the first three stages go to plan, we get the opportunity to move our clients on to the final two stages of loyalty and advocacy.

These stages cannot be overlooked because they are where we can build a sustainable client base, and even better, grow that client base naturally.

When we have loyal clients they naturally become advocates of our brand.

People love to give advice to friends, colleagues, and families when they are confident that they are recommending a great product and a great company.

This is where customer reviews and testimonials come into play.

Real Life Example

Not only does getting customers to leave positive feedback about their purchasing experience help your marketing and advertising efforts, it moves your clients one step closer towards every marketers dream: a brand evangelist.

In this final example from Source Capital, we see actual written customer testimonials.

Not only do these customer reviews give confidence to potential customers, but they also show that the company has a loyal following (i.e. repeat customers).

Final Stages of Loyalty and Advocacy

So how do we build this loyalty? We make them feel.

We can build their pride in purchasing from our company by demonstrating our corporate social responsibility.

We can build their confidence in their purchase and our brand by providing outstanding customer support. And we can reward their loyalty by providing them with rewards and special incentives.

When it comes to marketing, one of the most overlooked pieces is customer retention. However, studies show that repeat business is instrumental to the livelihood of any business.

In fact, research shows that as much as 15% of a business’ most devoted clients make up somewhere between 55 and 70% of that business’s total sales.

And that’s not all: as millennials continue to dominate the marketplace and as Generation Z assumes purchasing power, brand loyalty will continue to be driving force behind buying decisions.

When polled, 25% of all millennials said that loyalty to a brand drives their buying choices.

Luckily, as it pertains to content, 62% of these millennials say that online content increases the loyalty that they have to a brand.

If you’re looking to drive brand loyalty from the millennials, it’s vital to use content marketing and to use it well.

The Customer Journey in a Nutshell

By understanding how to provide the right content at the right time we can become more successful at creating conversions, building our clientele, and turning these customers into brand advocates.

Author Bio

Nicole Stelmar is a managing editor at 365 Business Tips, a website that provides business owners with everything they need to know. Nicole specializes in helping small businesses improve their digital presence with content marketing and SEO.

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the customer journey




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