How to Create Content That Engages: Start With Your Customer’s Journey
Content that engages is the hardest job these days, but when you plan your content with your customer journey in mind it pays off more often than not.
Effective marketing now requires that educational content is part of the strategy conversation in almost every business.
That’s why at some point, companies must accept that they’ll need to view its production from a strategic point of view. See, the secret to getting more engagement with content isn’t quantity but intention. If you create content with the intention of it to address business objectives — create awareness, educate, build trust, convert and refer — you’ll likely create an asset that provides a return.
In other words, you need content for every aspect of the customer journey and the best way to employ this is to match different kinds of content with the customer journey.
Most marketers view the customer journey from a very traditional and outdated point-of-view with stages such as Awareness, Consideration, and Purchase, but I consult on executing a much more modern and effective approach in this “customer centered era” we live in today: Awareness, Education, Sample, Purchase and Refer.
So, your content-customer journey might look something like this:
Awareness Content — Generates awareness with your target market
When your target market is not aware or doesn’t have top-of-mind awareness of your company, product, service or the benefit it offers, then the first objective is to create awareness. The key element here is educational content created on a set of keyword phrases and topics that potential prospects are already searching for online.
Awareness can be built through:
- Blogs, articles or infographics published on your site and third party media outlets
- Testimonials from happy customers
- Reviews on sites like Facebook, Google, and Yelp
- Advertising that draws attention to your educational content
At the heart of every transaction is TRUST and in general, trust is what’s in short supply. If more people trust you, everything else will fall into place.
There’s a really big gap between someone being aware of you (which is really hard) and someone trusting you, enough to invest in you or buy from you.
Educate Content — Demonstrates expertise, value proposition, knowledge, resources, and experience
As your target market becomes aware of you and the competition increases, prospects will be eager to find out much more about your unique approach, your solution, your story and your organization. And if you don’t give them a something, you’ll get compared on price.
At this stage you need to you need to educate those prospects that want to learn more and social media participation plays a role here:
- eBook — not boring, dry technical stuff, your best insight over all the other typical information
- Newsletter — Weekly or monthly education that nurtures their interest
- Presentation — in person or online, these allow prospects to learn as well as engage
- FAQs — some people just need the answers to their questions and this format serves well
- Case Studies — some people just need to see that others have had similar situations and got the result they desired
People want to be educated not sold. They will sell themselves if you just commit to educating.
Sample Content — Represents a sample of the end result
You’ve done all this work generating awareness and educating now show your prospect in the form of content a very tangible representation of the end result.
This is where most organizations stop their content marketing but you should continue it if you want to keep the modern prospect engaged.
Help your prospects understand what they’re potentially buying, and create raving fans out of those that don’t ever buy. The experience alone will cause them to share with their network.
- Cheat sheets
- Working Sessions
Purchase Content — Orientates a new customer
For this stage, the focus is on using content to keep the experience high. Think about what your customers now have access to when they yes in the form of content.
- New customer kit
- Access to “behind the scenes” content
- Quick start guide
- User manuals
- Result worksheets
Refer Content — Arms happy prospects and customers with referral ammo
Generating referrals all boils down to developing a formalized process. It’s important for you to systematically and automatically integrate referral content into the everyday interactions with prospects and customers.
- Seminar invite
- Gift certificates
- Referral video
- Lunch and learn presentation
- Collaborative presentation with a strategic partner
- Business cards with a referral offer