When done well, content marketing is one of the most cost-effective and underrated ways to generate new business.
So, in today's article, I want to talk with you about how you can generate content that attracts decision-makers, people who want and need the products and services that your business provides.
So, how do we do this?
The answer lies in having the right framework, and if it's not something you're already using, then it's likely you've been getting poor engagement with your content.
It may not mean that your content isn't any good; it may just mean that your content is hitting people at the wrong stage of their journey, and that's what we're going to help you fix.
You often don't need to spend more time or money on content creation to solve the problem; you just need the right plan.
When you have that right content strategy, it's a tremendously cost-effective way to generate leads, build trust and build your authority on the topics that are central to how you help your target audience solve their problems.
Better still, once you get the right content recipe, you can create the content once, automate the delivery and allow it to work for you for months and years to come.
That's the marketing holy grail, and to get there, we need to get the foundations in place.
So, let's jump into it......
Mapping Content To Your Buyer's Decision-Making Process
Before you start creating any content, you need what's called a buying process map. I will talk through what it is, the three stages you need in your map, and then show you where you can go to get help with creating yours.
The destination you want your leads to arrive at is becoming a client (for them to use your services to solve their problem).
So, if that's the destination, we need to know what route they will take, which requires knowing where they are starting. That's why you need a map.
You want to know where they're going, so you can be there each step of the way.
We're going to map your ideal-fit client's buying process from their first point of awareness, through to them considering the available alternatives to solve their problem, and ultimately through to choosing their solution provider; YOU.
So, they're the three stages we're going to build a content strategy for.
The 3 Buying Process Stages:
Awareness, Consideration & Decision
Every buying decision moves through these 3 phases.
Depending on the nature of your products and services, the typical time for a prospect to progress through these stages could be one month; for some companies, it could be one year.
Either way, the key is to understand what happens at each stage and make sure you have the right content marketing plans, so you lay the train tracks that keeps them moving through this process, so they end the process with you.
Buying Process Stage #1 - Awareness
When your prospects are in the awareness stage, they are experiencing symptoms of a problem to a level that has prompted them to take action.
This means they don't know what the problem is yet - all they have are symptoms.
They need a diagnosis.
Think about a recent time you've gone to a doctor or a mechanic. Before their diagnosis, all you are operating with is symptoms. "My steering wheel is vibrating", "my throat is sore". These are symptoms – not the problem.
You may have had these symptoms for a while, and perhaps they were mild at first, but when they are persistent or are getting worse, you decide it's time to make the pain go away.
That's what your prospects are doing at their awareness stage.
The mistake most marketers make is they assume everyone is problem aware or solution aware. So, if you come to someone in their awareness stage and you are pitching a solution, you're not helping, you're harassing - that's why they tune out.
Buying Process Stage #2 - Consideration
Once they've passed the awareness stage, your prospects move to the consideration stage. Here, they have defined their problem or need and have committed to finding a solution.
So, they're now going to assess the various options available and select a solution method.
The mistake marketers make here is that they assume buyers have already decided on their solution method; as a result, these marketers have tunnel vision.
Let me put it this way...
If your car needs a new transmission, then you could buy the parts and fix it yourself. You could take it to a mechanic, or you may choose to buy a new car altogether.
All of these considerations exist in this stage of the buying process. Therefore, the buyer's questions, thoughts and behaviours in the consideration stage will be uniquely different from the awareness stage - so their content needs will be different too.
This brings us to the final stage - Decision.
Buying Process Stage #3 - Decision
In the decision stage, your prospects have determined their solution method and are looking for a solution provider.
Now, and only now, is the right time to change gears and start talking more about why they should choose you.
Did I mentioned I'm an awesome Marketing Coach 😉
As your buyers are going through these three buying stages, you need to ensure that you meet them where they are, with what they need. So, demonstrating the value of your products and services is not only in your interest; it helps the prospect as it's what they're looking for.
If Content is King, then Context is Queen
Contextual content delivery is the fundamental basis for getting your content strategy right, and there are two main reasons why.
The first is to build trust.
The second is to avoid only competing at the decision stage of their process. It's crowded down there, and if you don't already have a relationship with the prospect, it's going to be much harder (and much more costly) to execute a successful campaign reliant on decision-only content.
Instead, your goal should be to help your prospects define their problem and support them each step from that point on. That way, the eventual sales process won't be about them being sold to, but rather their continued support.
Nailing Your Content Marketing Strategy
As your prospects explore and understand their problem more deeply, they're going to have an affinity with the company that produced the content that helped them at each stage.
And more importantly...
When a company demonstrates that they understand a prospects problem and the impact that the problem has, the prospect will be more likely to trust that THAT company can help them solve it.
You want THAT company to be yours.
So, that's some of the theory - but let's talk about you…
When I run workshops on this topic, a small proportion of the group has the tools and experience to take this 3-stage process and use it to develop a buying process map that guides their content efforts.
If that's you, please do me a favour and come back and drop me a message to let me know how it all works for you once you've set your new plan live. I love hearing about the transformations.
However, if you need some tools, templates and support to develop your buying process map and set a content strategy, and you would like to work with me to use some of my resources to complete this process, then I'd be happy to have a chat and see how I can help.
Below is a link where you can book a marketing game plan session with me.
It's a 15-minute call where you and I will work out what you most need help with. And then if I believe I can help, we can talk about how, and if I can't, then I'll point you in the right direction of someone who can, or some resources you can use.
So, click the link below, pick a time from my calendar that suits you, and we will work out your best next step.
I'll see you then.