A strong inbound marketing campaign produces content that attracts site visitors and email contacts, converts them into leads and, ultimately customers (read: generates ROI). Writing content for each stage of the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, decision) is easy in theory, but not always in practice.
The Awareness Stage
Also referred to as “top of the funnel,” the awareness stage begins when your audience (potential buyers) realize they have a problem. They’re online looking for solutions. This is your opportunity to position your brand as an expert – you understand your buyers so well that you know their challenges and can offer solutions. And no, that doesn’t necessarily mean your product.
5 tips to write effective awareness content:
- Do your homework. Learn everything you can about your potential buyers. By this point, you should have created buyer personas: semi-fictional representations of your ideal buyer, including age, gender, common challenges, job responsibilities, etc. These goals, responsibilities, challenges and pain points should determine your content topics, always.
- Research keywords. Figure out what topics people are online searching for. Look for popular search terms and frequently asked questions based on your buyer personas. Remember, your potential buyers are already online looking for answers to their questions (which is how you want them to find you).
- Be genuinely helpful. You’re building a relationship, not selling a product (right now). Your potential customer knows they have a problem, but they don’t know or trust you yet. Offer credible third-party sources and give them the pros and cons of various solutions.
- Stop talking about yourself so much. You’re trying to help them do their research and solve a problem, not tell them about your brand. Right now, all they’re interested in is figuring out what they can do to help themselves overcome an obstacle or challenge. You’ll be far more credible in their eyes by offering helpful information than telling them about your brand, awards or CEO.
- Be realistic. Don’t think that one blog post, social ad or piece of content is going to close the deal. Sure, it may. But that’s usually not the case in this phase. The buyer’s journey starts with attracting visitors to your content, then turning them into subscribers and contacts – leads and customers come way later. Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
It’s natural for businesses to want to focus on sales, but inbound marketing is not your traditional advertising model. It’s a longer play, and you stand a better chance of making a sale when you take the time to build credibility as a helpful resource, not a pushy salesperson. When you deliver content that solves your customers’ problems or satisfies their needs, you draw them into a relationship with your brand they find valuable.