The buyer’s journey – the research process potential buyers go through before making a purchase – is critical to understanding how to develop effective inbound marketing campaigns. Inbound content should be written to potential buyers at each phase of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration and decision.
The consideration stage
Consideration stage content provides in-depth, solution-oriented information. This is the phase where a prospect has clearly defined their problem or opportunity and is committed to researching and understanding all available approaches to solving it. That’s where you come in.
What does the consideration stage look like? (Here’s an example I borrowed from HubSpot):
- Awareness (of the problem) – I have a sore throat, fever and am achy all over. What’s wrong with me?
- Consideration (of possible solutions) – Aha! I have strep throat. What are my options for receiving treatment?
- Decision (on specific products/vendors that offer the solution) – I can see my primary care physician, go to the ER or visit a clinic. The ER is expensive and my PCP is booked. I have insurance and want to get this handled quickly; I’ll go to the clinic.
In effect, the consideration stage is that critical period for evaluating options, gathering information and weighing the pros and cons of each.
You’ve increased traffic to your blog (awareness). Now it’s time to help your potential buyer research all the available approaches or solutions (consideration). Keep in mind that they haven’t reached a decision yet, so now is not the time to employ traditional sales tactics. Instead, develop and nurture your relationship.
Most people are reluctant to provide their email address, often for good reason. You’ll need to provide something of real value if you expect them to cough up their contact info.
Offer content potential buyers can download that will help them research possible solutions. This will open the door to continued communication (read: nurturing) and build your relationship based on expertise, knowledge and trust, not pushing a sale.
Here are some examples of types of consideration content:
- White papers
- Expert guides
- Live interactions (like webcasts or podcasts)
It’s been reported that at least 81 percent of B2B purchase cycles start with web search, and 90 percent of buyers say when they are ready to buy, “they’ll find you.” Further, 65 percent of B2B buyers report that the winning vendor’s content had a “significant impact” on their buying decision.
There is a clear, direct line between the information you offer and a buyer’s journey with your business. If you prove yourself to be a knowledgeable and trustworthy source of information, the right buyers will move themselves through the funnel and come to the conclusion on their own (wink, wink) that you provide the best solution.