The people who end up buying from you have got to that point by going through a process called the buying cycle. Sometimes the whole process is very fast, sometimes it takes months or even years, but they all go through the stages of awareness, consideration and purchase.
Understanding the buying cycle and these stages gives you the opportunity to meet potential clients at the stage they are at. You can then help to move them along to the next stage by providing them with useful and relevant content.
Let’s have a look at these stages and the different kinds of content that can be useful at each stage.
Your product or service solves a problem or satisfies a need. When a prospect is in the awareness stage, they are aware that they have a problem or a need but they are just starting to figure out what the solution might be. They probably aren’t specifically looking for what you offer just yet but it’s time to make them aware of you.
At this point you want to position yourself as a possible solution while demonstrating your authority and understanding of their problem. Your goal is for the prospect to know who you are and what you offer.
Good content for people at the awareness stage includes:
- Blog posts
- Free guides, e.g. a builder might offer a downloadable pdf explaining the different ways of extending a home to accommodate a growing family
- Social media posts
Your content should be informative and educational. You shouldn’t be trying to sell right now. Instead, you are offering value to capture your potential lead’s attention so you can continue to nurture them.
During the consideration phase your prospect is evaluating potential solutions. They have identified their problem and some of the options that are available to address it; now they need to decide which one is right for them. At this stage, they need information that will help them understand the different approaches.
You need to nurture these people in order to turn them into leads for your business. Your aim is to build your potential client’s trust in you and encourage them to like you.
Content that you can help you to do that includes:
- Blog posts that explain and answer common questions about your products or services
- A ‘Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)’ section on your website
- Free downloadable guides, e.g. ‘How to choose the right builder for your job’
- Planned sequences of emails, often called ‘nurture sequences’
- Articles comparing your solution to others
- Video tutorials showing your product in use
This is the action stage of the process where people make the decision to purchase your product – or not! This is where they finally decide whether your product or service is the one for them.
At this point you want to demonstrate that your solution is the right one for them and actively help them to decide to buy from you. Reviews and testimonials from previous clients are really important at this stage because they can increase people’s confidence in buying from you.
Content options at this stage include:
- Case studies
- Review videos
- Sales pages
Do you have content on your website that would help people in each of these phases? Have a look at what you’ve already got and where you’ve got gaps.
Use the ideas above and choose the ones that sound easiest to fill those gaps. You might even have content already that you could add to your website, e.g. LinkedIn recommendations that you could use in a testimonials section or email stock answers that could form the basic of an FAQ page.
Content is a great way to help people through the buying cycle because you produce it once and then it keeps working for you. This is what your website should be – an extra member of your team working for you 24/7!