Everybody is on a “journey” – or at least that’s what contemporary marketing wisdom suggests.
It’s now commonplace to model the experiences of customers as a journey, leading from initial awareness, through to investigation, consideration, and decision-making. And after that, you could add customer retention, alongside the conversion of customers into advocates.
In theory, that sounds fine, but how can you encourage customers to follow the journey you want them to take? That’s where content comes in.
How content creation connects with the customer journey
Every stage in the customer journey involves the delivery of some form of content. This could be initial advertising, or search engine results at the awareness stage, landing pages further along the line, followed by product descriptions, follow-up emails, and social media outreach.
Each link in the journey is separate, which means that content needs to be tailored for particular uses. At each stage, content has to provide relevant information, connect with customers, and prompt them to carry on their journey. But what are the best forms of content to you, and when should you use them? Here are a few pointers.
Many of us use blogs as part of our marketing routine. It’s a great way to keep loyal customers informed, announce new projects, interact with followers, and to simply keep our writing skills in good shape.
Ideally, blogs function early in the customer journey, building awareness via social media sharing, as well as SEO rankings. So, research the right keywords for each post, and keep the content as useful and shareable as you can.
If you want some pointers, the best idea is to learn from industry experts who’ve shown what can be done. So check out our sampler of the best SEO blogs around, and check back with them regularly.
Video is often the most effective way to reach out to busy customers, and works well as part of social media marketing strategies. Again, video is a valuable way to raise awareness, but isn’t just suited to the start of the customer journey.
Landing pages can hook customers with video content, and help to move them to the “consideration” stage of the journey. According to marketing agency Wistia, videos boost the amount of time spent on websites by a factor of 2.6. That’s an invaluable level of engagement, and just what you need to entice customers to convert.
Videos also have a direct influence on conversion rates, for a very simple reason. People like to see proof that the product they are buying works properly, or looks the way it is described. Without that, they may well go elsewhere.
E-books and Newsletters
Further along the customer journey, more in-depth written content comes into its own. When customers have already converted, e-books and newsletters are excellent ways to foster a long-term connection with your company. If you offer timely, well-produced, and relevant material, you’ll find that customer retention rates sky-rocket.
It might be a good idea to offer a free e-book either before or during the purchasing process. And it’s definitely a good idea to encourage newsletter sign-ups with some form of free bonus or discount deal.
Whatever option you choose, remember that quality matters with this form of content. The rewards are high, but poorly written e-books can turn off customers immediately. So don’t ruin your brand. Source the highest-quality content possible.
Social media is indispensable to modern marketers, and it’s a key part of the customer journey. However, social media posts don’t function in the same way as blogs or newsletters. They work at every point in the journey, from awareness to advocacy.
A good social media content marketing strategy will raise awareness among groups of people who haven’t engaged with your company. It will serve existing customers via updates and customer support. And it will allow customers to become advocates for your brand by sharing content far and wide.
It often helps to divide social media content into “awareness raising” and “customer retention” categories. The two forms have different audiences, but still have to be modelled together. Remember – when customers want to advocate for your brand, the best content to share is “awareness raising” material, whether that’s explainer videos, blogs, or topical Gifs and memes.
Always consider the customer journey when choosing content types
We’ve only scratched the surface here, but hopefully it’s obvious that tailoring content to the customer journey makes a lot of sense. And hopefully, you can see that content varies depending on the stage customers have reached.
At greatcontent, we know how customers plot their routes from awareness to advocacy. We’ve created countless content marketing strategies to achieve just that. So, if you want to give your content writing meaning for customers at every point in their journey, get in touch. We can find the ideal mix of content types for any marketing operation.
Text: Sam Urquhart