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Customer engagement is quite a popular buzzword in today’s marketing industry and for good reason. When developed and implemented correctly, a customer engagement strategy has the power to not only attract prospective customers but also to transform these potential customers into paying customers or even create evangelical customers. It only makes sense that companies around the globe are investing more in building dynamic customer engagement strategies.
One of the most effective ways to engage with consumers is through content marketing. This is a primary reason why 76 percent of B2C companies and 88 percent of B2B companies have a content marketing strategy in place. It’s important, however, to realize that prospective customers have different needs and different goals as they move through the buyer’s journey. In order for a customer engagement strategy to work, marketers must understand not only the buyer’s journey but also how to effectively engage with prospective customers at every stage of this journey.
Here’s a look at that three basic stages of the buyer’s journey along with tips for how to boost customer engagement during each phase.
The awareness stage is at the top of the sales funnel which offers many opportunities to engage with the customer. This is the stage where the customer realizes they have a problem that needs to be solved or that they have a need that must be filled. The customer is not ready to make any purchasing decisions. In fact, the customer is just starting to explore their possible options.
Content used to engage with customers during the awareness stage should focus on problem-solution queries. You want the customer to know that you not only understand their problem or you recognize their needs, but also that you have the solutions. This level of content should be light and easy-to-read without getting too detailed with facts and information.
The ultimate goal of engagement during the awareness stage is to entice the consumer to want to learn more about your goods and/or services. Content, such as blog post and social media posts are ideal ways to reach the customer during this phase of the buyer’s journey. In addition, white papers, eBooks, and even statistical reports work well, especially if you offer professional services or technical products.
For example, if you were marketing for a recruiting company, you would want content at this stage of the buyer’s journey to focus on the various pain points companies experience in regards to recruitment. You want to help prospective clients realize that they have a problem with recruiting and that now is the time to start looking for solutions.
Image via Flickr by pabak sarkar
Once the consumer has determined their specific problem or need, they will move on to the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey which is in the middle of the sales funnel. During this phase, the consumer will be considering all of their options. While the potential customer is still not ready to make any final purchasing decisions, he is prepared to narrow down his options.
The goal of any content at this stage of the buyer’s journey is to show the prospective customer how and why your goods or services can solve their problem or fill their needs. Content should focus on specific features of your goods and services. You want to be careful not to get too detailed with your content. Remember that the customer is not at the point where he is ready to make a purchase, they are just exploring their options.
Content, such as blog posts, buyer’s guides, infographics, and case studies can provide a powerful medium to engage with your prospective customers during this phase without being too overwhelming. Depending on the specific goods or services your company offers, visual content, including product demonstrations, PowerPoint presentations, and YouTube videos can provide another way of engaging with your prospective customers.
In the example above, the recruiting company would create content that explains how their services can soften their pain points and improve hiring statistics. Case studies showing how the company has helped previous clients with similar issues and infographics explaining the success of their recruitment services can help prospective clients understand how these services can help them and encourage them to consider these services to be a viable option.
The decision stage is the final step in the buyer’s journey and is at the bottom of the sales funnel. If you have managed to move the client through to the decision stage, you have already built a level of engagement with him and you don’t want to stop now. The prospective customer at this point has recognized he has a problem, explored the various solutions available, and has narrowed down his purchasing selection to just a handful of options.
Content at this stage should be very specific and speak directly to the customer knowing that he is ready to make a purchase. Remember this is your last chance to transform that potential customer into a buying customer, so you want to focus on making a sale without being too pushy. The primary goal during the decision stage is to show the prospective customer why he should choose your goods or services. Your content also should focus on why your goods or services are better than your competitors and why they should buy from your company.
Content, such as customer testimonials, in-depth case studies or white papers, comprehensive reviews, and product comparisons can help the customer make their final purchasing decision. If possible, now is the time to offer a live demonstration or a free trial to help the customer see first-hand the types of services you have to offer.
Content marketing has the power to connect with prospective customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. The right content, however, can transform these prospects into loyal customers, who not only are more likely to shop with your company again but also to promote your company to others. It is vital that you create a strategy that connects with consumers at various stages of the buyer’s journey. This gives you the opportunity to guide the customer along the way and secure a sale.