Creating content online is very demanding, trying to connect with your audience when there are millions of websites can get overwhelming. But what if we told you that there’s a more efficient way?
You might have heard of the ‘Customer Journey’ before, understanding the different stages is essential for your digital marketing, as well as your copywriting strategy.
Customers nowadays expect more from organisations, such as empathy, personalised interactions, and connected experiences across digital channels. Based on a Salesforce Research survey, “66% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations” and “80% of those customers now consider that the experience a company provides to be as important as its products and services”.
Therefore, customer experience is more important than ever before.
We’re going to break down the different phases a user goes through online before making a purchase, so you’ll know how to write for each situation and your potential customers.
But before that…
What is the journey map and why create one if you haven’t already?
Let’s imagine a path, but not any path, you must think about the online journey your prospective customer takes from not knowing anything about you at all, to purchasing and becoming a loyal customer.
You need to understand what they are interested in, what is a deal breaker for them, what’s their lifestyle, what are the platforms they’re on, etc. To create this journey, you’ll need to do a lot of research to ensure you fully understand your targeted audience.
If you’ve ever wondered why the content that you create never lands and why it is not converting, this is the key. Understanding the customer journey for your organisation will help you bridge your content strategy with your goals.
While you work on that, you will probably realise that your potential customers go through different phases before buying anything. Creating content for each of those phases will help you stand out from the crowd and connect with users on a different level.
What does a typical customer journey look like?
- There’s an awareness stage, here is where a potential customer is just starting to explore all the options they have, for whatever they are looking for. For example, somebody might need a mode of transport to go to a new job.
- Then, there’s the consideration phase, where the potential customer already has some options in mind and is trying to figure out what’s the best for them. Following the same example, this person might have decided they want to buy a car, but they don’t know what type of car.
- Typically, the following step is the conversion phase, this is when the potential customer has already made a decision on what they need to buy and where to get it. Following the aforementioned example, this person might have already made up their mind about the brand and model of car, and is ready to make a purchase.
- Some marketers would include a final step, the retention phase. This is the moment a customer that bought from us, wants to buy again. Let’s say that a customer that bought a car from us a few years ago wants to buy another one, they might choose us or not depending on the product and their experience.
This description is a bit generic and might have reminded you of a sales funnel. The perspective for the customer journey is different. While the sales funnel represents the visitors turning into leads and those leads turning into customers, the customer journey tries to take a snapshot of the whole path a person takes, from being interested in a topic, to buying a specific item. Here is a great example on how to create an effective customer journey from HubSpot.
How to create content to gain interest?
At this moment your potential customers might not know that you exist, so you need to get in front of your potential audience.
Your potential customers are just starting to be aware they need something, and they probably don’t know anything about the sector or the different services available in the market. You will have to be within the first touch points, no matter whether it is on social media or a search engine, they will navigate with an informational intent.
The questions the potential customer might have could be related to the industry in general, so the kind of content they could be looking for are blog posts, e-books, webinars or infographics.
We wrote an article on how to optimise your blog posts for SEO, if you need some in-depth help on that.
How to get a customer to choose you?
In this phase your potential customers already know you exist, but it doesn’t mean they have any intention of buying from you. So, you need to let them know what your value is, will they get any benefit if they buy from you? What makes you better than your competitors? Will you solve their problem?
The search intent they will have is commercial intent, therefore, the kind of content that would work better are: case studies, customer testimonials or third-party comparisons.
How to create content that sells?
This is the moment most of you might be waiting for. There are no shortcuts or workarounds, you must follow all the steps and keep doing what you have been doing.
In this phase, your potential customer is ready to buy, so you need to be prepared to answer all the questions that might be holding them back from purchasing. They will be searching with a transactional intent, and wanting to know what the purchase process is like, if they have to pay shipping fees, how many days it will take to arrive and the payment methods available.
It is convenient if they know this information in advance, so it would be a great idea to highlight this on your website (e.g., banner advertising free shipping). It’s also a good opportunity for A/B testing so you can see what works best.
If you manage an e-commerce, think about including this kind of information in the metadata such as “no shipping fees” and “next day delivery”.
How to turn your customer into a loyal one?
In this phase, you want to build trust, so you need to make your customers feel like they are heard and cared for. You could create tutorials on how to use the products or services they just bought from you, or even tricks on how to use them better. It’s also important to consider linking to other channels such as encouraging customers to follow the brand on social media, and create email marketing campaigns for existing customers offering discounts to gain repeat purchases. You should be listening to your customers and taking their feedback seriously, use it to improve your products or services, and this should also drive your future content creation.
The customer journey is just a tool, and depending on the industry it might differ slightly. As an example, the majority of people don’t buy their new car online, however, all the online research is important in their final decision before going to a car dealer. As you might have noticed by now, every journey map will look different from company to company, and the most effective way to approach it is through targeted audience research. It would be helpful to create a buyer-persona profile in advance, in order to better understand how this persona would reach you.
As explored in this blog post, it is essential that you create content for both your audience as well as the search engines. Google uses AI to create the search results for any query, and the search intent is key in understanding how to create content for each of the customer journey phases. If you would like to know more about Google’s search algorithm, take a look at this article we wrote on the topic.
If you would like to create a competitive content marketing plan and create content worldwide, contact our international team. We offer digital marketing services such as content marketing, SEO consulting and PPC. GA Agency can help you in every step of the process.