Written by Andrea Stevens
Published on 20th Nov, 2018
Your prospective customers need to know that you exist and offer the product, service and support they are looking for. By engaging them with your knowledge and expertise through blogs, posts or videos, you demonstrate your relevance and value, and will gradually build more trust in your brand.
The rule of thumb is to have eight hours of content that prospective customer can engage with. So by the time you speak with them, they will have a good understanding of what you do and how you do it – they'll be well qualified!
It all starts with your customer. What questions do they have? What are their goals? What problems do they need solving?
Then you need to be able to answer how your business uniquely solves their problems.
Some of the most successful business websites focus on answering common customer questions. They survey their existing clients, do keyword research, collect FAQs via email and social media, and then answer them with blogs, articles, white papers, videos and social media posts. Successful businesses distribute their keyword-optimised content so that their audience find it and consume it.
By answering burning audience questions, you will demonstrate your expertise and show how you will help them. When you earn someone’s trust, they are more likely to engage, subscribe to or contact you. This is why for so many businesses today, digital content marketing has become their key lead generation and customer retention strategy.
With 60–90% of purchase decisions made online (depending on your industry), your digital content marketing efforts will be well rewarded. You will naturally attract qualified leads who like your approach, requiring very little ‘sales’ effort from you.
The customer journey is labelled by its stages and variously described as:
Awareness – Evaluation – Purchase
Research – Comparison – Conversion – Advocacy
Exploration – Research – Evaluation – Conversion – Support
Whether it is described as three, four or five stages, there is a natural progression from stranger to customer. There are subtleties and customisations to this model, and every company will have a unique content map according to its own audience profiles, business goals, and niche. Read more about the best content types across the four classic stages of the customer journey with some great examples to illustrate.
To be found, you will need to spend (at least) as much effort promoting your content as you did creating it. Distribute your content across earned, owned and paid media channels as part of a consistent publishing schedule. Email, social media, search engine marketing and search engine optimisation are the key digital strategies to distribute your content.
Content mapping is unique to each business–customer combination. The more you publish, the more you will learn about what type of content works, and what doesn’t, with your audience. A rule of thumb is to allow six to twelve months to find the sweet spot with your audience and to find an optimal return on investment.
Measure and track engagement across all the channels through analytics – look at bounce rates, time on page, popular pages, social media engagement, and where new leads come from. Smaller businesses usually do this manually. Larger businesses will need to use marketing software to do this at scale.
Here is a list of the most common content touchpoints businesses employ. Which of these would suit your customers’ journey? Start doing some of your own content mapping to see where the gaps are.
Reports – trends, data
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Search engine marketing (SEM)
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
The customer journey – also called the sales funnel – is a framework for describing how a prospective customer converts from stranger to lead to convert. We use the framework to review how your content marketing efforts support this journey so that customers 1) find you, 2) engage with your content, 3) email, call or sign up to your newsletter, and 4) become a paying customer.
Once you get going, content marketing is pretty simple, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. CooCoo director Marcia Butterfield breaks it down into six easy steps.