If you’re in sales, then you know all about the funnels and cycles that make up a buyer’s journey. Most separate the marketing and sales, with the marketers using funnels and the sales using cycles. In reality, the two can and probably should be combined, because buyers all make the same moves from one step to the next. They don’t know if they’re in a funnel or a cycle, either. They’re just looking for answers.
Simplify the Journey
If you think about the different stages in the marketing funnel or sales cycle, you know it all starts with awareness. Somehow, you have to get the buyer’s attention. In most cases, the buyer doesn’t even know he’s looking for your products or services. Sometimes, however, he knows he has a need but has no idea how to solve it.
Next, there’s the consideration stage. This is where the buyer asks questions and you answer them—and that’s not just for the sales professionals, either. Successful marketing relies on answering those questions for buyers, and sometimes before the buyer even knows he has a question.
Finally, there’s the conversion stage, where the buyer becomes, well, a buyer. This is the last-minute, hail-mary phase of the journey, where the buyer knows he needs your product but he’s still trying to make the commitment. He might need another nudge or two in the right direction.
Engaging During the Journey
The awareness stage is probably the easiest stage for marketers but the hardest for sales. This is when commercials, print ads, and funny hosted blogs or articles get the most attention. Your goal here is just to get your business in front of as many eyes as possible. Publicity—lots and lots of publicity. Give buyers the idea that they just might need you. Make them aware of your presence.
As marketers, it’s important to remember that you should start answering questions right away. No, you don’t want to get too involved with details, but you do want to give real, honest reasons that buyers should make a purchase. If you want to cloak those reasons in humor, then it’s all the better.
When you reach the consideration stage, that means you’ve gotten buyers curious enough that they start asking questions. Oh, the answers you’ll give during this phase of the journey. An FAQ page on your website is a great place to start, but never stop there. Take those questions and write a full blog about each. Consider creating downloadable content that buyers can use to study your products and services. Share tutorials and other informational videos on your social media accounts and website.
You also want to be vigilant with your social media to catch questions and comments from buyers who are in the consideration phase. If they ask a question via Twitter and you don’t answer, you may have missed your shining moment. And they may go straight to your competitor. Engage! Keep those buyers reading, asking, watching videos, and laughing (if at all possible).
When buyers are right on the edge of conversion, this is when sales professionals are the happiest. Without much work, you can often tip those who’re still “thinking about it” over into an actual purchase. Marketers can still help get the job done, though. What kind of content would someone who’s just about to buy want to see?
In most cases, something with a little bit of reassurance goes a long way. A free trial, a discount, a guarantee—these are all items that work to keep a potential buyer engaged with your products and services. If you hit at the right time, these offers will translate into a purchase.
A large part of what we do at Plan Left is content marketing, and this is why. The content you create and share during every single phase of the buyer’s journey is important and will work toward convincing your prospects to make a purchase. If you haven’t considered your content strategy or, worse, think content just isn’t important, then you could be missing out on sales.
It’s never too late to overhaul your content strategy, though. Give us a call if you want to discover more about how you can use content to drive the buyer’s journey. We want nothing more than to help you grow your business.
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