It’s now quite commonplace for marketers to view customer experience as a journey, from initial awareness through to decision-making. During these different stages, it is an important factor to leverage engaging content at every step to ensure customer retention.
In theory, it might sound easy, but it can be a huge marketing challenge to create an effective content schedule. Here at Topcontent, we have decided to look at exactly how to encourage customers to follow the steps we want them to take.
How your content can guide your customer’s journey
Knowing how to use different types of content throughout the various stages needs a focused multi-level approach. Content creation differs slightly from the traditionally used purchase funnel of Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. An effective plan will usually consist of an increased number of seven closely connected stages.
Each of these stages in your customer’s journey will involve delivering a mix of content categories. This content needs to be specifically tailored, whether it’s advertising, product descriptions, or reaching out via social media. At each of the stages, quality content will deliver accurate information, forge customer connection and entice them to continue on their journey.
The importance of mapping out your customer journey
It’s all too easy to think we fully understand our customer’s journey and offer unsuitable solutions. The starting point should always be that marketers use the right tools to fully identify exactly who their audience is, what they want, and what they need. Building a really strong relationship with customers before, during and after any sales with multiple types of content is critical.
We first need to clarify and understand how this overall multi-level approach works and how content creation can assist at each step. Let’s take a look in detail at what we think these seven stages are:
- Aware – when potential customers first find out about your business
- Enjoy – providing them with high-quality content keeps them wanting more
- Trust – building customer loyalty with communications ensuring repeat business
- Attempt – constantly reviewing new content to identify what works
- Purchase – establishing high customer service levels and maintaining them
- Repeat – reminding customers of your products or services value
- Refer – building creative campaigns that entice customers to share with others
Identifying the types of content that meets customer needs
There are lots of different types of content to choose from nowadays, with some working better at certain stages in the customer experience. For instance, topical articles are perfect for enticing new leads, and long-form posts work well in the decision-making stages. Other interesting mediums like blogs, interactive content or videos are incredibly flexible tools which can be utilised to enhance any stage.
Which ones you choose and when you decide to use them will very much depend on your own business and marketing goals. Here are four of the most used content enhancement tools:
Video & animated content
Video marketing is often one of the most effective content types to reach customers and is a fairly new addition to our marketing toolbox. It works well with social media and is invaluable when trying to raise awareness. It can hook people on your landing pages but is equally applicable after the start of the customer journey and can move them to the purchasing stage.
Video content and animated video can increase engagement levels, hold customers on the website for longer and are shown to directly influence conversion rates. Customers just love creativity, seeing how products or services work and viewing them in action. They also like to share them instantly with friends and family.
Social media platforms
We all understand that the use of social media is indispensable, but it also represents a key aspect of the customer experience. Posts on social media also work well at each stage and offer a compelling way for companies to raise awareness and reach both existing customers and prospects. Speaking directly to your audience every step of the way on platforms from Facebook to Pinterest is critical.
Great social media content marketing will bring incredible success, develop loyal brand advocates and drive sales and referrals. Do it right, and customers will share your multiple types of content and immediately spread the word.
Regular business blogs
Our trusty blog editorial calendar works well as a marketing tactic at most stages of the customer’s journey. A useful, consistent and optimised blog will improve SEO rankings, drive traffic to your site and entice your target audience to visit regularly. It gives you opportunities for conversion and is a superb way to engage and interact with customers by keeping them informed and updated about new products or projects.
They help to establish authority and build brand awareness, particularly in the early stages of the customer journey. As long as your blog calendar content is fresh and creative, social media sharing and all its benefits are a given.
Free educational e-books
Providing in-depth content like e-books or newsletters does not need to be as daunting as it sounds. You can re-purpose existing content or transform blog content as an excellent way to build credibility and market authority. Be sure to use only high-quality types of content, and they are almost guaranteed to bring more business. Timely and well-produced e-books can foster customer relationships and increase retention rates, as well as bringing in new leads.
They showcase the difference between your company and your competitors, so they are great to offer at any stage, but especially at the time of purchase.
Always carefully consider the customer journey when you choose content types
We, as marketers are always striving to build and retain customer relationships throughout the whole experience. Our overall goal should always be to offer value with varying types of content and not just to focus on increased sales. Delivering the perfect piece of content at precisely the right time is not guesswork or supposition. It requires careful planning, exact mapping of the customer journey and experience and a detailed content calendar.
If you are ready to evaluate this customer journey and create meaningful content, then why not make a start? We can provide assistance and fresh, relevant content that will hook your customers at every stage. Our content writing services cover types of content you need for each stage of the customer journey; from product and category descriptions to blogs posts and even translations.
Contact us today to start planning and executing content for your business.