Excerpts from Room 214’s 2012 Q3 Trend Report
We’ve all heard the talk about content. “Content is the currency of the web. Marketing is content.
Content is king.” Alright! We get it. Content is important to all online marketing. However, before we start to churn out blog posts, web pages and whitepapers, it’s just as important to take a deep look at our customers’ content needs at each point of the buying process.
Without a consumer-centric approach, your content may cause frustration and confusion for your customers, which can result in a costly loss of business. A purchase-ready web visitor will be frustrated if he or she must wade through product information on their way to a shopping cart. Alternatively, a top-of-the-funnel prospect who browses your tweets will be turned-off by constant sales pitches.
Your goal, as a marketer and content creator, is to formulate content that will get people to talk about your company. The best way to do this is to truly relate to your customers, but therein lies the problem. Starting from the point customers first learn about you, their content needs will change as they move closer to making a purchase. If you really want to relate to your customers, you must understand their needs and provide the right kind of help at each point in the process.
Sure, it’s complicated to organize and produce the perfect piece of content at each one of these key moments, but there’s an easy way to get started. Look at your typical sales funnel process from the consumer’s perspective. Ask yourself:
- What kind of content do you provide during each phase of the customer journey?
- Does your content help or hurt the customer? (Is there unnecessary information? Can you make the process easier?)
- Note the areas where you lack, and plug the holes you find.
A consumer-centric take to managing an online content ecosystem can be a big messy process. However, it really comes down to a single question. During the customer’s journey from awareness to purchase, is your content a roadblock, or a pretty flower along the trail?
Awareness: A Casual Conversation
Here at the top of the funnel, consumers just want to dip their toes into the pool. They want to relax, maybe have a strawberry daiquiri and catch some rays (metaphorically speaking). Their level of interest goes only as deep as an affinity for your industry or product category. Now, how would you feel if some sales dweeb cannon-balled into the pool right in front of you and ruined your peaceful moment of relaxation?
Perhaps this metaphor has worn thin, but the point is still clear. You don’t want to drown your top-of-the-funnel audience with sales pitches, product specs and pricing structures. If you do, you’re more likely to scare people away than to generate any useful leads. Instead, focus your content on efforts that foster an active conversation. Do this successfully, and the consumers who have an affinity for your industry will be drawn to you for more information when the time is right.
See details for the rest of the Customer Journey at Room 214.