One of the primary goals of your small business marketing system is to deliver the right information, to the right person, at the right time.
In order to achieve this goal, you need to know who your buyers are, where they are in their buying process, and what they need to see or hear in order for them to feel comfortable moving to the next step in their buying process.
Using this basic information (who, what, when), you can map out a content marketing strategy that will help you attract your ideal customers and increase your sales.
The Right Person – the first step is to identify who the players are in your ideal customers buying process. Whether you call them buyer personas, profiles, or some other name, step one is to identify who they are. Depending upon what you sell and the companies you sell to, your list of players may include:
- Decision Maker
- End Users
For each of these roles you will want to consider what information they need in each stage of the buying process.
The Right Time – in order to deliver marketing content at the right time, we have to understand our ideal customers’ buying process. Just as we have a process for selling, prospects have a process they go through when making a purchase. It is important that you understand the stages your customers go through in their buying process, but for this post, let’s define our stages as Early, Middle, and Late.
In the Early stage of their buying process, your prospects may have not fully defined the problem they need to solve. They may have a vague idea of the possible solutions available. Buyers in the early stages of buying often express that “they don’t know what they don’t know”. They spend a lot of time gathering information and circling back to ask better questions as their knowledge increases.
Prospects in the Middle stage of their buying process have a general understanding of how you can help them solve their problem. They are also researching other vendors and trying to narrow the field in order to make their final decision easier.
In the Late stage of the buying process, each player is looking to make sure that their specific needs are being met before the sale is closed. Some key players (i.e. decision maker) may just be entering into the discussion during this stage.
The Right Information – once you understand who your audience is and how they go about making purchasing decisions, you can work on creating the informational content they need to see or hear in order to move from one stage to the next.
There are several ways you can package your information content at each stage. While you will want to choose the formats that your customers prefer, here are some typical content formats that marketers have used in each of the buying stages:
- Early – Problem Domain Blog Posts and Industry Studies
- Middle – Product and service specific Blog posts, demonstration videos, case studies
- Late – Testimonials, reviews, ROI calculators, buyers guides
Once you have your content marketing strategy map, you’ll spend less time trying to figure out what content you need to create and spend more time having sales conversations and closing deals.