If you have dedicated the time and effort in creating your buyer personas, then you should have a solid idea of who your ideal prospects are and what they’re looking for. But how do you get them to go from an ideal customer to your ACTUAL customer? The trick is to use your content to help them prequalify themselves before ever talking with one of your sales reps.
UNDERSTANDING THE BUYER’S JOURNEY
Have you ever had a pain in a strange place and headed over to WebMD to try to self-diagnose the problem? You type in your symptoms, get a list of possible ailments, and then, based on the descriptions, begin to narrow down the list possible scenarios. Once you know what’s going on, you then decide which treatment option is best for you. That is, in essence, the buyer’s journey.
Simply put, the buyer’s journey is comprised of the stages a person takes before purchasing a product. Those stages are Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.
THE AWARENESS STAGE
At this point, your target customer is realizing that he or she has symptoms of a problem, but hasn’t given a name to that problem. They’re searching for ways to troubleshoot symptoms and how to optimize their current situation. This is where your content comes into play. If you don’t already have it in place, create content that helps visitors put a name to their problem and start to see what possible solutions exist. This could be simple “How To”blog posts, educational eBooks, or detailed reports on research findings. The key to this content is to provide them with the knowledge they need in order to clearly define their problem, not to sell them on your services. The goal is to educate them, build trust, and guide them to the next phase of the journey.
THE CONSIDERATION STAGE
At this stage, your target customer has a clear understanding of what his or her problem is and is actively looking for all possible solutions. They’re looking for comparisons, tools, and service offerings. Now is the time to introduce your team’s thought leadership. If anyone is an expert in your industry and how your services solve problems, it’s your team. Also, use things like case studies to your advantage. Show these prospects what customers just like them have experienced using your services. This helps paint a real picture for someone who may not have known the value your solutions offer. Use this content to help these visitors target your company as a possible partner to reach their goals. Again, it’s not time to sell them just yet. Keep providing them gated content to ease them into the third and final phase.
THE DECISION STAGE
And now, your target customer knows what solution they want and are just trying to figure out who is going to provide that service. They’re looking at you and your competitors, comparing and contrasting things like value and proof of work. If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to insert your sales team, this is it. Provide prospects with an opportunity to experience your product. Have your sales team give them a demo. Have your sales department schedule a call with them and introduce them to the team that would work on their project. Now’s the time to close the deal.
If there’s one thing I hope you noticed, it’s that you get more bang for your buck using your content to prequalify your leads as opposed to having your sales team do it. Your content has guided them through their entire decision making process. They’ve been nurtured through the buyer’s journey and have grown to trust your company. They now see you as reputable advisor who has helped them, not as a site full of sales pitches getting them to buy right now, well before they’re ready. Having well developed buyer personas and a solid content strategy will ensure that the most qualified leads are reaching your sales team, ready to become your client.