The Right Message: Digital Marketing Strategies Across the B2B Customer Journey
Struggling to turn your leads into customers? You invested time and resources in crafting personas and mapping the customer journey. You consistently share new content. Why aren’t you seeing the results? Publishing content on your digital channels is necessary to help your customers move through the stages of the buying journey. But if your content is all about your brand or product, you’re not addressing your customers’ needs. Some types of content are better suited to stages in the customer journey than others–it’s up to you to tailor your digital content accordingly.
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the types of content you should share at each stage of the B2B customer journey for business growth. Let’s get started!
Why Should You Tailor Digital Content And Messaging to the Customer Journey?
Content marketing is necessary to guide your customers to a buying decision. You can create the coolest videos, write the best blogs and design scroll-stopping social media posts, but without a content strategy, your customers won’t be able to find you when they need you.
Before you create content, you must map out the process your prospects go through before they make a buying decision. This process is the customer journey, and a customer journey map is an easy way to visualize it. If you need a refresher on the B2B customer journey, check out this blog post.
Understanding the customer journey gives you deeper insights into your customers’ needs and pain points. Mapping that journey shows you all the touchpoints they have with your brand.
Leverage your customer journey map when planning your content marketing strategy and developing your content. By tailoring to the needs of your prospects at each touchpoint and stage, you can influence them to become customers and advocates.
Content Marketing for the Stages of the Customer Journey
Now that you know the importance of customizing content and messaging to each stage of the customer journey, we’ll share the types of content you should focus on along the way to help your prospects move forward in their journey.
Stage 1: Awareness
At the start of the customer journey, your prospect is just becoming aware of a problem or pain. Sure, they want to make it better or solve it eventually, but right now their focus is on learning.
They’ll take to the internet to better understand their problem. During their research, the questions they ask Google might start like, “How do I…?” or “What is…?”
You can see from this line of questioning that it’s too soon for sales messages or product-focused content. High-level educational content will help you show up in the search results and start building trust.
Use these three types of content to establish your authority in the industry and educate your ideal customers.
Blog Posts or Articles
For this long-form content, answer those questions that your prospects are entering into the search bar. This is your chance to address their challenges and position your brand positively in their minds.
Infographics or Visual Content
This medium is excellent for presenting industry statistics or trends because it can be more easily understood. Visual content also shows you value your prospects’ time by answering their questions quickly.
Social Media Posts or Videos
A study from Pew Research found that 72% of the public uses some form of social media. It’s highly likely your audience is on social, which means you should be too! Create brand awareness on social media with short, attention-grabbing content.
The popularity of video content is increasing. YouTube is the second largest search engine, with 3 billion searches per month. Videos are easier to consume than text (especially on the go) and can be more engaging. Use video to spark curiosity and keep your target audience coming back for more.
Pro Tips for Your Awareness Stage Content:
- Use search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to raise your visibility and attract organic traffic to your website.
- Include clear calls-to-action (CTAs) that encourage your prospects to keep exploring your content.
Stage 2: Consideration
This stage can last a while because your prospect requires more information. As they look for potential solutions and explore their options, they need clear and concise information to move toward a buying decision.
Now you can start being more product-oriented in your content. Differentiating your product or service from your competitors will help your prospects determine which solution is best for them.
Check out these three types of content that will help your prospects weigh their options and consider your solution.
Comparison Guides or Whitepapers
Both of these formats highlight the benefits of your products or services.
Comparison guides lay out key information comparing your business to competitors. Giving your prospect the details they want side-by-side makes it easier for them to compare and narrow down their options. You also save them from doing this all themselves, which makes for a smoother experience they’ll remember. And being transparent about what your competitors offer that you don’t will build credibility.
The goal of whitepapers is to persuade your prospect that your solution is right for them. Whitepapers explain your solution in greater detail and typically include valuable data, such as research, studies, or reports. By thoroughly answering your prospects’ questions, whitepapers educate your audience and position your brand as an authority.
Case Studies or Testimonials
To help convince your prospect that your solution works, show them some proof!
To write a case study, start with a past customer success–this is the “case.” Then, write an analysis (the “study”) of how your product or service solved that customer’s problem.
Case studies provide the detailed information your prospect is looking for in the consideration stage with proof your solution works. They appeal to your prospects’ emotions and logic, making your solution all the more appealing.
It’s expected that you will have only positive things to say about your product or service. Prospects are more likely to believe testimonials from past customers who’ve had successful outcomes, making them a powerful tool for building trust and establishing credibility.
Webinars or Live Demonstrations
Webinars and live demonstrations allow you to showcase your expertise and bring your solution to life.
Additionally, webinars are a content gold mine. To get more mileage out of your webinars, host the same webinar on a recurring basis. You could also transcribe it and repurpose it in blogs and social media posts. Finally, try to snag audio or video clips to share with prospects on social.
Pro Tips for Your Consideration Stage Content:
- Focus on providing detailed information that addresses specific pain points.
- Personalize the content to resonate with your prospect’s needs and preferences.
Stage 3: Action
Your prospect has reached the Action Stage and is ready to buy. The goal of your content is to get them to buy your solution! The best way to do this is by positioning your product or service as the best one to meet their needs.
To position your product or service as the best one to meet your prospect’s needs, be sure to have these three types of content.
Product / Service Pages
Clear descriptions, features, and pricing on your web pages are necessary to stay on your prospects’ shortlists. At this stage, your potential customers need brand-centric and product-centric content to see the value in choosing your business.
Limited-time Offers or Discounts
Even B2B buyers want to feel like they’re getting a deal. Time-bound special offers or discounts give your prospects a deadline to act that can encourage decisions.
Free Trials, Demos, or Consultations
For some products or services, prospects need a test drive to make their final decision. Use this to your advantage by offering a free trial, demo, or consultation.
Your content can only get you so far if you have tactile products. Prospects need to experience it themselves through a free trial or demo to make an informed decision.
If you’re selling a service, lean into consultations. They help you and your prospect determine whether it’s a good fit. Meeting with you one-on-one and giving something in exchange for their time will reduce their buying anxiety.
Pro Tips for Your Action Stage Content:
- Optimize landing pages for a seamless user experience and easy conversion.
- Include persuasive CTAs that highlight the benefit of taking immediate action.
Stage 4: Experience
Your prospect has now become your customer–congratulations!
But the customer journey doesn’t stop here. Content that nurtures your customers and educates them on new products or services will improve their satisfaction, hopefully turning them into loyal customers.
Include these three types of content in your marketing plan to create positive, memorable customer experiences.
Onboarding Emails or Tutorials
Give your customers the information they need, when they need it! Post-purchase guidance from you in the form of onboarding emails or video tutorials will make for a smooth start.
Knowledge Base Articles or FAQ Pages
Your customers don’t want to have to call or email every time they have a question. And your employees are probably tired of answering the same questions over and over.
Including knowledge base articles and answers to frequently asked questions on your website will solve this for your customers and employees.
Personalized Follow-up Emails or Surveys
At this point, communication shouldn’t be one-way. Create a dialogue with your customers by sending personalized follow-up emails or surveys.
Personalized emails are, well, personal! They show your customer that their relationship with you doesn’t end after the sale and that their experiences matter to you.
Post-purchase emails and surveys also give you the opportunity to ask for feedback from your customers. You can then use their input to improve your solution, processes, and more.
Pro Tips for Your Experience Stage Content:
- Provide exceptional customer service and quickly address concerns.
- Encourage customers to share their positive experiences on review platforms or social media.
Stage 5: Advocacy
We’re all influenced by the opinions of others, whether we like it or not. Your customers’ word-of-mouth and online reviews are powerful tools for sharing their experiences with your brand and solutions.
Keeping your customers happy is good business. It can turn one-time buyers into repeat customers and repeat customers into brand advocates.
This kind of loyalty doesn’t happen overnight–it’s a long game. To win, you must continue providing quality service and personalized, relevant communication.
Here are three types of content you can use to harness the power of your customers.
Customer Success Stories or Video Testimonials
Highlighting what your customers have achieved thanks to your brand is a form of social proof that can influence prospects in the awareness stage.
Video testimonials take your case studies up a notch. Instead of writing an analysis yourself, record your customers demonstrating how they use your product or service. Hearing directly from satisfied customers and seeing your solution in action is compelling proof that will encourage your prospects to buy from you.
Referral Programs or Incentives
People who have negative experiences with a product, service, or brand are more likely to share it. This can hurt your brand reputation because your potential customers aren’t seeing the full picture.
That doesn’t mean that you don’t have happy customers, though! Offering something in exchange for referrals or reviews increases the likelihood your customers will share good things about you. They then become a powerful marketing channel for you. Some ideas include discounts, upgrades, gifts, and reward points.
Thought Leadership Articles or Interviews
To build a loyal customer base, your customers need to know, like and trust you. Thought leadership articles and interviews help with all three.
Writing articles for trade publications and making guest appearances on podcasts raises your personal and brand profile. You demonstrate your credibility and establish your brand as an industry expert. These forms of content show customers the added value you offer.
Pro Tips for Your Advocacy Stage Content:
- Engage with brand advocates on social media and amplify their positive experiences.
- Offer exclusive perks or rewards to loyal customers who promote your business.
Your customers have specific needs at each stage of their buying journey. It’s up to you to tailor your digital content and messaging accordingly. Done right, content marketing guides prospects to buy your solution and turns customers into brand advocates.
Start implementing these digital marketing strategies today and get ready to see your business grow!
If you need help developing content to meet the needs of your prospects, we’re here for you. See how we can support you with our digital marketing services.