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Increase results by combining your content marketing funnel with buyer trips and buyer personalities : CONTENT MARKETING

Content Marketing Funnel Buyer Travel Buyer Personas

Buyer personalities, buyer trips, marketing funnels – in the past few years, so many marketing terms have been put on the table that business owners are completely overwhelmed! I will make things less complicated for you by showing you how to increase your marketing results by combining your content marketing funnel with your buyer trips and buyer personalities.

Buyer personas

First of all, you need to know who your customers are. This is where the buyer personalities come into play. I wrote about the 13 focus areas to create effective buyers in the past. Follow the link to learn all about it. The most important thing is that you understand your target audience thoroughly and create detailed buyer personalities so that you can market them effectively.

The buyer’s trip

Once you understand who your target audience is and you have broken them down into specific buyers, it’s time to start planning the way people go to buy your product or service. In other words, you need to understand where people are in the buying cycle to write effective content for them.

Think of it this way: A person who is just thinking about replacing their laptop may not even be able to actually make a purchase. You are in the investigation stage of the buying cycle. They have found that they have a problem, but they are just starting to evaluate their options. People at this stage of the buying cycle have to see and hear completely different messages and consume completely different content from your brand than people who are just ready to buy a new laptop.

Therefore, each time you create new content, you need to consider where the audiences who will see it are in the buying cycle. Who are you creating this content for? Your goal is to guide people through the marketing funnel from the early evaluation phase through to the shopping phase (more on this later in this post). Ideally, you should create content to reach consumers at all stages of the shopping cycle.

There are five main steps a buyer can take to make a purchase:

Level 1: Not yet on the market

The consumer has not identified a problem where a need or need has arisen. Therefore, he or she is not yet on the market for the product or service.

Level 2: problem identified

The consumer has identified a problem that has created a need or need. This problem can be physical or emotional, and the consumer may not really call it a problem. He or she is about to enter the market for a product or service to solve the problem.

Level 3: research and evaluation

The consumer has started to investigate to find solutions to their problem and is evaluating various product or service options.

Phase 4: Settings determined

The consumer has limited the selection of their products or services to a few competitors and is currently performing a final evaluation to select one for purchase.

Level 5: Final decision

The consumer has chosen a product or service that they want to purchase to solve the problem, or has decided not to buy anything at all.

Below is a visualization to help you understand the five phases of the consumer buying cycle.

Consumer buying cycle visualization

Keep in mind that the type of product or service you offer, your prices, your industry, and a host of other factors can affect how long it takes consumers for your business to move through the buying cycle. In addition to these tangible factors, there are many emotional factors that influence consumer buying decisions. When it comes to content marketing, not all companies will achieve the same results.

Content marketing funnel

You not only have to ask yourself who you are creating the individual content for, but also the purpose of the individual content. This directly leads to how your buyer personalities and the buyer journey merge with your content marketing funnel to increase your marketing results.

In the simplest sense, any content you create helps move people through your marketing funnel. Your goal is to create content marketing funnels using specific offerings to move targeted consumers (i.e. your buyer personalities) through the buying cycle (i.e. the buyer journey).

Take a look at the image below that shows what a content marketing funnel is and how consumers move about it throughout the buying cycle.

Content marketing funnel

Let’s take a look at each phase of the marketing funnel and see how it maps to a phase of the consumer buying cycle:

1. Top of the funnel (TOFU)

Anyone who is far from ready to buy a product or service is at the top of the funnel. Your goal is to create content that will increase brand awareness and attract a large number of leads.

Lead magnets such as worksheets, e-books etc. are the perfect content that can be offered in the top of the funnel. For example, you can advertise a free eBook with a Facebook ad that targets a group of people based on your buyer personalities. When people submit their email addresses to receive the e-book, you can add them to your email marketing list to maintain the relationship and move it further down in the future.

2. In the middle of the funnel (MOFU)

People at the top of your funnel (either because they’re not yet in the market for your product or service, they just found that they have a problem that you may be able to help solve, or they just have something about your brand) are not yet close to buying. Once in the center of the funnel, they are in the research and evaluation phase or in the phase of setting preferences in the consumer buying cycle.

In other words, they think they want to buy and try to make a purchase decision. This is the perfect time to send more free content via email marketing or invite you to a free webinar where you can involve them more and increase the likelihood that they will choose your product or service. However, keep your ultimate goal in mind and don’t give away too much for free at this point.

3. Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)

The people at the bottom of the funnel are about to make a purchase decision. They may still be reviewing their preferred choices or are ready to make a final decision. At this stage, it is important that you communicate with potential customers frequently. You are at the turning point and you need to determine what type of news, content and promotions motivate you to buy. To do this, use the email to continuously send useful, free information and content to them.

All of your content at this point should be geared towards helping consumers make the right purchase decision without over campaigning. After all, people buy much more from a brand that “has their backs” than from a brand that ignores them or continues to push hard sales (otherwise they’re all the same, of course).

Your next steps

Now is the time to start creating your buyer personalities, thinking about where people are in the buying cycle, and creating content for each phase of this journey to push them through the marketing funnel.

It is important to point out that there are no guarantees in content marketing. It is a powerful long-term branding strategy that can be supplemented with useful short-term tactics to increase sales now and in the future. However, you need to test, test and test again. There is simply no trick that works for all brands, all consumers or all campaigns – regardless of which content marketing, webinar or email marketing system you are trying to sell.

As long as people are unique and emotional beings, marketing will always be an exciting challenge. If you are up to the challenge, contact me and I can help you with your content marketing strategy and content creation.

This article was adapted from my online course on writing messages that convert leads into sales through Women on Business School. register Learn more and get a FREE Buyer Persona Worksheet and a FREE Consumer Buying Cycle Worksheet as part of the course materials!

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Susan Gunelius

Susan Gunelius is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc. and founder and editor-in-chief of an award-winning blog, WomenOnBusiness.com. She is a 25-year-old veteran of marketing and has written 10 books on marketing, branding, and social media, including popular 30-minute social media marketing, content marketing for dummies, blogging all-in-one for Dummies and kick-ass copywriting in 10 easy steps. Susan’s marketing-related content can be found at Entrepreneur.com, Forbes.com, MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com and other addresses. Susan is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She has worked in corporate marketing roles and customer relationships with AT&T, HSBC, Citibank, Intuit, The New York Times, Cox Communications, and many other large and small companies around the world. Susan also speaks about marketing, branding, and social media at events around the world and is regularly interviewed by television, online, radio, and print media companies on these topics. She has an MBA in Management and Strategy and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing.

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