Alexander Hassoulas is the co-founder of Upkeep Media, an internet marketing agency that specializes in providing SEO, content marketing, and paid ads for small and medium-sized businesses. If you would like to connect with Alexander feel free to add him on LinkedIn.
Since content is an important piece of the marketing puzzle, it becomes almost impossible for a day to go by without marketers thinking of better ways to improve it.
Its creation needs to come out of a properly laid out strategy that is incorporated in every phase of the customer's journey. As such, content creation cannot just be a one-off project.
You need to have content that touches every stage of your customer's journey. This results from a strong understanding of the customer's journey and a high level of consistency in adding value.
In fact, knowing how to leverage content throughout all the different stages of the customer's journey is the biggest marketing challenge that most marketers have to deal with.
In order to set your business up to create the kind of momentum that high quality content can create, marketers need to take a multi-level approach.
A multi-level approach to content creation, unlike the usual traditional marketing funnel consisting of only Awareness, Consideration, and Purchase stages, consists of seven connected stages. These stages are: Awareness, Enjoy, Trust, Attempt, Purchase, Repeat, and Refer.
As the process begins, a content marketer should ensure that the customer is bombarded with the right content every step of the way for the sole purpose of keeping the engagement level high.
But First . . . Mapping Out The Customer Journey Is Essential
It is often common, especially for small businesses, to get ahead of themselves when it comes to the customer's journey. They'll do this by rushing into trying their best to convince their prospects about the solutions they have in place that can solve their problems. It is however lost on them that the customer may not even know they have a problem to begin with.
For this reason, marketers need to have the right tools to enable them to understand what their audience wants, needs and who they are.
Again, it is important for a marketer to build a strong relationship with customers before, during, and after the sale. This is however easier said than done.
To do this, a content marketer first needs to understand how a multi-level approach to content creations works. This will allow them to better understand how prospective customers make a buying decision.
To make it easier, below are stages marketers need to be aware of in order to help them develop content that perfectly fits their businesses.
The Awareness stage is when people first find out about your company. It's your job to create content that will pull the attraction of your target audience.
Types of content for this purpose include:
- Blog posts that address common customer problems
- Paid ads to boost your content to your target audience
- Giving speeches at seminars
- Social media
This is the second stage of the multi-level content creation approach. Once prospects begin visiting your website, the next step is to keep them wanting more by providing them content that keeps addressing whatever issues they may have.
To this end, a marketer needs to consider the following types of content:
- These can be invaluable for prospect nurturing and to showcase resourcefulness, knowledge, and expertise
- Blog pieces targeting a specific problem
- Social media
- White papers
Most marketers agree that building trust is a marathon, not a sprint. Trust is arguably one of the most important steps in your content marketing plan. Be that as it may, it is undoubtedly the most time- and energy consuming.
In the end however, building a customer's trust will ensure repeat business in the long haul.
Types of content needed:
- Client testimonials
- Success stories
- "How to" blog posts
- Custom presentations
- Proposal documents
- Case studies
- Customer-generated videos
Now that you've earned people's trust, it's time to enter the Attempt stage of the multi-level approach. The fourth stage is to try out the content to see what works and what doesn't.
While this stage can often be overlooked, it is here that your content needs to give a small sample of the results people will receive from your company. This is the part that differentiates your business from the rest of the competition. This type of content will allow you to show your readers why your product or service is better than the competitions.
Types of content:
- Online/Offline seminars
- Video demos
This is the stage that all businesses ultimately want but have trouble achieving when it comes to achieving the end result. As a keen marketer, you should only consider it a stepping stone needed in the process of growing your prospects to thrilled advocates of your business.
Focus on how best to maintain a good customer experience. To this end, a marketer needs to focus on these type of contents;
- Customer stories
- Quick start guides
- Instructional videos
- New customer kits
- User manuals
To keep customers coming back for more, marketers need to keep reminding them of the value the business brings them. The best way keep your company top of mind is to create high quality content.
In the repeat phase, a marketer needs to focus on the results review processes, as well as cross sells and up-sells. To achieve this, the following is needed;
- An auto responder email sequence that offers additional solutions and education
- Customer-only newsletters
In order to convert satisfied clients into referral clients, a marketer needs to build campaigns and processes that make it easier for loyal clients to market it to others.
In order to do this, the following is required:
- Making client stories part of the marketing materials
- Gift certificates, videos, or eBooks that customers and strategic partners can distribute and co-brand
- Make a lead list and distribute it to clients during introductions.
Remember, these content creation strategies are in no way meant to re-invent the wheel. They are meant to act as a guide to a marketer who is aiming to develop well-performing content that not only grabs attention but also ends up making sales again and again for the business.
Re-purposing old content is also another easier way to re-ignite things again. Use Google's analytics to find content that previously received significant engagement. The next step should then be to update the content so that it remains relevant by solving current customer problems.
As can be seen, having a blueprint that maps out the customer's journey for you will surely make navigating through the whole content creation process a breeze.
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