Effective marketing programs are the ones that don’t waste time. They don’t waste the time of customers and sales prospects, who are hunting for the solutions they need. And they don’t waste the time of the small business owners who have to carve out precious time and budget to create the marketing content in the first place. So how do you prevent this? One of the best ways to ensure that marketing messages and programs are spot-on is to deliberately create digital marketing content for each step in the customer sales journey.
The customer sales journey – also called the “sales funnel” – describes the steps a potential customer takes before buying a product or service. While the the journey will vary depending on the complexity of the product, the cost of the product and the identity of the customer, the basic steps are all the same. They are:
- Awareness: how a prospect becomes aware of the products or services that are available and how they provide the solution they need.
- Interest: how a prospect learns more about the product and the company that provides it, ultimately evaluating if the company is trustworthy.
- Decision: the evaluation a prospect makes while deciding whether or not to purchase the product.
- Action: the actual act of committing to a purchase, whether it be purchasing a product online, or signing a contract for services.
- Loyalty: the long-term relationship between the customer and the business, which determines whether the customer purchases again.
If your marketing does not support the prospect through this process – providing them the information they need, when they need it – the prospect will invest their time elsewhere. And bring their wallet with them.
The good news is that there are data-driven strategies to create specific pieces of digital marketing content for each step in the customer journey. Your job is to make sure your marketing programs don’t neglect any of these steps.
1) Awareness: Get The Message Out
Depending on the age of your company and product, brand awareness could be a top priority. Even if you have an established brand, we suggest you never be complacent in presuming that prospects understand the benefits you offer.
To build and sustain awareness of your products and services, you’ll want to make sure you have these in your digital marketing mix:
- an active blog, promoted across many digital platforms;
- vibrant social media accounts that use detailed posts, pictures and videos to demonstrate what you offer;
- YouTube and Vimeo video channels provide a nuanced way to communicate your message;
- Podcasts are important in several customer segments, and can establish your expertise and personality.
2) Interest: Quickly Consumed Content
You’ve connected with prospective customers, how do you keep their attention? At this point in the sales funnel, you’ll need to ensure that you offer multiple ways for the prospects to quickly zero in on the answers to their questions. You’ll also want to start establishing the foundation of trust that is critical to closing a sale.
- Visually attractive infographics capture the eye’s attention and establish your expertise;
- Soliciting and posting online reviews and testimonials from current customers are one of the most effective ways to build trust with new connections;
- FAQs on a website will anticipate questions prospects have and answer them before the prospect clicks away;
- Case studies demonstrate the core benefits of products and services with a relatable example.
3) Decision: Making the Case
Being that over 87% of product research begins online, you can be sure that your competitors are part of that mix. Your digital marketing programs need to anticipate this competitive pressure and strategically make your case. Detailed marketing content will take that step through:
- Downloadable eBooks and white papers that provide excellent detail for customers searching for a distinguishing feature;
- Webinars are great tools for agencies and services that need to demonstrate their value-add through personable interactions;
- A free demo offer is an effective tool for consumer product companies, and allows for follow up emails and re-marketing.
- Online booking for events offer another opportunity for in-person interactions that create conversation;
- Mobile apps can provide helpful information to a prospect, while providing you with a way to send notifications and new content to keep the conversation active.
4) Action: Seal the Deal
Moving a prospect from interest to action is the purpose of almost all marketing programs. Soliciting a commitment through digital marketing pieces is easier than ever:
- Creating a re-marketing campaign through Google AdWords allows you to target ads to visitors of your website;
- Abandoned cart services allow eCommerce websites a chance to capture lost sales from logged in customers;
- Website pop-ups can offer discounts and other incentives that move prospects to action;
- Email follow-ups and newsletters are invaluable for long lead-time sales cycles that require repeated interactions.
5) Loyalty: Building Repeat Business
Marketing doesn’t end with a closed sale. Soliciting repeat business from current customers will reduce your cost of acquisition and build word of mouth. And it ensures you never take your customers for granted.
- Email newsletters with tips and product updates provide value to your customer while keeping you front-of-mind;
- Supporting your clients through social media mentions and stories is a win-win;
- Creating a helpful mobile app keeps your business and products in your customers’ hands.
We suggest our clients conduct a sales journey content audit once a year. It’s easy to focus on one part of the sales process – “Decision” gets a lot of focus, “Loyalty” not as much. By consciously piecing together a coherent strategy, you will avoid misses and lost sales while maximizing your investment.
Contact us if you wonder how you can create any of these programs. We provide customized options for every client. Whether you need a quick tutorial or a fully managed program, we are here to support you.