Catering to the Customer Journey:
How to Customize Content for Consumers in the Awareness, Consideration and Decision Phases
Earning customer trust and creating brand loyalty is dependent on being able to successfully guide consumers through the customer journey. Where a lot of businesses miss the mark is by constantly promoting overtly “sales-y” content. Instead, brands should focus on meeting leads where they are and providing valuable content that educates, informs and nurtures them through each of the phases in the consumer journey.
What is the customer journey?
Simply put, the customer journey is how a person interacts with a brand, following the various stages of that relationship. There are several versions of customer journey maps, but for our purposes we’ll use the five-step version shared by TechTarget:
In the awareness phase, the customer knows that they need to solve a problem and is searching for answers. They might become familiar with a product through advertising or search. This is a good time to serve blogs, articles, how-tos and informational videos to show the customer that your product will relieve their pain point. Customers today are looking for brands to provide value and assistance, so it’s best to avoid a hard sales push at this stage.
The consideration phase is when the customer narrows down their search to a few options and works to determine which solution will work best for them. Brands should highlight selling points of the product/service and how it serves as a solution to the customer’s problem. This could include whitepapers, comparison guides, social media posts, blogs, product-focused videos, landing pages that focus on only one product or other content that centers on only one of the brand’s options.
The customer is pretty sure they want your product and are approaching the point of purchase. A sales message is appropriate here. Content such as testimonials, reviews, a free trial offer, demos, coupons and other options that lend themselves to a strong call to action (CTA) are ideal. This is the time to close the sale.
Journey beyond the purchase
Congratulations! The customer purchased your product or service. That doesn’t mean that your content strategy is done. There are two more phases of the customer journey: retention and advocacy. Here is where you want to continue to engage the customer in hopes of repeat purchases and guide them to become an advocate (promoter) that recommends your brand to others. Consider personalized enewsletters, emails, blogs, social media, webinars, special offers and other content that will make your customer feel special and “in the know.”
Content for every phase
The customer journey is a helpful way to think about the consumer decision-making process and content marketing is a proven strategy to guide potential customers through the awareness, consideration and decision phases. The key is to craft and deliver messaging that fits with each stage to direct the customer into the next stage through purchase and beyond.