Customer journey marketing is often skipped because most people have no idea what it is. We hope to change that with this article.
Why? Because if you structure your content marketing for the customer journey, it will dramatically change the impact your marketing has on your business results.
Content marketing is not just about raking in the big bucks (although that can be a nice side effect). It's also never about creating content for the sake of creating content.
If this is the type of strategy you have in place, then please STOP! What you need to implement is Customer Journey Marketing!
First, we need to talk about what the customer journey is...
The Customer Journey (aka The Marketing Hourglass)
The entire experience a customer has from the time they become aware of your company all the way through the after purchase experience is called the customer journey.
Content marketing for the customer journey is about getting customers to Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer your business by producing useful and relevant content.
The words that I highlighted are also called the phases of the Marketing Hourglass, aka the customer journey.
To cope with the ever-changing buying behavior, businesses have to produce content that matches every single phase in the customer journey.
Doing this enables you to:
- create content that matches customer needs throughout the customer journey;
- easily nurture prospects and customers;
- guide consumer decisions and behavior towards buying your product or service;
- be the first and possibly the only choice when it's time to buy.
Today's article is all about content marketing for the customer journey. We will show you how to create content that will match with the different phases of the customer journey.
All set? Here we go!
Types of Content for the Different Phases of the Customer Journey
Okay, so first of all, the phases of the Marketing Hourglass are in chronological order meaning you can't skip any of them or jump from one phase to another.
You must be aware of these phases to create content for each one of them.
To help you do so, we have defined the phases below as well as recommended content to go along with each phase to help you with content marketing for the customer journey.
Note: We haven't provided every type of content you might create, but this should get your creative juices flowing to help you get started.
The KNOW Phase
It's time to make an excellent first and lasting impression!
The KNOW phase is where people become aware of your business. As a content marketer, it's your job to create content that will grab people's attention.
Failure to do so means money, skills, and effort wasted.
Types of Content:
1. Blog Posts
Blogging is a type of content that sparks interest almost immediately, especially when done right.
Over time, search engines like Google will index your blog posts driving more web traffic via organic search, which leads to brand awareness and more business for you.
Here are a few tips you can follow:
- Your blog posts should be about things that are relevant to the services or products you offer that will be beneficial for your ideal prospects.
- Adding value to your audience should be your top objective.
- Be consistent with how often you create blog articles to stay relevant.
2. Public Presentations (Speaking)
Presentations at trade shows and conferences are very effective in increasing brand awareness and introducing people to your business.
Here are a few tips for you:
- Identify appropriate industry opportunities.
- Focus on the right message.
- Create a presentation that revolves around storytelling.
- Practice. Practice. Practice.
- Keep honing your presentation skills.
Speaking is an excellent tactic for lead generation if you choose to embrace it.
3. Social Media Content
If you're not publishing content on social media platforms to spread brand awareness, then you are missing out on business opportunities BIG TIME!
Did you know that 53% of Americans who follow brands in social are more loyal to those brands?
Check out our article about social media marketing to identify the best social media networks for your business.
The LIKE Phase
Once you make people aware of your brand through your content, it's time to give them enough reasons to keep wanting more.
The LIKE phase moves towards gaining permission to continue the conversation that you started in the Know phase.
Types of Content:
Webinars or web-based seminars are interactive content that is great for real-time communication.
In a recent study, B2B marketers ranked webinars as the second-most effective content marketing tactic.
Here are simple steps on how to create a webinar:
- Step 1: Choose a topic.
- Step 2: Choose your team - facilitator, presenter(s), and assistant(s).
- Step 3: Pick a format - Single speaker, interview format, moderated panel discussion, or Q&A session.
- Step 4: Plan your audio and visual materials, date and time, location, and equipment.
- Step 5: Select a webinar platform.
- Step 6: Promote your webinar.
2. White Papers
Whitepapers have so many definitions, but for the sake of this article, I will be using Textbroker's :
"Whitepapers are documents that are mainly given out by companies to describe technical information and data, study results, performance or process operations."
Consider the following when creating a whitepaper:
- Length: An excellent whitepaper has a minimum of six up to fifty pages. The pages should include illustrations, charts, references, etc.
- Structure: Your whitepaper must have a title page, table of contents, introduction, several pages about the problem, several pages about a solution, several pages of a real-life success story of a company, and a conclusion.
- Style: Create a whitepaper that is professional, serious, well written, and well edited.
3. Email Newsletters
eNewsletters are a type of news release sent via email that publicizes relevant news, articles, and content for your prospects and customers. It usually is connected with special offers or benefits.
Check out this article to learn How to Create an Email Newsletter to impress your audience.
The TRUST Phase
Consumer trust is a hot commodity nowadays, no matter what industry you belong to.
Here are some interesting facts:
It's never enough for you to get people to know and like you. You need to get them to trust you too!
Types of Content:
Reviews play a vital role in a customer's decision-making process.
Here are a few tips for you:
- Create a section on your website, blog, or in-store dedicated for reviews. This way, visitors can easily see them.
- Show both positive and negative reviews. It's a great way to tell people that you aren't perfect or that you're not a scam or a robot.
2. Client Testimonials
Testimonials are very similar to reviews. In a lot of cases, you may be able to convert your reviews to testimonials.
The big difference is that testimonials are gathered and managed by your business, where reviews are collected by a third party, like Google, Yelp, or Facebook.
When you reach out to customers for testimonials, it's usually a good idea to coach them on the type of information you are looking for. Ideally, you want a testimonial to describe the problem a customer had, how you solved it for them, and the benefits they have realized in working with you.
3. Success Stories
A success story is a narration of how a company became successful, its challenges, and the people who contributed to that success. It helps set customers expectations about a product, service, brand, and business in general.
You need strong storytelling marketing skills to tell a great success story.
You might also like this guide about Writing Killer Success Stories!
The TRY Phase
Now that you've gained people's trust, it's time to create a content that will make them try some of your stuff!
The TRY phase is different from the BUY phase!
Your content in this phase should demonstrate how much better your business is. It's where you can offer FREE stuff like the ones below!
Types of Content:
An eBook is a book but electronic. They are downloadable files that consumers can read whenever and wherever they want on their devices!
Your eBook must have a purpose - lead generation, SEO ranking, brand awareness, etc.!
Here are steps on how to create an eBook:
- Step 1: Choose a topic that matches your audience's needs.
- Step 2: Write content that shows solutions to their needs.
- Step 3: Carefully choose design elements like colors, font, visuals, etc.
- Step 4: Add a strong call-to-action.
- Step 5: Convert it into a PDF.
- Step 6: Assign a landing page.
- Step 7: Promote and measure success.
2. Video Demos
A video demo explains how something works. It's great for urging people to TRY a product or service by showing how to solve a problem.
You can use a video demo to:
- Replicate the user experience.
- Appeal to both visual and text-based learners.
- Show how to overcome a common challenge.
- Make viewers feel empowered.
- Tell a story.
Learn how to create a video demo that drives results in this article.
3. Free Trials or Product Samples
A lot of subscription type services offer free trials as a way to "try before you buy." This is a great way to let potential customers use a product or service to see how they like it.
Businesses selling products often offer product samples as a way to experience the product.
Both of these are great examples of try content.
The BUY Phase
I'm pretty sure this one excites you the most!
The BUY phase is not just about getting people to pull out their wallets and spend. It's also about maintaining an excellent customer experience.
Consumers must continue learning valuable stuff from your content.
Types of Content:
1. New Customer Kits
A new customer kit is a great way to welcome your customer aboard your ship. It gives your new client the information they need and want about your product, service, or company.
Here are other uses of a new customer kit:
- It serves as a "Thank you!" pack.
- An orientation kit.
- A success roadmap.
Check out this article from Duct Tape Marketing about how to create the ultimate new customer experience.
2. Quick Start Guides
A quick start guide is a short, getting-started document that usually comes with a product or software.
In writing a quick start guide, you must include the following:
A single line description or a few paragraphs that state the purpose of your offer.
It could be a required physical product, an additional software, or a server and storage requirement.
A very basic instruction about how to get started with the product.
- Referential information
Pointers to the detailed user guides and installation guides.
3. User Manuals
User manuals are the good-old lengthy handbooks that come with a product. They have every single product information, down to the nitty-gritty ones, to help a customer use a product or service.
It's like having a customer support line in a booklet!
Honestly, you have to spend a considerable amount of time and effort to create a user manual, but it'll be so worth it in the end if it's appropriate for what you sell.
The REPEAT Phase
As a small business owner, repeat business is a top priority!
In the REPEAT phase, you need to produce high-level content that will make customers do business with you AGAIN and AGAIN!
You and your team might benefit by brainstorming additional upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
Types of Content:
1. Automatic Email Responder Series
A great way to keep your existing customers engaged is by writing effective email autoresponder sequences.
What is an email autoresponder sequence? It's a series of emails you write and send out at pre-set intervals to customers.
Do you send it to everyone? Not really! You only send them to the customers at a certain phase in your after sales process.
Here’s a quick guide to getting your email autoresponder sequence done:
- Decide the number of autoresponder emails you want in your series.
- Plan the interval of sending out each email.
- Spend time to writing the whole series.
- Queue them up in your email autoresponder.
- Test your email autoresponder sequence to make sure everything works fine.
2. Handwritten Notes
Customers love it when you make them feel special. When they feel important, they come back for more.
A simple way to show customers that they're important is by writing them handwritten notes, even for no apparent reason.
The benefits of handwritten notes are:
- It shows customers that you appreciate them.
- It involves many of the human senses because letters have to be opened, touched, seen, and sometimes smelled.
- It offers a more personal touch to all your efforts. Something that digital marketing lacks these days.
- It boosts branding because customers will consider your business as a thoughtful, caring one.
3. Customer-only Newsletters
Another type of content that boosts repeat business is a customer-only newsletter.
Customers love to see "For Your Eyes Only!" or "VIP Access!" in their emails or direct mailers. Do you agree? I know you love it too!
Refer to the eNewsletter section of this article to learn how to write a newsletter for your customers.
The REFER Phase
Happy customers mean repeat business and great word of mouth!
The REPEAT phase is about creating content that makes it easy for your loyal customers to refer your business.
Remember that 92 percent of consumers say they trust word of mouth from friends and family more than other forms of advertising, so make sure to create the best content that will generate referrals.
Word of mouth is an effective referral marketing strategy that your business can and should use.
Types of Content:
1. Content That Can be Used to Co-brand and Distribute
Some examples of content that your current customers can redistribute to generate referral buzz are:
- gift certificates
- social media contests or hashtag campaigns
- basically, everything that I mentioned above!
2. Feature Your Customers
Featuring your customers in your marketing materials is another way to encourage them to share their experience with others.
Here are a few ways to do it:
- You can include them on your Facebook and Instagram stories.
- Ask them to appear in a promotional Youtube video or other TV advertisements.
- Write a real-life success story of a customer and include it in your print ads.
Remember that content is the voice of your marketing strategy. Whether you're a beginner or a professional marketer, your content will always determine your success.
A successful customer journey marketing plan doesn't happen overnight. Start by mapping the customer journey and match your content with every phase of the Marketing Hourglass.
If you need more help with customer journey marketing, TALK TO US. We'd be happy to help you.
That was a long list, eh?
If you've got additional questions, feel free to comment below. As always, we'd be honored if you think this content is worth sharing.
Creating a solid marketing strategy is a must for effective marketing? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Marketing Strategy to learn more.
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