How to Create Content for Each Phase of the Buyers Journey

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How to Create Content for Each Phase of the Buyers Journey

This article is a three phase, “How-To” for creating great content for each phase of the Buyer’s Journey. In a recent post, we discussed in some detail the four phases of the Buyer’s Journey, including the types of content and offers the buyer is looking for in each of the Buyer’s Journey phases. It is helpful to have an understanding of the Buyer’s Journey as you begin to develop your Buyer’s Journey Content Roadmap.  Before you start, you’ll want to download the free templates you will need to get the job done.

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Buyer’s Journey Content Creation Roadmap

Content Mapping Template

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Phase One

Buyers Journey Content Strategy Roadmap

Before you begin developing content for the Buyer’s Journey, you’ll need to have your Buyer Persona documents handy. With your Buyer Personas in hand, you are ready to begin developing the Buyer’s Journey Content Roadmap.

If you don’t have your Buyer Personas developed, proceed to section B, Step One. If you have completed them, proceed to section B, Step Two.

Phase Two

The Buyer’s Journey Content Strategy Roadmap

Eight Steps to Great Content

Step One – The Buyer Persona

Step One is the development of your Buyer Persona.  According to HubSpot, the Buyer Persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based upon market research and real data about your existing customers.

The Buyer Persona development process involves identifying specific:

  • Persona demographics
  • Behavior patterns
  • Economic, environmental and psychological motivations and goals

Be as specific and granular as possible; drilling down on the minute details of each individual Buyer Persona.  We’ll cover the Buyer Persona in more depth in the next article. In the meantime, you can learn more about developing your Buyer Persona here.  You can also visit our “How to Create Your Buyer Personas” article to learn how to create Buyer Personas for each of your Buyer Persona segments.

Step Two – Create the Persona’s “I am” Statement

With your Buyer Persona in hand, let’s start on the Awareness Phase section of the spreadsheet (see free download above). As you begin working on this, you’ll see how easy it is to begin populating all three segments of the worksheet.

Utilizing the “Buyer’s Journey Content Strategy Roadmap Template,” locate the row entitled “Awareness,” and then Column E within that row.  In place of the, “I am a buyer aware that I have a problem” add the exact problem statement your Buyer Persona has in their mind upon recognizing symptoms or problems they have that need to be resolved. For one of our targeted Buyer Persona, we might add, “I am not getting enough targeted traffic to my website and I am probably missing significant revenue opportunities as a result.”

Step Three – Identify the Persona’s Specific Mad Libs or Thought Processes

The next step is to work on identifying the Buyer Persona’s specific Mad Libs or thought processes.  Again utilizing the “Buyer’s Journey Content Strategy Roadmap Template,” look at columns F and G.  Columns F & G prompt you with the kinds of thought processes your Buyer Personas are having around their issue:

  • I need to improve…
  • I need to prevent…
  • I need to start…
  • I need to stop…
  • I need to optimize…

As the Buyer Personas experience the unwelcomed conditions and possibilities of their problem, finish those thought strings that occupy your their mind. There may be several thought sequences for each of the above “Mad Libs.”

Step Four – Identify Problem Keywords

After finishing the Mad Libs you then need to identify problem keywords.  For each Mad Lib, you’ll need to identify Keyword Phrases that the Buyer Persona is likely to use to find information about the problems he or she is facing. If you are new at identifying keywords and phrases, start with one of the Mad Libs and turn it into a search query.

Let’s say our Buyer Persona is a mid-size business owner who needs more targeted traffic on her website. While she is too small to have a marketing team, her growth goals are too large not to have a trusted inbound marketing and web solutions company that can catalyze inbound leads and revenue growth.

If the Buyer Persona’s “I am” statement is, “I am not getting enough targeted traffic to my website and I am probably missing significant revenue opportunities as a result,” then her “I need to improve” statement might be, “I need to improve targeted traffic to my website.”

My first keyword phrase is going to be that very Mad Lib, “I need to improve targeted traffic to my website.” To test it, I am going to pop that search string into Google’s search engine. At the time of writing this article, the search returns a four pack of ads and then a list of organic results. After placing your keyword phrase in a search engine such as Google, do the following:

  • Read the titles of all of the results and the meta data
  • Make a list of the titles and phrases that are phrases your Buyer Persona is likely to use to find answers to their query
  • Scroll to the bottom of the search page and look through the list of “Searches Related to…”
  • Copy and paste any of the recommended search strings that are relevant to your Persona’s Mad Lib
  • To dig deeper and get the best search phrases, search all of the strings you captured and read through the search results to see if there are any others you should use

Step Five – Attract

Audit and Map Your Entire Content Library

Our next step is to audit and map your entire content library.  In column J and K of your worksheet, log any existing content or landing pages that speak to your buyer at this phase of the journey. Continue doing this for each of the four Journey phases.

If you do not have appropriate content yet, use the data in Steps One through Five to create your content strategy for new offers, landing pages and blog posts in each phase of the Buyer’s Journey. After mapping your existing content, review it for relevancy. Improve and optimize your existing content with the Mad Libs and Keyword Phrases you identified in Steps Three and Four.

In the next step, you’ll identify gaps in your existing content and begin pulling together an effective content strategy.

Step Six – Convert

Map the Content Offer that will Convert Your Buyer from a Visitor to a Lead

For this step, utilize the Content Library and Pick Lists tabs (in the Buyer’s Journey Content Strategy Roadmap spreadsheet) to map and create your conversion optimized content for each phase of the Buyer’s Journey.

Use columns B, C and D to help you identify the appropriate Offer Type, Offer Topic, Offer Title and Call-to-Action (CTA) Wording.  To map the Offer Type use columns M, N, O and P.  While working on this step remember that each landing page, blog and offer should have a meaningful and relevant call to action.

Step Seven – Close

Identify the Email Sequences that Move the Buyer Through the Buyer’s Journey

As you continue down the road to great content it is important to remember that it is a comprehensive, strategic process that converts a lead into a customer. In addition to excellent website landing pages, content and conversion processes, you’ll need third-party technologies, a salesperson or team to pass the inbound conversion-ready prospect to and internal operational process to make it all work seamlessly.

Blue Iris Marketing takes a holistic approach to lead nurturing. This holistic approach is woven through every phase of the Buyer’s Journey.  As part of our holistic approach, we create personalized email sequences.  Personalized email is powerful because it is written specifically for that person and is highly personalized to the buyer. Each email is written from the buyer’s perspective and is relevant to the phase of the Buyer’s Journey they are in at the time they receive it.  It has a call to action that is powerful, compelling and moves the Buyer to the next steps.

Mapping Your Email Sequences. Identify the types of emails you’ll need for each content offer, what each email needs to say and the most appropriate calls to action to move the buyer towards conversion. There are many autoresponder email systems that you can use to nurture your leads through the Buyer’s Journey. The most popular are:

Be sure to choose the one that provides the features you’ll need – not only for your needs today –  but also into the distant future. Changing providers is burdensome and time consuming and we find that many people will continue using a service they aren’t satisfied with rather than going through the hassle of changing.

Step Eight – Delight

Creating Personalization that Delights Your Prospect at Every Phase

The last step in our journey is the creation of personalized content. Your content should attract and delight your prospect at every phase.  Our email and landing page technologies make it easy to personalize every touch point. If you are a newbie and don’t yet have access to this smart content technology, do your best to speak directly to the Buyer Persona’s needs at every touch point.

Phase Three

The Buyer’s Journey Content Strategy Roadmap

Five Steps to Auditing Your Existing Content

Step One: Analyze Your Entire Content Library

Now that we have developed the framework for highly relevant content, we need to audit your existing content. Within the free Buyer’s Journey Template download is a spreadsheet tab called Content Library. Use this template to document all of your existing content and identify which phase of the Buyer’s Journey each item aligns with. When you finish, you will be able to see where the content gaps exist. Once you have documented all of your content and offers, the path to your Content Strategy begins to emerge.

If you do not have any content or offers, you’ll simply follow the suggestions in each of the steps below.

Step Two: Modify Content that Does Not Align to a Specific Phase

To align your existing content to a specific phase simply follow the step-by-step recommendations below.

  • Buyer’s Stage is Unclear: If some of your content is unclear or doesn’t seem to fit one specific phase, update it and revise the title so that it works well in the most appropriate phase.
  • Content Covers More than One Stage: If the content addresses multiple stages, divide it into two distinct pieces or offers so that each aligns with one specific stage of the Buyer’s Journey.
  • Not Enough Offers: Create a PDF download offer using information that is only available via the offer.
  • Not Enough Content in a Particular Stage:

Awareness Phase. Create a relevant white paper for the appropriate perspective of your Buyer Persona. If your Buyer Persona is a leader in the organization, be sure it is written from that leader’s perspective.

Consideration Phase. Create Content Offers for your Buyer Persona that are aligned with this stage.

Decision Phase. Produce a content offer in the form of a downloadable PDF. Some examples that work well for the Consideration Phase are product information sheets, case studies or testimonials, free trials, and demos. You might also improve your Contact Us page so that it speaks to your Buyer Persona in this important stage.

Delight Phase. Identify the process each specific Buyer Persona experiences as they use your solution. Identify the types of support information that would be useful for your customer as they experience challenges or have questions onboarding, implementing or applying your solution. You might produce an FAQ page that answers their questions, a forum that provides a search feature for previously answered questions, videos, how-to-guides, eBooks or anything that provides value and delights your customer.

Step Three: Map Your Content to Each Buyer Persona

Recognizing that your company likely serves multiple Buyer Personas, keep in mind that it is important to understand each of your buyers intimately. Having this deep knowledge of each persona allows you to create content that speaks to each Persona individually. The content should feel very personalized. It is written specifically with each Persona’s perspective and directly answers questions or provides information they need at each stage of the Buyer’s Journey.

Next to each item of content, identify the Persona to which it speaks. As you populate the Content Audit Worksheet, you’ll begin to see a new level of content needs.

  • Content Recommendations:

Missing Content in the Awareness Stage. Create content appropriate for the awareness phase for each Buyer Persona.

Existing Content Only Speaks to One Persona. Using your existing content, rewrite it in the perspective of your other Personas.

Generic Content is Not Personalized. Edit the content so that it aligns with one specific Persona.

Content Only Covers One or Two Topics. Do some research on your Buyer Persona. What other interests do they have? What external, environmental, business legislative or regulatory, or economic factors are important to the success of their career? Their company? Produce content for each stage of the Buyer’s Journey, starting with the topic that is most important to that Persona.

We Only Have Offers on One or Two Topics. Before you start writing content for a new topic, strategize the most effective offers you can develop in a hot topic for your Persona. Create offers for each stage of the Buyer’s Journey for a specific Persona.

Contact Format Lacks Variety. Convert a long blog post or topic into a different format. Consider doing a webinar and a downloadable slideshow.

Step Four: Emerging Ideas

As you complete your Buyer’s Journey Content Audit, what observations have you made? What ideas emerged out of your process? Make a list of actionable steps to be implemented for each of your observations.

Step Five: Content Roadmap

For the last step in helping you begin development of your Content Roadmap and Strategy, you’ll want to itemize your next steps into short- and long-term action steps.

  • Short-term Action Items

• Refine the titles of your content, offers, and downloads so that they are specific to each Buyer Persona and Buyer Journey stage. You also want to refine the titles so that they contain the most effective keyword phrases.

• Create Landing Pages for the new content you discovered on your website. Be sure to include effective keywords in your URL page title.

• Divide all content that addresses multiple buyer journey stages or multiple Buyer Personas.

  • Long Term Action Items

Awareness Stage. Develop white paper content for each Persona.

• Decision Stage. Identify and develop more content for each Persona.

• Content Offers. Identify the best types of content for each Buyer’s Journey stage, each topic, and each Persona.

“Thank You” Pages. Create “Thank You” pages for each offer. Once the visitor clicks on your CTA, completes the form and clicks submit they should be directed to a “Thank You” page. Consider making the downloadable offer available on this “Thank You” page. In addition, studies show that making a synergistic offer below the download button helps move the buyer through the marketing funnel immediately.

• Auto-Responder Email. Utilize and set up auto-email sequences for your offers and CTAs. Once your visitor clicks submit for an offer, it should trigger an email sequence that is developed specifically for this Buyer Persona and speak to directly to their perspective and journey stage. This sequence should be developed for the purpose of nurturing the lead through the marketing funnel and into the Decision Phase.

Buyer’s love and respond well to a highly personalized experience. It is one more way to help you stand above your competition.

If you are interested in learning more about inbound marketing, give us call or click the floating chat feature on the left side of this blog post and we can help you evaluate what fits your needs – no cost and no obligation.

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Buyer’s Journey Content Creation Roadmap

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Jillian Vanarsdall
Jillian Vanarsdall
Founder of Blue Iris Marketing. An inbound marketing agency assisting businesses, from start-ups to high-growth firms, to phenomenally tell their unique story in a noisy digital world. Our services include inbound marketing, Wordpress web design and development, SEO, and social media.

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