All of us at one time or another has picked up a book that just grips us, we can’t put it down, we’ll say to ourselves, just another chapter even although it’s the middle of the night. With great stories we want to know what happens next. TV soap opera follows this routine when they finish each episode with a cliff hanging finale, leaving (some viewers) wanting more. This article “What Romance Novels Can Teach You About Powerful Copywriting” over at Copyblogger explains the ideas behind this process pretty well.
Our web pages needed to be doing the same job. We had a story to tell our visitors to ensure they became absorbed and didn’t close the page through lack of interest. Which brings up another point of interest, most people who visit your site won’t make an immediate purchase, unless you run an e-commerce site. Most people will be browsing, researching, comparing and they’ll be at very different stages within the buying cycle. Your content strategy needs to take this into account.
This article from the Content FactorTM website explains how the B2B buying cycle can be broken down into 4 stages as summarized below:
Stage 1: The unaware buyer
They’re suffering the pain but not explicitly looking around for a solution. Your content must be newsworthy, it must shout out we know you are in pain and we can help. You need to make them stop and think.
Stage 2: The tentative buyer
They’ve recognized they have a problem and are seeking a solution. They are in research mode. Content needs to be educational, you need to make them understand you know what the problem is and can offer a solution.
Stage 3: The engaged buyer
These guys know what the problem is and understand you can provide a solution but they’re also talking to the competition. Your content needs to be full of compelling arguments, preferably from 3rd party’s e.g. case studies and endorsements. They also want to understand your road map to help mitigate the risk to any purchase decisions.
Stage 4: The invested buyer
This is the area we normally neglect. The invested buyer is a customer, he knows all about the solutions you can provide. Your content needs to make him feel that he made the right purchase decision, they want to be treated that bit differently through sneak previews and exclusive content. They need to be kept in the loop.
Remember how difficult it is to get a customer in the first instance; don’t lose them by taking them for granted.
If you would like more information on this process, read my ebook: 6 stages to inbound marketing success.