Over the last 10+ years, we’ve been hearing the same message over and over again – content is king.
It can help you attract your ideal clients, build relationships, and support conversions.
But, to do this well, your content must be engineered to create a streamlined and integrated customer journey that guides your client from their very first interaction with your brand, through to the point of conversion.
To create this kind of killer content, you need to join the conversation that’s already going on in your clients’ heads.
- Understanding which stage of consumer awareness they are in
- Understanding what their problems and pain points are that made them seek out your services
- Understanding the core (emotional) benefits your service fulfils for them
- Knowing the questions and possible objections swirling through their heads so you can pre-emptively answer and address them
Once you have a clear picture of where your clients are at and what they need to move forward, you can design your customer journey and create content to support them every step of the way.
How to structure your customer journey using the stages of consumer awareness
It’s a good idea to align your customer journey with the consumer stages of awareness.
To recap, these are Unaware, Problem Aware, Solution Aware, Product Aware, and Most Aware.
We know that it’s most effective (and enjoyable) to guide your audience through the stages of awareness one step at a time.
(Just like you wouldn’t propose marriage on the first date, you also don’t want to hit someone over the head with a sales pitch before they’re ready for it.)
If you look at it this way, your customer journey is a five-step process:
- Step 1: going from unaware to problem aware
- Step 2: going from problem aware to solution aware
- Step 3: going from solution aware to product aware
- Step 4: going from product aware to most aware
- Step 5: point of conversion
These are the steps your clients need to go through before buying your product or service, so they should also be the foundation of your content strategy.
To create content that guides your clients from step to step, you need to understand what kind of information they need at each step to move forward. Then, you need to present the right content to the right person at the right time (we covered how to do this in last week’s post, here is the link in case you missed it.)
Now, let’s take a look at how to create content for each step…
Step 1 in the customer journey: Going from unaware to problem aware
An unaware audience is not yet aware that they have a problem or a need.
So your first job is to help them recognise their problem – in other words, become problem aware.
A great way to do this is using blog articles or social media posts. The type of content your clients “stumble across” by way of a Google search or hashtag they are following.
Here is a step-by-step process for creating content for an unaware audience:
Identify the problem or need that you know they have, and you know that you can help them solve
For example, their problem may be that they are overwhelmed with their end of year accounting because they are unorganised and struggling to stay on top of their paperwork.
You know you can help them solve this problem with your easy-to-use accounting software.
Identify and research the kinds of search phrases they might be looking for
Remember, your audience is not yet problem aware, so they are likely searching for general information on your topic.
Informational searches are often phrased as questions, like:
Different ways to______
What can I use to______
Your job is to identify the questions your ideal clients are asking at this stage of their customer journey, and then provide useful answers by sharing stories and educational content.
Write content that answers their questions and speaks to their needs
Once you know what phrases they are looking for, you can start building rapport by creating content that touches on the problems you know they are facing.
Going back to the accounting example, you could write a blog post about “How to do your own end of year accounts” in which you’d talk about how a manual accounting system is overly time-consuming and can lead to errors that may end up costing the business (or upsetting the tax department).
If you can get your audience to identify with the problems or needs you talk about, then you have successfully moved them one step along the awareness continuum. They are now in a stage of problem awareness.
Step 2 in the customer journey: Going from problem aware to solution aware
The next step is taking your clients from problem aware to solution aware.
To do this effectively, you’ll want to create content that addresses their problem and then talks about one or more possible solutions.
The best place to do this is still on your blog or social media – rather than on your website – because this content is still quite general and not necessarily geared towards your specific solution.
In our accounting example, you might write an article that first talks about the needs and problems mentioned above, and then positions accounting software as a general solution. You’d also want to logically link this article to the “How to” guide you created earlier, so your audience can progress from one step to the next.
This paves the way for you to present your product or service as the unique solution to their problem.
Step 3 in the customer journey: Going from solution aware to product aware
INTRODUCING… (drumroll please): Your product or service!
Now is the time to move the conversation from your blog or social media across to the Home page of your website and start channelling your clients’ attention onto your product or service.
To do that, you need to convince your client that your (specific) product or service will help them overcome their problem. You’ll need to talk about the unique benefits of your solution and show your clients how it will change their life for the better.
Now is also the time to bring in social proof like testimonials or reviews, which build trust and help prove your claims.
Since this is usually the phase where your clients are tossing up between different options, you can also use your blog to shift things in your favour.
Go back to your keyword research tool and find out which considerational search phrases they are looking for.
Considerational searches are often phrased like…
Best______[X] vs [Y] for____
So, in our accounting example, you could write a blog article entitled “Top 10 accounting software products 2022”. In this article, you’d touch on several options, including your own, and genuinely talk about the pros and cons of each before casting the spotlight onto your product or service as the obvious solution.
In short, this phase is all about showing your clients that you understand their needs and explaining how you can help them reach the outcome they’re after.
Step 4 in the customer journey: Going from product aware to most aware
Once your clients are product aware, they’ll have a good understanding of their problem and how you can help. But they don’t necessarily want it yet.
This is where “selling” comes into play.
You’ll typically do this on the products/services pages on your website, where you want to showcase your product/service and its many benefits in an appealing way.
This is also the place to draw on your copywriting skills and proven messaging frameworks to reinforce your value proposition and make a compelling case for your solution.
Plus, you can sprinkle in some form of risk-reversal to help overcome any remaining objections and put your client’s mind at ease. Depending on your business, this might be a free trial, a discovery call, a demo, or a clearly worded refund policy.
Step 5 in the customer journey: from most aware to the point of conversion
When your clients are most aware, (most) of the hard work is done. Clients at this stage of the customer journey know all the details about your product or service and want it.
The best way to convert clients who are most aware is to craft an offer that speaks to them and gives them an incentive to act quickly. This could be an exclusive offer, a time-limited offer, or an offer with some sort of bonus added in that expires when the clock runs out.
A small nudge in the right direction is usually enough to get these guys across the line. After all, your content has done all the heavy lifting for you in the previous steps. A bit like the bottom cheerleader in this picture…
The best way to build trust with your audience and help clients move through their customer journey is with targeted content.
With the right strategy and approach, your content can do all the heavy lifting for you when it comes to lead acquisition and nurture. But, to do this well, your content needs to be strategically aligned with your clients’ customer journey and integrated across platforms and mediums.
(I.e., your blog, social media, website, emails, and in-person sales teams need to work together.)
If you’re prepared to put in the required effort to design and execute a streamlined and integrated customer journey, the payoff will be better leads, happier clients, and more conversions.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us at [email protected] We’d love to hear from you, and we’re here to help!