Every time you make a purchasing decision, your brain follows a systematic process. Whether the decision is as big as buying a new car, or the everyday task of picking up toothpaste from the corner store, your brain follows these steps. Learn more about the purchase decision-making process and how to create content that appeals to each step in the journey.
Consumer Behavior 101
Adults, on average, make 35,000 decisions per day. That’s a lot of thinking! Not to worry, your brain has a streamlined process for efficient problem solving.
The Awareness Stage
You’re at work tapping away on your keyboard when, all of a sudden, your stomach grumbles. You look up at the clock, surprised that it’s already lunchtime. No wonder your stomach is rumbling – you’re hungry. However, not everyone can self-diagnose with such ease. Sometimes, people are unaware that they have a problem until they find themselves nodding along as they read your content.
Consider the Awareness Stage as the “aha moment” people have when they discover they have a problem to be fixed or a void that needs to be filled. Content creation should educate the consumer on their need, not why your product or service is the best solution. We understand that your business’s primary goal is to push sales, but if you do that in the Awareness Stage, you will literally push potential customers out of the door (or off of your website). Trust us. Creating informative content establishes you as an industry leader, which then builds trust with your website visitors. Play your cards right, and as the consumer travels through the decision-making process with your educational content, the more your brand will come to mind when it’s time to make a decision.
Just because sales is taking a back seat at this step doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Inbound marketing is a long-term game, focusing on building relationships and guiding leads down a marketing funnel. (Stay tuned for part two of this blog post, where we’ll go over what the marketing funnel is, and why it’s important to your content strategy.)
In order to build relationships, you should have multiple touch points on a lead. Content marketing not only captures a lead’s personal information (name, email, etc.), but also allows you to use information to follow up with them on another channel with other pertinent information. People in the Awareness Stage crave information; content such as whitepapers, eBooks, checklists, and how-to videos are extremely helpful at this stage. For example, if you’re planning an event, having a checklist of what needs to be done at each stage of the planning process would be beneficial.
The Consideration Stage
In the Consideration Stage, a consumer puts a name and a face to his or her problem. This can be as simple as finding a restaurant to get lunch or researching event planning companies that can help you put on a show. Whatever problem your lead is facing, it’s your chance to shine. At this point in the Consideration Stage, the world is your lead’s oyster. Why should they go with your company? Before you hop on the sales bandwagon, remember to tread lightly so you don’t spook them away.
Content creation at this stage should focus on connecting your product/service to your lead’s problem. Do you sell a technical product? Offer data sheets or comparison sheet between similar products. Your lead most likely has questions, so write up an FAQ with information that will help them in the decision-making process. Someone who is looking to do business with you wants to be assured that they’re making the right decision. Don’t be afraid to throw some numbers their way. For example, your lead who downloaded your checklist may be super overwhelmed that there’s so much to be done in so little time. She needs help. A case study of a similar client or problem may be just what she needs to move on to the decision stage.
The Decision Stage
By the Decision Stage of the decision-making process, your lead has established a strategy to accomplishing his or her goal. They’re almost ready to sign their name on the dotted line. All they need is a pen. You just need to be sure that it’s your dotted line they choose to sign. Content at the Decision Stage should be the cherry on top, the last bit of information someone would need to make sure you’re the right solution. The end of the race is in sight, and now it’s time to offer sales-oriented content. Depending on what type of products/services your offer, decision-stage content can take many forms. They just have one goal in mind: Sales. Consider offering a free trial, product demo, free consultation, or coupon.
Our marketing team can help your business create content that converts. Contact us today to learn how we can help your business grow.