Content Marketing: Stories And The Purchase Process [Chart]

Content Marketing’s Stories Propel Customers To Buy

Marketing stories Are you using stories to enhance your content marketing? If not, you may want to reconsider because the rationale behind integrating various types of stories into your content marketing is to make it easier for the public to understand and remember your offering.

This is particularly important if your company provides lots of facts and figures in dense text since they’re difficult to digest and remember! By contrast, telling stories helps you maximize the impact of your marketing efforts by increasing mindshare. (Here are 29 company stories ideas to help you.)

Once you decide to use stories in your content marketing, you can’t just wait for stories to filter into your organization. You have to understand what stories to look for, where to seek them out, and how to craft them for your various marketing needs.

To this end, it’s helpful to use the buying cycle as a means of correlating the information customers seek with the appropriate types of stories because stories are needed at every step of the process, not just for building brand and product awareness. They’re needed to build your relationship with your prospects and persuade them to buy from you. Then, after they’ve bought, stories help reinforce customers’ positive attitudes towards you and your offering while providing information to help them better use your products and services. This, in turn, causes them to recommend you to their family and friends as well as to buy more or related products.

Here’s a chart to help you associate content marketing and stories all along the purchase process. (Here’s 18 content marketing options and how to use them.)

Content Marketing: Stories And The Purchase Process

Purchase process

Information customers need

Types of stories marketing can tell

Research—Customers seek information while marketers want to enter the consideration set Product/brand details
Company information
How to/instructions Patterns/recipes
History
Entertainment
Customer experiences
Founder’s stories
Company history
Product stories
Brand stories
Employee stories
Demonstrations
Engagement—Customers seek more information & assess options while marketers want to close the deal.  Product /brand details
Reviews/ratings
FAQ/customer questions
How to/instructions
Patterns/recipes
Deals/Promotions
Customer experiences
Founder’s stories
Company history
Product stories
Answer customer products questions
Buy—Customers seek to determine product specifics and purchase while marketers want to close the deal. Product/brand details
Customer questions
Location/maps
Price Deals/promotions
Answer customer products questions
Post-purchase support (including returns & upsell)—Customers seek to improve product use and make returns while marketers want to sell more. Returns
FAQ/customer questions
Customer service
Product support
How to/instructions
Patterns/recipes
Answer customer questions
Demonstrations
Customer experiences
Advocacy—Customers seek to share experiences while marketers seek WOM and loyalty Galleries
Community
Entertainment
Customer experiences

©2012 Heidi Cohen – Riverside Marketing Strategies – All rights reserved

Stories are a critical element of content marketing since they’re memorable. It’s important to incorporate them at every step of the buying process.

What other types of stories would you add to this chart and why?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Note: I will be at SES (aka Search Engine Strategies) in New York City next Tuesday, March 20, 2012.  I’m holding one-on-one content marketing sessions in the exhibit hall as well as moderating the Meet the Experts: Roundtable Forum on Content Marketing. Please stop by with your questions or to just say hi!

Get a 15% discount on the admission price to SES – New York

 

Here are some related articles that may be of interest to you.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/19374628@N06/3270419825/

 

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  • http://www.logocontestreviews.com/99designs-review/ 99designs Reviews

    Great insights, it’s more important than ever in my opinion, but
    aggregating and curating is important as well. The style guide falls
    directly on the managing editor, which should be communicating fully
    with the content creators. Hopefully they’ve seen the style guide ;)

  • http://In-The-Flow.com Jim Campbell

    We know people like pictures and we know that people like video. We also all like a well told story. What a great skill to embrace and work on…Thanks Heidi!!