4 Types of Content You Must Offer To Meet Audience Needs
On average consumers spend 12 hours and 14 minutes per day with media based on eMarketer analysis. Roughly half of that time is spent with digital content.
Further, consumers expect you to provide a seamless brand experience across devices as well as in-store. This is particularly true for millennials.
To put this in perspective, B2B customers are 57% of the way through the purchase process before they contact a sales rep according to The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing. This means your key audience must comprehend your content without an employee to explain it or answer any questions.
Therefore, provide the information your readers seek before they realize they want it.
You don’t need to be a mind reader to accomplish this. Instead understand your customers and their needs, desires and intent. To this end, create a marketing persona to appreciate their content marketing triggers and develop the information they require.
Understanding content marketing triggers is critical since 3,000 shoppers took 3,000 different purchase paths according to a Google study across different product categories.
4 Content marketing triggers
1. Customer pre-purchase research
Both B2B and B2C customers seek information that facilitates their decision-making, at the zero moment of truth (or ZMOT). While B2B customers are known for having many people involved weighing on purchase choices, most B2C customers get input from a variety of different influencers and end users, such as partners, spouses, children, friends and social media.
- What products should I consider?
- What makes your product or service better than your competitors?
- What do other customers think of your offering?
Content marketing needed:
- Give them detailed product information. At a minimum, include a detailed description of your products with photographs and/or videos so people can see your offering in action. Help customers visualize having your product in their home or office.
- Respond to customer questions. Don’t avoid the key issues your prospect has or you’ll risk that they’ll buy from your competitor. Make your information honest.
- Show comparisons between your product and your competitors’ offering. Be transparent about how you made your assessment or it’ll hurt you. Appreciate that, if you mislead prospects, the public will call you out on social media. Don’t be unethical or misrepresent the truth in your content.
2. Actual purchase
Since smartphones and other digital devices are always within arm’s reach, many potential buyers will search for a better deal before hitting the purchase button.
- What do past buyers say about the product and this specific retailer?
- What are the purchase related details such as delivery and returns?
- Is there a better price for this product?
- Can I complete the process now from the device I’m using?
Content marketing needed:
- Offer customer ratings and reviews. Assume that your buyers are at least as smart as you are. Customers, whether they’re B2B or B2C, are active on social media and know how to check out what other people think about your product. Therefore offer ratings and reviews.
- Post the fine print on your website and elsewhere. There are always sticklers who read all the details. So don’t hide them. If you do, they’ll either call your customer service or, worse, buy from someone else.
- Make special offers where appropriate. Understand that cutting your price means prospects and buyers will expect discounts in the future. This reduces your profits. Therefore, tread carefully with special deals and ensure that you’re not competing with your affiliates. Also know what your costs and margins are so that you’re not loosing money when you offer a special deal. This is the biggest reason consumers sign up for mobile notifications and increases the likelihood of purchase.
- Allow buyers to continue the purchase process when, where and how they wish. This means let them buy via a website, mobile device, phone or in-person.
3. Product use (including styling)
Don’t assume your buyers know how to use your product or service effectively. If they can’t make your product work, they may not buy from you again or, worse, will tell others how product doesn’t deliver on its promise. This information may be needed pre-purchase as well as post-purchase.
- How do I use this product?
- How does this product fit with my current lifestyle?
Content marketing needed:
- Explain how to use your product. Offer educational content to enable customers to use your product better. Use this opportunity to cross-sell them similar or related products. Provide a combination of content formats including text, visuals and videos. Remember YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google.
- Offer free recipes and patterns. Give your audience the directions they need incorporating your product. This works well for food and cooking products, DIY and home projects, and hobbies such as sewing and knitting.
- Show your product in context. Many consumers have a difficult time visualizing how your product might fit into their lifestyle. This is particularly important for clothes, makeup and home décor. Use photographs and videos to show them.
Appreciate that sometimes your customers just want to be amused. Laughter is good for you. (Don’t take my word for it—read what James Altucher says.)
- What makes me smile or laugh?
- What can I share with my family, friends and social media colleagues so that I look good?
Content marketing needed:
- Create funny videos incorporating your brand. People just want to have fun. Two great examples of this are Orabrush and Will It Blend.
- Participate in memes and photo bombs. This is a great way to have fun and show that your brand is real.
- Tell amusing stories. Entertain your prospects, customers and the public with fun stories related to your brand, product, business, employees and/or customers.
Take the time to appreciate your potential buyers, influencers and end users as well as their needs and intentions to determine how they’ll progress through the 4 moments of truth during their purchase journey. Once you do this, you can create information that answers their content marketing triggers.
What other content marketing triggers does your audience have?
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An annual gathering of the best and brightest content professionals on the planet. People who know the secrets (and are willing to share them). People who value content as a business asset. People who have made it their life’s work to develop repeatable, systematic approaches to producing amazingly effective content.
Join the discussion on Tuesday, December 2 - Time: 2 PM (EST) / 11 AM (PST) to learn how small and medium sized businesses don't have to have an entire content marketing organization (or budget) to be successful in content marketing.
Joe Pulizzi, Author and Founder of Content Marketing Institute and Werner Mansfeld, President of NetLine Corp, discuss realistic and actionable methods for your company to get awareness, consideration and sales leads using marketing content – without the budget or resources of an enterprise-level organization.
Here are just some of the questions you'll get answered:
- What is content marketing and why is it important?
- What do I need to have in place to compete effectively using content marketing?
- How do I drive sales leads and get a positive ROI using content marketing?
- How can my small business (or budget) compete with my larger competitors using content marketing?
- What can I start doing today to start seeing results?
Joe Pulizzi and Werner Mansfeld are experts in Content Marketing and Content Syndication. Learn from their combined experience how to take advantage of content marketing for your business, no matter the size.
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