In my last article I looked at what the buyer journey is, why it is important, and why it is still relevant for small businesses. In this article, still focusing on service and small businesses of all kinds, I am going to look at the types of content and promotion channels that work best for each stage of the buyer journey to ensure you can get more customers.
This is an important topic and can help you dramatically improve your sales if done right. I have therefore split it into two parts. The first of which is covering the awareness stage and the second will cover the consideration and decision stages.
If you are not familiar with the buyer journey click here. Otherwise, please read on.
Works for Businesses of All Sizes
As I mentioned before the buyer journey describes the stages the buyer goes through before they decide to make a purchase – awareness, consideration, and decision. It doesn’t matter how big your business is, or how much budget you have, buyers still go through those stages and therefore, by understanding them, you can improve your promotion and get more sales.
The Awareness Stage
At this stage the buyer recognises they have a problem but isn’t necessarily aware of the solution. If we continue with our cleaning example from the previous article, it means a potential customer understands that they don’t seem to have time to clean their home, and as a result relax, or to spend with their kids. At this point they don’t know getting a cleaner is the solution, so they don’t want to know you are the best rated cleaner in the business. They want to find informational content that includes in a balanced way their potential options to solve their problem - For example, be a better cleaner, get better cleaning materials, or perhaps hire a cleaner.
Content and Blogging
The trick then is to get that content in a form and on a promotional channel that suits your customer and your budget. Blogging can often be the starting point for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is the cheapest form of content to create: you just need word processing software. Secondly, by creating it you have a chance of being found when someone does a google search.
I say it is a starting point because the act of writing your article doesn’t mean you will get found on Google. There is the pesky problem that you have competitors who, unless they have fallen asleep on the job, will be writing similar articles. You might be lucky, but in the event your competitors are not asleep you have to work out a way of getting that content onto the first page of the search results.
Moving Up the Ranking
If you are not on the first page, then you need to climb the rankings. Google rewards articles that are read, liked, shared, and linked to from other sites. Having a number of articles like this boosts the domain authority of your website and your blog will move itself up the rankings to that coveted position of the top 3. We all know that most people only click on the first few, so a wonderful virtuous circle is created.
Getting Your Content Noticed
The first step in getting your contact noticed is to share it on social media. Unfortunately, people don’t like reading 800-word blogs pasted into Facebook so you are going to create a snappy title for it, find a visually interesting picture, and paste a link back to your blog for people to click on.
Types of Content
The truth is, wherever you post, your target audience might not like, or have time, to read a lot of text, so you can consider turning what you have into an infographic, a to-do-list, or any other snappy bite-size form. If you have the budget you will make an explainer video, and if you are a well-funded VC-backed startup you will hire a Hollywood actor to narrate and star in it. The types of content below are typically referenced for the awareness stage:
- Blog Post
- Social Media Post
- How-To Video
- Kit or Tool
- Ebook or Tip Sheet
- Educational Webinar
Which type of content you use will depend also on whether you are B2B/B2C and the complexity of your product. For example, it is unlikely you will need to do a whitepaper if you are a handyman or cleaner: your customer isn’t investing many thousands of pounds in your service.
Further Promotion Tactics
You now got together several pieces of content in different forms, and you are putting it up on social media. Unfortunately, if you don’t have any followers on that social channel - long term you can build them up - but in the short-term you are going to have to pay to sponsor it. You need to learn about the advertising options for each of the social networks and Google.
There are numerous other ways you promote that content. For example, you can reach out to bloggers who have strong followings among your target demographic in your buyer persona and ask them if you can guest post or even put an ad on their site. In case of a cleaner, sites that working professionals might visit to seek home organization tips, among others.
Should I Talk About Other Solutions??
I mentioned you should write an article that included other solutions apart from your own. You might be thinking that is madness, but that is absolutely not the case.
Why do I say that? You should not be opening a business unless you have researched that someone wants your product. In the case of a cleaning business you are armed with the information that cleaners only charge around £12 an hour, they are fast and professional. You also know that the increase in demand for cleaners is due to an increasing number of women in the workforce and a rising demand among young professionals. If you did your buyer persona correctly then when you do your promotion you will target those people. Some people will read your article and decide to buy a better hoover, those people are not your target audience, because you didn’t create your business for them. You created it for the ones you will read your article and identify that they are a young professional, working full-time, are extremely busy, and actually earn more per hour than a cleaner so it makes sense to hire one.
Once you have utilized the buyer journey to improve lead generation and sales, you need to send quotes, invoices and take payments. Hoof's payment solution has all the tools to help you win business and more efficiently manage payments.