Did you know that before you buy anything, you take part in an exciting adventure affectionately known as the buyer’s journey?
Okay, it’s not quite a Lord of the Rings adventure, but still, it’s one you and your customers embark on almost every time you purchase something.
And when you read this article, you’ll start to recognise your buying behaviours.
But more importantly, you’ll know EXACTLY how to use this process to reach your customers at every stage of their buyer’s journey.
You’re the guide; your customer is the hero
If you’ve ever read Storybrand by Donald Miller, you’ll recognise this metaphor well.
Your client is Luke Skywalker, and you are Yoda.
You’re the guide, and your content should aid your mighty protagonist (i.e. your customer) in navigating their journey, avoiding stupid mistakes, slaying the bad guys and reaching their goal, i.e. making a buying decision.
Ready to learn how to do this?
What is the buyer’s journey?
The buyer’s journey is the process someone goes through before buying a product or service.
Let’s have a look at this journey in action…
- Unaware – your prospective customer or client doesn’t even know they have a problem yet! They’re blissfully unaware, but they still have a problem!
- Problem aware – someone in this phase knows they have a problem, but they’re not quite sure what they need to do to fix it. For example, many of our clients realise they have a problem when they want to spend less on ads. They think, ‘Oh, if we spend less on ads, we’ll have fewer leads. We really need a way to get new leads without relying on ads! They are aware of their problem (spending too much on ads) but unaware of the solution.
- Solution aware – someone at this stage has looked at some solutions that could solve their problem. In our example above, it could be that the person has considered a few things – SEO, content writing, social media management, email marketing, etc. They’ve gone through the different options and have picked a solution by now. But at this stage, they don’t necessarily have a provider in mind. And they certainly don’t know of a specific product or service just yet.
- Product aware. When they reach this stage, someone knows about you and your specific product or service. They’re also aware of your competitor’s products or services too. They’ve probably started to list pros and cons for each and are comparing features and prices.
- Most aware. At this stage, your prospective customer fully understands your product or service. In fact, they’re so confident by now that they’re just about ready to buy.
Guide your prospective clients through the various stages – WITH CONTENT!
Pretty cool, right?
The thing is…
…Your prospective customer isn’t going through this journey and moving from one stage to the next just because.
They won’t wake up one day and magically land on your product or service and feel absolutely sure that you’re the answer to all their prayers! If you’re really lucky, this might happen for some people. But you can’t just rely on luck, can you?
So your job is to guide prospective customers through the various stages of the buyer’s journey. And the way to do that is to produce awesome content for each of the 5 phases.
How exactly will you do that?
1. Content for someone who is problem aware
Why haven’t we started with the unaware stage?
When someone is unaware of their problem, they won’t search for it. So creating content for people when they’re unaware is difficult. If you’re selling a product or service to people unaware of their problem, you may need ads or an awareness campaign to make people realise they have an actual problem.
So we will kick off with the ‘problem aware’ stage because it’s where your customers will look into their problem and how to fix it.
Someone who is ‘problem aware’ is likely to Google their problem. They don’t know yet what the solution might be, but they know something isn’t quite working, and they want to change it.
Your job is to create content that people can find on Google that helps with their problems. And while you do that, you can also present them with the potential solutions to fix it.
For example, imagine you’ve just realised your website isn’t ranking in Google. You don’t know what or what’s causing it, but you’ve just realised it’s a major problem – you’re now, problem aware!
This happens to be a real problem that some of our prospective clients have, so we wrote a blog post called 11 Reasons You’re NOT Ranking in Google & How To Fix It.
Examples of content for the ‘problem aware’ stage
So what content should you create for people in the problem-aware phase?
- How To content – this teaches people how to do the thing they have a problem with, for example, this article from Andrew and Pete about How you can get on big-name podcasts as a guest
- Problem + How to fix it – just like the one we mentioned above – 11 Reasons You’re NOT Ranking in Google & How To Fix It.
- Guides – the clue is in the name! This teaches people how to do something comprehensively. Such as this article from Dogwood Adventure Play: Taking your dog on holiday: everything you need to know to have a stress-free break!
- Example-led content – exactly like this article. There’s a reason I’ve added (with examples) in the title. It’s because that’s what people search for. They want to know how to solve their problems and see other people, in action, solving the same problem as them!
- Templates – how often do you think you’ve Googled ‘XYZ templates’ to help solve your problem? I know I have loads! A good example of this is this article published ScoreApp about How to write an email sequence for your quiz [+ 13 email templates]
- What is a? To introduce your industry and what you do, you could write a ‘what is a’ article – this article simply tells people, well, what it is you are! For example, What is an SEO Content Writer?
These types of content give your prospective customers and clients plenty of valuable information and options on how they might want to solve their specific problems.
2. Content to help someone become solution aware
For many of us, our industry isn’t the only thing that can solve our customer’s problem.
Let’s look at someone who wants to lose weight and all the avenues available to them. There’s…
- Personal trainers
- Gym memberships
- Calorie counting apps
- About a gazillion books
- Memberships like Slimming World
The opportunities are endless!
So your job, as the guide, is to help them find the right pathway for this person. Now, at this stage, you don’t have to talk about you specifically (although you can). Your job here is to guide someone down the right path.
And you need to explore the options in an unbiased, helpful way.
It’s the exact approach we took for these blog posts:
SEO Content Writer vs SEO Agency: Which One is Best for Your Business?
We’re not a freelance SEO content writer or an SEO agency (we kind of sit between the two), and yet, we published this article because it’s helpful for our audience. It helps them find the right solution.
Or SEO Content Writing vs Facebook Ads: Which One is Best for Your Business?
Examples of content for the ‘solution aware’ stage
Or you might want to create some use cases or case studies showing how your solution worked for someone else.
Other ideas for content you could create here include:
- This vs that. Content that directly compares two different solutions so someone can see the pros and cons of each. We have an example here: SEO Content vs Thought Leadership Content: which should you create for your business?
- ‘Stealthy’ case studies, where you show how you got results for another client. This obviously shows prospective clients that your solution works and is a worthwhile investment.
For example, Facebook Ad Strategist Jo Francis here created a blog post on how she increased someone’s email list by 1000 subscribers for just £110.00. If you’re having a problem with increasing your email list and aren’t sure which solution is best, you’ll see that Jo does a great job of selling Facebook ads here! And her Facebook ads service specifically.
- Exploring the common myths about a particular solution, that your audience may have dismissed or heard (incorrectly) about a particular industry, such as this article from Eden School Fees Planning, The top 9 myths about private school
- Outlining the ‘best’ solutions for your audience to help them make the right decision for them. For example, this brilliant article from Andrew and Pete: The Best Business and Marketing Conferences in the UK 2023
- Content around when it’s time for you to invest in a particular solution (or when it’s not time to invest in one), such as this article from Eden School Fees Planning: Signs you need to see a financial planner BEFORE you send your child to private school
- ‘How much does it cost’ type content. How much do you Google ‘how much does it cost for X?’ – A LOT, right? Well you should answer that in your content!
By the time your website visitor has read these kind of posts, they’ll be much clearer on what they need!
3. Content to get someone product aware
Someone in the ‘product aware’ stage has decided on your solution. Whoop! Now, they’re going through each product and service to determine what’s right for them.
We see many business owners and content marketers make the mistake of not producing enough of this type of content.
And that’s a real missed opportunity because, as we just pointed out, your competitors aren’t producing this content either. And that means you can stand out from the crowd for all the good reasons!
But also, at this stage, your prospective customers or clients are primed to buy. They know they want to buy the thing you offer – they just need to know whether they should go with you or your competitor.
And some people will be brave enough to pick up the phone and call you to ask any questions.
But others would rather see all this information in black and white in front of them so they don’t have to go out of their way to ask. And your job is to serve all this on a silver platter.
We find that product-aware content is the easiest type of content to produce because you’re the absolute expert in how your products and services work. All you have to do is to give them everything they need to know to make an informed buying decision.
And that includes all the nitty-gritty stuff about your product or service. No question is too small here – if someone has ever asked you a question on a discovery call or an email enquiry, answer it in a piece of content. And make sure to also address (this is very important!) any objections people might have for not wanting to work with you.
So let’s talk about that a bit more…
Why ‘repelling’ content makes for brilliant problem-aware content!
Contrary to what many believe, ‘repelling’ content is brilliant for people in the problem-aware stage.
Repelling content is designed to push away anyone who isn’t right for your business. Someone may have decided to work with you at this stage, but if they’re not suitable for you, it won’t end well – for you or them.
So you’re better off helping them ‘disqualify’ themselves from your services. It may all sound scary and counterintuitive. Who in their right mind would push business away, right?
But if you’ve ever worked with someone who wasn’t the right fit, you’ll know how time-consuming, stressful and costly that was. In fact, according to our own research of over 500 small business owners, 81% of entrepreneurs have worked with a difficult client in the last year – week!
To help prevent this, state clearly who is not a right fit for your business. And don’t be scared about this! After all, you’re doing them a favour by allowing them to move on to the next provider and solution (one that will be right for them, potentially). And you’re doing yourself a favour by ensuring you’re only talking to the right people.
This is brilliant because it builds trust with your ideal clients, and it makes them feel like you understand them on a deeper level and that you’re talking directly to them.
Here are a few examples of product-aware content we created:
- 10 Reasons We’re Not Right For You.
- Or Why is our SEO content writing & blog management service so expensive?
Examples of content for the product-aware stage
Here are some more ideas for product-aware content you could create:
- Directly comparing two different products (product A vs product B), such as this whopper of an article from ScoreApp: “Typeform quiz vs Scoreapp quiz” which one should you choose?
- ‘What do you need in place before you invest in [your product]’, such as the article: what do and don’t you need in place before you hire an SEO content writer?
- ‘Who isn’t the right fit for [your product]’ such as Kylie Lang’s article: Who isn’t the right fit for my quiz funnel service?’
- Objection-led content, such as this brilliant article from Andrew and Pete at Atomic about the most common myths about attending ATOMICON. This examines every potential objection (or myth) someone might have about attending the UK’s biggest marketing conference. And busts it!
4. Content for someone who is ‘most aware’
At this point, you just need to give your prospects a little nudge, and they’ll take the plunge and buy from you. Hurray!
This is where having an email list comes very, very handy, which is why we always recommend you have a way through your website and social media channels for people to subscribe.
If you do have a list, you might find that a lot of people have been there for a while but haven’t bought yet. In fact, we know that 9 out of 10 of our clients are on our list for at least 3 months before they decide to buy.
So how are you going to get them off the fence and help them go from ‘prospective clients’ to actual paying customers?
With content, of course!
Examples of content for the ‘most aware’ stage
‘Why we’re raising our prices’ type content
Here’s an example from our website: Why Are We Raising Our Prices For Our SEO and Content Management Service?
Whenever we raise our prices, we always let people know in advance by publishing a blog post on our website to explain why we’re doing what we’re doing. That’s not only great practice (and shows your prospective customers that you’re honest, upfront, and transparent), but it also helps people who are still undecided to go ahead and buy. No one wants to pay more for something they were going to buy anyway, right?
So by letting people know you’re raising your prices in advance, you give them a chance to buy at the old price. You get the sale and your customers save some money. It’s a win-win!
If you want to know more about this, have a read of the blog post Publish This Easy Piece of Content Before You Raise Your Prices (And See Amazing Results!)
‘Everything you need to know’ type blog posts
An example on our website is Everything You Need to Know About our Content Fortress Course.
These types of articles are exactly what they say on the tin – they include everything that a prospective client needs to know about your product or service.
Think of it as a super in-depth blog post that includes all the answers to any questions someone may have during a discovery call. It’s a bit like the FAQ section you’d find on a website service page, but all put together in one coherent piece.
After reading this, someone should literally know your product or service like the back of their hands. They should have no further questions and feel 100% ready to buy.
More examples of content for the ‘most aware’ stage
- Case studies. We’ve mentioned case studies before in previous stages, but they are super powerful! When done well and in detail, the story and example of how you worked with someone else and got them results can answer any remaining questions and dispel any doubts someone might have before they’re ready to go ahead and work with you.
- Demos and video explainers also work well for prospective customers in the most-aware stage because they give tangible evidence, proof, and reassurance that your product or service is real. You can show how things work, answer questions, and shred those last objections to pieces.
- Added bonuses. As we mentioned earlier, these work really well if you have an email list. But you can advertise bonuses in other ways too – through social media or via your website, for example. A bonus (especially one that disappears on a certain date) is a great incentive for someone to make the decision to buy right now rather than at some point in the future.
- Discounts. We’re not so keen on discounts because if your product or service is great and gives people results, you shouldn’t need to devalue it. Just like added bonuses, discounts work though. And it’s a strategy we see a lot of marketers use in their businesses.
Create your content calendar based on the awareness stages
So how do you put all of this together? How can you make sure you have content that covers all the various stages of the buyer’s journey?
Here’s what you need to do in a few easy steps.
- Write down each service or product you offer. This is a super quick step, and it’s as easy as making a list. In fact, it might be a great opportunity to also review your offering, see if everything you sell is still profitable and relevant to your market, and adjust as necessary.
- Imagine what questions someone will have at each stage. Again, unless you’re launching a brand new business, product, or service, this should be super easy. You may already have a list of questions people ask you all the time (during discovery calls, on social media, or via email enquiries). So gather them all up and split them by the various stages of the buyer’s journey.
- Write it all down and build a picture of the content you’ll need. Once you’ve written down all the questions, you can start looking at what type of content you already have against the various stages and what’s still missing.
- Do some keyword research. Now that you’ve decided what type of content you need to create, it’s time to do some keyword research. Why? Because you want your content to be SEO-friendly or optimised for search (i.e. so people can find it on Google!) If you want to find out more about this, here’s a helpful blog post: WordPress SEO For Blogging – How to Optimise Your WordPress Blog Posts.
- Create your content plan. And last but not least, create your content plan and get writing! You can see a quick sneaky example of our content plan below taken from our Stand Out Content Course.
Want some help? Check out our Blog Management Service
And there you have it. This is everything you need to know to be able to create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey. And if it all feels like something you’d rather not do yourself but hand over to an agency to take care of for you, we can help!
If you want to create standout content that people easily find on Google and want to get more website traffic and sales without having to write a single word yourself, just give us a shout.
Owner at Jammy Digital, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer of Young-Adult Fiction.
This is amazingly helpful – thank you! I’m at the beginning of my business journey and have no clue about marketing and content. I now have some ideas of what I can do and know I can come back to this when I need some more unsticking.