September 14, 2017
If I’m certain of one thing, it’s that content is a game-changer.
It does so many things at once – and effortlessly, if you get it right.
It lets search engines find and rank you, which leads to people discovering you. It builds trust with those people. It underlines your authority in your field.
Most of all, it’s a natural and indirect way to lead to your No. 1 goal: the sale. The conversion. It helps turn visitors into viewers, and viewers into an audience. Finally, the audience turns into customers, and customers into brand evangelists.
There’s more, though.
An obvious consideration during content creation is how you’re addressing/helping/advising your customer. This is key because you can help them along their purchasing journey with your content.
This is where you can swoop in and save the buyer!
That’s another tally in content’s favor. It’s also a big boost if you can think about your readers’ purchasing decisions while planning and executing your content.
What Types of Content Are Effective for Stages of the Buying Journey?
There are key content types that help your customer move along the buyer’s journey. These types will give a gentle push by providing useful, needed information at the right time.
They figured out the most helpful content was there for buyers during decision-making. What’s more, the content that was effective hit three major areas:
- It addressed the buyer’s needs and/or pain points at that specific time.
- It provided clarification for products/services, including specifications.
- It was educational rather than promotional.
These three big factors were the most likely to influence a buyer to go ahead with the sale. For you, this is critical information. You can use it to craft your own content that will be persuasive for purchasing decisions.
Decision-making time is ideal for your content to hit home. Image via Ahrefs Blog.
5 Content-Creation Tips to Appeal to Buyers During the Decision-Making Process
It’s true: We can create content for buyers at a crucial crossroads. Using those three takeaways from the Content Marketing Institute/SmartBrief (CMI/SB) survey is how to win them to your side.
1. Include Original Research
Original content is great for many reasons. But, did you know it can heavily influence a buyer trying to make a decision, too?
In the CMI/SB survey, 74 percent of B2B buyers said original research is one of the most important influencers when they’re waffling. It comes right behind peer-to-peer recommendations.
Original research appears in many forms, but you can do it via whichever way works best for you. Conducting a survey is perhaps the easiest and quickest method, but feel free to go deeper if you have the means. Consider publishing the results in an easily-digestible format, too. An infographic can be helpful for your readers who are looking to buy, for instance.
2. Use Unbiased Sources
When you’re creating content to nudge buyers along, the sources and links you reference have an impact, too.
In the survey, 31 percent of respondents said they prefer content that relies on unbiased sources. Another 40 percent stipulated that they don’t care where the information comes from as long as it’s credible.
Of course, the two go hand-in-hand. Credible information usually comes from unbiased, authority sources. For your content, you should always strive to provide facts and statistics that are provable through good, quality sources. Your readers will thank you, and so will your SEO.
3. Speak Directly to Decision-Making
Since the decision-making stage is such a crucial time for buyers to absorb content, speak directly to this stage in your content.
How? First of all, identify key questions that may come up during this stage. Strive to answer them in definitive, clear, easy-to-read pieces.
Second, identify how you differ from your competitors. Then, highlight how this feature, in general, is better for the consumer in an informative post.
These topics address different aspects of decision-making and will help the buyer reach a conclusion in your favor.
4. Stick to an Educational Tone
Don’t be afraid to write persuasive or comparative content about better features or services you offer. Just keep it educational, not promotional.
An educational tone is one of the top three qualities of content that helps buyers.
This makes sense – they’re looking for helpful information for an informed decision. A sales pitch will not help them, and will seem inauthentic, like all you want is their money.
Ironically, a sales pitch is the last thing the buyer wants to hear during decision-making. Don’t commit that fatal error and risk losing them forever.
5. Make Your Content Friendly for E-mail Sharing
Another conclusion from the CMI/SB survey? When B2B buyers were trying to make a purchasing decision, 82 percent said they used e-mail to send information to their colleagues.
As such, you can and should try to make your content shareable for platforms like e-mail.
One great idea is to condense your information into an infographic that sums it all up. Infographics are easily saved to a computer and attached to an e-mail. Or, provide social share buttons at the bottom of your post, including a permalink users can copy, paste into an e-mail, and send.
The Buyer’s Perspective Is Number One for Influential Content
If you want to create and post influential content that can help push the buyer toward your products/services, you have to walk around in their shoes.
You have to understand where they’re coming from and what they need from you for that final nudge.
Create content with these things in mind, and you’ll be useful in a way that’s exactly right for the buyer and for you.
Now that’s smart.
Julia McCoy is a top 30 content marketer and has been named an industry thought leader by several publications. She enjoys making the gray areas of content marketing clear with practical training, teaching, and systems. Her career in content marketing was completely self-taught. In 2011, she dropped out of college to follow her passion in writing, and since then grew her content agency, Express Writers, to thousands of worldwide clients from scratch. Julia is the author of two bestselling books on content marketing and copywriting, and is the host of The Write Podcast. Julia writes as a columnist on leading publications and certifies content strategists in her training course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter, husband, and one fur baby.