Everyone knows that humans don’t make buying decisions all at once. To employ an over-used marketing buzzword, it’s a journey – one that includes the awareness step, the consideration step and finally the decision step.
The trick, then, comes in trying to show them your product or service in the right way at the right time. I’ll use a car as an example because it is an easy one for all of us to relate to. In the awareness stage, we see new cars on the road, discuss them with our friends and note branding messages from manufacturers on various media (like the internet and television).
When our own car starts to burn oil or make weird noises, we enter the consideration stage, where we start to actively investigate other vehicle options. For some people this stage can last for years (“I’ll just turn up the radio and those noises will go away”) while others take only months or weeks.
Finally, something happens, and it puts us over the edge – our car stalls at an intersection or requires a large repair bill, we ride in a friend’s new truck and get inspired (or jealous), or perhaps we see a vehicle that we are interested in go on sale. That’s when we actually make the decision.
For those of us who work to tell the world about products and services, the challenge comes from not being able to predict when our potential customer will reach that decision stage of their journey. To wrap up our new car analogy, it is impossible to accurately anticipate when their current vehicle will break down or when they will be inspired to make a purchase. We can try to initiate the decision process by putting products on sale, but if the consumer isn’t already near the decision stage, those efforts fall flat.
Success comes from focusing on the awareness stage, because it runs the length of the buyer’s journey.
Think about it: everybody is always in the awareness stage. Even when they move on to more advanced stages, there is still a benefit to raising their awareness of your brand. That’s very different than getting caught up in an attempt to land your selling message on the buyer at the exact moment they transition into the decision making stage.
Trying to appeal to customers in that tiny slice of time when they are aggressively searching for a product requires a lot of luck – we simply cannot predict their circumstances. On the other hand, building your brand with awareness puts you in the buyer’s mind regardless of their circumstances.
If your potential customer is aware of your brand ahead of time, you’re in the running to close the sale any time it happens.
How can this be accomplished? In today’s world, the awareness stage of the buyer journey is all about content. This can be in-bound content like blogs, articles and how-to stories on your website, out-bound content like social media posts and marketing, or optimally some combination of both.
The ultimate goal is for prospective customers to see you as a trusted source of information.
Many of our clients have found success by creating a content workflow that starts on the website (with a blog, for instance), then converts that same content into social media posts (LinkedIn works great for B2B, for example) and finishes with a marketing budget that spreads that same message to targeted users (via boosts on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to name just a few).
Create the content once, then use it in many different places.
By doing so, you get the most engagement for your dollar. By creating content that maintains your brand’s awareness, you’re in the customer’s mind whenever they decide to buy. It’s not just more efficient, it’s significantly more effective.
Do you have a strategy for using content to build the awareness of your company’s brand? If you don’t, I’ve got some ideas for you that might help. Let me know, and we can discuss them together.