How to Map the B2B Buyer’s Journey in Content Marketing
It’s a well-known fact that the B2B Buyer’s Journey is as much as 70% complete when they agree to talk to a sales rep.
This is also known as the Amazon Effect. Consumers research products on Amazon by comparing similar products and prices, and scrutinizing the reviews. For a major consumer purchase, we research even further to understand maintenance and replacement costs and customer satisfaction levels.
The B2B consumer goes to work and engages in similar behavior when evaluating products and services. The difference is that most B2B purchases comprise multiple people in the evaluation process. Each has their specific “lens” in the Journey—some technical, some financial and some user experience, as well as total lifetime experience.
Four phases of the B2B Buyer’s Journey
When trying to engage the buyer throughout the journey, we start by recognizing that the buyer travels through four phases.
The content the buyer considers valuable in each phase is different, and so we must be ready to offer content for each.Content is not one-size-fits-all, says @bernieborges #buyersjourneyClick To Tweet
Let’s take the example of project management software sold to commercial construction companies.
In the awareness phase we must focus on answering questions related to pain points, not about product. Sample questions include:
– What are the risks of managing a commercial construction budget?
– What are the most effective ways to manage a construction team to optimize their productivity?
Both of these questions pertain to business pain points that can appeal to a C-level persona at a commercial construction firm.
At this phase and for this persona, it behooves us to create a lot of top-of-funnel content to build Google juice. In other words, publishing content that answers common questions will rank high in Google, get found by our target persona and will resonate with this persona.All content should convert. @bernieborges #buyersjourneyClick To Tweet
In top-of-funnel content, the conversion goal should not be to speak to a sales rep or to schedule a demo. We’re still in “first date” territory. The conversion goal should be to offer a related piece of content that offers more value to the reader.Offer lead magnets to convert in the top of the funnel. @bernieborges #buyersjourneyClick To Tweet
A lead magnet is a relevant piece of content that is highly attractive to the persona. It’s simple, yet compelling. Some common lead magnets include:
Top 3 Costly Mistakes to Avoid in a Construction Project
5 Ways to Avoid Going Over Budget in a Construction Project
How to Avoid Getting Sued in a Construction Project
At this stage the buyer has a short list, so differentiation is crucial here. Divide your content among the personas and include specific details that appeal to each.
It’s time to get specific with your content, explaining how your construction software solves the business problems of your target customer. Content types that are effective here include case studies, webinars, video explanation of your product, etc.
At this phase, the buyer is close to making a final decision. She cares mostly about getting a return on investment, successful implementation, satisfactory support, and an overall good customer experience.
Content in this phase should reinforce how your company is organized to deliver a good customer experience. Infographics explaining your processes and customer testimonial videos can be useful content here.
Post-Decision / Advocacy Phase
In this phase, the buyer cares only about success. She is invested in your brand and wants mostly to be reassured your company was the right choice. Content that helps the customer succeed is most effective. Best practices and more case studies with emphasis on success factors are effective, as are peer reviews and private online communities. Learn how a private online community can deliver a great digital customer experience and build customer advocacy.
Your content marketing execution success will soar if you make it easy for customers to advocate for your brand. Make sure to use hashtags pertaining to business topics and communicate them to customers, for example, #constructionbestpractices. It’s amazing how hashtags contribute to visibility, and can draw in new prospects.Use tools to map the buyer’s journey at scale. @bernieborges #buyersjourneyClick To Tweet
In the old days (last year) we used spreadsheets to map out the personas, funnel stages and content map. This approach can work, but it doesn’t scale.
At Vengreso we use Scoop.it for content curation, to map out the entire buyer’s journey and maintain an audit of our content assets. We can determine in which phase of the buyer’s journey we are adequate and where we lack content, and we can determine which content pieces are performing, not performing or may need additional promotion to improve performance.
The B2B Buyer’s Journey is a natural process. Marketers who document it and map out a content plan with tools to manage the journey efficiently are better suited to win. Click here to schedule a demo to learn how Scoop.it Content Director enables buyer’s journey mapping at scale.