You may have heard people casually throw around terms like SEO-optimized blog entries and hub-and-spoke content marketing strategies. You may have been encouraged to produce different types of videos or start a contest—all in the hopes of driving more customers to your sales funnel.
The Buyer’s Journey
This is the process that the buyers go through when they first realize that they have a need that must be met, all the way to when they finally purchase the solution that will address that need. It is divided in three stages:
Awareness Stage: A prospective buyer first becomes aware of a need that must be fulfilled.
Consideration Stage: The prospective buyer then considers all the solutions available to her that could help her address her need.
Decision Stage: The prospective buyer is ready to decide on only one solution.
Now that you understand the buyer’s journey, let’s define what your goal should be during the consideration stage.
Defining Your Goal in the Consideration Stage
At this stage, prospective buyers are trying to find everything they can about all the possible solutions available to them. Your goal is to highlight how your product excels over all the others. This means focusing on presenting common pain points and how your product solves these. Every marketing initiative during the consideration stage should drive this message home.
Here’s how you can use tools to help you achieve just that.
- Explainer videos
Explainer videos are great at introducing your offerings to the world in as clear and succinct a manner as possible. These videos allow you to create awareness and explain exactly what it is that your products and services offer.
During the consideration stage; however, you want to use explainer videos for more than just presenting your product. Remember, the goal here is to show how your product excels at addressing some of the most common pain points.
One idea is to focus on a particular product feature and take the time to show how this one feature will make the buyer’s life easier. You could make a series where each video showcases one pain point along with the product feature that addresses it.
Making a series of videos is a particularly good idea, since explainer videos are best kept around two-minutes long. Trying to address each product feature with one long video makes for a very tedious experience.
- eBooks and downloadable material
During the consideration stage, you may also want to offer ebooks and downloadable material such as infographics.
They are a great way to complement your explainer videos. Since this type of video is best kept short, as discussed in the previous section, bundling it with an ebook is a great way to address aspects of your product or in more detail. It will also serve as a way to capture emails, but more on this later.
Unlike videos, eBooks allow for much more content to be included, so it may not be necessary to break down pain points into a series of eBooks. You want these eBooks to become useful resources for buyers. Bombarding them with multiple files is burdensome and confusing. So make it easier for the buyer by including all the relevant information in one simple downloadable file.
Infographics are equally robust and because they are partially a visual medium, there’s an economy of space quality to them. They allow for all kinds of information to be packaged in relatively small graphical depictions. However, a high quality infographic may require hi def images with top tier aesthetics, which means they are probably best viewed in an environment where these things can be appreciated.
If you choose to host these on the web you will most likely have to compress your infographic for broadband purposes. That is why infographics are best made downloadable.
- Sweepstakes and contests
Sweepstakes are a promotional scheme that consists of the possibility of participants winning a prize, where the winners are selected at random. It’s not a lottery since no entry fee is required.
Using sweepstakes is a great opportunity to collect information from each participant. You can make it so that the only way to enter is by filling out an entry form in which they have to provide an email. Be sure to check whether or not your state allows these types of promotions.
Prize incentive, email sign up, winning formula, right? Well, not exactly.
There’s more to it than just calling for entries to win a prize. The thing about sweepstakes is that everybody wants to get something for free. So you may get a lot of sign ups that don’t mean a thing to your bottom line.
So, then, how do you make sure that these leads are actually the kind you can turn into customers rather than just someone who just wants to win a prize?
Easy, make sure the prize is something related to your product or service, instead of some generic prize (e.g. iPad). It could include coupons, add-ons, and extras. Making the prize company-specific will filter out those who are not really interested in your product.
- Optimizing blog posts
Blog post optimization is valuable in that it helps to keep your content visible and easier to find, all while informing the buyer about the benefits of your product.
The key for optimizing blog posts is in how you use keywords. Your blog may have a lot of valuable information but it is only truly valuable if people actually find that information.
To do this, you should do some research on which keywords are, not only the most relevant to your post, but the ones that will drive the most valuable traffic to your post. You can start by using the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. It’s free and you’ll be able to get traffic, popularity, and pricing information on the terms you enter.
Tip: Do not ignore long-tail terms. What do I mean by this? Instead of using popular generic terms like “Video Camera”, try using more specific terms like “highest dynamic range camcorder under 1000.” Using specific terms like this is more likely to target buyers who are at the consideration stage. Remember, at this stage buyers are comparing different solutions for their pain points, which means they are more likely to be searching for features and benefits than generic terms.
You can then use your posts to link to pages where users have the opportunity to access your more robust downloadable material (eBooks, Infographics etc.). Offer it for free with one simple sign up. If they sign up, well then you have captured your lead.
This is what is called a hub and spoke content marketing strategy. It basically revolves around having a few robust pieces of content you want people to sign up for (the Hub), being linked to by other content such as videos, blog posts, newsletters (the Spokes). For example, the series of explainer videos I mentioned earlier could very well be the spokes to an accompanying eBook or infographic (the hubs).
With regards, to your blog post, be sure to use analytic tools to help you track which posts are getting the most traffic. But most importantly, you want to identify the blogs that are generating the most leads for you. Take note of what works and replicate it to your new posts.
- Website optimization
Just as with blog posts, you also want to optimize your website so that it best serves your goal of capturing leads. A generic website may be enough to inform the buyer about what your product offers, but what you really want is to capture their imagination.
To do this you want to create a high performance CTA (call to action) landing page. This means that once a buyer visits your page, everything about it should be calling for them to either browse more of your site, sign up to a newsletter, download a demo or even purchase a product. The point is to engage the visitor.
There is no guaranteed formula as to which landing pages are going to succeed. Sure, there are recommendations and templates out there you can definitely use, but even then the only way to find out what works is by testing the designs themselves.
So first come up with two or three designs that you think will encourage visitors to sign up to your site. One such design could involve an explainer video placed right above the fold of the page explaining a particular benefit offered by your product. Another design could include a comparison matrix. And a third design can be anything else. Just make sure that each version has some kind of call to action in it. Perhaps this CTA involves signing up for a free trial, or downloading an ebook. Whichever the case, what you ultimately want is to capture leads, so be sure that in order for them to perform that action, they must first provide the information you are looking for.
The next step is to run tests on the designs you come up with and measure the results for each one. The one that gets you the most sign ups is probably the design you ought to go with. You can iterate further and keep improving your landing page by testing your winning design against new ideas. This is what’s called A/B testing and it’s the best way to really come up with the most optimized website.
Remembering what the goal is for the consideration stage is essential when working with the tools mentioned in this article. It will keep you focused on making material that addresses the pain points your buyers want a solution to. So whether it is an explainer video, a blog entry or a contest, keep in mind who the audiences is so that you are able to capture the right kind of leads. Finally, combining this thought process with proper testing will allow you to fine tune your strategy for better results.
Víctor Blasco is the founder and CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. He is also an audiovisual designer and video marketing expert. Aside from running the business, he loves studying Chinese philosophy and is a real geek for science fiction films and comics! The force is strong with this one.