In the first post in our series “Struggling to Rise Above the Noise in the Cybersecurity Marketplace?” we shared five tips to build a solid foundation by knowing your goals and strategy, value proposition, and customers. This post looks at how to use that information to create compelling content to help your company stand out from the competition and get heard.
When your prospects approach you, they are typically going through several steps to gather information in order to solve a problem. Taken together, these steps are called the buyer journey, and it follows a very similar pattern to when you or I make a decision:
- We become aware we have a problem.
- We look for possible solutions to that problem.
- We evaluate vendors who supply those solutions.
- We choose the vendor and solution that is the best fit.
The secret to serving your customers is to answer the questions they have during each part of their journey through content (rather than hard selling products and services). In fact, 88% of top content marketing performers put audience needs before their sales messages. Moreover, approaching your content in this thoughtful way makes it far more helpful to potential customers. If you only have information on your products and services, but not on the topics that are likely to be beneficial earlier in the journey, then you have missed out on an ideal opportunity to engage with prospects and influence their decisions along the way. So, having content for the entire buyer journey is critical. Let’s take a closer look.
Becoming Aware of a Problem
As potential buyers realize they have a problem, they are likely to do research to understand the scope and implications of that problem. That means they’re looking for topical, educational content that introduces the problem and potential solutions in a broad, general way. Your job is to create content that addresses these topics, which helps achieve your goals of brand awareness and thought leadership. For example:
- What does it mean to have this problem?
- Why should I care about the implications of this problem?
- What are some of the possible solutions to this problem (for example, solve in-house or get external help either through a product or services — or both).
- How do these solutions help solve my problem?
- What are the pros and cons of using these solutions?
- Why and when using these solutions is a good idea.
Having researched how to tackle their problem and learned about a broad array of potential solutions and approaches, prospects then narrow down their focus to specific solutions. This is the step where you can start promoting product and service messages, helping to achieve your lead generation goals. You’ll use a credible, factual approach that lays out your competitive differentiators and addresses the following:
- How your solution works and solves customers’ problems
- Why your solution is better/how it compares to the competition
- The benefits of using your solution
- How to choose a vendor in this space
- # must-haves in this kind of solution
- Best practices in implementing this kind of solution
- The kinds of customers/use cases most likely to benefit from your solution
Chances are, by this stage, prospects have decided to go the vendor route and are on their way to deciding which one is best. They’ve likely spoken to sales and participated in a demo. This is the stage where business credentials and social proof are very important to underscore the superiority of your solution and general customer satisfaction, an approach which will help you fill your pipeline quotas. To do that, you’ll want to show:
- Why Customer A chose you
- How Client B benefited from your solution
- Third-party validation on your solution (think product reviews, customer reviews, and analyst reports)
- Customer references, logos, and testimonials
- Potential ROI
Making the Purchase
Finally, we come to the end of the buyer journey where prospects either sign on the dotted line or walk away. At this stage, showing how you can easily work together is paramount, and can often make the difference in getting a contract signed and meeting your revenue goals. You can do this through sharing:
- Information on flexible payment options
- Implementation timelines and next steps
- Available training and support
Now, we know we’ve oversimplified what can often be a convoluted and lengthy buyer journey. As well, there are likely to be topics that are germane to your industry and buyers not covered here; the key is to understand how your customers buy and the kinds of questions they need answered. Having a portfolio of customized content targeted for each step of the journey will help you attract new customers, shorten sales cycles, and create lasting relationships.
In our next post, we’ll look at how to use the content you’ve created in the most optimal way possible across channels.
We’d love to show you how AimPoint Group’s high-impact content marketing expertise and experience can help drive value for your business! Contact us today for a free strategy session; together we’ll look at your needs and map the best path forward.