Develop relevant content for each customer stage
Marketers often focus on product and company centric content – brochures, white papers, case studies, customer testimonials, product catalogs and more. This content does have a role to play but not in the early stages of engagement. How does this content help when a buyer is not engaged with you or not even aware of your value proposition?

To successfully engage and nurture buyers, marketers need to understand the typical stages a buyer goes through in making purchasing decisions. The table below describes these buyer stages:

The table below describes these buyer stages:

Buyer Stage Description
Unaware Not aware of your existence, your offering or your unique value proposition
Aware Aware of your existence but does not care about your offerings
Engaged Interested in your solution, exploring options but is not fully educated on your value proposition
Nurtured Understands how your offering solves their business problem
Ready(to buy) Ready to consider your offering and make a purchase decision
Customer Purchased your offering
Note that we avoid any abstract industry jargon of suspects, prospects, marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads, etc. Simple plain English is easier to understand.

Obviously, you cannot instantaneously convert an unaware buyer into a customer. Nor should you assume that they are ready to buy simply because they visited your website and filled out a form. Cold calling or emailing such visitors gets no response. You need to progressively engage and nurture the buyers by offering relevant content until they are ready to buy.

Learning from the successful customer engagement best practices of some of the world’s leading sales organizations, we have developed an effective content marketing framework that matches the right content type to each customer stage. As shown in the table below, this content strategy will deliver relevant content at each stage and nurture them to the next stage.
Match right content type with each customer stage.
Now that we have identified buyer stages and content types that nurture the buyer from one stage to another, let us recognize that not every buyer has the same interests, motivations or pain points. They will also have differing points of view on how to solve their problems and which of your offerings are relevant to them. A buyer journey is not linear. Buyers will progress and digress as they engage and explore.

It is impossible for marketers to predict or even imagine all combinations of explorations a buyer would go through. This is why pre-planned marketing automation campaigns fail to engage and nurture the buyers. These campaigns cannot handle this indeterminate non-linear explosion of buyer interests and motivations.

You need a new way to organize your content that will enable marketers to accommodate these infinite different ways in which buyers will progress through their journey. We call it Content Journey Maps.
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