Why it’s So Important to Understand Your Customers’ Sales Funnel Stages

When building your content strategy, it is important to be patient to create an effective strategy. The two initial stages in structuring a content strategy are identifying the buyer persona and defining the content according to the needs of the customers and their purchasing journey.

It is essential to know your target audience to go about creating buyer personas. You need to understand their pain points, unique needs and purchasing behavior. This provides you with direction and an understanding of your prospect’s buying actions. When you understand this you can create content useful and relevant to the prospect. After all, it is useless to start producing content if you do not know who you want to engage with, right?

In this post, we discuss how to go about creating the content to support your customer in the buying journey, no matter where they are in the sales funnel.

What is Your Customer’s Purchasing Journey?

The customer’s purchasing journey or buyer’s journey is a model that defines the stages the customer goes through before deciding to buy a solution, service or product. This journey is based on what the consumer seeks at each stage, that is, what the keywords are for each stage. This identification makes it easier for the sales and marketing team to take action, as it gives them valuable information about each stage of the purchase, making it easier to meet the buyer’s needs accurately.

The Customer’s Purchasing Journey has 4 Stages:

  • Awareness: The user is unaware they have a problem or need that requires the solution you’re offering.
  • Recognition: The consumer has gone a little deeper and has defined the problem and is seeking solutions such as yours.
  • Consideration: The consumer has researched some solutions and is defining their options.
  • Decision: The consumer is analyzing the available solutions they’ve considered and is ready to make a decision.

Here’s How Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey Works

1. Awareness

At this stage, the consumer has not yet expressed interest in any specific topic. Therefore, your goal is to capture their attention, making them realize that they have a pain to be healed.

For example: let’s say your company offers business management software and Michelle is a partner who owns a small women’s goods company. She needs to better organize her cash flow, so she looks on the internet for how to do that. Your blog should offer topics such as “x tips for better organizing your cash flow” to attract Michelle’s attention.

2. Recognition of the Problem

At this stage, the consumer aware that they have a problem; so he will start to search for solutions to solve it.

Let’s carry on with the example of Michelle and her small women’s goods company: Michelle has noticed that she has difficulties managing cash flow and needs a solution for that. When searching for information, she finds your blog with the title “How to organize your company’s accounts receivable”. You can also offer other forms of content that are informative and consumable, such as a webinar on cash flow management or a downloadable template to help Michelle with this task.

3. Consideration of the Solution

At this stage, you need to create a sense of urgency in the consumer, so that he does not leave the problem for later but rather immediately go after a solution to his problem.

Example: Michelle realizes that managing cash flow manually, in addition to being time-consuming, is subject to human error. This causes her to waste time and not focus on other activities that need her attention. So it’s time to show her easy-to-implement solutions. Useful content in this instance would be an in-depth blog or an ebook on “Cash flow management software for small businesses”. 

4. Purchase Decision

At this stage, you need to showcase the differentiators of your solution that makes it stand out against your competitors. This is how you convince the consumer that you are the right choice for them.

Example: Michelle is interested in a software solution and will research more about it. Good content for you (as the solutions provider) to post is a comparison of your software to that of your competitors. This helps Michelle understand more about your solution and why it is a good option. In addition, you can offer a free trial period so that she can make a risk-free decision.

How Important is the Customers’ Buying Journey to Your Content Strategy?

Understanding your customer’s purchase journey is important so you can determine the right content strategy for your value proposition. You can identify what content should be created at each stage to attract your prospect’s attention. With the right content, you can nudge your prospect along the buyer’s journey and eventually persuade them to choose your product or service over what your competitors are offering. 

If you know who your persona is – Michelle, for example – and what their needs are, you can plan all types of content that are considered valuable and informative. With high-quality content directed at an identified target audience, the prospect (Michelle) is guided through the buyer’s journey with you facilitating their path every step of the way.  

If you prepare your content in conjunction with the buyer’s journey of your defined personas you will prevent unnecessary expenses for content that you won’t use What’s more,  your marketing automation and workflows are more logical and fluid and you can personalize your interactions with the prospects every step of the way.  

How to Understand My Customers’ Purchase Journey

You need to first identify who your personas are. In our example, we identified Michelle. It is necessary to design the persona profile and their common needs — in the case of our character, cash flow management is the greatest need. To ensure your persona is an accurate representation of your potential customers, interview your existing customers and database to validate your content strategy. You need to understand what channels your prospect uses to gather information, their buying behavior and how they make a decision about brands and products they purchase.

To Understand the Persona Profile, Your Interview Must Include the Following Points:

  • Daily responsibilities
  • Hobbies
  • Values and life goals
  • Place of origin
  • Place of residence
  • Age
  • Genre
  • Formation
  • Profession
  • Information that you cannot easily find 
  • Role in the purchasing process 
  • Role in the buying process 
  • Impediments and obstacles 
  • Negative and positive aspects of their work

To Understand the Buying Journey, You Must Address the Following Questions About the Persona:

  • Initial perception: what are they looking for in the market?
  • Discovery: how did they find the solution?
  • Discovery: what problems or difficulties were experienced before?
  • Interest: why were they curious about the possible solution?
  • Interest: what do they understand about their problem and the possible solutions?
  • Interest: what are the main doubts about the solution?
  • Alternatives: what alternatives were considered to solve the initial problem?
  • Alternatives: what comparison criteria can solve the initial problem?
  • Consideration: what doubts does the persona have before purchasing?
  • Consideration: what differentiators make your value proposition more attractive to the persona?
  • What sources of information do they turn to on a daily basis?

The goal here is to split your content across each stage of the buyer’s journey and offer the prospect invaluable information every step of the way.  Many companies are able to attract prospects with inbound marketing, yet fall short when it comes to the consideration and decision-making stages. The right content strategy will guide the prospect right from awareness through to decision-making, all the while ensuring your brand remains their top pick. Done the right way, your content marketing strategy supported by an inbound methodology helps you qualify your leads, beat your competition, land the sale and offer a superior after-sales service, too.

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