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Content marketing builds the customer journey like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs through the forest. It guides them through each step of the buying cycle – from initial lead through to close of sale – without them feeling like they’ve been ‘sold’ to. A great customer journey anticipates the information that your client needs each step of the way, and provides them with exactly what they need exactly, when they need it. 

Content marketing is the most effective way of building a customer journey, especially with B2B businesses, who can experience long lead-to-close periods. In fact, according to Salesforce data, you can comfortably expect the client to actually bite the bullet about three months after they meet you and your brand. You can read more about B2B content marketing customer journeys here

So – how do you build your customer journey? How do you identify what content to feed the client, when to feed it to them, and what format or platform to use to deliver the content? In this article, we’re going to break down three key stages of the buying process, and provide you with some insight into the types of content to deliver, and what platforms to deliver them on. 

Stage One: Your customer is asking ‘what’s my problem?’

Chances are that your customer doesn’t yet know what is missing in their lives until they see it. Think about the vitality of the air-fryer over the past couple years. Nobody knew they needed an easy bake solution until they saw it changing lives on TikTok in 2020. 

In this case the customer is clearly asking for education and thought leadership. They want you to teach them about your product or service, and how it could make their lives better. A good way to pivot this is to address the problem head on. 

Take the air fryer again. A social media post advertising how you can get crispy delicious hash browns in under ten minutes would be more attractive to a new customer who doesn’t know what an air fryer is. 

Enough with the air-fryer talk – I’m getting hungry!

So educational and thought leadership content marketing is the first step in your customer journey:

  • How to guides
  • Trends and insights
  • 101 education
  • Analyst coverage 
  • Use cases – testimonials and information about how other people have used the product / service, and the amazing outcomes it has had for them

The best content marketing platform to deliver this content on is social media – this is the beginning of your customer journey. At this stage you’re not trying to sell them the air-fryer; instead you want to focus on piquing their interest. Encourage them to follow your social media accounts or sign up to your newsletter for news, sales and discounts. 

At BeKonstructive one of our four content pillars is value, which is all about providing your audience with tangible content that adds value to their lives. Education and thought leadership fall into this category as they provide the audience with free and valuable information that makes them feel like you are worth engaging with. 

The best content marketing platform to deliver this content on is social media – this is the beginning of your customer journey. At this stage you’re not trying to sell them the air-fryer; instead you want to focus on piquing their interest. Encourage them to follow your social media accounts or sign up to your newsletter for news, sales and discounts. 

Guide to Customer Journeys

Stage 1: You’re selling them on the outcomes of the product. What problem will having this product in their life solve? In the case of the air-fryer, it is fast, healthy meals.

Stage Two: Your customer is asking ‘How do I fix my problem?’ 

So now your customer knows what their problem is, and they are probably wondering how they can fix it. This is where you need to step up to the plate and provide your solution in a clear and comprehensive way. 

Potential clients will be researching all the businesses that provide solutions to their issue. Specifically, they want solutions and product suitability. You must stand out as the best option and advertise yourself in a way that will align with their needs. Things like great websites with solid SEO campaigns make a huge difference here. 

This falls very neatly under the BeKonstructive content pillar of promotion. This doesn’t mean we need to be sales-y because we know how this can give people the ick. This is more just letting your audience know about the features and benefits of your product or service. 

At this point it is good to share the following with your audience…

  • Solution comparisons
  • Pitfall analysis
  • Readiness and suitability assessments
  • Guides on how to choose a solution

This bit is in a way the easiest part of the customer journey. Your customer has a problem that needs fixing, and you have a solution for them that is available and ready to go. 

It is all about making sure the customer sees you as the best option. 

Building Your Customer Journey

Stage 2: You’re selling them on the features and benefits that are specific to your brand of air-fryer. What does yours do better than anyone else?

Stage Three: Your customer is asking ‘Are you right for me?’

We’ve all been there; tossing up between two very similar products, trying to weigh up the pros and cons of each. Chances are you are seeking out reviews, about me pages, and sustainability scores to help you find the right option. 

As a culture we are spoilt for choice and yet somehow plagued with indecision. Your job at this critical stage of the customer journey is to use your content marketing to make this decision for them. At this stage customers are looking at credentials and decision support for them. 

Basically, your audience wants to know they are investing in something reliable and sustainable for themselves and/or their business. They will be assessing things like…

  • Pricing
  • Demonstrations and trials
  • Case studies
  • ROI’s
  • How to buy
  • Working with us

This is the time to be smart about how you present yourself in order to seal the deal. Potential clients will be looking you over with a fine-tooth comb and will be looking for any excuse to back out. Think about how hard it is to buy a new phone, especially when you are weighing up two options. 

Customers at this point are looking for Connection. Things like internal culture, brand story, and brand values really stand out here as well.

Customer Journies

Stage 3: You’re selling them on your brand values; you’re a family owned company that wants a brighter future for the next generation – just like your customer.

Putting it All Together: 

Using our air-fryer example once again, let’s put the three stages together. 

Stage 1: You’re using social media content to share great recipes, emphasising the benefits of using an air-fryer to cook (less oil, faster cooking times). You’re educating the prospective customer about what an air-fryer is and appealing to their pain points (they want fast home cooked meals without compromising on health). If you’re successful in this stage, you will have convinced them that they NEED an air-fryer in their lives. 

Stage 2: You’re using your website, email marketing and social media to share content about why your brand of air-fryer is the best. Using product reviews and comparisons, guides on choosing the right solution, and highlighting the features and benefits, you’re going to convince the customer that not only do they need an air-fryer in their life, but that your brand of air-fryer is the best option on the market. 

Stage 3: This final stage is where you address any lingering doubts they have. At this stage, they’ve probably narrowed it down to your brand and one, maybe two other options. Here is where you want to start talking about ROI, product warranties, your brand values and any other ‘gold dust’ that might help them commit and make their decision faster. You’re likely delivering this information in product descriptions on your website, as well as any product-specific brochures or marketing collateral. 

When you think about the customer journey or buyer cycle in this way, it makes sense that we would be feeding the customer different content or messages at different stages. Someone who is at stage one and doesn’t really understand what an air-fryer is, is not going to care that yours comes with a 2 year warranty. Likewise, someone who is ready to buy and is trying to decide which make and model to purchase, doesn’t want to be distracted by pictures of the awesome roast turkey Karen cooked in just 30 minutes. 

Respect the customer’s journey

The one thing we must all keep in mind when onboarding new clients is that they each have a unique set of circumstances. We can plan the customer’s journey down to a tee, but at the end of the day, individual considerations must be accounted for. 

So, think of the customer journey as a way to cover your bases. It gives you a good solid base to start a relationship with a client that is beneficial to both of you. Content marketing is the best way to effectively communicate with potential clients, and is all about putting your best foot forward. 

However, without a solid foundation of a strongly navigated customer journey, these relationships can often be rocky. If you want to talk to us about how we can plan your customer journey, get in touch today