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I am a customer, you are a customer, the brands we buy from, yes, and they are customers too. Okay… everyone is a customer. Now that we have that straight, does that mean customers drive the brand experience? Maybe they do in some cases, but is it really wise for the brand to let the customer drive instead of the brand being proactive? Marketers know how important it is for them to produce content that increases engagement, why? It leads to qualified leads and paying customers. Let’s take this a step further. Keeping prospective customers interested while they are in the funnel is more than engagement; it’s shaping their total brand experience with amazing content that yields results.
Shaping The Customer Experience With Content
I am a firm believer in the buyer’s journey and how it functions within a marketing plan. As a HubSpot user, I think about these three terms frequently, (Awareness – Consideration – Decision). I also think that within the consideration stage are multiple “mini-stages” or opportunities for brands to keep the interest of the prospective customer. This is where customers are being educated about your brand; product, service and they also find answers to commonly asked questions. This process is when the brand delivers key content to nurture and lead the person deeper into the funnel, closer to the sale. Brands that provide the most relevant, timely information at the right time in the buyer’s journey and also provide an amazing customer experience along the way will most likely win the customer and maybe even a few more because they shared their experience with their friends!
Brands that are proactive in shaping the customer experience instead of letting the customer haphazardly shape their own experience will already have thought about the customer path, their problems, questions and needs all the way through to the point of sale.
Marketing Content – More Influential Than You Think
Customers that read and engage with really good marketing content stick around websites longer and may not go searching for other brands to give them what they want. Customers that feel as if they are being educated while in the search process on a company’s website sense this is a valuable to them. Because customers are benefitting from varying forms of content that keeps them informed, interested and in-tune with the product, service or outcome that interests them, they are more likely to purchase. This is a valuable exercise for the customer and it also benefits the brand as well, as increased engagement occurs.
Brands which used to be reactive in how they respond to prospective customers by providing them with information are now shifting to becoming more proactive in their approach to lead them closer while the customer is already on their website. In doing this, the customer’s are not as likely to consider other competing brands.
“It’s the marketing department’s responsibility to be a good steward of the customer’s experience by leading the buyer through a journey. Content that spans the spectrum of educational, “how-to” and inspirational or entertaining which is relevant to each phase of the buyer’s journey increases the chance for purchase, customer loyalty, word of mouth referral and repeat purchase.”
– Bernie Borges: CEO, Find and Convert
Proactive Content Marketing
The process of understanding this is not an easy one. However, there are some basic points to understand before you get started. The buyer’s journey for your business must be held together, or be designed with a marketing automation blueprint. I consider this the underpinnings and logic resulting in a much deeper level of engagement. This is a nurturing process that keeps the customer nearby and at arm’s length. With automation comes a deeper level of understanding of who the customer is, knowing their behaviors and motivations as well as how engaged they are and want to be. Personalized messaging can be very important here to keep them close by. The interactions taken by the customer will determine what offers they receive; it will also trigger messages in automated workflows and drive them deeper in the funnel. If your marketing team can successfully do this, the customer will hang around longer… thus the opportunity to provide your sales team with a marketing qualified lead will be highly likely.
The end goal is to provide a one-stop-shop of potent informational content for your customer so that they do not even leave your website to browse for answers with other businesses. If they do decide to browse beyond your website, you may not get them back. However, if you can provide an exceptional educational experience, one in which they are actually learning something that helps solves their problem, if they do browse around and look at other companies, they will soon see that the competitors are not looking out for their best interest as well we you are and they are likely to return. When they do come back, welcome them back with personalization and provide relevant, timely and problem, solving appropriate information that will lead to conversion!
YourBrandExposed is designed to look at digital with an eye into the future using a creative, analytical, innovative marketing perspective. We’re a consultative and tactical resource for companies looking to leverage the power of digital, web, social and content marketing strategies. Contact us if you’re feeling the digital squeeze on how to best market your company.
Scott MacFarland – Digital Marketing Strategist
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