For B2B marketing to succeed, marketers must be able to nurture their leads with the appropriate marketing content. Tracking visit patterns such as a prospect’s online activity footprint, number of site visits, content downloaded, sections visited, knowing whether forms are filled or not, can help in identifying where he is in the buying cycle at all. This detailed understanding of the prospect’s behavior is important to send him the right type of content at the right time.
Buying Cycle and Content Mapping
There are 4 main stages in the buying cycle and the content that needs to be provided to a prospect is different at every stage.
The ‘Research’ Stage:
This is the first and probably the most important stage where content can make a great deal of difference. The prospect has taken the first baby steps acknowledging he has a need and is looking for options. The marketing automation content for lead generationat this stage should address the need expressed. Don’t talk much about the product, just talk about how the company has a solution to his need. Content formats recommended here are thought leadership content including whitepapers, research reports, and interactive content like Webinars.
The ‘Consider’ Stage:
The prospect at this stage knows his need and is considering various products/ services. He now knows that this particular B2B Company can help him solve his need, but does not know much about its product. So it’s time to tell him about it. The marketing content at this stage should talk about the company’s product and its value proposition and how it can solve the prospect’s need. The Content formats recommended are product/service oriented content like features list, data sheet, product videos etc.
The ‘Trial’ Stage
In this stage, the prospect has moved beyond the consideration phase and wants to try the product to see if it fits his requirements. He might also want to compare the product features with a competitor’s. It is the marketer’s responsibility to make it easy for him to make that comparison. The content strategy at this stage should focus on how he can get the best out of the marketed product and how it is the best product out there. Content formats recommended for lead management at this stage are detailed demos on how to use various features, support documents to help him navigate easily, pricing and competitor feature comparison charts.
The ‘Buy’ Stage
This could be called the golden stage, where the prospect has expressed interest in buying the product/service. This is where the marketer has to assure him that he’s made the right choice and that he can trust the B2B Company. The content strategy at this stage should be to make the whole buying process simple. The prospect should opt for the marketed product knowing he’s gone for the best. Content formats recommended at this stage are customer testimonials and success stories, special discounts, privacy and product security related documents.
In lead generation system putting the customer first and understanding his needat various stages in the buying cycle is the key in formulating an effective content strategy. Content is a powerful weapon in a marketer’s arsenal, but it needs to be used at the right time and should address the right person. Only then, will it be able to make a positive difference.
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