Clare Moorhouse

How to target your audience earlier in the buying process

Targeting-customers-early-in-buying-process

If you’ve been doing Content Marketing for some time, you’ve probably realised that effective customer engagement requires more than simply churning out volumes of content to the same audience. It requires you to segment your prospect base according to not only their preferences and habits, but also by their stage in the buying process.

According to HubSpot, only 50% of leads that visit your website are qualified but not yet ready to buy. So what do you do for the remaining 50%? With few exceptions, the buyer is likely to go through a journey (or process) before they make a purchase.  When your content is aligned with your buyer’s journey you have a far better chance to help your prospects come to know, like, trust and buy from you.

To understand how to segment your audience in this way, you first need to understand the buying process. This can universally be broken down into the following five stages: 

    • Awareness: customer identification of a need and the realisation that your business can potentially fulfill it
    • Consideration: customer evaluation of how your offering meets this need, including the evaluation of offerings from your competitors
    • Preference/Intent: a customer’s logical and emotional inclination towards one solution or another, ultimately leading to a purchasing decision
    • Purchase: The action of ordering and buying from your business
    • Repurchase: The emotional and logical process that (hopefully) leads to a repeat purchase

Let’s look at some of the ways you can attract and engage your audience earlier in the buying process:

Thinking creatively
Try thinking outside the box to identify creative ways to reach your audience based on their pain points, issues and challenges they may face on a day-to-day basis. Experiment with the latest innovations in technology and think of opportunities of how you can associate your brand with the challenges they face at a time when they will be most receptive to your message.

A great example of this is Starbucks’ Early Bird App. Starbucks connected its product to the act of waking up in the morning by launching an app, called ‘Early Bird’. The idea was to encourage people to wake up on time. The app was just like an alarm clock. If the app users pressed ‘wake up’ instead of snooze, they would earn a discounted coffee at any Starbucks store within one hour of waking up. This was a fun and creative way to connect with the target audience while helping them get up on time.

Create educational content
Don’t assume that your buyers are always aware of the problem they are faced with, or they may know that they have a problem but don’t yet understand its implications. By creating content that will educate potential customers, it will not only convince your target audience that they need your help, but can also establish trust and demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in a particular area.

Choice of channel
Delivering targeted, personal and consistent content across the right channels is a key ingredient to being able to get in front of your customer at an early stage in the process. What does your target audience do all day? Where do they go? Take a walk in their shoes. Do they have normal working hours? If they commute to work, are there opportunities to reach them at this stage in their day? Your audience is likely to interact with a multitude of channels throughout their day; from TV, print, radio – and online from search engines, blogs, social networks, email etc. Success isn’t necessarily about being on every channel, it’s about a focused effort to target the channels your audience are most likely to respond to.

Don’t be afraid to use ‘traditional’ methods
While online techniques are an important and necessary tool to any marketing plan, many companies are seeking out more personal ways to connect to their audiences. Direct mail can help raise awareness to the right audience, and can have greater impact when it is reaches them during the early awareness stage.

 

Having a better understanding of your audience: the channels they are more receptive to and the content that resonates best with them during the awareness stage, will provide you with a better chance of getting in front of your audience before the competition and increase your chances of making a sale.

Find out more information about Torpedo’s Content Marketing services.

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