I’ve written before about the importance of matching your content to the customer journey and helping your prospects at every step of the way. You need to think about all the questions that people ask you at each stage and have a piece of content that answers each question.
So, let’s be more specific. What sort of content should you be providing at each of the different stages? There was an excellent post published recently by Juan Mendez at the Content Marketing Institute addressing the very point.
Mendez specifically looks at videos, which according to research by Unruly, increase purchase intent by 97%. Here are the three different stages and the types of video that fit.
Prospects at the start of the journey, in other words, the top of your sales funnel, are generally looking for a solution to a problem. At this stage, they’re primarily looking for educational content.
“Educational videos help you attract new audiences and potential clients by showing them how you can help them learn how to solve their problems,” says Mendez. “They show your brand as a valuable resource interested in educating your audiences. In addition, educational videos can work well to generate leads through social media sharing and help SEO when posted to YouTube.”
My own specialism is content for financial advisers; I head up Regis Media, our niche operation for advice and wealth management firms. A good example of the educational content we provide is this five-part series called Value of Advice, which can be customised for a particular firm:
By this point, your prospects have explored possible solutions to the problem they have. They now want to consider the different options open to them.
“Explainer videos are the best format for this particular stage,” says Mendez. “They can make the perfect pitch every time – literally explaining (not plainly showing) how your product or service solves the problem. They differ from any other kind of video style due to their use of storytelling and, in most cases, appealing and stimulating animation.”
An example of explainer content is this video we produced for Arkadin to demonstrate their new product in action, Arkadin Vision:
This is the final step of the client journey. Your prospects have explored the possible solutions to their problem, and the different options they have for solving it. They now need to make a decision.
To help prospects make that decision, Mendez proposes three types of video:
1. Demos i.e. videos that give an insight into your working processes or, if you're a technology company, how the product works. An example of this type of content is this Regis Media series, Adviser Content Clinic, which explains how we operate and what clients can expect if they choose to work with us.
2. Testimonials i.e. your clients talking to the camera about how you’ve helped them solve their problems. In our work for Zani, we shared the story of their customer Sertec. It shows their product in action, we hear about their experience of working together, and the difference it’s made to Sertec’s global ambitions.
3. “About” videos i.e. content showing what you’re like as a company, and designed to generated trust. Here's a short video about the Warwick-based software company, Apteco. We hear from the team about their journey as a company, what their values are, and their special relationship with their users.
To summarise: Map out your client journey from prospect to a client and assign video accordingly. It won't just be video; there could be other types of content that you need to combine to guide them and help them in their decision-making. Divide the path into three stages: Top, middle, and bottom, and organise your content accordingly. This is a helpful exercise for anyone just starting with content marketing or those looking to develop their efforts. Once you complete this exercise, you'll be one step closer to a content marketing strategy. And as only 40% of UK content marketers have a documented strategy, that'll already put you ahead of your competitors.