However much of a buzz you get from helping those who read your blog or watch your videos, sooner or later most firms want those readers or viewers to become clients. So, how can you increase the chances that those who consume your content will end up buying whatever product or service it is that you provide?
For me, one of the most effective ways to do this is to focus on the client journey. No two customers are the same, of course, but assuming you’ve been in business for a while, you should have a good grasp of the different stages that your clients pass through before signing on the dotted line.
Broadly speaking, there are four main steps in a typical buying process, and the challenge is to provide content for each one of them:
Step 1: Recognise a need
Step 2: Evaluate the options
Step 3: Resolve concerns
Step 4: Negotiate the details
Bear in mind that the vast majority of buying decisions are made at an emotional level, so you need to appeal to people’s hearts as well as their minds. Ask yourself what your prospective clients are likely to be thinking and, more importantly, how they’re likely to be feeling at each stage of the journey. What sort of content can you provide that would really resonate with them at each point in the decision-making process?
Say, for example, you’re a financial adviser. Your content strategy for the client journey might look something like this.
The potential client needs to be convinced, first of all, that they actually need financial advice. Could they manage on their own or by using an online wealth manager? They may also be concerned about the reputation of the financial services sector generally. How can they be sure that you have their best interests at heart? You need to come up with content that addresses these specific issues.
When your prospect is evaluating options, what are the questions they’re likely to be asking? Do you provide a better service than the other advisers they’re considering? How do your fees compare? For this stage of the buying process, you need content that tells your story and sets out what makes you different.
Again, address the buyer’s feelings. From my experience of working with advisers, what clients are looking for more than anything is peace of mind, so ensure that your content builds a sense of confidence and trust.
At this stage of the journey, the prospect has decided, in principle, that they would like to do business with you, but they still have concerns that need resolving. Think about content that will help to relieve those concerns and, in the prospect’s mind, reduces the risk of making a bad decision.
What people look for most at this stage, especially in professional services such as financial advice, is social proof. They particularly want to see their peers recommend you. This is where client testimonials — especially video testimonials — come into their own.
The fourth and final stage is often the one that’s overlooked. You mustn’t assume, even now, that the prospect will become a client, so be sure to deliver content that helps to get them over the line.
Think about what would reinforce the decision they’ve made and reassure them that they’re doing the right thing.
An adviser could highlight additional benefits from being their client. For example, do you have related services such as accountancy or insurance that may be useful to the prospect at some stage?
One final point to make is that, whatever sector you work in, it’s important to keep a log of all the questions that you’re asked throughout the client journey. Ideally, you should produce a piece of content that answers every question and add new content whenever a new question is asked.
Remember, your prospective client is likely to have a number of important questions they’re looking for answers to. If you don’t provide them, either on your website or on social media, they’ll almost certainly look for another firm that can.