What influences a buyer’s decision to purchase? In short, buyers need a lot of information from a variety of sources.
A study into buyer influencers commissioned by Google found most people consume 10.4 sources of information on average before making a purchase decision. This is up from 5.3 sources in just 2010. Sources can range from commercials to magazine articles, to reviews, how to and best-practice blog posts and videos, to recommendations from trusted people.
Why are consumers seeking more sources of information before making the decision to purchase a product or service? In essence, no one wants to make foolish purchase. We don’t want to regret the purchase, and so we try to make as educated of a decision as possible. While this is not a new revelation, what is new is access to endless information, and this has shaped the way we buy.
We’ve grown accustomed to being able to find information on nearly any topic in a matter of minutes. We expect the answers to be there and when they’re not, it can become frustrating or even drive us to a competing brand that does provide the information we’re searching for.
What does this mean for brands and marketers? As Jay Baer puts it in his book Youtility, “You have to understand what your prospective customers need to make better decisions, and how you can improve their life by providing it.”
How do you figure out what your potential buyer wants and needs, and how do you use that to direct your content marketing? One approach we’ve found valuable is to develop a roadmap or content marketing circuit:
- Who are you? – define your vision, area of expertise, value and culture.
- Buyer personas – identify your customers. Attach names to them. Outline who they are, what they do, and their biggest challenges and goals.
- The link or connector – this is where your customer’s wants, needs and interests intersect with your brand’s expertise, value and culture. This is where your content should originate.
- Content types – identify upcoming news and events your brand maybe revealing, and themes you may be able to align with. How will these provide value to your potential customer or answer their questions?
- Content sources – identify the types of sources you will use to deliver your content. This might include blog posts, white papers, press releases, videos, photos, email newsletters, etc.
- Editorial calendar – plug your content types and sources into a calendar. Be sure to tap into timely events and look at what your customer’s needs are throughout the year.
In the coming weeks we’ll deep dive into each of these steps to help you build your content marketing circuit. In the meantime, start thinking about the questions your potential customers have and how you can answer them through creative content.