The attitude of modern consumers is one of independence. They like to look things up for themselves, find and research their own products and decide after a reasonable amount of comparison and investigation. The methods of inbound marketing have adapted to this new style by providing interesting and informative content for people browsing the internet to find.
However, if you are a business selling a product or service hoping to use this content to draw in new customers, simply bringing in readers won't do. You're not a news site and readership isn't your ultimate goal, sales are. Readers who aren't interested in buying are not valuable leads, therefore content that does not create leads is a waste of resources.
It's time to start focusing only on content that contributes to the buyer journey to create truly valuable leads.
Defining a Valuable Lead
To understand the difference between someone who reads your content and a valuable lead, the key lies in the buyer journey. Inbound marketing is based on the modern process of research before purchase. Most people, when considering spending their money, will spend at least a few minutes looking for articles and videos about the topic. Once they have gathered information, they choose a vendor and product, then read reviews to ensure this decision is correct. Finally, they resolve to make a purchase.
Writing content for inbound marketing aims to catch potential customers at the research phase and make them aware of both your company and product in a positive light. While not all content is directly promotional, it should always have a place in the buyer journey toward your product. A valuable lead, therefore, is someone who is almost ready to buy and has recently been on your website looking for information. They will be more easily persuaded to become a customer because they already want what you sell.
How to Target Your Content
Once you understand the buyer journey, it should be relatively simple to target your content to people who are already on the path to wanting and buying your product. Let's say you sell water softening systems, a fairly pricey item requiring onsite installation, but also something a lot of people want. People who buy water softeners usually do so because they're fed up with the challenges of hard water, and you can write inbound content for every stage of the buyer journey.
Articles about the signs of hard water help people identify their problem while articles about the harmful effects of hard water encourage readers to make up their minds about seeking a softening solution. Next, content that illuminates the options for water softening can mention your product without seeming too promotional and, finally, articles about how your models of water softener work on the inside help to inform prospective buyers about exactly what they can get from you. Leads who read these articles are on the path to seeking a water softener and are therefore much more likely to buy your product than readers of, say, articles about backyard water hose games.
Customers of every stripe, for ever product and service, go through a buyer journey, from a few seconds of decision making at the grocery store to months of research before buying something big like a car. No matter what you sell, if your content draws in interested readers and helps them along the path toward your products, these readers become valuable and potentially very responsive leads. If your inbound marketing is getting many readers but creating very few conversions, it may be time to take a closer look at the content you're using and determine if it really contributes to the buyer journey of your customers. For more helpful advice on generating leads for your business, contact us today!
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