The biggest mistake you can make in a marketing campaign is talking about yourself. Good marketing campaigns start a conversation, which means they start where people are—with what they need, want, are interested in, etc. When you come on too strong too early, you end that conversation.
This usually happens when marketers try to do the sales team’s job. Remember:
- Marketing is when you address people’s problems, then make a case for solutions.
- Sales is when you talk about yourself as the best solution.
When these lines are blurred lines, campaigns don’t work.
As a marketer, your job is to ease people into the sales stage of the relationship, creating the best possible experience along the way so that people are excited to buy. To do this, you need to make sure your content says the right thing at the right time. How do you do that? By mapping your campaigns to your buyer’s journey.
How to Map Marketing Campaigns to Your Buyer’s Journey
Here, we’ll guide you through the basic framework we use to strategize content for ourselves and our clients, based on the buyer’s journey. This will clarify what people want to hear and what types of content resonates. No matter what stage you’re focused on, this breakdown should help you come up with great ideas that compel people to take action.
Of course, to effectively tailor your content, you need an intimate understanding of your buyer’s journey. Follow our guide to map your buyer’s journey if you haven’t done it before.
For the purposes of this post, we’ll be covering the entire journey, including sales and marketing stages.
- Marketing stages
- Stage 1: Awareness
- Stage 2: Consideration
- Stage 3: Analysis
- Sales stages
- Stage 4: Purchase
- Stage 5: Loyalty
Also, before we dive in, there are a few things to keep in mind throughout the process:
- Know who you’re targeting. Make sure your marketing personas are up to date. These will help you better vet your ideas.
- Use empathy. Put yourself in your personas’ shoes and think about what they need and want.
- Focus on value. As you ideate, consider not what you want to say to people but how you can provide value to them. (You can also take a look at our tips to create value-based content.)
Now, let’s help you start ideating, stage by stage.
The goal: Introduce yourself and acknowledge your target buyer’s pain points or desires.
The buyer’s mindset: They want, need, or have an undefined yearning for something. This is your opportunity to articulate what that might be, to produce content that resonates with them so they begin to think about exactly what it is they want or need.
Content messaging: Focus on content that helps as many people as possible get to know you. (Sometimes this requires piggybacking on other people’s audiences.)
Think about this as traffic-generating content.
Example: We collaborated with NewsCred to create an animated infographic visualizing the results of their content marketers’ survey. This was a great way to inform our target group (marketers) about industry trends while demonstrating our skill (data storytelling and design).
The goal: Demonstrate your value and the value of working with a partner to solve their problems.
The buyer’s mindset: They now have a clearer understanding of what they want or need and are looking for people to help satisfy this desire, whether it’s a product, service, etc. They are in the early stages of research, looking to get the lay of the land. They want to see who the players are and who they could (and should) be giving their business to.
Content messaging: Showcase your familiarity with the problems your clients are trying to solve. Publish thought-leadership that showcases your perspective and experience in addressing these problems.
This is your lead-generating content.
Example: We created The Content Marketer’s Guide to Data Storytelling to share our expertise and introduce ourselves as an agency with a niche focus.
The goal: Give people the info they need to make an informed decision about working with a company in your space.
The buyer’s mindset: This is the stage where most buyers have whittled their options down to a handful of choices. Now they start comparing unique value propositions.
Content messaging: Produce thought-leadership that showcases that you are the definitive leader in the space by demonstrating your successes or legitimacy.
- Case studies (when applicable)
- Client testimonials
- High-profile or industry-leading endorsements
This is prospect-generating content.
Example: Our case studies give an in-depth look at our projects, diving into our strategic thinking and results.
The goal: Turn prospects into customers.
The buyer’s mindset: This is the point at which pricing, purchase details, and post-buying experiences are scrutinized. Would-be buyers start asking themselves questions about the transaction: What will it mean to become a customer (read: “a supporter”) of this business? Am I sure I want to go through with this?
Content messaging: Provide information that will support their purchase decision.
- Sales collateral
This is more traditional sales-related content.
Example: This explainer video motion graphic provides a helpful overview of Visa’s Purchase Alerts feature.
The goal: Nurture and maintain the relationship.
The buyer’s mindset: They want to be reminded of why they are working with you or supporting your business. They want to feel and believe their relationship is not just transactional, that you care about them beyond their conversion into customers.
Content messaging: Deliver content that reminds them why they might want to work with you again—or why they started working with you in the first place.
- “Thank you” content
- Offers for deals
- Exclusive content
- Partnership opportunities
- Co-marketing opportunities
- Exclusive access (depending on your business)
- Additional and ongoing education in the form of webinars and newsletters
Example: Each year, we provide a unique holiday gift for our clients. From art prints, to playing cards, to sculptural everyday items, this helps us maintain a relationship—even if it’s been a while since we worked together.
Remember: Great Marketing Takes More Than Great Ideas
No matter what ideas you come up with, success relies on the ability to execute them well, from design to distribution. That’s why it’s crucial to follow best practices at every stage of your marketing campaigns. For more tips on that…
- Get inspired by these awesome examples of marketing campaigns.
- Follow our best tips to create great marketing campaigns.
- Find out how to maximize your content by turning one piece into many marketing campaigns.
- Make your life easier with these 100+ tools to execute your marketing campaigns.
- Learn how to measure your campaign success correctly to figure out if what you’re doing is actually working.
Remember, too, that good content marketing takes practice. It’s an art, not a one-size-fits all prescription. The more you do it, the better your results will be over time. But if what you’re doing just isn’t working or you’re feeling stuck, consider bringing in expert help. You can follow our tips to find and vet a creative agency, or hit us up. We’d love to help you tell your story at any stage of your buyer’s journey.