Your existing cornerstone content can create awareness, provide education, and drive interest at the beginning of your customer journey.
There are two types of customers: the ones who know your brand, and the ones who don’t. The key is to capture both of these groups with content that will drive awareness around your brand at the earliest point in their journey.
The starting point for the customer journey for almost all buyers begins with a search engine like Google. The goal is to capture top-ranked positions on the first page of Google for various intents of the customer journey, including research, buying, and succeeding with your product or service. The ideal result is a Google Featured Snippet, also known as Position Zero, or the first organic search result displayed.
Marketing teams know content is king and dedicate extensive resources to generate traffic through Google. What many companies do not realize is that they already have the content that can generate traffic by addressing common user needs with product documentation and help content.
Your organization is sitting on a mountain of content that your buyers are searching for to better understand what your products and services can do. It just needs to be activated—through Google—so the help they need can be found where and when they are already looking.
Action Item: Make your content public so it can be found where prospective customers are looking.
Analyze organic keywords
A user’s primary tool for researching a new product or service is a search engine, most commonly Google. The content in the top positions on page one of results will influence the consumer’s perceived options for vendors who will address their need. If your prospective buyer has to scroll, or if you do not appear until the second page, your prospective buyer will not even consider you (or know you exist). Fortunately, content in your documentation is likely close to ranking for highly relevant keywords, especially if it is aligned with the organic search terms used by consumers researching what your product or service provides.
Organizations need to be able to provide search results in Google or other search engines that will drive users to the website. Search results that answer users’ questions and further enrich their understanding of how the product or service could meet their need become critical in controlling the research stage of the customer journey. Does the content you are providing match users’ searches? What are searchers calling specific terms, versus the words used in your content? Content should be retooled based on the performance of the product’s keywords and those of your competitors.
Action Item: Analyze organic keywords that your content should include.
Optimize for voice search
With the expanded use of virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Assistant, the need to optimize and address your organization’s voice search strategy has become increasingly important. The main differences between traditional typed search and voice search are:
- Knowing the intent of the search
- The length of the search
- The type of search being conducted
Voice searches tend to be question-based and therefore longer than typed searches, but as a result provide more content and insight into the true intent of the search. Due to the nature of these searches, an organization’s keyword strategy needs to be expanded to deliver results for more “long-tail” search queries that are typically in the form of a question. In this regard, your help content has great potential to present answers to searches in conversational interfaces.
Action Item: Capture long-tail searches that conversational user interfaces encourage.
Define the need
Because buyers trust Google, they depend heavily on the top search results to help them define their project. They are searching for the outcomes they need and solutions that can meet those needs. Having your organization’s content in the top results, and identifying what terms the customer used to find it, puts your marketing and sales teams in a better position to connect with buyers and convert their search queries.
Action Item: Define the buyers’ needs based on the key words and phrases they used when educating themselves.
Fill the sales funnel
Creating awareness and defining your project builds value for the buyer, which can be leveraged to entice a buyer to communicate with your brand. After a buyer has enough understanding of how your brand can address their need and is ready to engage, the natural next step will lead to a form fill. A new marketing qualified lead (MQL) is created when a user engages with the chat feature or fills out a form to contact your company, request a quote, or schedule a demo.
Action Item: Convert site traffic into marketing qualified leads (new MQLs).
Provide omnichannel content
Customers will engage your brand in a variety of methods. Allowing the buyer to leverage authoritative content in any and all channels is required to provide a consistent omnichannel experience. Extending microcontent into the existing marketing website, communication tool, or public-facing application will allow organizations to guide the buyer to your organization’s desired outcome.
Action Item: Extend content into any avenue a buyer may need to better educate themselves on your products and services.
Tailor marketing campaigns
Understanding the user’s click path of content that lead a prospect to a form fill yields insights into what the buyer is interested in well before any conversations happen. Combine marketing automation with intelligence on the products and services the buyer consumed when researching a solution to create strategic and personalized marketing campaigns relevant to the buyer’s needs.
Action Item: Create tailored 1:1 marketing campaigns based on the buyer’s behaviors.
Measure KPIs for the research phase
- Site traffic
- Organic search impact
- Time on site
- Lead generation metrics
- Funnel growth
- Increased sales
- Online survey result metrics
- Shopping cart conversions
- Contact/demo/quote form fills
Action Item: Measure performance to ensure business goals and objectives are achievable.
Address pre-purchase content needs
Understand how post-purchase experiences help make pre-purchase decisions. Provide content that fosters awareness, familiarity, and consideration to boost sales.