Marketing offers part 2: Consider the customer journey

December 13, 2016

B2B Lead Generation

by Theresa B

Road winding through a field

In the first part of this post, we talked about some of the top-performing offer formats for B2B lead generation. Content mapping, or targeting offers to different people at different stages of the customer journey, is also a key consideration.

Prospective clients go through a cycle before and after buying something online. In each phase, motivations differ and your content must too. It should help guide prospects through the decision-making process. What problems can you help them solve? Why should they buy from you and not from one of your competitors?

Whether you visualize this process as a traditional sales funnel that narrows towards a purchase, or a broader, more circular process as in McKinsey’s “buyers decision journey,” prospective clients need different information at different times.

Here are the typical stages, goals, and best types of content for each… 

  • Awareness or discovery: Content for this stage should be focused on creating awareness of your product, service, or company – what you do, and how you can help. Keep it focused on buyers’ pain points, not your product or brand. And since about 78% of B2B buyers start with a Google search, it also needs to be search engine optimized. If you can provide content that is short, memorable, and easily shareable through social media channels, all the better.

    Your best bets? Tips and list-style blog posts, articles, infographics, downloadable guides, videos, and white papers. Include CTAs focused on interacting with your company rather than actually buying anything (e.g., “Share this post”).
  • Consideration and evaluation: Provide content that helps prospects research the best solution to their problems and evaluate your offerings in more detail. Good options include detailed educational materials (whitepapers, analyst reports, buying guides, webinars, etc.) and content that cements your credibility, such as reviews and case studies.

  • Decision: Once a prospect has decided on your product or service, give them content that helps justify the decision to higher ups, and that helps them buy and use it. Think ROI calculators, help and support docs, and special offers to seal the deal.   

  • Retention and advocacy: Don’t forget about engaging with your now customers. You can re-purpose content from the discovery stage (optimized, memorable, and helpful). But also consider content such as surveys, contests, and special offers.  

It’s also helpful to consider buyer personas – fictional representations of your ideal customers, including what they care about and how they behave. If you haven’t already, use your target market and demographic research to identify different groups, and create a story that brings them to life. You can use this deeper understanding of your customers and prospective clients to tailor content to their needs.

Compelling marketing offers lie at the center of successful inbound marketing campaigns, but there are many other ways to generate qualified leads. Download our free e-book to discover 30.