As the saying goes, “a journey starts with a single step,” and in inbound marketing, the first step, or stage, of a buyer’s journey is awareness. If you want to build a successful inbound marketing campaign, you’ll need to creatively tackle each stage to produce content targeted to each potential customer.
For customers, awareness is all about recognizing that they have a particular problem that requires solving. What they’re looking for at this stage is information, not resolution. There is a realization on their part that they need to clearly define the problem, but they’re not yet sure who or what will fix it. This is the opportunity for your company to offer information that gains a potential lead’s awareness and inspires them to choose your product or service. There are a number of ways this can be done:
Many businesses seem to know that they need a blog. But when they’re unsure what purpose it serves, it often ends up not becoming the powerful selling tool it’s meant to be. Whether your company is big or small, blog posts should be the primary content used during the awareness stage. Blogging not only helps your company get found in search results, it also establishes you as an expert in your field and fuels your social media; comments, guest posts, and social sharing will all work to build your community.
Blogs are easy to establish, the content you create for them is yours and yours alone and, because of the way they are set up, are search engine friendly. Have each entry or article focus on specific key words or phrases and be sure there are links to both external and internal content. Articles meant to raise awareness can be drawn from content you’ve already created by taking a key point and making it a separate post. You can also cross-promote across platforms if you include a call-to-action asking readers to download a white paper or e-book.
White papers can be used at any stage of a buyer’s journey, but when used during the awareness stage, aim to keep them informational and educational, as opposed to a hard sales pitch. Offering information through a white paper is the ideal time to collect a prospect’s information via completion of a form on your site. As this stage is all about building a feeling of trust with a potential customer, resist the temptation to pitch your product or service. Instead, present solid information that lets customers know you understand their problem and that you are a reliable source of information.
Once you have some blog content created you can create an e-book that can also be offered in exchange for a customer’s information. Decide on the book’s overriding theme and then gather some relevant blog posts and add an introduction and closing. Hire a graphic designer to help you make it visually appealing and interesting.
When you create a white paper, e-book, and blog posts, you also set up opportunities for repurposing content across those platforms. Another option for attracting customers during the awareness stage is to create checklists, which help educate them about you and your product. To do this, take information from your other content (particularly your blog) and turn it into bulleted listings. People tend to appreciate checklists because they’re simple to follow and make their point in a succinct way.
It’s common for business owners to focus their attention on sales, but remember you stand the best chance of making that sale when you utilize inbound marketing to deliver valuable content to people looking for a solution to their particular problem or need. Taking the time to build awareness of who you are and what you offer will help solidify profitable and long-term relationships with those customers.