During the awareness stage, you earned your brand a seat at the buyers' table. They know your name, and they understand their problem. Now, they need to learn everything they can about all possible solutions. In the B2B world, this purchasing decision involves around 6 to 10 decision-makers and 6 to 12 months before a decision is made, according to Cognism.
The buying process is slow and tedious, especially for your sales team. They're busy qualifying leads, making sales calls, and working tirelessly to close sales. Thankfully, there is a way to potentially speed up this slow buying process while also equipping prospective buyers with useful information about your product and finding qualified leads to encourage down the funnel. With useful consideration stage content, you can re-engage interested prospective buyers and show them why your product is the best solution.
By understanding the consideration stage, you can build trust, nurture leads, and encourage leads down the funnel through content marketing.
A marketing funnel is a model that helps brands visualize, understand, and segment the buyer's journey from awareness to purchase. Buyers do not immediately go from recognizing they have a need to clicking "buy now," so the marketing funnel helps marketers and brands create the right strategy and messaging to help the buyers through this process.
There are three stages in the marketing funnel before a purchase:
The goal is to turn prospective buyers into leads and leads into customers. Let's take a closer look at that important middle-of-the-funnel stage that either encourages leads down the funnel or causes them to drop off.
For the prospective buyer, the consideration stage is where they seek specific solutions to their problem and compare the various options. They consider which solution would work best for them. They won't make the purchase yet at this stage, but they will evaluate and narrow down their options.
Keep in mind that each problem has many possible solutions, and the other solutions are not just your direct competitors. For example, if a business's problem is communication issues between employees, the solution could be using project management software to organize projects, using a recruitment service to hire better communicators, going on a company retreat to improve connections, or simply just trying harder to communicate. Within each of these solutions are dozens of products and companies that are competing to be the prospective buyer's choice.
The amount of solution choices can be overwhelming for both you and the buyer. That's why the consideration stage is a long and research-heavy step along their buyer's journey. Buyers want to choose the best trustworthy solution that's right for them. It's a lot to consider.
The consideration stage is a critical time for brands. It's when you will either impress the prospective buyer and encourage them down the funnel or watch them move on to other solutions instead.
During the previous stage, you made people aware of your brand. You showed them that you are a useful, credible authority in your industry. Now, it's time to re-engage those interested prospective buyers and turn them into leads in the consideration stage.
During the consideration stage, you have the opportunity to:
For each buyer, the consideration stage is often long and requires a lot of research. They want to make sure they choose the right solution for their problem, but there are tons of options out there.
Consideration stage content simplifies the buyer's research process. It compares solutions, guides the buying process, and breaks down exactly what your product does, how it's different from competitors', and how it will improve the buyer's outlook.
Consideration stage content is still not specifically promotional, but it is specific to your product and brand. It states facts about your product and shows why your product is the best (without coming off like a sales pitch). Consideration stage content still prioritizes your audience's questions, concerns, and research habits, but it doesn't avoid talking specifically about your product either. Your audience now wants to hear about your proposed solution, so tell them about it through detailed consideration stage content.
Every content format in the consideration stage allows for detailed, useful, and product-specific information. Here are some of the main content formats you can expect to see and create in this middle-of-funnel stage:
Your audience is in the process of finding and comparing solutions to their problem. The keywords in this stage are specific to your product or brand, while also exploring the other options. Here are some words that your audience searches for during the consideration stage:
Consideration stage keywords typically include your product, brand, or problem name in the search query. For example, Apple's consideration stage keywords may be:
To optimize for these keywords, you have to create content that uses them, like Apple's "compare iPhone models" web page that helps users understand the differences between the various iPhone models.
Even if your product really is the best on the market, it's nearly meaningless to say so. A B2B buyer isn't interested in hearing that you're the best. Instead, buyers want to know how their business will improve thanks to your product. They're wondering: "What's in it for me?" To create compelling consideration stage content, you have to show why your product is the best by providing real results, data, research, and stories.
Let's look at real examples to see how businesses are showing that they're the best through convincing consideration stage content.
Freshbooks, the accounting software company, doesn't tell you why it's the best. Instead, it has a real customer explain how Freshbooks made her business and life better. This short customer testimonial features a small business owner who uses Freshbooks. She explains what problems her business faced before finding Freshbooks, what solutions she had previously tried, and the specific results she's seeing now thanks to Freshbooks. In about a minute and a half, this real customer delivers an impressive testimonial about why Freshbooks is worth your trust, making it fantastic consideration stage content.
MailChimp makes it easy for prospective buyers to compare its product against its marketing platform competitors with this buying guide resource. This web page is titled "Which marketing solution is right for you?" which perfectly fits into the goals of consideration stage content. There are many additional blog posts linked to this page that provide direct comparisons between MailChimp and one main competitor at a time.
The articles include information about how to choose the right solution for you, what each solution offers, and social proof that shows how MailChimp excels over the competition. This resource could be even better if MailChimp had created an easy-to-scan vendor comparison chart, like one that a third-party reviewer made.
Slack's whitepaper that's in collaboration with Deloitte is about leveraging network analysis to improve collaboration and communication. This whitepaper does many things right. It's original, informative, intriguing, filled with original research and data, and it's in partnership with another trusted brand. It also positions Slack as a great solution to the discussed problem, without coming across as promotional. This whitepaper makes super valuable consideration stage content since it helps buyers trust Slack and continues to engage their interest.
To help explain its automation product, Zapier created a product demo video that's accompanied by detailed, benefit-oriented copy. The demo explains Zapier's purpose, features, and results. Zapier positions itself as a time-saver, which is appealing to its target audience. The page also breaks down some of its other features to help people understand what this solution is capable of.
You've introduced yourself already with awareness stage content, but now it's time to really help your audience get to know your brand. Here's how to start producing compelling consideration stage content to encourage leads down the funnel:
Before we talk about creating content, we have to set you up for success. For a healthy funnel, your marketing and sales teams need to be on the same page. When these two teams are in alignment, you can help each other move leads down the funnel.
If each buyer's specific journey is tracked internally, the marketing team can efficiently retarget interested prospective buyers and prep them for their interactions with the sales team by first providing them with detailed consideration stage content. Thorough product content can also help weed out some unqualified leads before they even talk to your sales team.
Other ways to align your marketing and sales teams include:
No matter which stage of the funnel you're creating content for, you need to know your audience, including their pain points, business goals, and buying behaviors.
In the consideration stage, you can also segment your audience based on what you know about them. By identifying and categorizing subgroups within your target audience based on funnel stage, engagement, location, demographics, and more, you can create more tailored messaging that better resonates with that audience segment. For example, if your brand markets to multiple industries, you wouldn't want the foodservice audience to receive the same messaging as the industrial manufacturing audience because they likely have different pain points and priorities.
Audience segmentation is especially useful for targeted email campaigns and remarketing ad campaigns. Through segmentation and remarketing, you can re-engage interested prospective buyers with your targeted consideration stage content and offers.
Customer Journey Mapping
As previously mentioned, Customer journey mapping is a powerful tool that can be effectively integrated into a full-funnel marketing strategy to enhance the overall customer experience and drive better results at every stage of the funnel.
Customer journey mapping, in a nutshell, is the process of visualizing and understanding every touchpoint and interaction a customer has with a brand across the entire lifecycle, providing insights to enhance the overall customer experience.
Here's how customer journey mapping can be used effectively in a full funnel marketing strategy;
Once you have a solid understanding of your buyer’s journey for the consideration stage, it’s time to get to work. Planning for a product comparison chart is different from planning for a case study video, but each requires research, designated team roles, brainstorming, and scheduling.
It's time to put your product's best foot forward. Wow your prospective buyers with a skimmable yet data-rich whitepaper, an emotional customer testimonial video that includes concrete results, and a detailed, easy-to-read product comparison chart that's optimized for SEO. Use facts, third-party evidence, and benefit-oriented copy to promote your product without sounding like you're promoting your product.
To reach your middle-of-funnel audience, distribute and promote consideration stage content through email campaigns, one-on-one lead-nurturing communications, remarketed ad campaigns, optimized website pages, social media, or through your sales team. Encourage leads down the funnel with well-written calls to action and post-click lead-capture landing pages.
Depending on the content type and channel, use that channel's analytics to track engagement and conversions. To measure success, compare the metrics to your goals. Optimize the successful content, and improve your efforts going forward to better reach your audience segments. It's a long yet worthwhile process.
You've already taken the first step. You've attracted the buyers' attention. Now, you can keep them engaged by producing interesting, useful consideration stage content about your product. It's time to explain what makes your product and brand special. Your sales team will greatly appreciate your help.
If you want to elevate your online presence and reach your target audience, contact the helpful digital marketing experts at Steel Croissant. We're here to help with all stages of the marketing funnel and can work with you to create content to guide your audience along.
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