Before information could be accessed online, the buyer's voyage was often sales driven, with a skilled professional relaying product or service information to their prospective purchaser. Today, about 90% of this voyage is performed by the buyer themselves in the online arena. In fact, 77% of B2B purchasers avoid speaking with a sales representative until they have completed their own research. With percentages this high it's important for B2B's to understand the importance of aligning content marketing and SEO to their buyer's journey. Understanding the needs, search patterns, and personas of your prospective clients can aid in creating a "voyage" that will lead them directly to your brands products and services.
Understand Your Buyers, Define Their Buying Voyage
Identifying and understanding the audience you want to reach before you attempt to reach them is the first step in successful content marketing. Depending on the products or services your business offers, the needs of your buyers and how they go about purchasing will vary. When trying to discover the more specific areas of your buyer's journey, here are a few questions you should be asking your staff and current clientele:When related to content, what are my buyers looking for?
- What do they desire and what do they respond to?
- Are there certain problems that buyers are becoming aware of?
- What is most important to our buyers while they are comparing vendors? Do they look for reviews? Do they compare prices? Would they prefer to speak with someone from customer support?
Having an in-depth understanding of your buyers is vital when creating a solid foundation in which to create and optimize content that they will find relevant and useful.
Utilize Keyword & User Intent Research to Find Distinctive Insights
Once you have detailed information on your buyers and their overall purchasing voyage, it is time to learn how they navigate that voyage online. B2B buyers initiate their research from a variety of angles, most times via search engine, and 71% of buyers begin with a general web search that, usually, is not brand or company specific. These facts alone are why it is imperative to complete keyword and user intent research so that you can get ahead of your buyers and guide them to your brand.
Most search queries can be defined by Google's four micro-moments:
- I Want to Know
- I Want to Go
- I Want to Do
- I Want to Buy
When used in combination with keywords, a company can gain useful insights on which micro-moment is happening with each keyword. These insights will be extremely helpful when creating content that meets the correct personas at the correct stages of their voyages.
Create & Evaluate Content for Every Stage of the Buyer's Voyage
Whether it's creating new content, or optimizing existing content, it's important to give your buyers something relevant to access during every stage of their buying voyage. For example, if a keyword has a strong "how" or "do" intent, it would be wise to include content that provides helpful answers and resources. Similarly, if a keyword has a strong "go" intent, perhaps they are looking for something such as a "store locations" page. Once you've compared these new insights to your current content, you may find that there is an extensive list of content that needs enhancing, changing, or just simply needs to be included. If that's the case, be thorough, prioritize, and take your time to create high-quality content that your buyers will appreciate.
As time goes on you will want to monitor how these changes are doing. If certain pages are getting less engagement, experiment with other options. Start with small changes first, like changing meta descriptions and title tags, or the color of the button that links to the page. If minor changes make little to no difference, reevaluate your user intent research to be sure you are actually providing your buyers with content that they truly desire, and are searching for.