BuyerRemember the Three Basic Stages of the Buyer’s Journey: Awareness, Consideration, and Evaluation…

We all know that content marketers are focused on creating good, quality content that resonates with their audience. According to recent content marketing research, however, 62% of marketers also struggle with creating content that is useful for nurture programs within the buyer’s journey. But what really is the buyer’s journey? I’ve seen a number of ways to dissect the “buyers journey,” but what I want to do is simplify it down to a consumable format that you can easily remember and reference when creating or planning your content programs.

Sometimes, to get your head wrapped around which stage you need to align to, it’s useful to have a creative way to think about each of the audiences and the needs – like the mnemonic device for planets “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles” (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto). Below, I’ve built a framework that makes it easy to remember each stage of the buyer’s journey, and what to think about when you’re creating content.

I call it the “Aw, Hmm, Yes!”

Awareness Stage: AWWW! It Hurts! (Pain)

Prospects don’t realize they have an issue, or they have an issue, but have no idea where to begin in addressing it.

Marketer/Creator: You need to be hyper aware of the challenges that these folks come across, what creates pain for them, and / or the roadblocks they encounter. Of course, you may also need to help your buyers help themselves by bringing to light the problems they may not know about yet, but which you know they may have from your experience.

Successful Content at this Stage: Makes your buyers realize they have a problem, identify the pain, and begin to feel a compulsion to fix it.

Consideration Stage: Hmmm (Pain vs Gain)

Prospects realize they have an issue, and need to decide which direction to head – which option to choose and how they make that choice.

Marketer/Creator: You need to begin to answer the critical questions your buyers are having as they start to consider a solution to their problem. Your buyers want to know what are their options, what are the available solutions, how much effort does it take to make that change, etc. Your goal is to push the prospect in the direction you think is right.

Successful Content at this Stage: Helps your buyers come to a decision on where to go next, and is starting to reinforce that decision.

Evaluation Stage: Yes! (Gain)

Prospects have made the decision, but they need certainty – they often want to avoid the dreaded buyer’s remorse as well. They need reinforcement of the decision they have already made that it’s correct and that they need to charge in the decided direction. (Hopefully, it’s in the direction you’ve guided them towards!)

Marketers / Creators: You want to reinforce the Gain — think case studies, or content that says “here’s the benefits,” “here’s the immediate results,” “here’s others who have done it successfully,” etc.

Successful Content at this Stage: Guides your prospects through to the end of their buyer’s journey — helping them to make a well-informed and confident decision. It must also set the stage for a new journey, the customer’s journey, so that your buyers are set up to succeed from the start.

For more information on the buyer’s journey and the customer’s journey, check out my latest research with my colleague, Omer Minkara: The CMO Dilemma: Bridging the Gap Between Love and Money (May, 2015).