Content is only effective if it meets the needs of the brand’s target audience. But these needs can change as the consumer moves through each stage of the buying cycle. If you aren’t creating content for every stage of the buying cycle, you are missing out on an opportunity to convert a large portion of your target audience into customers.
What is the buying cycle? What types of content should you create for each stage of the buyer’s journey? Here’s what you need to know:
What Are the Three Stages of the Buying Cycle?
The term “buying cycle” refers to the process a consumer goes through when purchasing a product or service. The three stages of the buying cycle are:
The first stage in the buyer cycle is awareness, which is when the consumer initially becomes aware of their problem or need.
During this stage, the consumer sets out on a mission to clearly define their problem or need. Their goal is to figure out a way to resolve their problem or fulfill their need.
For example, a consumer may start to notice that their feet start to hurt after going on a walk. After conducting research, they may come to the conclusion that their problem is caused by wearing athletic shoes that lack the proper arch support.
The next stage in the buyer cycle is consideration, which some marketers refer to as the evaluation stage. At this point, the consumer has clearly defined their problem or need. Now, they will start evaluating all of the available solutions.
During this stage, the consumer is committed to conducting thorough research to ensure they understand each of their options.
For example, the consumer with foot pain would start to research different ways to treat their problem. Their options may include buying more supportive shoes, wearing insoles designed to provide arch support, or attending physical therapy to lift their arches. They may also research different brands of supportive shoes and insoles or different physical therapy service providers.
The final part of the buying cycle is the decision stage. During this stage, consumers will conclude their research and decide which product or service is right for them. They will also figure out what steps they need to take to purchase the product or service. This may include various activities such as:
- Researching where a product is sold
- Comparing prices
- Reading reviews of different service providers
For example, the consumer with foot pain may decide that it is best to purchase Brand A’s supportive shoes to resolve their problem. Now, they will focus on figuring out where the shoes are sold, how much they cost, and if there are any special deals or discounts they can take advantage of.
Every consumer goes through all three stages when making a purchase, but the amount of time they spend in each stage can vary.
How to Create Content for the “Awareness” Stage
Consumers in the awareness stage of the buying cycle are discovering their unique problem or need for the first time. They want to understand more about their problem, including what caused it and how it can be resolved. In other words, they are looking for information about their problem or need.
Marketers can connect with consumers in the awareness stage by creating content in the form of:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
Focus on informing and educating consumers who are in this stage of the buying cycle. Because consumers aren’t very familiar with the topic yet, it’s important to present information in a way that is easy for them to understand. How-to videos, checklists, listicles, and blogs or e-books with graphics are ideal for consumers in the awareness stage.
How to Create Content for the “Consideration” Stage
It is crucial for marketers to connect with consumers in the consideration stage. Why? This is the stage where consumers evaluate all of their options. If you don’t make a good impression on consumers during this stage, they probably won’t choose your product or service.
Marketers should use these forms of content to reach consumers in the consideration stage:
- Comparison guides
- Case studies
- Free samples
- White papers
Your content should focus on persuading the consumer that your product or service is the best solution to their problem. Discuss the pros and cons of each of the available options, directly compare your product or service to your competitors, and show real-world examples of how your product or service helped someone else. Provide quantitative data and scientific research to support your claims.
Consumers in this stage are more knowledgeable about their problem and the possible solutions, so you don’t need to keep it simple anymore. You can start to create content with more complex, detailed information.
How to Create Content for the “Decision” Stage
This is your last change to convert the consumer into a customer. The consumer has completed their research and is ready to make a final decision regarding what product or service they want and how they are going to purchase it.
Get consumers in this stage to choose your product or service by providing these forms of content:
- Product demos
- Free trial offers
- Discounts or deals
- Product reviews
This content is designed to reduce the consumer’s risk. Any time a consumer spends money on a new product or service, they are taking a risk. The product or service might not meet their needs, which means they wasted the money they spent on it. But offering a discount or free trial offer, for example, will make the transaction less risky for the consumer. This might be enough to close the deal.
Testimonials, product reviews, and demos reduce the consumer’s risk, too. The consumer may view the purchase as less of a risk after seeing how the product or service works or hearing from other satisfied customers.
Your content should focus specifically on your brand and your products or services.
By now, you should know how to create content for each stage of the buying cycle. If you’re ready to put this plan into action, use Gryffin to successfully implement and manage your content marketing strategy. Built by digital marketers, Gryffin is the only tool that is designed with your content marketing needs in mind. It’s easy to manage every content strategy from concept to completion with Gryffin–start your free trial today to find out why.