Guide Consumers Toward Conversion with Content Marketing
The internet has made it incredibly easy to compare prices, features and reviews when considering a purchase. While most of us appreciate this convenience, the path from expressing interest in a product to finally prying open our wallets can be quite lengthy.
The Consumer Decision Journey (CDJ) shown below encompasses the main steps in making a buying decision, beginning with “Consider” and moving clockwise to “Post Purchase.”
Creating content for customers at different points along this journey is one way to shepherd users toward a purchase. Articles or blog entries that answer their questions and concerns are also prime real estate on which to deploy valuable keywords. Since you’re addressing people with differing levels of interest, it’s easy to develop a strategy that moves from broad, high-volume terms to longtail keywords.
Of course, part of the challenge is coming up with compelling pieces that will work in your favor without beating people over the head with the hard-sell. Cynical web users are likely to see through something like, “10 Reasons to Live at Fair Oaks Apartments.”
In order to demonstrate how this might work, I’ll lay out a basic content strategy for a fictional property management company. I’ll provide sample keywords and brainstorm possible topics that incorporate them for a clear strategy during the Consider and Evaluate stages of the CDJ.
Our make-believe client, Four Walls and a Roof, manages apartment buildings around Southern California. With housing costs rising, competition for renters is fierce. Four Walls and a Roof is interested in content that will appeal to people searching for an apartment.
The first stop on the CDJ, people in the Consider phase may be months away from moving. They could decide to abandon their search altogether and re-sign a lease. These people are testing the waters to see what’s available. Relevant keywords are broad, and include:
What can we determine from this sample set? Clearly cost is an issue for many, and a significant number of people are planning to stay in the same general area.
Consider the concerns of the searchers above. How could they be addressed in compelling (and helpful) ways? Assuming your building satisfies the queries, you could target these keywords with content like:
“How to Find a Great Low-income Apartment” – Many families and seniors rely upon subsidized housing to keep a roof over their heads. One concern among low-income renters may be safety and quality. Providing tips on sorting the good properties from the bad would be of great use to these customers. While you will mention your brand, it isn’t central to the piece.
“10 Ways a Cheap Apartment Can Cost You” – Many people search for the lowest possible rent in their target area. No one wants to pay more than necessary, but this topic allows you to capture bargain shoppers and convince them to spend a bit more. In the best-case scenario you capture some traffic on a high-volume keyword that you may not otherwise target.
“10 Best Neighborhoods for Renters in L.A.” – This article would allow ample opportunities to localize your content. Including details about neighborhoods – restaurants, employers, access to transportation – is not only useful for potential renters; it also helps your site build up authority as part of a specific location.
These topics provide a chance to establish Four Walls and a Roof as a resource for renters. They’re also likely to remain relevant for a long period of time. This is just the kind of content your site needs.
In the Evaluate stage, potential customers are comparing you to the competition. Your goal is to come out on top. In this case, you’d want to consider what differentiates your buildings from others in the same category. People in this phase of the CDJ would search according to more unique, make-or-break concerns:
If you own buildings that fulfill these criteria, customers could be reached with content like:
“7 Reasons Your Pet Will Love Rolling Hills Apartments” – Many buildings allow pets, but what if your apartment complex takes “pet-friendly” to a new level? Maybe there’s a large courtyard perfect for playing Frisbee with the dog, or bay windows that are the ideal spot for a real cat nap.
“How to Pet-proof Your New Apartment” – Draw attention to your pet-friendly building with helpful tips that everyone can use. A piece like this could develop traction on social networks as people share the tips.
“5 Luxury Features at Rolling Hills Apartments (Your Own Washing Machine!)” – Every apartment site should list amenities. Providing a gallery or blog entry that’s heavy on visuals lets you supply this information in a more engaging and shareable format. It’s also a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition. Your photo of a full washer/dryer will be more compelling than a bulleted list of features.
Depending on your industry, keywords can get very specific early on. For example, a plumbing supply company may get more traction on “how-to” content rather than galleries about pipe fittings. This is where your own knowledge of the business comes into play.
Do your keyword research and imagine a hypothetical consumer. What would you expect when performing these searches? Formulating a content strategy based on the Consumer Decision Journey can serve both the customer and your bottom line.
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