By Judith O’Leary
According to research conducted by Sirius Decisions, 67% of a buyer’s journey now occurs online. Using Google to search for answers and finding out information about a business, product or service online is increasingly taking over direct communication with a company.
To avoid losing out on customers, organisations need to have a clear digital marketing strategy to raise their online profile. Being easily found on search engine results pages (SERPs), providing useful content to potential customers at each stage of the buying journey and showcasing your offering are all vital to this.
According to HubSpot, 47% of buyers engage with 3-5 pieces of content before directly engaging with a company, meaning that content is key to any digital marketing strategy. Implementing a tech savvy digital marketing strategy may well drive traffic to your website, but if the content isn’t up to scratch and the user doesn’t find what they are looking for quickly or get anything useful from your content, they won’t stick around. And you won’t see them again!
Your digital marketing strategy should engage with your prospects throughout every step of the buying process with well-informed content. The buying process can be categorised as:
- The awareness stage: when a buyer identifies that they have a problem they need help solving.
- The consideration stage: when a buyer conducts research to solve the problem they are facing.
- The decision stage: when a buyer chooses the right solution for them.
Here are different content approaches you should be considering in your overall digital marketing strategy to engage with buyers at every step of the buying process:
Optimised landing pages
Your website is the shop window of your business today and most buyers who don’t know you will start with a Google search, so you need to make sure your website is appearing in those search engine result pages! Therefore, it’s a good idea to start with a series of optimised landing pages, each of which is targeted at your different products/services.
It’s worth looking at your current website from a buyer’s point of view. Is it being found? Is it providing the right information? And is there a clear call to action for the buyer?
Top tips for creating optimised landing pages:
- Conduct detailed keyword research to identify what you should be optimising your website for (e.g. Edinburgh PR agency)
- Conduct a competitor analysis – what are your competitors ranking for?
- Ensure the layout of the page is user friendly with the most important information above the fold
- Always include a call to action, make it clear what the buyer should do next: contact you!
Keyword researched blogs
Blogs are an important tool when it comes to generating awareness-stage content. This audience may not be ready to buy from you yet, but when they are you will be front of mind.
Understand your audience’s pain points and then conduct some keyword research to identify what terms they are searching for online. The key is to create topics and generate content around searcher intent.
Yes, the content then needs to include your target keywords, but don’t forget it also needs to be useful to the reader and better than anything else out there. Create a piece of engaging content that your audience will remember you for, not just Google.
If you’re looking to drive leads, then gated content is something to consider. It can be useful when it comes to generating top-of-funnel leads – those buyers at the awareness and consideration stage of the buyers’ journey.
Gated content can take any number of forms, including eBooks, whitepapers or explainer videos. When it comes to good gated content, it needs to be:
- Persona driven – target your content at one target audience.
- Focused on one pain point – the more focused your content, the better-quality download you will get.
- Beautifully designed – a piece of gated content doesn’t just need to be informative, it needs to look great too.
Whatever you choose, make sure it is helpful to your audience, answers the question and highlights your area of expertise.
Content doesn’t just extend to content that sits on your own website and social channels. Targeted digital PR activity can help raise awareness of your business among your target customers, give you more content to share on social, and crucially, generate backlinks that support your SEO.
This is where PR becomes a vital component of your digital marketing strategy. The ability to secure a link in online publications (that have a nice high domain authority) will help boost your search visibility.
By drafting an engaging piece of content, you can secure these all-important follow links while also building the profile of your business or brand online.
Good content should be at the heart of any digital marketing strategy. Consider all the elements carefully – including who your target audience is, what they care about, which channels they consume their information on and then make informed decisions about which content to produce.
Judith O’Leary is the managing director of Represent, a PR and digital comms agency based in Edinburgh.