Marketing any business and bringing in new customers is never easy. Ways of thinking, strategies, and tactics change. The search engines constantly update their algorithms. What worked well last year might not work this year.
Whatever happens, though, one thing that is consistently successful in marketing is creating fresh, high-quality content that’s tailored to your customers. The search engines love it. Your potential customers are actively searching for it. And when done the right way, great content can convert browsers into buyers.
We’ve all heard that content is king, and to a great extent, it is. But it needs to be organized and managed well, and tailored to fit your current and potential customers before it will necessarily have the right effect.
Part of the process of managing your content is content mapping. When you put together a content plan for the next few months, you’ll have far better success if you also map your content as part of that plan.
But what is content mapping and why does it make such a difference when attracting new customers?
When people visit your website for the first time, they may not have heard of your company before. These people will need different content at their stage in the buyer’s journey than someone who is almost at the point of making a buying decision.
Content mapping allows you to plot out what types of content to delivery to potential customers depending on which stage of the buyer’s journey they are at.
While that might sound like yet more work to add to your marketing list, here’s why it matters:
- Content mapping ensures that every visitor gets the right content that they need to see wherever they are in the buyer’s journey.
- It ensures that you don’t put customers off by presenting price lists and product comparisons too early.
- It helps you tailor what you write and understand what your audience wants.
- You can anticipate and provide content and answers to visitors, before they even ask for it. Think of the great impression you create in their minds when you do that.
- You provide a better customer experience at each buying stage.
- You will convert more potential customers to buyers.
Your content map is the plan to deliver all of those things. Things that benefit you and your customers.
Yes, it takes work, but it’s clear to see why it’s worth adding to your list.
But where do you start? Well, read on and we’ll show you all the steps you need to start content mapping and bringing in more clients.
1) Create buyer personas to identify what content resonates with your ideal customers
Without clear, well-put-together buyer personas, it’s difficult to know what content your customers want to see at any stage of the buyer’s journey.
Taking the time to create your key buyer personas helps with every aspect of your marketing, but it’s vital if you’re going to look at content mapping.
You need to know your existing and potential customers inside and out. Who are they, where do they live, and where do they hang out online? What is their level of education? What is their budget?
Start with the basics and then you’ll want to look at the following questions:
What are the problems that they really want solutions to? What do they already know about the problems they have and the solutions you provide? How does your company provide those solutions? Why would they choose you over your competitors to help them? What do they like and dislike about your company?
Don’t leave your buyer persona creation to just your sales and marketing departments. Other customer-facing areas within your business will have helpful and quite probably surprising insights that you need.
Involve everyone that has something to contribute. Not only do you get more help and ideas, but if they were involved in creating the buyer personas, then they’re far more likely to actually use them when they’re finished. You’re creating buy-in to your marketing by involving other departments and letting others see what’s involved and why it’s important. That can only help your business.
It’s equally important to look outside of your business by talking to your customers, looking at your competitors, and using social listening to gather more information.
Follow our complete guide on How to Create Descriptive Buyer Personas for Your Small Business to produce buyer personas that are genuinely helpful and practical.
The buyer personas you come up with from following our guide won’t sit in a drawer unused. They’ll be a vital part of planning out and implementing your marketing.
2) Map out the customer journey stages
As well as understanding who your customers are and what they need, you also need to know where they are on the customer journey or buying cycle.
Here are the three stages of the customer journey:
At the beginning of the customer journey, also known as the top of the sales funnel or TOFU, your potential customer is just beginning to realize that they have a problem. They’re becoming aware that they have pain points and that they need a solution, though they may not yet know what that solution will look like or what exactly they need.
If they land on your website at this stage, they may also just be developing awareness of you as a company.
It’s important to bear both of these things in mind when creating content and not assume that the customer has already heard of you or that they know fully what you do and how you can help.
By the consideration stage, your potential customer now understands their problem fully. They know exactly what is wrong, what is missing, and what is bothering them. They are now looking for a solution that can properly solve their problem.
If they’ve been on your website for any length of time at this point, they are probably more familiar with what you do and the type of solutions you provide.
In this final stage, or bottom of the funnel (BOFU), your potential customer has decided on exactly what they need to solve their problem and they are looking for the right business to provide it.
At this stage, if your visitor is browsing price lists, product demos, and reading FAQs, you are probably in the running for getting the sale. They are likely to be doing comparisons between you and your competitors to see who is the best fit and provides the best solution.
3) Map out content topics specific to each stage of the customer journey
Now you can see the stages of the customer or buyer’s journey, it’s far easier to think about the types of content that will be welcome and useful to potential customers at every stage.
Look at the different stages and think about what questions your potential customers will have at each stage.
This can give you some excellent ideas for content to create at all stages of the sales funnel. This will be backed up by the research you did when creating your buyer personas. You should have done enough research on your personas to know what questions people are likely to ask and what language and tone they will use. By now, you will have surveyed and interviewed your current and potential customers. You will have thoroughly researched your competitors and you should have most of the questions potential customers will ask at each stage.
Add these questions onto your content map at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Use the questions to brainstorm topics and types of content. Something else that your buyer persona research should have given you is whether your leads prefer to read content, such as blog posts and ebooks, or whether they prefer demo videos and Facebook Lives.
Make a note of the different types of content your audience prefers too.
Now you can plot out what content works best to attract attention at each stage.
Here your visitors are looking for general education and information, either as blog articles or videos. They want basic information on their problems and pain points and how they might solve them. They are likely open to finding out a little more about your company and what you do. But they are not ready for the heavy sell at this stage. Don’t bring out the graphs, price comparisons, and chances to book a sales call at this stage or you could make your leads disappear.
At this point, your leads are more likely to be okay with content that helps to distinguish your business from the competition. They have a better idea of what they want and they want to know more about you and about if you might be the one to provide their solution.
Here you can show off your reviews and testimonials. You can provide case studies to give them examples of success with your solution. You can share customer stories and how they’ve moved beyond their problems and had success due to your solutions. You can also mention anything that’s unique about your business, including any awards, celebrity clients, and recognitions.
Here, you need to be providing content that pushes your leads towards making a buying decision and choosing you over the competition. They may still want some of the earlier information, such as case studies and customer stories if they have a few more questions, but you can also push them towards the sale with special offers, limited-time promotions, contests, and other content. If they are on your mailing list, you can send them email campaigns or text messages if you have their permission. Digital ads can be targeted to reach them away from your website and remind them of how good you are at what you do.
And this is definitely the time to bring out the price comparisons and the chance to book a demo or have a call with someone on your sales team.
4) Craft your online presence on the channels/platforms most used by your customers
Your content map shouldn’t just consider content topics and types. You also need to know where to find your customers and which platforms will bring you the most leads. Again, this should be something you learned when you created your buyer personas.
It’s then time to add these channels and platforms to your content map.
You need to plan out what content you’re going to create on what topics, and where you’re going to post it to do the most good.
You’ve got to think about your website content, your social platforms, review sites, such as Yelp, referral platforms, like Nextdoor, and your Google Business Profile.
You need to plan content for all of these platforms and ensure that your plan covers content for every part of the buyer’s journey. With a fully laid out content map, you can ensure that there are no gaps, or if there are, you can quickly see where you need more content for what stage of the buyer’s journey and of what type.
It makes everything so much easier when you get to this stage. It’s then a case of going through and creating the content you don’t have, optimizing and re-optimizing what you do have, and ensuring you’re covering everything your potential customers could want at every stage.
A side bonus of this is that you will also show up better and with more visibility on search platforms like Google and maps platforms like Google and Apple.
Once you have your content mapping done, you’re in a much better position to bring in new customers and smoothly guide them through your sales funnel from browsers to buyers.
5) Use software to simplify things
You could use anything from Google docs to a more full-on flow chart software for your content mapping. It’s entirely up to you. But what will make life easier is using an all-in-one marketing platform, such as our own Surefire Local business intelligence marketing software, to gather all your information.
The bottom line is that you want to be creating the most relevant content possible and making sure that content is easily found and accessible by people who could become new customers.
You can see how much work is involved in content mapping, and how many different sources you’ll need to pull from to get all this information together. You’ll need statistics from social media and your website, your buyer personas, information on your current customers, and more.
If all of that is scattered across multiple platforms, it could take a very long time to log in and out of each one, download reports, and collate everything.
Instead, why not save time with our business intelligence marketing software where you can manage your social media, content, email marketing, Google Business Profile, and more, all in one place? You can then easily run reports on any aspect of your marketing, and bring together feedback, reviews, and notes from existing customer sales calls to more easily create a complete picture content map that highly benefits every part of your marketing.
Why not book a demo with us today and see how we can save you time?