60% of your customers’ journey takes place before they talk to a sales rep. You may ask, “what does this have to do with content audits?” Well, let me give you an example. Sarah H is a consumer in the market to buy a new car. She’s had the same hand-me-down, economy sedan that her parents sent her to college in 10 years ago. Now that she’s settled into a comfortable career, she’s ready for an upgrade. So where does her journey begin?
With upwards of 3.5 billion searches performed every day on Google alone, it’s a well-known fact that the first thing Sarah will do, just like millions of other people, is perform several online searches to start her purchase journey. While Sarah is conducting her online research, educating herself about options she has available to her before she is ready to make a commitment to buy, is your website showing up on the first or second page of search engines? Are you part of the online conversation that Sarah has before she picks up the phone to talk to a sales person or visit your store. Is your web content built to handle all of Sarah’s questions for every stage of her customer journey?
So let’s back up for just a minute. The obvious, initial answer to why you need a content audit is the all too common, day-to-day problem you are experiencing with your marketing efforts as it pertains to your website: lots of traffic coming in but not enough visitors actually converting into sales. If this sounds familiar, then ask yourself (and your marketing teams) one important question: “Is your content holding the hand of your potential customers throughout their entire customer journey, or is it only there for them when they are ready to move to the shopping stage of their purchase funnel?”. Do you have enough content on your website to cover every stage of their purchase journey, from awareness to exploration to consideration and then finally shopping?
It may sound like a daunting task to provide content for every stage of your customers’ journey, but here’s the most rewarding stat for marketers that translates into tangible and desired business outcomes: 98% of customers surveyed said that they will end up buying a product from a company that holds their hand throughout the entire purchase journey, not just the final stages.
And according to DemandGen report, nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.
So how do you determine if your content is truly there for your site visitors? Here is a one minute quick exercise we always conduct with our clients during our content marketing workshops and content audits:
Step 1: Login to your website analytics tool
Step 2: Find out what the top 50 most visited pages on your site are.
Step 3: Now ask yourself these 3 important questions:
Do these 50 pages help your customers in each step of their customer journey?
Do they skew more heavy towards a certain step in the purchase funnel?
Are there content pieces that are missing in the top 50 most visited pages that should be there?
These 3 important questions are the answers to whether it’s time for a content audit that leads to a customer journey focused content marketing strategy.
You may know exactly what your customers want at every stage of the funnel or you may not. If you are among the people who could use some help in determining what types of questions your customers are asking along their customer journey without having to spend a lot of money, here are some excellent (and mostly free!) resources you can use to guide your content development journey.
Imagine there was a way to hold a microscope to the actual questions about your offering that consumers are asking via search engines such as Google and Bing on a daily basis. Imagine no more! The folks over at Answer The Public have built a technology that allows you to do just that. Here’s how it works:
Infinite Suggest enables users to look up the search terms that pertain to their offering, and generate a list of the top relevant keywords. This not only helps marketers to identify the content types and topics to include on their website, but should also be a driving force behind overall SEO efforts, or messaging within various assets. Note: This site focuses on Google’s search engine exclusively.
As their homepage says, with BuzzSumo users can “find the most popular questions asked across hundreds of thousands of forums, Amazon, Reddit, Quora and Q&A sites for any keyword.” The beauty of this tool, as the site boasts, is that it allows you to tap into the minds of consumers on multiple search and discussion platforms.
(accessible through your Google AdWords tool)
This is a popular pick for those whose website is tied to Google Analytics. Leverage Google’s data to guide you through how to mindfully plan your content and keyword strategies. Identify the most popular search terms or phrases for your offering and easily move into setting up your Google campaigns, or simply use the insights for campaigns run through alternative channels.
Your number one goal with your content strategy should be to become a one-stop-shop for your customers, empowering them to get answers to all questions they have along their entire customer journey. Focus on addressing two important areas: barriers to purchase, and their aspirations. If your site content doesn’t guide your customers through their purchase barriers and motivates them towards achieving their aspirations, then you are in need of new content for your website.This article first appeared on the Marketing Strategy Hub Blog, republished with permission from the author.
About the Author
Armida Markarova is an award winning Brand and Marketing Strategist who partners with companies to help them turn their marketing dollars into business outcomes that matter. As the Founder & Chief Strategy Officer of Marketing Strategy Hub, Armida and her team are focused on making sure that their clients stay on top and ahead of marketing trends by providing them with strategic marketing plans and educational workshops that help them acquire new customers and keep more of the ones they’ve already got.
With over 15 years of experience in marketing, Armida Markarova is one of the pioneer digital marketing strategists generating results and driving value for companies when Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn didn’t even exist.
Armida’s approach to marketing and digital marketing is deeply rooted in understanding of the customer’s journey to purchase vs. just the final step of selling.
Armida is a strong believer in data driven marketing and storytelling. She uses analytics and data to drive her recommendations for her clients, which have proven to increase ROI and deliver desired business outcomes.