Content Marketing Strategy for Agencies

the_buyers_journey_from_hubspotSince 2006 inbound marketing agencies have been focused on the inbound methodology pioneered by HubSpot as a roadmap for their digital marketing services. The inbound methodology includes attracting, converting, closing and delighting your target buyers rather than soliciting them with “outbound” marketing. Seven years later, I am proud to have worked with Nick Salvatoriello, head of Channel Partner Inbound Success Training at HubSpot, to incorporate a buyer-focused process into the methodology, one that would help both agencies and their clients map out a buyer’s need for information throughout different stages of the buying process. Today we call this the “buyer’s journey.”

This Tuesday, Jan.28th, Nick Salvatoriello from HubSpot will be joining us to discuss "The Buyer's Journey". Join the discussion by clicking this registration link.

NOTE: Slides will not be posted for this webinar out of respect for HubSpot's intermediate training program for certified VAR agencies. Certified agencies may signup for these courses using the links at the end of this article.


 

What?! A new inbound methodology?

Please remember that the buyer’s journey doesn’t replace the inbound methodology; it complements it. The inbound methodology looks at the process for growing a business online from the seller’s point of view. The buyer’s journey helps agencies identify the information that will be most valuable, and most desired, at each stage. It does this by looking at the same inbound process from the buyer’s point of view.

Breaking down the buyer’s journey

There are three major stages to the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration and decision. These can be mapped directly to the three levels of the inbound marketing funnel. In other words:

Top of the funnel : Awareness Stage

Middle of the funnel : Consideration Stage

Bottom of the funnel : Decision Stage

Our role as an agency is to help our client’s identify what information can be used at each stage of the buyer’s journey to capture a lead, nurture the lead to a point of sale, and close that lead. Here is a simple breakdown of what types of information a buyer wants/needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Awareness Stage

Your buyers aren’t looking for a solution. In fact, they have only just become aware of a problem, and as a result of that problem, they now have a need for information. They are AWARE.

At this stage of the buyer’s journey, the buyer’s interest can be captured through helpful information that relates to the symptoms of the problem, the pain points being felt, potential causes of those pain points and tips on the various solutions to the problem. Typically a company blog will focus on attracting buyers in the awareness stage. Other more valuable assets like whitepapers, eBooks and checklists can be used to identify the buyers in this stage by requiring that they submit a small amount of contact information in exchange for these assets.

Webinars can also be useful at this stage depending on how complicated the problem is that your buyer is trying to solve. Asking someone to take an hour out of their schedule to join a webinar might be too much at the awareness stage. The task of your content in the awareness stage is to help your buyer understand their problem and how to fix it.

Consideration Stage

Your buyers have now identified the source of their problem and a set of potential solutions for solving that problem. The buyer is CONSIDERING the different solutions, which may or may not include your products and services.

At this stage of the buyer’s journey, helpful information will be a waste of time. The buyer will want to consume information about your product or service, as well as other products and services to educate themselves on their choices. The best way to cater to this interest is to create content assets that support your product or service as a consideration. Assets like case studies, testimonials, product comparisons, brochures, sell sheets, demo videos and webinars will help buyers understand how your products and services deliver a solution to their problem.

Decision Stage

Finally, the buyer needs to make a DECISION. This is where your sales team can play a role and help the buyer make a decision, hopefully in your favor. Buyers at this stage will actually want an opportunity to speak with someone in sales or try the product themselves. Creating offers like consultations, demos, analysis and free trials add some value to the sales process as long as the offer is designed to help them make the best decision possible.

Incorporate the buyer’s journey into your sales process

One of the most difficult things to do as an inbound marketing agency is to get those who do not yet understand inbound marketing (your prospects) to believe in the process. An explanation of the buyer’s journey will help them understand that their website, and their content, needs to be structured in a way that caters to each of these three stages, and by doing so, they will actually attract buyers to their company organically. Here is what the buyer's journey looks like when compared to the natural sales process, and the content assets that will lead a buyer through the sales process, delivering the information they want at the right time:

Funnel_Graphic

Resources for further learning

HubSpot's buyer's journey quick reference guide

Buyer's Journey content audit worksheet

I also highly recommend HubSpot's new and improved inbound intermediate training series for certified HubSpot partners. 

Attract Class

Convert Class

Close Class

What did you think of the buyer's journey as a new addition to the inbound methodology? Do you think your prospects will have an easier time wrapping their minds around inbound marketing using this model vs the old TOFU, MOFU, BOFU explanation? Leave your support or displeasure in the comments below!

Agency training series  

VP of Business Development at Content Marketer's Blueprint. Passionate about sharing strategy, resources and experiences with content/inbound marketing agencies to help them sell and service marketing retainers.

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