Mapping Content to Buyer’s Journey: A Guide for Every Stage

The road to a successful purchase is a dynamic journey, and a well-planned content marketing funnel can be your guide. You know that before a potential visitor makes a purchase, they go through a process of coming across your brand, getting to know more about it, considering it while shopping, finally buying your product, and coming back in the future if they feel satisfied. At each stage of this content marketing funnel, mapping content to buyer’s journey plays a pivotal role. Well-crafted content not only informs and engages but also propels your leads closer to the decisive point of making a purchase. 

Take Telestream’s example.
Telestream, a software company specializing in video content distribution, faced challenges in its funnel, hindering conversions. The first crucial change involved simplifying site navigation. The confusing “Buy” tab with a “Contact” CTA and links leading to email inquiries created friction. After adjusting the copy and navigation labels, Telestream saw a 4% revenue increase, equivalent to $395,000 annually.

Source: Telestream

The second step targeted the product page. The initial design featured three CTAs in the “hero” section, causing confusion. Moreover, vital product features were buried deep on the page. Streamlining the CTAs and highlighting key features led to a 16% increase in completed orders, contributing to a substantial $2 million boost in revenue for Telestream.

Let’s delve deeper to learn why and how mapping content to a buyer’s journey can be a game-changer for your business.

Marketing Funnel Stages and the Psychology Behind Mapping Content to Buyer’s Journey

A marketing funnel is not a one-size-fits-all approach to optimizing your sales.

It can have stages varying from three to five or more steps, depending on your business, that consumers undergo in their shopping journey. However, here’s a general overview.

Stage 1: Awareness While Mapping Content to Buyer’s Journey

Brand awareness signifies familiarity with a brand, including knowledge of its name, tone & style, and how and what it does. Being the first stage of your marketing funnel, it begins with consumer research and aims to attract new customers to your brand. Keep the brand in mind while you decide which consumer touchpoints you want to address.

To drive awareness, brands aim to reach consumers through channels such as television (linear and streaming), digital advertising, audio ads, social media campaigns, and content marketing. 

These touchpoints have become increasingly vital since 87% of shoppers search for products online on digital channels other than a brand’s website. The ultimate goal at the end of the awareness phase is for your brand to stay top of mind, ensuring it is the first choice when customers decide to make a purchase.

Example

Netflix, the adored entertainment platform, prioritizes brand awareness by guiding individuals through a marketing funnel, often needing more conscious awareness.

It employs social media to generate excitement around upcoming shows. Concise summaries and brief clips entice everyone to try the show upon its release. Here’s an example of what we’re saying. 

Creating brand awareness about Netflix and what it does best

Source: Radarr

As you see, Netflix’s content subtly highlights what it does best— recommend things to watch!

Lastly, there’s the power of word-of-mouth marketing. When friends gather for a chat, the discussion is bound to include at least one Netflix show. Both online and offline, Netflix has mastered the initial phase of marketing.

Stage 2: Consideration Stage in the Process of Mapping Content to Buyer’s Journey

Consideration marketing enhances consumers’ likelihood of “considering” a particular brand and its products during their shopping journey. Marketing efforts in this phase should address a pain point, highlight an interest, or answer a question for consumers. At this stage, customers seek to familiarize themselves with a brand and understand what sets it apart from similar ones. Hence, brands should focus on educating and informing customers during this phase, elucidating how their product or solution meets their needs.

Mid-funnel consideration marketing solutions may also use positive customer reviews, testimonials, case studies, and webinars to attract customers. 

Example

As users get to know Netflix, the platform shows strategic foresight in the consideration stage. To ease potential subscribers’ hesitations about recurring charges, Netflix proactively addresses fears and doubts, providing a transparent methodology for first-time visitors. 

Netflix’s offers to push consumers from consideration to conversion

Such ads propel customers to convert once they have considered making the purchase.

Stage 3: Conversion After Mapping Content to Buyer’s Journey

The conversion stage is where a potential visitor ultimately becomes your customer. This is why the conversion stage aims to convince shoppers to purchase a product or service by ensuring the chosen brand is the right solution to their problem or need. 

Also known as the “decision” or “purchase” phase, this step provides an opportunity for a brand to stand out in its category and differentiate itself from similar products. A well-detailed website product page and an exceptional customer service experience are crucial during this phase, instilling confidence in customers’ buying decisions.

Note: Unlike the above two stages, conversion is relatively measurable, often tracked by linking ad clicks directly to a purchase. However, it’s essential to recognize that customer interactions in the preceding stages significantly influence whether customers ultimately convert.

Example

Netflix expertly moves users through the funnel, ensuring a smooth transition from consideration to conversion. 

Expressing interest in the third stage, users find the process easy and secure. With a clear and uncluttered background, the focus shifts to choosing plans and assuring flexible upgrades or downgrades. The sign-up step is straightforward and engaging, maintaining a user-friendly approach, as shown below.

The final billing page emphasizes no commitments, flexible cancellations, and a reminder before the free month ends, establishing trust seamlessly.

Stage 4: Loyalty

If you’re a marketer or a business owner, you must know that customer satisfaction means nothing if it doesn’t lead to customer loyalty. A product/brand is deemed successful only if it manages to have repeat, loyal customers. This is why brands must foster loyalty by ensuring a seamless shopping experience and offering an unparalleled product/service. 

Besides being an independent stage, loyalty starts at the very first step. Positive interactions during and after the conversion stage influence whether a shopper becomes a repeat customer. Moreover, following up and nurturing connections with consumers after purchase is critical to staying top of mind. 

The cost to acquire a new customer is five times more, on average, than retaining an existing one, making this phase crucial.

Compelling content marketing strategy examples that can build customer loyalty include email nurture campaigns, social media activations, and loyalty programs. At the end of this stage, the goal is to have earned loyal, satisfied customers who become brand advocates and lifelong supporters.

Example

Netflix secures loyalty by offering compelling content from the start. It reinforces this by showcasing show advocates on social media, fostering loyalty and advocacy in return. It keeps engaging with viewers on social media, including Twitter, Instagram, etc. For instance, here:

Netflix’s active tweeting to engage with its audience

Source: Constant Contract

Also Read: Create a Content Marketing Plan in 10 Easy Steps

How to Create Content for Each Stage

Adopting a comprehensive full-funnel approach to mapping content to the buyer’s journey involves advertising and producing content across multiple channels to connect with customers at various funnel stages. Let’s see how it’s done.

Top-of-the-Funnel (TOFU) Content

A customer’s initial encounter with your brand is at the top of the funnel, often through blogs, social media, videos, customer referrals, events, or reviews.

Content tips for the top-of-the-funnel:

  • Craft blog posts and guest posts with core vital phrases. Distribute this content across your social networks, considering its adaptability for various channels.
  • In this stage, content that is both share-worthy and visually compelling proves highly effective. Develop content with a psychological appeal, ensuring it resonates with your audience and encourages sharing.
  • Remember that diverse content types should be tailored for distinct target audiences. Customize your content to cater to each audience segment’s preferences and interests.

Example- Twilio, a top-tier vendor in communication APIs, is easily found by potential customers searching for relevant keywords. Engaging through social media and blogs (like below)

Twilio Blog

Or an interactive self-paced learning game, prospects connect with the brand. 

When prospects see the fit for their needs, they can either create a free Twilio account or request to talk to a sales rep. Twilio strategically uses distinct call-to-action buttons, providing seamless guidance for prospects to navigate their next steps, just as you can see below.

Twilio’s TOFU content with a “Free Trial CTA” to create brand awareness and capture quality leads

Middle-of-the-Funnel (MOFU) Content

The middle of the funnel transpires once buyers provide their contact information and show interest in your product or service. Content such as educational guides, e-books, downloadable resources, and email marketing further informs prospective customers.

When mapping content to buyer’s journey, follow these content tips for the middle-of-the-funnel:

  • Create in-depth posts and pages showcasing your expertise, leaving visitors eager for more. Gated webinars and informative guides are effective in this stage. Whitepapers are also a great way to educate your audience.
  • Establish collaborations with individuals and organizations already trusted by your audience. This enhances your credibility and relevance.
  • Authenticity is key. Incorporate authentic and memorable elements; your “About Us” page should feature images of actual individuals. Ensure your brand voice resonates strongly in your writing. Respond promptly when someone comments.

Example- Tricentis excels with a rich resource library, delivering highly targeted content tailored to the specific challenges leads face. Whether it’s info packs, video demos, or in-depth guides, Tricentis salespeople provide personalized resources, guiding leads through the sales funnel. For instance:

Tricentis’ MOFU Content to educate the readers
MOFU content with a “Read More CTA” to engage the audience

Source: Tricentis

Bottom-of-the-Funnel (BOFU)

The bottom-of-the-funnel involves interaction with your users just before they make a purchase. This section harbors fully qualified leads, featuring highly personalized content controlled by your sales team, including specific emails, phone conversations, and tailored content.

Content tips for the top-of-the-funnel:

  • Illustrate your brand’s principles (your actions and the reasons behind them) and the merit of your services, supported by testimonials.
  • Develop content that addresses prevalent questions and concerns through ebooks and case studies.
  • Offer demonstrations and trial opportunities.
  • Ensure your website effectively directs visitors to pages and posts that guide them through the funnel. Are your posts correctly linking to the relevant service or product pages? Are there appropriate calls to action strategically placed throughout the site?

By analyzing and comparing benchmarks for TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU, marketers can make better decisions while allocating resources across each stage of their marketing funnel.

Example- Anchor Fabrication, a contract metal fabrication partner, often faces inquiries about being the top and most reliable choice. A sales representative responds promptly as soon as you schedule a call. You can also schedule a demo. 

Offering demo and trial CTAs as a part of BOFU Content

Strategically addressing cost breakdowns, time-saving benefits, and successful past projects, the sales team tailors responses to encourage prospects to enlist their services effectively. 

Comprehensive service descriptions and industry insights allow Anchor Fabrication to tailor their responses precisely for maximum impact. To access the same, you can head over to the designated page for Metal Fab Engineering, as shown below.

Example of Anchor Fabrication’s BOFU Content with a CTA

Mapping Content To Buyer’s Journey: How to align your content strategy with the stage your customers are at?

Comprehending the lead-generation tactics that propel mapping content to a buyer’s journey can be daunting. Yet, the more significant challenge lies in determining the optimal structure for the funnel. Many marketers are turning to funnel mapping software to simplify this process. Many of these solutions allow you to meticulously visualize your funnel, enabling you to avoid investing excessive time and resources in its development.

The fundamental objective of funnel mapping is to offer a manual or software-driven guide for your leads. Let’s see how it’s done.

Sketch Out Your Funnel:

Understanding the visual representation of your sales funnel is pivotal in comprehending where your users, teams, and tone of voice align within the sales journey. You must always have a clear picture of your pre- or post-sales performance. 

While most marketers are adept at analzying pre-sale stages, the post-sale segment often needs to catch up. The often neglected post-sale segment presents opportunities for future sales, positive reviews, testimonials, and brand advocacy. Including this phase in your funnel mapping is a wise move.

Dive Into Each Aspect of the Funnel:

With a clear understanding of the user’s journey through your brand, from discovery to purchase and referral, it’s time to strategize each sales funnel stage. 

Addressing critical questions for each stage is vital. Some of these questions are:

  • What are the brand goals for this funnel stage?
  • Who is the target audience for the content at this stage?
  • What are the user’s goals at this stage?
  • What type of content aligns with this stage’s goals, audience, and prevailing mindset?

Knowing where each content type fits, the appropriate tone, and the desired content destination becomes more straightforward with a well-outlined sales funnel.

Use Multiple Funnels for Different Audiences:

Tailoring content marketing strategies to be highly specific, considering user needs and business goals, is imperative. Your company may employ a straightforward funnel with distinct top, middle, bottom, and post-sale stages. Alternatively, you might develop multiple sales funnels catering to the diverse needs of various users.

For instance, when creating content for a services company, addressing the unique requirements of different departments, staff tiers, current clients, and prospects is essential. Each audience has distinct needs, and the business has varied goals for each. Consequently, your funnel-mapping software should account for several sales funnels, each potentially exhibiting slight variations.

What happens when you are successful in mapping content to buyer’s journey?

At its core, mapping is a content marketing strategy that aids in organizing content creation efforts to align with your marketing and sales objectives. This approach ensures a uniform customer experience and guides website visitors seamlessly through the customer journey.

Various types of content serve distinct purposes. For instance, an e-book may be employed for lead generation, while a blog effectively enhances brand awareness. Diverse content forms can be strategically utilized throughout the customer journey to enhance experiences, raise awareness, generate leads, and drive sales.

When you successfully map each type with your marketing funnel stages, you can rest assured that your target audience gets what they seek at every stage. They get acquainted with your brand during the awareness phase, consider it while shopping whenever they come across it, start purchasing (converting), and return (repeating). 

The primary goal in each stage is to adeptly propel potential customers through the funnel, with each content piece serving a distinct and purposeful role.

Conclusion

The primary goal of a content marketing funnel is to produce content that leads to conversions. A robust strategy ensures your business effectively connects with and impacts customers across all stages of the content marketing funnel.

However, a potent content marketing strategy is just one facet of the broader equation. Comprehending the performance of your content pieces through well-defined metrics is equally vital. You must consistently assess your current content marketing strategy, seeking opportunities for enhancement or repurposing.

The process of mapping content to the buyer’s journey sounds as straightforward as outlining the entire prospect journey across the specific stages of your sales funnel. However, it’s easier said than done. But you can start the journey with clarity on the psychology behind each stage and the suggestions given throughout the blog. For assistance, get in touch with content marketing experts.

Take the first step towards mapping content to buyer’s journey and increase your ROI by signing up today. Start mapping content marketing strategy efficiently.

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