Why should experts drive your content marketing strategy?
For marketers today the purchase process has increased in complexity. Today, audiences advance through a process known as the buyer’s journey” – the research and decision-making process that customers go through which progresses from awareness to evaluation and ultimately purchase. Audiences have become far more sophisticated. Research clearly shows that expert content is setting the bar for relevance, credibility and attractiveness for every stage of the buyer journey. To address this, expert content is more important than ever. The following 5 areas are influencing this shift.
- Buyers Have Shifted into Self-Serve Mode When Researching Purchases. Approximately 67% of the buyer’s journey is complete prior to contacting a vendor (Source: Sirius Decisions). The research continues to show that many buyers would sooner help themselves to content rather than speak to a salesperson, especially in the early stage of the buyer journey. Audiences are increasingly venturing online to do more of their own research to validate the buying decision. And they are digging deeper into content and are looking to see the people you have onboard to support their decision-making.
- The Buyer Journey is More Collaborative & Non-Linear Than Ever. It is clear that the traditional linear sales funnel has disappeared. In B2B markets, buyers now engage with an average of 11.4 pieces of content prior to making a purchase (Source: Forrester Research). They are now more likely to bounce around on a variety of sites.
- Experts are a Top Source of Influence in Purchase Behavior. Research by the Information Technology Sales and Marketing Association (ITSMA) has consistently ranked subject-matter experts as a top source of information influencing purchase behavior in B2B, higher consideration purchases. In this new model, buyers validate the purchase decision by seeking out reliable information from trusted sources. Decisions such as what lawyer to choose; what IT platform to invest in or where to study for graduate school can be very positively influenced by expert content.
- The Buying Process is More Inclusive than Ever with Multiple Personas Playing a Part. In addition to consulting industry peers on social media channels, buyers work with colleagues inside their organizations when making purchase decisions. Marketers and salespeople cannot be content with focusing on key decision-makers. If you aren’t known company-wide this will present challenges.
- Feeding the Search Engines The Right Content Matters More Than Ever. According to a Google/Millward Brown study, 71% of business purchases begin with a non-branded search. These generic queries, are from people looking for product first, not for a specific brand or organization name. Huge improvements in organic search rank are possible once when your content is optimized to support the customer at all phases of the buyer journey. Expert content, in the form of articles, infographics, or videos, not only strengthens the trust relationship with your buyer, but also reinforces your value and expertise with search engines. you pay a little more attention to the information structure on your website and add assets such as multimedia content to expert profiles. Search engines continue to reward well developed expert content that has personal attribution with higher trust and authority rankings as it views this content as more relevant.