Nowadays, it’s becoming more and more common for a customer to have most of the buying process done before they’re in contact with a sales rep. They don’t want to be inundated with sales pitches. They prefer to do research themselves online before they decide to buy.
It’s more difficult than ever for marketers and sales reps to engage with buyers about their brands and products. It’s pivotal to have dynamic and engaging content that can be shared to your potential customers through platforms that suit the buyer, such as social media or email. Marketing has to cater to the buyer while still showing the value of their product and convincing the buyer that they need it. They have to create content that’s readily-available and that buyers can engage with on their own terms. The best way to do this is through Stage-Based Marketing.
What is stage-based marketing?
Stage-Based Marketing is content that is targeted to each stage of the sales funnel. Each of your potential customers is at a different stage of the funnel. Each stage needs to be nurtured differently. There’s no point in sending the same content to every customer at every level, You need to figure out what will work best for each, and tailor the content you’re sending out to suit. The key is understanding what customers at each stage are looking for, so you know what to give them.
Stage 1: Top of the funnel
Customers at the first stage of the sales funnel are at the beginning of their buying journey. They’re not looking to spend any money at the moment and are just beginning their research into your industry. They may not have heard of your product or brand yet, and may not even be aware of what their problem is.
It’s up to your content to make them aware of their problem, and show that they have a need for a solution. You need to give them content that is light, not sales heavy. The content should be focusing on your industry rather than your product. You want to share content that establishes you as a thought leader in your industry so that when the customer is ready to buy, you’re who they think of.
Your content for this stage should include:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Tip sheets, etc.
Stage 2: Middle of the funnel
This is the stage where you start to introduce your own product. The customer is now aware that they have a problem and possible solutions. You want to get them to the action stage, so your content at this point should be about showing the advantages of implementing this solution and, just as importantly, the disadvantages of not implementing it.
Buyers may be in contact with your inside sales reps at this point, but it’s important for Marketing to still keep a flow of content as a supplement to these conversations, such as:
- Case Studies
- ROI-focused white papers
- Product Webinars, etc.
Stage 3: Bottom of the funnel
The customer at this stage has decided that they want a solution to their problem, and has decided that your industry is the way to get it. You now have to make sure that they choose your specific product over that of your competitors. This is the point when you need to focus on selling your product.
Your content needs to be highly targeted and create a sense of urgency so that the customer knows they need to buy as soon as possible. You need to be able to give them justifications that your product is the best solution for their problem, so that they convince the decision maker if they have to. And you need to be able to get them thinking about how they would implement your solution and how easy it would be to do so.
Content that does this should include:
- Support information
- Buyers guides
- Pricing information
- Free trials/demos, etc.
The main point of Stage-Based Marketing is to get your potential customers through the sales funnel in a consumer-friendly way. You want to be giving them the information they need at their specific stage and that will propel them to the next stage. By getting the right information to the right customers at the right time, you’re educating your customers and making the process easier for them, and thereby making it easier for yourself as well.