The typical cycle that a customer goes through when purchasing a product is much longer than in years past. Between social media, content and increased competition online, a customer has many avenues to cross before they finally decide on whether or not they want to purchase a product. As a marketer, your job is to identify where there are weaknesses in your online sales funnel. The most effective way to steer your customers down the right path is by using keyword-rich content.

Addressing the Problem

Every purchase begins with a problem or challenge of some sort. In some cases, a consumer will begin searching for solutions to the problem without even realizing that there is a product to take care of it. Content needs to be created around this challenge. So, ask yourself this question: “What problem does my product solve?”

Say a customer notices that their washing machine has a strange odor. They won’t jump online to find a product to take care of this odor right off the bat. Instead, they will start researching reasons why their washing machine smells and what they can do about it. Search phrases may include “washing machine odors” and “how to clean washing machine.”

Your role here is to create content around these common issues using relevant keywords. You want your brand to be introduced at the earliest stage, and then you can start directing the customer down the buying cycle. When the customer feels that they have identified the problem, the next step is researching how it happens, how they can take care of it and what they can do to prevent it in the future.

Identifying Solutions

The customer will look for relevant solutions to their problem, but this doesn’t mean that your product is sold quite yet. At this stage, there is a lot of going back and forth as the customer determines whether or not your product will solve their problem. This is where informational content such as white papers, online videos, email newsletters and blog posts are beneficial. The goal is to get the customer to take action of some sort: sign up for your newsletter, request a free sample of your product and so on.

Looking at Alternatives

When the customer has done some research and connected with your brand, they will now want some alternatives. What else can they do to keep their washing machine clean and free of odors? Third-party perspectives are important here, as it validates that your product is worth buying. Content that stacks competitive products against each other or information on why DIY cleaning methods aren’t as effective would be best here.

Sealing the Deal

Finally, you need content that provides testimonials, case studies, awards and credentials. Social proof is important here, too. This is where the customer will want to verify that you are the brand for them and that you make your customers happy.

Content always has a purpose. When creating content for your brand, determine where in the content funnel it falls. This will allow you to create a solid content-driven sales funnel that will reward your brand with more sales.