Content Marketing Buying Decision ProcessWhen online content marketing first blew up, brands hopped onto the newly requisite bandwagon and published whatever online content they could muster up. Blogging became an absolute mainstay in online marketing. Websites were made-over with new, richer copy. And soon enough, content truly became king.

However, these early stages of the content marketing era were just that — early, rudimentary, and simple.

Today, just about one year after Google released the industry-changing Hummingbird update, businesses have begun mastering online content marketing. Rather than working feverishly to produce as many words as possible, content marketers are now working smarter and targeting online content to engage with customers throughout the entire buying decision process, guiding them down the sales funnel.

From need recognition to the initial search, all the way to post-purchase, savvy content marketers are covering all the bases. That means those who don’t will soon be left in the dust.

How to Cover All the Bases of Content Marketing

First, make sure you’re familiar with the buying decision process. There are five key steps:

  1. Need/problem recognition: Let’s say a window in my bedroom has broken. Suddenly, I have one of two needs. Either I need a professional installer to help me replace the window, or I know how to replace it and I simply need to purchase the new glass.
  2. Information search: Since I like to save money and do things myself, I want to purchase the new glass pane and install it myself. I need to search online to find out what I need to buy. I type into Google “how to replace bedroom window”.
  3. Evaluation of alternatives: I’ve done my research and I know what I need. Now I need to decide what product I will actually purchase, and who I will purchase it from. To decide, I’ll search for the product and compare different vendors.
  4. Purchase decision: I know what I want to buy and I’ve found the perfect online vendor. I’m ready to fill my shopping cart and enter my payment information. Hopefully, this will be an easy step, but I still haven’t looked at the shipping costs or tried to use the shopping cart. Hopefully, both fit my needs.
  5. Post-purchase behavior: My purchase from my preferred vendor went smoothly. I have the new glass and I’m ready to install it. First, however, I’m going to search online for an installation guide.

Creating Your Full-Coverage Content

Cover steps one and two in the buying decision process. In order to capture the attention of potential customers as soon as they enter the market for your product or service, you need to publish online content that answers their initial questions.

  • Who manufactures the best glass?
  • Who offers the best price on the glass I need?
  • Which vendors offer quality customer service?

Next, your content marketing strategy should target the “evaluation” step in the buying process. Again, create content that answers the questions your customers are asking at this critical stage.

  • How does one replace a bedroom window?
  • Am I capable of doing this myself? If so, can you give me the basic instructions? If not, what should I do?

Finally, don’t forget to address your customers’ post-purchase needs. By providing a an installation guide, for example, you can outshine your competitors and keep customers coming back to you. Cover the entire buying process, and you’ll have a hook-line-sinker content marketing strategy to boost your business well beyond the publishing date.

What’s Next For Content Marketing

Plain and simple, content marketing aims to answer customers’ questions before they even think to ask. Businesses have to anticipate what type of information will attract their target market to their product or service.

Consequently, content marketing will continue to grow more sophisticated. It is a staple of online business. So what’s next? It’s sensible to expect that King Content will really cozy up to Big Data. How, of course, has yet to be seen!

If you want to learn more about advanced content marketing strategies, please don’t hesitate to contact Hat Trick Associates. Our content marketing experts specialize in helping businesses achieve their online marketing goals. Give us a call anytime at (314) 494-3494 or email Jim Haynes at