At the end of the day, you want to solve for your buyers’ needs. Positioning your company’s offering as a solution to your buyer’s pain points is an effective marketing strategy. But if you don’t back up that strategy by actually solving people’s problems in the end, you won’t provide any value.
Everything your company does should contribute toward providing value to customers and solving your buyers’ problems. To do that, you should align your marketing goals with your buyers’ needs. This way while your team is concentrating on accomplishing goals, they won’t lose sight of your buyers.
But, how do you achieve your marketing goals by addressing your buyers’ needs? It begins with the way you create your marketing goals, so let’s start there.
Creating Marketing Goals
Guido Bartolacci, New Breed’s Head of Demand Generation, always advises that your marketing goals should align with the lifecycle stages. If you start at the bottom of your funnel with revenue, you can look at your average deal size and determine how many customers you’ll need to hit this target.
From there, using estimates with built-in buffers, you can work your way up the funnel, calculating how many opportunities you’ll need to close your target number of customers, how many SQLs you’ll need to reach your target level of opportunities and so on.
By the end, you’ll have goals for visitors, leads, MQLs, SQLs, opportunities and customers that relate back to revenue and reflect the typical stages that your contacts will progress through as they take their buyer’s journey.
By measuring your goals this way, you will also gain increased understanding of how to optimize your conversion process. For example, if you notice you have a sufficient number of visitors to reach your goals but your lead total is lacking, you likely have a problem with your visitor-to-lead conversion rate and should evaluate ways to fix that.
Most often, you can improve your conversion rates by leveraging content. Through the use of blogs and other written material in your strategy, you can speak to your contacts where they are within the buying process and present the next logical piece of content for their journey.
Before evaluating what types of content you need, however, you must comprehend who your potential customers actually are.
Understanding Your Buyers’ Needs
“The first step in understanding your buyer’s needs is understanding who your buyers are by creating personas,” says Guido Bartolacci, New Breed’s Head of Demand Generation.
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers. Creating buyer personas involves researching the demographics and psychographics of your ideal customers and digging into their day-to-day lives to identify areas of friction.
“By getting all of these aspects put together, it’s pretty easy to figure out what their pain points and challenges are,” says Guido.
In this way, you create your buyer personas. The next step is helping buyers realize that they have a challenge.
Helping Buyers Identify Problems and Resolve Them
People will recognize that they have problems in different ways. One buyer might come to the conclusion that they have a particular pain point by talking to a friend. Another might realize their challenge by doing research and reading about the issue on your competitor’s website. Ultimately, you want them to determine they have a problem by visiting your site, so you can begin positioning your company’s offering as a solution to their problem.
“The earlier that you can start to capture [your buyers’] attention and guide them through the entire process rather than rely on someone else to do this part for you, the more likely that they’ll become one of your customers,” says Guido.
From there, the next step is helping buyers learn more about their problem.
Education on Problem and Problem Definition
When people realize they have a problem, they will want to educate themselves on it to gain further understanding of the issue. It’s important you provide content, like guides, that will help them during this part of their journey.
Your educational content should cover a wide range of sub-topics based around the core subject your prospects are seeking information about. That will help buyers recognize everything they need to consider about their problem and define the scope and necessary components of a solution.
General Solutions and Specific Solutions
“Once buyers feel like they understand their problem and have a good definition that you’ve helped them arrive at, it’s about helping them solve for that challenge,” says Guido.
That’s going to start at a high level with general solutions, detailing the types of steps your buyers should begin taking. These are things that anyone could help with.
Then, you should get deeper, presenting the specific solutions that your company can provide. This can essentially be your unique value proposition. Emphasize what you do and how you do it differently.
Building Trust and Showing Proof
From there, you need to concentrate on building trust and demonstrating proof. This portion of the buyer’s journey is vital. A potential customer might understand their problem and have listened to your claims that you can help them solve it, but that doesn’t mean they believe you can help.
Building trust with your buyers will help them take one more step towards a purchase. No one wants to make a purchase they don’t believe will solve their problem. In fact, prospects are extremely unlikely to make a purchase, especially a substantial one, if they don’t trust you.
Similarly, demonstrating proof of past customer success will help to ease their buying woes. If they see a reputable source used and extracted value from your offering, they are more likely to accept it themselves.
Leveraging Content to Guide Your Buyers
As we outlined above, your buyers will go through different stages, beginning when they realize they have a problem and ending with you continuing to build trust and demonstrate proof at the end of the sales process. However, in order to guide your buyers through these stages, you need to leverage certain content types.
This is really how your marketing goals are aligned with your buyer’s needs. By creating goals that reflect your customer lifecycle, you can identify gaps in your conversion funnel. When these gaps are identified, you should consider what your buyers are trying to do at that stage.
When individuals transition from one stage to the next, there are offers and types of content that help facilitate their conversions. As you track goal attainment and identify gaps in your conversion funnel, these offers and content types will help ease transitions.
For example, blogs are key content types to help with conversions during buyers’ problem recognition and educational periods. They are a low-commitment content type that helps contacts consume information without feeling like they have to buy into anything.
With blogs, “You’re creating something that will help people realize they have a problem and pull them in,” says Guido. “You’re going to start educating them and helping them define that problem.”
From there, guides and other gated offers require more commitment because buyers must fill out a form giving up their information in order to access them. Concurrently, guides also offer more value by providing more information than a blog.
Once you get to the general solution stage, you need to present ideas about how contacts can solve their problems. While guides can account for some of your needs by beginning to position your company as a solution, you ultimately need to promote your offering.
That queues up the specific solution stage where your content begins to focus more on your company. Leveraging product pages is best at this stage, so you can discuss all of the specific details that separate your product or service from your competition.
Additionally, you can utilize content like one-sheeters and competitive comparisons to showcase how your product is the best solution for your contacts.
Once you present your company’s offering as a solution to buyers, you need to ensure you help them build trust in it. Using reviews and testimonials are both ways that you can do that. They provide customers with an individual’s opinion from outside of your company that is hopefully stating their positive experience with the product. If you can highlight external review sites at this stage, it is probably the most effective tactic.
Finally, you need to provide proof. A case study is the perfect medium to do this because they provide statistics and a relevant story of a way your company and your offering helped a customer.
Guiding prospects through the buying process requires numerous transitions, so optimizing each conversion is vital to the overall success of your company.
Consider a scenario where you are generating an adequate number of visitors to reach your target revenue goal, but you aren’t converting enough into leads to stay on track further down the funnel.
This could be an issue with your site visitors further educating themselves on their problem. At this stage, visitors are transitioning from blogs to guides and other gated content offers. If this transition is not effectively occurring, you should re-evaluate your strategy.
Maybe you need to create more guides. Maybe you need to do a better job of aligning your blogs with your guides. Maybe you should redesign the CTAs on your blogs that link to your guides. There are a number of actions you could try to improve conversions.
At the end of the day, though, by viewing your goals and conversions using this outlook, you can keep your buyer’s needs at the forefront of your strategy, emphasizing the content that will best speak to your contacts along their journey.
Isaac is an Inbound Specialist at New Breed. His passion for the inbound philosophy of giving value to customers before extracting it brought him to New Breed. In his free time, he's an avid outdoorsman.