Wednesday, July 5, 2017

BUYERS JOURNEY CONTENT - Anatomy of an Email Inbox 7-5-2017

Image result for 4th of july

Happy 4th of July. Hope you all enjoyed this mid week holiday to celebrate our independence and what it means for all of us.

I enjoyed it with family and neighbors, but am now back to work and thinking about email content as it relates to the buyer journey.

I think about and spend a lot of time writing about experiential and lifestyle selling and how to better connect with consumers and use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and email specifically to maintain and develop those relationships over time.

Over the years, I have been involved with database marketing and have oftentimes had large databases to tap into to activate and drive incremental business. 

Customer Journey - Awareness and Consideration

Email is certainly a relationship tool, but I think many of us miss the mark in using it for awareness and consideration.  What do I mean by that?  Well, a negative example is a good way to start.  I like to pick on the home building industry for "sour" behaviors because they are an easy target!  They are a very sales and end of funnel focused and if you review just the subject lines of their emails, you can see that.  Here's a snapshot of several weeks of emails from one home builder.  As you can see, they are very focused on SELLING and not so much on understanding where a prospect is in their journey and what kind of things they might want to know.

Customer Journey - Early Funnel Content

I shared some thoughts a few posts ago about customer journey mapping and how this can help you understand the journey, but what I'd like to focus on today is how you discover and develop content specifically focused on the very earliest phases of the journey.

As part of the mapping process, it is important to ask yourself what kind of questions will people ask in the early phases of discovery and consideration.

Some questions that are relevant in this stage need to take you away from the sales process and this makes it hard to get to the right questions.  I've had many conversations with people about what content at this level means and often the responses I receive are still too focused lower in the funnel.

So let's look at some examples.

Home Building 

If I'm not really even thinking about buying a home, how might a builder get some consideration going?  

First, think about people and their homes.  Everyone lives in a home and at times may think about how that home might be better, more livable or something they don't like about it.  What kind of compelling content could help them?

Here's some topic ideas:

-  Top things I would change about my home if I could
-  How to get more out of less space
-  Popular colors for this season

Each of these has nothing to do with a specific builder or the later stages of the sales process.  However, if you had the opportunity to share this kind of content with a broader audience, either in your email database or not, would it be beneficial?  Would it help start the consideration process?  Would it make people more likely to contact you when they are further into the process?

I'd say yes, if done well.

Clothes and Fashions

This is a much shorter cycle time so the content can drive to purchase much faster.  Concepts are still the same however.  What things can get you into their consideration?  So perhaps content like:

-  Best summer swim suits
-  Summer colors that dazzle
-  Summer dress styles for every budget

Again, there is no "promotion" or offer to come in or visit a website and buy it now, but just something to put people into the thinking process of clothing and fashions for summer that could ultimately lead to a purchase from you!

You can come up with these kind of early funnel examples for virtually any industry and product.  The point is to sell but not sell, tap into an emotion and lifestyle and provide content that is of interest and useful.

And don't forget to ask them to raise their hand once they do engage with the content.  Even though people don't like pop-up windows, they do work to get people to sign up for more content like what you provided (and oh, by the way, maybe a special offer!).  It's all about the sale, its just how you get there and when that matters.  Early funnel content does matter.

Happy 4th and happy early funnel content development.

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