buying process

How Business Blogging Affects the Buying Process

buying process business bloggingThe buying process is defined as, "The set of procedures used to identify products for purchase, verify quality and compliance of products and vendors, carry out purchasing transactions, and verify that operations associated with purchasing have been executed appropriately." If you're business isn't treating its buying process as complex as that definition, then it's likely you're not moving leads through the process, that you're not fulfilling certain parts of it as well as you should. One of the best ways to fill in gaps in your buying process is through business blogging. Here's how business blogging can affect your buying process:

Provide Information to Buyers

Last year, 88.1% of US internet users ages 14+ browsed or researched products online, according to HubSpot. Do you have solid, valuable information for your potential customers to browse and research online? Or, do you just have product and service pages that are designed to make a sale? Considering that nearly everyone is browsing and researching, you better have something valuable for potential customers. If not, business blogging is a great way to start.

Answer Customer Questions

Don't forget that the buying process is more than browsing and researching, but also comparing vendors, verifying  brand trust and quality, and of course, the actual purchase. If you're not sure how to use business blogging to affect and to improve the buying process, then the best place to start is to answer customer questions. Customer questions come from all parts of the buying process, not just the researching and browsing part. Therefore, starting with these questions fills in those gaps while ensuring that your corporate blog has valuable content for potential customers. Plus, it also build brand trust, awareness, and transparency, all good things when reaching out to customers as your competitors are trying to do the same.

Add Extra Entryways to Your Business

How are customers currently learning about your business? Social media? Search engines? Referrals? Advertising? Even if it were any or all of the above, business blogging is a great way to add an entryway as well as compliment those entryways. Business blogging makes it easier to get found online, while also providing you great content to share on social media. On top of that, if gives your current customers and fans something to share with their network. Business blogging affects the buying process by adding more people to it, and moving others through it.

Quick Tips with Business Blogging and the Buying Process

Tip 1: With some blog posts, it would be good to also include a link to one of your product/service pages. This way you're not just showing them how you use a generic product or service, but to your branded product or service.

Tip 2: Add a call to action at the end of every blog post. In regards to the buying process, use lead generation content that gets leads to convert and to move to the next step. For example, this blog post is designed to address a problem or a need. A good call to action is one that helps the reader conduct research, or learn more about the solutions to solve that problem and who offers those types of solutions.

Tip 3: Don't forget to highlight your customers from time to time! What better way to move others through to buying process then to show a real life example of what a purchase of your product or service can do!

Related Links:

How the Buying Process Affects Your Content Marketing

Content is King, and There's Never Too Much of It

How Business Blogging Gets You More Customers (Eventually)

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Content is King, and There's Never Too Much of It

too much contentA local St. Louis marketing firm argued in its most recent blog post that too much content can end up hurting your business.

Utter hogwash. This post is so riddled with inaccuracies that I'm surprised it actually came from a marketing firm.

There is NO SUCH THING as too much content.

If there was, then experts would be suggesting limits left and right on the number of blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, press releases etc. you ought to have. We all know that no one is out there suggesting these limits. If the content is working for you and generating leads, why would you stop? If your target demographic likes this content, how could there be too much? Too much is only too much if the quality of the content suffers. But, too much in and of itself isn't possible if every piece of content falls in line with the buying process and a content marketing strategy. If you can produce five incredible, engaging blog posts every single day, seven days a week, then by all means write those posts.

The post goes on to say that "the act of reporting on every facet of your business and company as breaking news or important buying information is content overkill and unnecessary."

This couldn't be more wrong! With over 80 percent of people doing research online before making any sort of purchasing decision, important buying information is exactly what your target market is looking for. If you don't provide the information to move YOUR potential customer through YOUR buying process, they will go through your competitor's with your competitor's information. It's not overkill to provide this information, and it's hardly unnecessary if your potential customers want it.

The post does make a valid point that the process of getting content to your audience stems from getting information from your audience. The information your audience provides, and the question they ask, can make great ideas for content that will serve their needs. The important thing with content marketing is meeting the needs of your audience. Company news and info may not necessarily achieve that goal, which is why there are specific places for company news, like press releases, or a news page on your website.

Even so, the post incorrectly states that the term 'corporate journalism' come from the phenomenon of creating more content than consumers want.

First of all, I hardly doubt that there is more content then consumers want out there. Second of all, corporate journalism, also known as brand journalism, involves storytelling that invites audiences to participate through digital and social media channels. By definition, brand journalism and content is something consumers want. If consumers don't engage, it's not because they don't want content, or that there's too much out there. It's because there's something that's specifically not engaging about the specific piece of content. There are a lot of competitors (and content) out there, and it's because of that you need to find a way to stand out and to be buzzworthy if you want people to engage with your content.

Overall, I just have to disagree with the notion that of too much content, and that consumers are becoming overwhelmed with this content. If that's what you believe as a marketing firm, then you're simply not doing content marketing correctly. You have to do more than put it out there. You have to tailor it to your audience, you have to amplify it on your social networks, and you have to be come an awesome, consistent creator of content in order to yours to survive and to reach people. Content will only hurt your business if you don't do it right.

How the Buying Process Affects Your Content Marketing

Every potential customer goes through a buying process before making the decision to purchase from you or a competitor. If you don't understand the buying process for your business, and what your target demographic goes through and thinks about when buying your product/service, then you are missing out on crucial content marketing opportunities. A great way to engage in content marketing is to answer customer questions, and to provide the information that potential customers are looking for when going through the buying process. If you're the one who provides that information for people, you build that trust and that brand awareness that makes generating a lead and a sale that much easier. After all, the businesses that are the best educators are also the most successful.

If you're already engaging in content marketing, then the chart above is an excellent reference tool to use when determining your specific customer concerns, and where you may fall short in the content you're providing. You need to have content for every section of the buying process. If you're doing well at the top of the funnel, then you might want more middle of the funnel content that addresses buying criteria or guides buyers through your products/services.

This chart is also useful in gauging your current content marketing strategy. If you have offers and content that isn't generating leads like you have hoped, it could be because it doesn't fit with the buying process, or that it isn't matched with the right part of the buying process. If you're trying to push a free trial or a coupon as a top of the funnel offer, then you won't get a lot of conversions because most of those people are nowhere near ready to buy, when a free trial or a coupon is better meant for that that are considering you as their vendor.