Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action – these are the steps of the AIDA marketing model that will bring business to your doorstep. The concept was invented in 1898 by Elias St. Elmo Lewis and it has stood the test of time.
On the other hand, how customers and brands interact has changed dramatically. Touchpoints have gone from interpersonal to online and mobile. The number of channels has grown substantially, and understanding of the customer journey has evolved from a linear model to a complex circular one.
For online interactions with customers, brands speak through content and listen through data. Unsurprisingly the amount of content available has increased too – alongside quality expectations.
Perfecting content for individual touchpoints is always a worthwhile exercise, but it’s companies that map and consider customer journeys as a whole that stand to gain the most. Not only do customers who have good experiences increase their spend by 140%, a surprising 72% also said a disconnected experience would make them change brands.
So how can you create an outstanding digital experience? Here are five types of content that will bring your customer journey to life:
1. Simply helpful
Google introduced the content model ‘Hygiene, Hub, Hero’ for YouTube. It’s great for search engine optimization, addressing the reader’s questions, introducing them to your brand and positioning you as the answer to their problems.
How-to guides, blog posts, white papers and web pages are all examples of simply helpful hygiene content. While that sounds like a lot of reading, a study found that 88% of consumers do online research before a purchase, and read an average of 10.4 pieces of content before reaching their final decision.
2. Perfectly personalized
Companies such as Spotify, Netflix and Amazon have mastered personalization. In the process, they’ve changed customer expectations around the world. As a result, 80% of consumers now prefer to shop with companies providing a personalized approach. You need to make sure your personalization is driven by customer data and supported by your customer journey map, segmentation and personas.
3. Socially connected
80% of consumers use social media to engage with brands and 54% do this to research products. This means it’s a great place for your ‘hub’ content, designed to build awareness and trust.
Social media is also fast becoming a customer service must-have, with 54% of customers preferring social channels over phone support. However, they do also expect a fast reply. For example, 60% of Twitter users expect a response within an hour.
4. Find your formats
Cisco predicts that by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic, and 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands they support. As a result, video production should be a key consideration for marketers.
Infographics are a frequently shared format – in fact, they’re shared three times more often on social media than other content types. Their use is still growing, particularly in B2B, and they can attract high numbers of links to your site, further boosting your SEO.
However, brands also need to experiment with new formats, like augmented reality: from virtual fitting rooms to live make-up mirrors, and vehicle demos. Although visual formats and design have a unique appeal, they haven’t made text redundant. Original, authoritative research can outperform viral content, while building trust and domain authority. Ultimately, the right choice for your brand depends on your audience and your industry sector, but when it comes to making a splash with your ‘hero’ content, don’t be afraid to think big.
Original, authoritative research can outperform viral content, while building trust and domain authority. Ultimately, the right choice for your brand depends on your audience and your industry sector, but when it comes to making a splash with your ‘hero’ content, don’t be afraid to think big.
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