Content Mapping and The Sales Cycle

Lead Nurturing / Content Mapping

Lead nurturing and content mapping are essential components of any email campaign. Even if a prospect is not disposed to buy immediately, you can still guide them through your sales funnel, and get 4-10x the response rate with lead nurturing as opposed to an email blast. So, how do you adjust your messages to nurture leads based on where your prospect is in the sales cycle? Content mapping is the key.

What Is Content Mapping?

Content mapping is a process whereby you determine the type of content that is most appropriate to send a recipient at a particular time. If you’re thinking, “That’s just impossible,” it’s not. You can actually follow a specific structure that will make it easy for you to create content based on your lead nurturing campaigns. Once you have the structure nailed down, then you just need to tweak your messages a bit, settle on how often you’ll send emails, and structure your calls to action (CTAs) based on the feedback you get as well as your click-through rates, open rates, and other metrics.

The key to lead nurturing and content mapping is understanding the buying cycle.

The Buyer’s Journey

Often, people over-think the buying cycle, attempting to break it down into sub-stage after sub-stage to match up with their specific business models. Really, everything you need to know about the buyer’s journey can be stated as follows – it’s awareness, evaluation, and purchase.

In the awareness stage, leads discover your product or service, or they realize that they need something to fulfill a particular need. In the evaluation stage, they look at the ways that your product or service could meet their needs. If you’re the best fit, then they move to the purchase stage. It’s really just that simple.

Content Mapping and the Buyers Journey

Content mapping matters in the buying cycle, because everyone’s needs could be different, depending on what point they enter.

Imagine, for instance, that you have a much-needed weekend off, and you decide to go to the mall. You’re not really looking for anything specific, and you’d probably rather that salespeople didn’t bother you. You’re just in the awareness stage.

Now, imagine that you’ve headed to the mall because you need something specific, and all you want to do is find it, buy it, and go home. At this stage, you want a salesperson to approach you and help you find what you need. You’re in the evaluation stage.

Finally, at the purchase stage, you buy what you want or need and go home.

Each of these stages requires different content. Face to face in a brick and mortar store, the content that a salesperson should be delivering is “How can I help you?” (awareness stage), “Here are some items that could work for you” (evaluation stage), and “Will that be cash, credit, or debit?” (purchase stage).

It works the same way online. At every stage, the customer requires different content. So, you need to map the content that you deliver according to where your customer is in the buying cycle. In other words, make sure that you’re having the right conversation for the stage that your customer is at.

Content Mapping for Your Business

Content mapping is highly individualistic, depending on the type of business you are operating. You have different types of buyers, and different products or services from other businesses. So, ask yourself these four questions:

What do I have to do to move a customer from awareness through to evaluation and finally to purchase?

What pages did the customer visit on my website, and in what order? Where did they convert? A pathway could be visiting your blog, clicking a call to action (CTA) banner which takes them to a landing page, and then downloading an e-book.

From there, perhaps they signed up to a webinar on a thank you page which lead to a sales presentation and ultimately a sale.

You will probably find that there is more than one pathway that moves people through the buyer’s journey and into becoming a customer. The things that are causing people to move along to the purchase stage are what’s known as “content assets.”

More About Content Assets

Content assets drive your customer to the purchase point. So, take a look at what types of content motivate people to buy. Just as an example, if you’re selling fashion accessories, you may notice that people are much more likely to click on a “fashionable purses” link than they are on one that offers “cheap purses.” This tells you a lot about your buyer persona – you learn what your customers want, and then you can target your marketing toward them.

Once you know your buyer persona, adjust your messages to speak to your target market. You may find that you need to rewrite your content to appeal to the buyer that you have identified.

When the content is right, your customer will be ready to move to the purchase stage. Content that is appropriate for the level of interest of your customer means conversion. You have taken a customer from the point where they might be interested in your product through to wanting to learn more, and finally, to the point where they are ready to buy. That is what lead nurturing and content management is all about.