As you may have guessed from many of our previous blogs on the topic of life science content marketing, we are firm believers in tailoring your content to speak to the specific goals, challenges and pain points of each of your audiences. If you’re taking the time to create great content, you should always make sure that it’s personalised and targeted at a specific group of people (which’ll mean it is more likely to resonate with them and attract their interest). But how can you do this effectively?
Well, conducting research to really understand what it is that they want and need, and then developing buyer personas that connect these factors with how you can help them, is really important. However, it’s not the whole story. Some people are actively seeking out solutions to their problems and are ready to make a purchase (making them hot leads to have), while others might not even realise there are tools available to overcome their challenges and help them to reach their goals.
As such, you also need to map your content to where they are in their buying process. But how do you define which types of content and tactics are suitable for the different stages of the buyer’s journey? It just so happens we have the perfect content marketing planning tool to share with you.
What is content mapping and why do I need to do it?
The buyer’s journey is made up of roughly three main stages: awareness, consideration and decision (the exact journey someone takes on the path to becoming a customer is rarely so well defined or so linear in real life, but the abstraction is useful when planning a content strategy). At each point along the journey, a potential customer will have different needs and interests, and thus respond differently to different types of content. If you know that your customer is only in the awareness stages (i.e. just beginning to understand the problem they need to address) then it would be a waste of everyone’s time and energy to immediately offer them product demonstrations, pricing comparison charts and technical specs (in fact, that will likely make them feel like you are selling to them in a pushy way and really put them off). Instead, at this stage you should be empathetically steering them in the right direction to identify their problem instead of immediately pushing them towards a solution that may not be fit for purpose.
How to map your existing and new content to the buyer’s journey
So, what sort of content should we be developing for our buyers at the different stages of their journeys? Below, we go into more detail on how to target prospects at the awareness, consideration and decision stages.
The customer will be vendor-neutral right now, only having just realised there’s a problem to address or an opportunity to capitalise on. Any research they are doing will be around gaining a better understanding of their challenge or opportunity. Alternatively, you may even need to open their eyes to the possibilities available.
The recommended content at this stage is items that educate, inform and inspire (but don’t sell – in fact, at this point you might not even mention your company and its offering directly).
The aim is to position yourself and your team as experts in your field, delivering real value to your prospects through really high quality content e.g. reports, whitepapers, ebooks, infographics, blogs and articles. You’ll want to have a compelling point of view that forces your prospects to sit up and take notice.
By now the customer has identified the problem or opportunity in more detail. Their research at this point will be a bit more practical, looking for more info about solving the said problem and starting to compare the options available.
As such, the best content to create at this point includes comparative guides (e.g. comparing the differing technologies available on the market and highlighting where yours performs best) and showcase pieces (e.g. application notes, technical notes and whitepapers). The latter should demonstrate the fact that new technologies exist, which have been specifically designed to make certain experiments and lab processes more accurate, cost-effective, easier and/or efficient than before (including the benefits that your specific products and services can offer).
In these final stages, the customer has defined both the problem and a likely solution. Their research will be centred on working through a shortlist of just a few potential suitors. As such, they’ll likely turn to reviews and endorsements, as well as bottom-of-the-funnel content such as vendor comparisons, trials/demos (so they can evaluate their chosen solutions), testimonials and case studies, in order to gather insight on how a given solution will perform when purchased.
This isn’t a definitive list and there are numerous other types of content at your disposal to give a personalised approach to your marketing efforts and to help you use content marketing to connect with scientists.
If you understand the buyer’s journey you can give your content real weight and value. You likely already have some of this content and already use it as part of your sales process, while other pieces will need to be generated from scratch. Our recommendation is to repurpose as much as possible and make sure it is easy to find on your website and actively used by your sales teams. This way, prospects can both consume it independently and take themselves through most of your sales process on their own, while the experience will be consistent and seamless even if they contact your sales team early in their journey.
In most cases, when they do contact you (or when you contact them) they’ll be much closer to making a purchase decision, thereby shortening your sales cycle and increasing your chances of success.
To learn more about how you can gather insight into your customers and create a content plan built to deliver results, download our free ebook, ‘A 7 Stage Guide to Developing an Effective Life Science Marketing & Communications Plan’.