What do buyers search for when they realize they have a need or a problem?
Well, prospective buyers typically do not wake one morning and jump out of bed thinking “I need to buy Brand X today!”
Most wake up, realize they have a need and begin gathering information about that need so they understand causes and possible solutions.
Then they start identifying possible solution providers and will gather information about those solution providers from external sources so they can determine if they want to even bother engaging with any of them.
What does that mean for your business?
That means that when your prospective client realizes they have a need, they go to Google as well as family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers to gather information about their need.
A person wakes with an eye irritation. They search Google and speak with family and friends about the eye irritation. Eventually, they gather enough information to know that their irritation is most likely conjunctivitis.
Their next step is to gather information about possible treatments and cures.
Then, they will start identifying eye doctors that treat conjunctivitis.
And lastly, they will identify a few to see [a] when the doctor is available to see them, [b] if the doctor accepts their insurance, and [c] other questions on their minds regarding this situation.
Notice, a lot of things happened before the individual contacted the doctors.
The average person consumes 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision, according to Forrester.
Content Marketing Places You Earlier In The Process
Using the above example, if you are an ophthalmologist, you can run all the ads you want – the patient’s journey isn’t taking them into account until much later.
But if you have content that would be of interest to your prospective patients at that “hey, I have a need” stage, they could find that during that first information gathering stage and that helps to place your practice ahead of the competition.
85 percent of users ignore paid ads and focus on organic search results. Non-promotional content can rank well in search and build audience trust.
Best Investment for the Money: Content
Let’s say that every month you spend $1,000 on PPC and at $10 per click for an ad about conjunctivitis you get 100 clicks and 2 people submitting the form or calling your office (assuming you use a unique number for the ad/landing page so you can track calls).
Now, instead of that $12,000 annual expense, you hire a writer to create an article on conjunctivitis and that you send it to your current client base as well as distribute through social media. Eventually, the article starts appearing in more and more searches too.
By the end of the year, that $1,000 investment in an article should be driving at least 100 people per month to your site and assuming your site is designed properly, you should see at least 2 of those 100 submit a form or call your office.
Same results for $1,000 as you were seeing from your $1,000 per month PPC campaigns. That’s one helluva improvement in performance!
Your Competition is Investing in Content Marketing, Don’t Let Them Beat You to the Business!
The U.S. is the world’s largest market for content marketing, exceeding $12 billion in 2016. Furthermore, content marketing revenues are projected to grow at a 14.4 percent compound annual growth rate from 2017 to 2021 according to PQ Media’s annual Global Content Marketing Forecast 2017.
Right now, you have the opportunity to get your content in front of your prospective clients earlier in the process. However, your competition is investing in the same strategy so remember to focus on quality over speed – don’t rush it, take the time to make it great.
The reason for this is twofold. Your audience knows quality and this is your “first impression” so make sure it’s a good first impression.
Second, Google is rewarding the value of the content so your chances of ranking higher in organic search will be increased – and that will pay off many times over as you move forward with your business.