One of the key things when trying to make money with your site online is to provide valuable content to your visitors. You won’t believe how many content marketers expect to do well in terms of sales of their own products or other affiliate products just by pushing marketing messages to visitors. Just telling people about the product and its facts and asking them to buy will not do much to your bottom line. Instead you must focus on providing value to the people, creating content that is relevant to the product you are trying to sell that helps them in one way or another. This is the content that’s near your visitor’s wallets and the purchasing cycle helps you.
5 stages of the purchase cycle
So how do you create valuable content that helps people in the situations where they may be looking to purchase a product? One way to help you organize this is to look at the purchasing cycle. Look at the purchase cycle and try and solve problems people have at the different cycle stages. If you went to a business school you might have dealt a lot with the purchasing cycle and its stages go something like this:
- Stage 1: Problem Recognition
- Stage 2: Information Search
- Stage 3: Alternative Evaluation
- Stage 4: Purchase Decision
- Stage 5: Post-Purchase Behavior
Not to bore you too much with marketing theories the thing what the theory above explains is that many people go through a process like that where they become aware of a need they need fulfilled, and then go into an information search and look at the different alternatives they have before making a decision on what to buy. The idea here for bloggers is to create valuable content that helps people in their product search during the different stages of the cycle. So how exactly do you do that you may be asking.
Think about how you go through the purchasing cycle yourself when you are thinking of making a purchase. In stage 1 you somehow recognize a need you have – it might come from a product you see a friend is using, something that a celebrity has said or even a TV ad. For content marketers it is pretty difficult to be in this stage unless you have quiet a large audience in the first place.
Creating content with the cycle in mind
Instead the information search stage and the evaluation of alternatives are much better stages to focus your attention and efforts on. In stage 2 (information search stage) people most probably go to Google and other search engines and do a search to start the product hunt. Some keywords they might be using in conjunction with product names or needs when searching are:
- Price comparison
- Discounts / Promos
They are ready to make a decision and make a purchase. You need to rank there for those searches in order to be near their wallets. So how can you create content that helps people in these stages? There are many times when people are in a situation where they have to make a decision between two or more alternative options. What you can do is review each individual option – try out the product, collect all the relevant info about it and give an insightful opinion about it. In addition many people search for comparisons of the different choices. What you can do is create content where you compare the differences between the alternatives, and you outline the pros and cons of using each product. Pretty simple actually – put yourself in the shoes of someone being in the purchasing cycle in the field that you are in, and act on the insights you get.
Where many content publishers go wrong is not being very helpful to the visitors. You need to create some value for them, inform them and help them make a better decision. That is why content works best if you actually know the products you are reviewing and recommending. You need to be able to put yourself in the shows of your visitors. Otherwise it is easy to see through you and the information you provide will not have any big impact and they might just as well click to “back” button and go somewhere else. The back button is your enemy. Know your visitors, know what they need and want. Eat your own dog food basically.