Very few people change service providers on a whim. Usually, they are attempting to solve a problem. As a community association service provider, your challenge is to understand your prospects’ problems and communicate an effective solution to make those problems go away (by hiring you!)
We’ve talked before about how Inbound Marketing helps you attract and convert customers by providing them with useful content that answers their questions or is helpful to them in some meaningful way. Now let’s dig into the buyer journey: what it is, and how it plays a crucial role in implementing Inbound Marketing. The key element is your content, which is why the inbound process is also sometimes called Content Marketing.
The Purpose of Your Content
Content can span numerous forms, from articles, blogs, social media interactions, ebooks, worksheets, white papers, and more – anything that might be useful to your target audience. The trick is not in what you create but in why you create it, and how it aligns with the different stages of the buyer journey. Here are some examples of why you might create a piece of content:
- To answer questions board members might have so they have the language to seek a solution
- To address pain points and direct the reader to a solution (your services)
- To educate prospects on an obscure or difficult-to-understand aspect of the process and ease their fears about your solution
- To provide social proof of why your solution is the best option available to them
- To provide reassurance that your customers have made the right choice in your solution
The Buyer Journey
The Buyer Journey is a framework that represents the stages a potential customer goes through from the moment they become aware of a problem or need until they make a purchase decision. It helps you understand and anticipate the needs of your prospects at each stage, allowing you to create tailored marketing strategies and content.
You have 4 basic stages that a purchaser might be in at any point:
- Problem Awareness
- Research and Identification
- Building of Requirements
- Comparing Vendors
These stages of the buyer’s journey will also dictate what they are ready for in terms of the types of content. For example, a person in the research phase is not ready to receive a proposal – they aren’t sure what exactly they want yet! It’s important that you map your content to where the customer is in their journey.
The Marketing Funnel
In sales and marketing, we often visualize where prospective clients are as a funnel, where our job is to usher prospects through the journey to the purchase. This marketing funnel has three sections with three funny names, TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU. These sections provide an abbreviated map of the buyer journey stages:
- Top of the Funnel (TOFU) – This type of content is meant to attract prospects that are in the earliest stages of the buying process. A lot of times they may not know the lingo, or they may not have even identified what the solutions are that are available to them. They are still searching for content related to their problem. Answering questions and providing education is usually best at this stage.
- Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) – Prospects at the middle of the funnel have generally figured out WHAT they need to solve their problem, they simply haven’t figured out the specific requirements yet. Educational content that helps them evaluate options or understand the choices that are available to them like a buyer’s guide is useful at this stage.
- Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) – a prospect at the bottom of the funnel has figured out by now what they want, and they are actively shopping for a vendor. This is where you do the hard sell of encouraging them to choose you! Not only is your RFP totally appropriate here, but other resources like case studies and social proof will also work well.
Okay, pop quiz time! Is this article TOFU, MOFU, or BOFU content?
Hint: It’s an educational piece designed to introduce a new solution to an old or otherwise unnamed problem, and provides helpful breakdowns of marketing lingo and best practices.
A+ if you answered TOFU (and an A for effort to everyone else–we believe in educating with positive reinforcement here)! This article was written to helpfully engage with our audience (that’s you) by giving insight into an industry problem and providing a successful solution, making it a Top of the Funnel piece of content.
Approachable educational content is the first step management companies should be taking to intrigue and delight future board members. If this article convinced you to rethink your marketing, imagine what we can do to convince boards in your area to rethink their current management solution. Give us a few minutes of your time and we’ll gladly show you how inbound marketing can help you move the needle.