What is the buyer’s journey and how it affects a blog’s conversion rate
If you could choose one metric and one metric only to measure your B2B blog’s performance, my guess is it wouldn’t be related to traffic, but to conversion.
Because even though a corporate blog can have several objectives: generate organic traffic, improve brand recognition, create engagement with your audience, etc., the objective at the end of the funnel is always commercial.
In other words, turning readers into customers or leads.
This goal may not be obvious or one that you may set for the long term. But ultimately, converting more and selling more are objectives you want to have.
The question is: What does a B2B blog need to achieve that?
To start, you need qualified traffic. That means website visits from users with the right characteristics, people you could consider your buyer persona.
But don’t confuse visits with customers.
Not all B2B blogs are made equal; there is no one-size-fits-all strategy that gets leads to pour in. Nevertheless, getting qualified traffic is a good starting point. Publishing content that is relevant to the moment your buyer personas are in carries enormous weight in the conversion equation.
And that is where the buyer’s journey comes in.
To understand it, let’s start at its root and dive into what it is (you may skip to the second point if you already know what it is) and its role in a B2B blog’s conversion rate.
What is the buyer’s journey?
The buyer’s journey is the process your prospects go through from identifying a problem they’re facing to purchasing a solution to said problem.
This journey is divided into three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision.
- Awareness: In the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, your prospect has a problem, asks related questions, and discovers a product or service that can help solve their problem.
- Consideration: In the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, your prospect looks for a solution, discovers possible options, and weighs their pros and cons.
- Decision: In the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, your prospect is ready to buy, but has yet to decide on a particular solution.
The role of the buyer’s journey in your B2B blog’s conversion rate
There are specific needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey and your blog should be designed to accompany your prospects through every step of the way.
One common mistake is to focus exclusively on the awareness phase, especially when the blog’s focus is to generate organic traffic.
At this stage, the search volumes of queries are much richer. This does mean more potential. But what is the use of all that traffic if you don’t invite your prospects to keep moving forward and journey along?
By creating content that guides your audience through the buyer’s journey, you’re helping them move through your conversion funnel, which is exactly what you want.
Three content types for the consideration and decision stages
There are three types of articles that are perfect for the consideration and decision stages and have enormous potential to improve your B2B blog’s conversion rates. In this section, we’ll introduce them and explain how they can help.
1. Comparative articles
Let’s start with some context. Let’s say your product is a visual marketing design tool for marketing teams without a designer.
At the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, your prospects will be making generic design-related queries such as “best font combinations” or “what are HEX codes.”
Your blog can help answer these questions, after which your readers will progress one step further as they become aware of products that can solve their problems.
Buckle up. They have now entered the consideration stage of the customer journey and will be evaluating the different options available to them. In other words, they’ll be researching your product and your competitors’.
At this point in the buyer’s journey, they will begin to wonder, “Should I choose Software X or Software Y? Which is better?” or, “What is the best online design program?”
You want to be there when they head to Google to ask those questions.
It’s not about bragging, nor is it about speaking ill of others-it’s about your prospects and their problems.
That said, the aim of this type of article is simple: to guide them towards the best solution.
Don’t be afraid to compare yourself with your competitors. If you focus on your audience and talk about your competition honestly (which will require giving credit where credit is due), comparative articles can be helpful.
Check out this post by Hotjar comparing themselves with their competitor, Crazy Egg.
They’re not the only ones who understand the benefits of comparative articles. Crazy Egg themselves also have their own comparison article ranking their solutions with Hotjar’s and another competitor’s.
This type of article plays a strategic role in converting. When prospects are in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, they’re weighing various solutions. An article that highlights the value proposition and characteristics of each of them can become the tipping point that seals the deal.
Plus, in many cases, the keywords used to compare such solutions (eg. “crazy egg vs hotjar”) have considerable volume so a comparative article can be the stone that kills two birds: provide valuable information and rank at the same time.
- Hotjar: Hotjar vs Crazy Egg: An Honest Comparison [4 Differences]
- Crazy Egg: Crazy Egg vs. Hotjar vs. FullStory: A Comprehensive Comparison (Plus Who Each Tool Is Best Suited for)
2. Attractive product content
Writing about your product or service may appear dry and far from user-centric.
But it actually plays a major role in the buyer’s journey because your prospects need to know what it offers and how it works to decide if it’s the best solution for them.
This makes product content a fundamental part of your content strategy.
Integrating them into your blog strategy, making it editorial, and ensuring it’s useful for your audience, however, can be a challenge.
The key lies in finding the right angle for your content. As much as it should be practical and establish a connection between your audience and your product or service, it must also be attractive and easy to consume.
One great example of how this should be executed is this blog post by Canva, where the benefit (creating beautiful Instagram stories) integrates perfectly with a product feature (specific templates).
Monday.com goes one step further by presenting the characteristics of its product itself-remote work templates-as added resources.
The resulting content is useful and relevant for their prospects, regardless of the buyer’s journey stage they’re at. Not only are they giving them advice on how to work remotely, but they’re also putting a solution (theirs) within reach.
The nature of such content deals with very specific issues and is aimed at customers or prospects in the final stages of the conversion funnel.
But you can actually do more with it-educate readers about the product or service and still remain relevant and interesting for prospects who are in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey.
That’s with articles that target a specific problem and solution. I.e. How to [solve problem X] with product [Y].
Think about a pain point that affects the majority of your target audience and write an article about how your product can help to solve that very problem.
That is precisely what ActiveCampaign has done.
- Canva: Stepping up your Instagram stories with Canva
- Monday.com: 11 Remote Work Templates to Get Your Team Set Up for Success
- ActiveCampaign: 6 Ways to Grow Your Business in ActiveCampaign (in 10 Minutes or Less)
3. Creative case studies
Dedicating a section of your website or a page to case studies is common practice (and completely valid). But this type of content actually has enormous potential to boost conversion rates when placed within your B2B blog.
Buyers search for content because they want to solve a specific problem aspire to become better professionals.
By providing real examples of how other successful professionals were able to solve the exact same problem they’re facing, these case studies fulfill both of these needs.
In other words, the solution you offer in a case study is just as important as the inspiration and emotional connection you create with your audience.
A blog is the perfect space to experiment with content formats that enhance this more human and inspiring aspect. Just take a look at this case study by Slack.
With a strong storytelling component, this is a perfect example of how a case study can be much more than sales material and still be aligned with the blog’s editorial line.
There are so many right notes that this article hits.
First off, it addresses an emerging problem for its audience (getting used to working together remotely) and contextualizes it (the COVID-19 pandemic) so it’s pertinent, fresh, and present.
This makes the content absolutely relevant to your audience at the different stages of the buyer’s journey.
Notice how its tone-close, human, vulnerable-is far from commercial and establishes an emotional connection at the same time.
It is all part of a story in which the characters are much more than employees of a company; they are people that have been united through a common challenge and a subtle ally: technology. Or in this case, Slack.
Asana uses an approach for its case studies that infuses a personal touch. Instead of explaining how their clients are using their product, they talk about how they themselves use it.
By showing that they share a problem with their audience, their employees become both a user and a promoter (one with expert knowledge and credibility, too).
After all, who better than them to explain how to get the most out of Asana?
Another tool, Unbounce, also frequently publishes case studies on its blog. That in itself tells us something because these guys specialise in conversion optimisation.
They’ve even found a great way to merge this type of articles with one of the most popular blog formats: listicles. More specifically, lists or collections of top examples.
These articles work like covert case studies because they use real examples to communicate the product’s benefits while avoiding focusing on a single customer. Instead, their focus is to inspire.
- Slack case study: In it together: Unity unites its newly remote workforce in Slack
- Asana case study: How Asana uses Asana for Remote Work
- Unbounce case study: 27 Ecommerce Landing Page Examples to Maximize Sales in 2020
Spice up your buyer’s journey
Having variety spices up content marketing. And this is especially so when you map different types of content to the buyer’s journey.
Your content should connect with people who are at different stages of the buyer’s journey. That means experimenting with different formats and types that specifically address the needs of each stage.
By creating more conversion-oriented blog content, you’ll enter commercial territory in a natural way and focus on the solutions your company offers.
Even as you produce product-focused articles or case studies, remember that the protagonists should be your buyers-them, their interests, dreams, fears, and doubts-and not you.
If you want to create attractive and relevant content that fits in with the editorial line of your B2B blog, don’t forget to write from your audience’s point of view and adopt an angle that connects with them and on an emotional level where possible.