How to Write for the Consideration Stage of the Buyer's Journey
March 19, 2020 | by Timothy Wier
When creating content to drive your inbound marketing, most marketers talk about either the awareness or decision stages of the buyer’s journey.
But a lot of time and activity happens between those two stages. It’s why the buyer’s journey has three stages, not two. Consideration-stage content is just as important as content created for the other two.
During that time where you buyer persona is moving from understanding their problem to making that final decision, you need to have the information needed to guide them to that purchase. Plus, consideration-stage content is great for your sales team to leverage in one-to-one communications.
Here are some tips to help you create content that resonates at the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, and sets your reader up to enter the decision stage.
1. Re-state and clarify the problem.
Let’s say you write a blog post that ranks for a consideration-stage search term. It’s critical for that post to not only rank, but to address the problem they want to solve in a helpful and relevant way.
The buyer already knows what their problem is by this point. If your content isn’t going to propose a helpful solution to that problem, then they’re just going to click away.
Once you re-state the problem, then you can clarify that problem to help the buyer weigh potential solutions.
Here’s an example. You could have a buyer that’s searching for “how to improve internal workflows.” Based on that search term, the buyer clearly understands that they have a problem, and they’re looking for a solution.
However, your piece of content should be focused on a specific solution, and the problem mentioned above has many facets:
- Do they need to collaborate more efficiently?
- Better manage and approve tasks and projects?
- Automate activities that take up administrative time?
- Break larger projects into smaller, more actionable steps to be delegated?
When you clarify the problem you solve, you’re communicating to your buyer what to expect from your content.
2. Uncover all the potential solutions.
Content for the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey shouldn’t talk only about how great your product is. That’s a decision-stage conversation.
This is where, instead, you need to uncover all potential solutions and weigh the pros and cons of each.
Let me be clear here: this does not mean you need to talk about your business competitors. You don’t want to draw attention to the competition, nor do you want to start getting into a “features and functionality war” with them at this point.
Instead, think through the problems they solve and all the categories of solutions that exist. This is where Jobs Theory from Harvard Business School is helpful.
There are many solutions to a problem. Part of the role of content at the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey is to weigh all of these categories of solutions and help the buyer figure out if what you provide is the best investment for them at this time.
3. Show the weakness of the DIY option.
Your biggest competitor isn’t another product or company. It’s the decision to do nothing.
Inertia is a powerful force in sales processes. Even when a buyer identifies a problem, sometimes they decide not to move forward due to either not recognizing the significance of the problem, sticker shock, or any number of factors.
You can start to break down this mindset in your consideration-stage content. Explain why a DIY solution really doesn’t work:
- Lack of expertise. Your customers don’t have the knowledge and skills you do to solve the problem. Not only can you do it quicker, you can do it better. This saves them money in the long run.
- Time-consuming. No matter how much hustle you have, there are still a limited number of hours in a day. There’s always something more impactful you could be doing.
- Not scalable. For many companies, DIY simply doesn’t scale. There are software and tools available that make previously complex tasks simple.
Make sure to combat the DIY mentality, as it’s the biggest source of inertia among your buyers.
4. Be honest and fair.
You have strengths and weaknesses for your company. While you should never set your own trap, you should also be honest about the right solutions for the right buyers.
A clear-cut example is price point. You obviously don’t want to undersell what you have to offer, but there are going to be many buyers who can’t meet that particular price point, at least at this stage in growth.
When you’re honest and fair in your consideration-stage content, what you’re doing at this point is separating the wheat from the chaff. Instead of relying on your sales team to do so, you’re letting the buyer self-select, saving everyone time.
As a marketer, you’re likely going to be tempted to only put your best foot forward. It’s how we’re trained. But resist the urge and don’t be afraid to show vulnerability. Your buyers will appreciate it in the long run.
5. Leave the door open for a “next step” conversation.
Ultimately, the goal of your consideration-stage content is to guide the reader to the decision stage of the buyer’s journey.
There are a number of ways you can do this:
- Invite them to read your bottom-of-funnel, decision-stage content
- Share case studies relevant to their industry or role
- Send them to an order form page
- Connect them with a member of your sales team to continue the conversation
While not everyone who consumes your content will move out of the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, many of them will. That’s why it’s important that you provide a clear path to that next step.
This is the type of content that gets readers excited and anxious to learn more. Things are going to speed up at this point. So you should set up your funnels accordingly.
If you do that, then your consideration-stage content will start to work as a real lead gen engine for you, helping to actualize all the objectives in your marketing strategy.