How to Write Content for the Decision-Level Buyer
February 18, 2020 | by Timothy Wier
When people think of content marketing, the first thing that comes to mind is usually top-of-funnel, awareness-level content.
This content draws people in at the beginning of their buyer’s journey, allowing you to nurture them all the way along their journey to becoming a customer.
But at some point, you’re going to need to generate decision-level content for those potential buyers when they reach the bottom of the funnel. So why not start by writing content for the decision-level buyer?
Those people are likely going to be your quickest path to revenue:
- They already know they have a problem, so you don’t have to spend time convincing them
- They’ve already decided to “fire” their current solution to that problem, so you have someone who’s open to making some kind of a purchase
- They’re likely not going to wait too long to make their purchase, which means the conversion-to-sales cycle is likely going to be shorter
It may be tempting to spend all your conversation at this stage in the buyer’s journey focusing exclusively on product marketing.
However, writing decision-level content is not the same as product marketing. Your job is to educate and provide resources to help the buyer make their own decisions as they get closer to making that purchasing decision.
So how do you create content that speaks to decision-level needs while not lapsing into pure promotion or sales?
Here are some tips on how to write content for the decision-level buyer.
1. Answer the “question behind the question.”
Every buyer is going to have questions, especially as they approach the critical buying decision. But often, buyers don’t ask the question they actually need or want to have answered.
For example, your salespeople may get common questions like:
- How much does the product cost?
- What specific features or services do you provide?
- How does your product compare to your direct competitors?
While it’s important for your salespeople to answer these questions directly, each of them betrays a deeper question that you should address in your content.
Consider three corresponding “questions behind the question”:
- Cost: How do I know this will generate value and a return on investment?
- Services: Which of my problems will this product solve?
- Competitors: Which of my current solutions will I need to “fire” in order to use your product?
When you understand the question behind the question, you can speak to those deeper needs. That way, you can let the salespeople do the selling, while you do the educating.
2. Always position yourself as a solution.
You sell a specific product or service. But when you think about it, what you’re actually selling is a solution to a problem.
This is more obvious in a B2B context than in B2C, but it’s true in both.
Unless you’re a major consumer brand that people will automatically purchase something from — the next Apple product, or the next Disney-Pixar film, or the next Nike shoe — you have to convince your buyer the value of your product as opposed to the alternatives.
When you write awareness- or consideration-level content, you’ll talk more about the problem itself. But writing to the decision-level buyer requires you to focus on solutions:
- You’ll get to the root issue of what someone wants to buy.
- You’ll come across as helpful, rather than self-promotional (if you do it right).
- You’ll always remain relevant, because you’re focusing on their needs rather than your wares.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t mention the product or yourself. In fact, out of the three levels of engagement, decision-level content is the most appropriate place to bring up your product.
But keep in mind the product is irrelevant to the buyer if it’s not meeting a need, solving a problem, or relieving pain. Your salespeople could pitch them on features and functionality all they want, but if that buyer doesn’t see the value, they’re not going to buy.
Use your decision-level content to present that value. Talk about how your product solves problems. Help them come to terms with their needs, and, hopefully, see you as their solution.
That way, you’re taking a buyer-centric rather than a product-centric approach.
3. Be straightforward and honest.
Let’s be real. You’re not running a charity. You’re running a business.
That means that when you publish content, you’re ultimately trying to drive your readers toward a sale — at least the ones that are a good fit for your product or service.
What’s more, your buyers are well aware that’s what you’re trying to do.
There’s an idea out there that content that is educational rather than promotional is irrelvant to driving sales. Nothing is further from the truth.
It makes sense to steer away from explicit product pitches when you’re writing awareness-level content. At this stage, your buyer isn’t even considering potential solutions to their problem, which means that they’re not going to find a product pitch relevant.
Writing content for the decision-level buyer is a different story.
A common phrase I hear is “we’re here to be a resource for you.” While many brands definitely mean that — and produce the level of content that backs up that claim — not every company is truly a resource. They’re simply building relationships that, hopefully, lead to an eventual sale.
When someone gets to this level, they’re going to expect to be sold to. So don’t try to act like you aren’t interested in getting them to make a purchase.
So just be honest. Your readers and customers will appreciate it in the long run.
4. Temper your sales pitches.
While you should certainly not be afraid to mention product in your bottom-of-funnel content, don’t go too far in the other direction.
You aren’t the salesperson. You’re opening the door to a conversation with the salesperson.
Your goal is to help your buyer understand the value of what you have to offer, and to decide whether that’s their top priority at the moment.
Your buyer can see your sitemap. They can navigate to those product pages if they want more information.
Your decision-level content shouldn’t try to sell them so much as it drives them into a sales conversation. This is the difference between listing features and functionality vs. solutions to their problems.
Eventually, the conversation around the product will happen. But if they don’t understand the value you provide, they’re not going to be interested in the product at all.
Writing content for a decision-level buyer is a specific skill. If you can master it, you’ll get closer to your revenue goals, opening up untold possibilities for your startup or small business.