5 Types of Content that Will Bring Your Customer Journey to Life

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SitecoreOwn the experience

Monday, October 12, 2020

Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action - these are the steps of the AIDA marketing model that will bring business to your doorstep. The concept was invented in 1898 by Elias St. Elmo Lewis and it has stood the test of time.

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5 Types of Content that Will Bring Your Customer Journey to Life

On the other hand, how customers and brands interact has changed dramatically. Touchpoints have gone from interpersonal to online and mobile. The number of channels has grown substantially, and understanding of the customer journey has evolved from a linear model to a complex circular one.

For online interactions with customers, brands speak through content and listen through data. Unsurprisingly the amount of content available has increased too - alongside quality expectations.

Perfecting content for individual touchpoints is always a worthwhile exercise, but it’s companies that map and consider customer journeys as a whole that stand to gain the most. Not only do customers who have good experiences increase their spend by 140%, a surprising 72% also said a disconnected experience would make them change brands.

So how can you create an outstanding digital experience? Here are five types of content that will bring your customer journey to life:

Welcome to the age of customer centricity

Discover how to deliver the best digital experience to keep your customers coming back.

VISIT THE HUB

1. Simply helpful

Google introduced the content model ‘Hygiene, Hub, Hero’ for YouTube. It’s great for search engine optimization, addressing the reader’s questions, introducing them to your brand and positioning you as the answer to their problems.

How-to guides, blog posts, white papers and web pages are all examples of simply helpful hygiene content.  While that sounds like a lot of reading, a study found that 88% of consumers do online research before a purchase, and read an average of 10.4 pieces of content before reaching their final decision.

2. Perfectly personalized

Companies such as Spotify, Netflix and Amazon have mastered personalization. In the process, they’ve changed customer expectations around the world. As a result, 80% of consumers now prefer to shop with companies providing a personalized approach. You need to make sure your personalization is driven by customer data and supported by your customer journey map, segmentation and personas.  

3. Socially connected

80% of consumers use social media to engage with brands and 54% do this to research products. This means it’s a great place for your ‘hub’ content, designed to build awareness and trust.

Social media is also fast becoming a customer service must-have, with 54% of customers preferring social channels over phone support. However, they do also expect a fast reply. For example, 60% of Twitter users expect a response within an hour.

4. Find your formats

Cisco predicts that by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic, and 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands they support. As a result, video production should be a key consideration for marketers.

Infographics are a frequently shared format - in fact, they’re shared three times more often on social media than other content types. Their use is still growing, particularly in B2B, and they can attract high numbers of links to your site, further boosting your SEO.

However, brands also need to experiment with new formats, like augmented reality: from virtual fitting rooms to live make-up mirrors, and vehicle demos. Although visual formats and design have a unique appeal, they haven’t made text redundant. Original, authoritative research can outperform viral content, while building trust and domain authority. Ultimately, the right choice for your brand depends on your audience and your industry sector, but when it comes to making a splash with your ‘hero’ content, don’t be afraid to think big.

Original, authoritative research can outperform viral content, while building trust and domain authority. Ultimately, the right choice for your brand depends on your audience and your industry sector, but when it comes to making a splash with your ‘hero’ content, don’t be afraid to think big.

5. User-generated

There are many forms of user-generated content, from photos, videos, social media content, customer reviews or forums, to content created with branded AR filters. Consumers perceive it as more memorable, authentic and trustworthy than brand content.

During the 2020 pandemic, it’s come into its own. People are spending more time at home and they’re less able (or willing) to do in-person research. It’s no surprise that user-generated content has featured in high-profile campaigns, such as KFC’s reopening.

 

Building your brand voice

Successful content creation depends on your audience, brand and goals. However, a consistent brand voice is always part of the equation. Inconsistencies in tone are the equivalent of a branding mood swing - they’re unlikely to build trust.

Analyze and document your tone of voice to help your team sound consistent. Start with your brand values and audience to choose the principles of your voice.

Try adding before and after examples to create a practical and useful guide. Consider how it can adapt to different channels, then test it with your team and customers. This will help you pinpoint anything that needs further clarification.

Final thoughts

Customers that have better experiences are 140% more likely to spend money, and this is likely to increase over time.

There are general trends in the popularity and effectiveness of different content types, but one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to content choices. This is where customer data comes into its own - from social media stats to website traffic, sign-up forms and other sources.

All but the smallest campaigns benefit from technology that allows you to automate the content process as much as possible. This leaves you the time needed to analyze your campaign’s success and repeat what works effectively.

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Sitecore

Sitecore is a global leader in digital experience management software that combines content management, commerce, and customer insights. The Sitecore Experience Cloud™ empowers marketers to deliver personalized content in real time and at scale across every channel—before, during, and after a sale. More than 5,200 brands—including American Express, Carnival Cruise Lines, Kimberly-Clark, and L’Oréal—have trusted Sitecore to deliver the personalized interactions that delight audiences, build loyalty, and drive revenue. 

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