Considering your buyer’s journey when developing solution-oriented content

Recently, I worked with a client who struggled with the concept of preparing solution-oriented content for their web site redesign. The new design proposed an entirely new site section, called “Our Solutions,” that would speak to how my client’s go-to-market services were depicted in terms that would resonate with prospective customers.

In short, the “Our Solutions” section was designed to tell the story of how my client solves their customers’ problems.

This area took a lot of time to discuss, explain and define. Unsurprisingly, other site sections such as “Products & Services” and “About Us” were no-brainers. The content team had no problem grasping what to develop here. In fact, the content authors over-delivered with pages and pages of material around all of the products and services of the company’s various divisions, and information about the company’s history and market position.

But creating content that addresses the problems of the end customer – and not talking about yourself – well, that’s slightly harder to do.

In the end, after my client’s content team wrestled with what to develop for this section, they settled on the idea of a “Solutions & Markets Served” section instead. While not as terse as “Solutions”, the client noted that their competitors had similar site sections that spoke about various market segments.

What helped our deliberations, was to step back and review the “buyer’s journey” – a concept proposed by the sales enablement firm Sirius Decisions.

Facilitating the buyer’s journey on a web site means building content at every step in a process that would move a prospect in discovery mode with a light level of engagement, into an evaluator and eventual buyer that spends a lot of time with you.

Buyer's Journey

As you can see, looking for solutions is a critical part of the consideration process. Moving from awareness to action requires compelling content.

What kind of web site content – and specifically solution-oriented content – would cause a prospective buyer to interact further with you?

  • Case studies & white papers – Tell as many success stories as you can about your products and services. Develop a library of case studies – real examples of where your products and services made a difference with your customers – as well as solution white papers – documents that match problem statements with creative ideas and innovations your company and its experts have crafted. The more real the details of a case study or white paper – with names, testimonials, specific data points, pictures and video – the better. It’s often not comfortable for the players to be named and to admit what the problems were, warts and all. But push to capture these items. Readers will better appreciate your solution if they know it’s real and see how much of a struggle it was to overcome and turn into a success.
  • Tailored site sections – Consider new sections of your site where the labels are directly relevant for the personas of the site visitors you have. Perhaps you need a section that relates to markets (e.g., small businesses) or types of users (IT professionals; etc.). Often, people coming to your site are on a mission – they need to search, research, or obtain support for a previous purchase. Your site navigation and structure shouldn’t ignore these principle tasks. In addition, regions, languages and geographies require their own attention and are typically a fork in the road you need to offer visitors so they can drill down in. Organizing your content in these ways will help you (literally) hit close to home with your target audience.
  • Assessment tools – Invite your readers to interact with your site and see an immediate payback for the time they’ve spent with you. Think about what types of content you can build that take them through a step-by-step process. Decision guides, comparison tools and calculators are popular ways to help your site visitors narrow their focus, and identify that your products are the right solution for their needs.

Turn the focus away from yourself – and resist talking only about your “Products and Services”. Instead, translate what you offer in ways that matter to your reader – with “Solutions” to their problems. Your web site’s success likely depends on how well site visitors journey from being researchers and evaluators, to buyers.

About stevevanlieshout

Senior Manager, Consultant at Acquity Group Specialize in Program Management, Content Management Systems Strategy & Implementation, Business & Content Strategy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: