Tailoring Your Content Marketing To Prospects at Every Stage of the Buying Cycle

by Andrew Schulkind

It’s a cliché to talk about the marketing mistake of asking for your prospect’s hand in marriage on your first date. And most of us don’t make that mistake anymore, if we ever did.

That doesn’t mean we as content marketers aren’t sometimes guilty of diving too deep, too fast. And often our prospects aren’t ready to come along for the ride.

Frequently, this is because content marketing programs, even those that are well thought out and fully documented, neglect to plan for content that appeals to prospects at every step in their buying journey.

Buyer's Journey - Walking path through green mountainside

Who Is Your Prospect?

To combat this, create a matrix. One side should lay out different audience segments like company size, industry, buyer role within the organization, etc. , Buyer personas may come in handy for this.

What Is Your Prospect Thinking?

The other side of the matrix should outline likely steps in your prospects’ buying process.  To establish these it can be helpful to ask questions like,

  • How well does your prospect know you?
  • How well does she understand the problem she’s facing?
  • Issue where I’ll other Solutions that might be a good fit?
  • Is she evaluating your competitors along with you?

And in each space on the matrix, you’ll adapt a relatively small handful of content ideas to meet the needs of who your prospect is and what he or she knows. That tells you what information he or she will find most valuable right now.

This is really just a variation on the work you most likely already do to tailor content to various audience segments. Now you’re simply getting more granular, tailoring content to the needs of one particular audience segment over time.

One size does not fit all, and if you’re thoughtful in your approach, you’ll succeed in convincing each prospect that you’re speaking specifically to his or her needs. And that’s exactly what content marketing is meant to do.