Customers Crave Content – Regina ChamberLink Article, March 2017
Customers crave content. Give it to them – at the right time and in the right way.
One question we believe keeps business owners up at night is: ‘What do customers really want?’ And how do we know this? Because we ask ourselves the same question all the time.
We’ve come to know that there is no singular, straightforward answer. Trying to learn, shift and deliver what customers want is like aiming at a moving target. And that target is not just moving, but also evolving and speeding up over time, especially in our ultra-fast digital age.
Over time and through research, we have found that as customers’ needs have changed, their desire for information – what marketing professionals call ‘content’, has increased. 87% of shoppers research online before making a purchase with 92% of them going to the store to complete a purchase.[i] At whatever stage of their purchase decision, customers crave valuable content – to help them research, consider, connect and engage with your business.
And we know this because our role is two-fold. We help customers and we help businesses – and content is the connection. Our focus is on providing information to help customers find what they are looking for, while simultaneously providing businesses a method to communicate and connect with these customers. Our advanced data analytics – metrics that recognise variables in what customers seek – also show us how content, valuable local content, helps both businesses and customers get what they want.
In doing business with over 20,000 Saskatchewan businesses, we’ve identified four phases customers go through on their path to purchase – and where they are on that path often dictates the content they seek, and how they want to interact with it. In brief, customers move through:
Awareness: This customer is generally aware of a product or service, but has little immediate need or intent to act. Content: brand awareness advertising, keeping you top of mind.
Consideration: This customer is considering a product or service and is researching options. Content: rich content to stand out from your competition.
Connection: This customer is in contact with the business(es) in question for more information to help him/her decide and/or complete the purchase. Content: accurate and available contact information to help customers connect quickly.
Engagement: This customer has completed their purchase, but wants to discuss more, often on social media and review sites. Content: monitor your online reputation and encourage positive online word-of-mouth to increase repeat and referral customers.
So what kind of ‘content’? And how can I deliver the right content to a customer at the right time?
At DirectWest, we are passionate about content. It is as simple as “The more content, the more local, the more accurate and unique – the better”. Providing relevant information at each phase enables customers to find, learn, interact, decide and then engage with you. 69% of people agree that the quality, timing, or relevance of a business’s message influences their perception.[ii] Whether it is an online business profile, a downloadable menu, active review/recommendation dialogue, social media campaigns or even traditional advertising like billboards and print ads, the more you promote your rich and detailed story, the easier it will be for your business to get found and selected.
And that is really what every business owner wants: not just the chance to tell your story, but to stand out from the clutter, and help customers choose your product or service over your competitor’s when they are ready to make that purchase. So go ahead, give them the content they crave.
[i] Shopping Insights: Google’s new search data tool will change the way brands reach their customers by Contently https://contently.com/strategist/2015/12/09/googles-new-search-data-tool-will-change-the-way-brands-reach-their-customers/
[ii] Think with Google research report on “Micro-Moments: Your guide to winning the shift to mobile.” https://think.storage.googleapis.com/images/micromoments-guide-to-winning-shift-to-mobile-download.pdf