We tend to do a lot of work with a lot of professionals in the multifamily real estate industry. Lately, we’ve had a lot of questions about the role of social media marketing and how it generates ROI. The truth is, as much as we all want to see a direct conversion from a stranger to a lead or lead to customer, it’s simply not how the buyer journey works.
You can’t look at social media in a vacuum as a standalone effort. Rather, the focus should be in aligning your marketing ecosystem to cater to the buyer journey and leverage those various digital channels to guide those prospects through your digital sales funnels. Sure, this may sound like a complicated task, but there are way's you can organize the content you're sharing.
In this article, we’ll go through the Buyer Journey and identify the types of content that work best for each stage.
A Brief Overview of the Buyer Journey
There are many variations of the Buyer Journey. Some prefer to use the AIDA principle while others, such as Crazy Egg, prefer using the Hierarchy of Effects Model. The true goal for every stage of the journey is to build on the various levels of trust you’ve established with your potential customer. Whichever model you wish to use to accomplish this, we find the Buyer Journey generally consists of 3 main customer phases that your content and sales funnel need to address;
1. Awareness - A potential customer realizes your product/service exists through advertising or word-of-mouth.
2. Consideration – The potential customer begins to gain some insight about your product/service and begins to warm up to the idea of being a customer.
3. Intent – The potential customer has made a decision and is ready to purchase.
As you can see, based on the potential customer’s mindset throughout each stage, different information and content will trigger different actions. For example, if someone was ready to buy from you, you wouldn’t stop to introduce yourself – you should be asking for their credit card!
Using The Right Content to Convert Potential Customers
The goal is to align your content with the information your potential customer will need to get to the next stage of the buyer journey. Here is a more in-depth look at the goal of each stage, and the type of content you should use.
This is the point where a potential customer first becomes aware of you, your brand, your product, etc. Another way to think about the Awareness phase is as your first impression. This could be everything from your first impression as a new service or product provider to something they didn’t even know they needed, but believe they may be able to benefit from. Here are some way’s you can reach potential customers with your content.
Blog Posts: Blog posts should be informational, and offer your readers value. Ideally, this is information or value that they can’t get anywhere else, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be the only place they can find the information. For example, you could explain something in a more digestible format based on the audience you are trying to target. A blog post written for high school student will be very different from one intended for CEOs.
Infographics: Infographics are great because they are highly shareable and visual, making it easier to digest information about you. In fact, research shows that people tend to remember 80% of what they see and do, compared to 20% of what they read, and 10% of what they hear.
Video’s/Podcasts/Presentations: Using these formats will help you gain awareness and establish authority as a thought leader. If you can offer some kind of value using these mediums, like teaching a potential customer how to do something, and they accomplish what they set out to do, you’ll likely earn more trust with that prospect.
Make sure to include CTA’s in your Awareness content. Now that your prospect has an idea of who you are, you’ll want to nurture them as they journey into and through the consideration phase.
Also known as the “Research Phase”, after being exposed to who you are and the product or service you provide, the prospect begins considering if they want to use you. During this stage, a prospect tends to search for as much information they can find about you, and consider whether or not it solves a problem they are trying to solve. Most consumers scan the internet for useful information about who you are, review your website, read through online reviews, search for product or service comparisons, etc. Again, you want to establish an audience that is built on trust, but also gather lead data (email, phone number, etc.) through CTA’s that you can use to nurture and influence your prospects over time. This is also great for uncovering how serious a lead is about using your product/service.
Case Studies/Use Cases: This may be an obvious one, but providing real world examples help your audience understand the value your product/service brings. You’ll want to make this easy to access and simple to digest.
Expert Interviews: This is another way to establish legitimacy through valuable information. By aligning yourself with the right experts, experts that your prospects identify with, you will start to establish an attachment and trust with them. Not to mention, if you align yourself with the right experts, you now have an opportunity to attract members and followers from their audience.
The buyer is ready to make a decision and choose a vendor. They’ve decided that they have found value in a product/service you offer, and are ready to pull the trigger. So, we want to make sure that you are capitalizing on areas that will justify trust. The focus is to making the potential customer feel like you are the best option and reassure them that they are making a good decision.
Endorsements/Testimonials: Similar to customer reviews, this will showcase how others that have bought into your product/service. It’s social proof that someone else has taken the plunge and is better off as a result.
Demo’s/Tour’s: When a prospect signs up for a demo or tour, you know you have genuine interest. They are taking time out of there day to learn more about what you can offer so make sure that you continue to offer them value to justify their intent.
What kind of content are you using in your Social Media Strategy to affect the buyer journey?