Would you like customers to buy from you because they want to, not just because you promoted to them? Would you like for customers to feel like they are getting something of value even before they hand over a single penny? Would you like to have a base group of potential customers who keep coming back to your website and engaging with you on social media even though it may be months or years before they buy from you?

Any smart business person would answer “yes” to these questions.

If you answered “yes,” what you need is an understanding of the buyer’s journey and knowledge on how you can enhance it with content mapping.

What is the buyer’s journey?

According to HubSpot’s Senior Marketing Manager Lauren Hintz, “The buyer’s journey is the process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service.” In the first step—awareness, potential buyers are made aware of your product. They see, they are introduced to it, however fleetingly, for the first time. It may just be a display ad on a website or a friend mentioning they bought it on social media, but it piques their interest, and causes them to say, “Maybe I need to get that.”

In the second step—evaluation, the potential buyer becomes serious about investigating your product or service. The first question they will likely ask is, “Will this product meet the needs that I have? Will it do what I want it to do?” And the second question they ask is, “How much does it cost? Do I have (or can I get) the money to buy it?” The answers to these questions leads to the third step…

Purchasing! The buyer puts down the money for the product or service and expects to receive what he has paid for. Ideally, he is satisfied with what he has exchanged his hard-earned cash for. This is the end of the buyer’s journey.

But what if you could make that process a bit sweeter for the buyer? What if you could gently guide her along from initial introduction to purchasing in a more friendly and value-based fashion? Well, you can with content mapping.

What is content mapping?

According to the Conductor Learning Center, a technology firm that facilitates customer-based marketing, content mapping is aligning your content, not just to the buyers’ journey, but to the buyers themselves.

By taking the buyer and buying stage into account when creating content, you can be sure that you’re designing content to help move them through the buying process.”

–Diona Kidd (Cofounder, Knowmad)

What does this mean? Typically, a potential buyer first finds out about your product or service through a piece of content—a blog post, a review, a link, a social media post, an ad, etc. Ideally, you want to collect that person’s contact information, likely an email address, so you can follow up with them. Your follow-up will include a series of emails providing helpful content that gently nudges your potential buyer to make a purchase decision.

But, sometimes, that content fails to seal the deal. And that’s where content mapping comes in.

Content mapping requires you to look at your current buyer’s journey in light of the fact that all potential buyers are not created equal. If you own a flower shop, you would promote one way to the man who is buying a Valentine’s Day gift for his girlfriend and another way to the grandmother who is looking to plant a new type of flower in her garden this spring. Content mapping allows you to separate these two types of potential buyers and promote to them in the unique way that they both deserve.

Separating these potential buyers is referred to as creating “personas.” A persona is a virtual person who embodies the qualities of a segment of your pool of potential buyers.

The content you create needs to be personalized. It needs to be aligned with the wants and needs of your customers (and prospective customers). It needs to resonate with them. It needs to feel like it was created just for them.”

–Erik Devaney

The personas you create are based on market research and, of course, surveying your current customers. What you find in this process may surprise you. When you see groups of buyers as individual people, you will have a more clear-eyed view of their desires. You will be better able to identify problems and opportunities that you can help them with. And you will be empowered to address those issues in a way that fosters a long-lasting connection between you and them.

Are you ready to start treating your customers like they deserve to be treated? Bython can guide you through the creation of content mapping templates that will tell you what to send to each potential buyer and when so you can make more sales.