for growth-driven brands.

Getting your content to convert and bring in leads is the goal for all business marketing. That becomes a lot more efficient when you understand the buying cycle, and use it to help guide the content you create for your inbound marketing campaigns and your online marketing solutions.

So, let’s take a look at the buying cycle. While there are many examples of it, this one is very straight forward, easy to remember, and shows exactly what people do before they make a buying decision. Depending on the size of the purchase and the need for the product or service, it can be a very fast decision or a slow process.

Awareness: This is when the client figures out they have a problem that needs a solution. They might be completely unaware they have a problem, or they might already know, they just don’t know you offer it. Either way, your job is to make them aware that they need a solution that you provide.

To capitalize on the opportunity, you need to examine why your client needs your product or service, and exactly what triggers them to buy. For example, a prospective client might be lacking in leads because their business isn’t easily found by search engines. That means they have a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) problem, but if they don’t know they have a problem, you have to create the awareness. To do that, you might write blogs on the topic, or place ads zeroing in on the symptoms of poor SEO. Either way the idea here is to get them thinking and engage their curiosity about SEO and the fact that theirs is lacking.

Once they know they have a problem, typically people want to figure out what they don’t know, so they can make an informed decision.Which brings us to the next stage in the buying cycle.

Research: This is where your prospective client will embark on a Google information gathering frenzy. Again this is the perfect opportunity for you to give them what they need.

Your inbound marketing should clearly focus on the problem the client has, and the solutions you provide. Blogs, articles, infographics, white papers, and expert guides are all effective ways to give your prospective client the necessary information to make a buying decision, and do business with you. This is how to set yourself up as the expert in your area, and let yourself shine!

The key here is to make sure you’re providing valuable information for your client. It shouldn’t be a straight up sales pitch in this stage, and for the most part, not too technical (unless your target audience is at an expert level) or overly filled with industry jargon. What they really need to know is: what’s in it for them if they solve this problem. How will it make their life better, or easier, or give them more time and/or money, and so on.

Consideration: Once your prospective client has the information they need, they have to choose the right provider for the solution. Of course, you want that to be you! You’ve already set yourself up as the expert while they were doing their research, now you have to give them a reason to choose you.

You can do that with social proof. Professional marketers know that social proof have great sway when it comes to persuasion. (Click here if you want to learn other professional marketing tactics.)

When we aren’t sure about a decision we have to make, we often look to other people to help us find the answer. This is exactly why word of mouth marketing is so effective. We trust other people’s opinions and advice when they’ve had an experience we haven’t. This is also why testimonials and online reviews are so effective. At the consideration stage, they are vital to the decision making process for your client.

Be sure to show your prospective clients why you’re the right business for the job. Case studies and reports are great additions to your testimonials and online reviews, when it comes to showing your stuff.

Purchase: The best part of this whole cycle! It’s a great thing when you get to bring on a new client. Sometimes your client might need a little incentive to take that leap. Consider complimentary consultations, free trials, limited time offers, and special packages to entice them to buy from you now.

And once someone has done business with you, and has had a great experience, they begin to trust you, which makes it a lot easier to sell to them again. All you have to do is make them aware they have a need and that you can provide them with the solution.