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The Power of Words: How High-Quality Content Influences Decision-Making Processes

Today, content is king – and good content offers companies a variety of ways to shape how decisions are made. Business experts are keenly aware of the major role content marketing plays in gaining new customers. Indeed, creative material enables you to set an ideal stage for presenting your products or services. But do you know how you can leverage content in other areas of your company?

The right content can be a highly effective means of communication. Whenever a decision is to be made, a well-thought-out content strategy presents opportunities to influence the outcome. A customer journey – that is, a customer’s entire experience, from an initial impulse to their decision to make a purchase and the subsequent support they receive – can be guided down to the last detail with the help of tailored content.

At the same time, however, high-quality content enables you to provide essential support for internal processes, as well. It can serve as a strategic instrument in change management and help optimize product launches. To find out how you too can steer decision-making processes by presenting the right information at the right time, simply read on.

How a decision gets made

A decision journey comprises a series of stages, from initial connections to final confirmation:

  1. Awareness: Getting the ball rolling
  2. Evaluation: Providing information that gets you taken seriously
  3. Conversion: Bringing the decision home
  4. Retention: Ensuring loyalty

Next, we’ll take a closer look at these stages and show you how you can reach your target audience in each of them with highly customized content.

1. Awareness Stage

Every decision starts with an impulse that leads to a potential customer’s first contact with your brand or offering.

In the case of a customer journey, the catalyst is usually a problem of some kind. The customer starts looking for a solution and comes across information on how you might be able to help. If you present the right content at this stage, you can turn an opportunity into a qualified lead.

In the context of change management within a company, a conscious effort is typically made to generate awareness. If a firm is planning to introduce a new employee program, for example, it will probably send an e-mail to its workforce well in advance. This will make the employees more receptive to the pending changes.

Getting all stakeholders on board as early on as possible is helpful in the case of a product launch, as well. Bringing something new to market is a complex affair, and the sales team responsible needs to have enough time to prepare.

At the beginning of the awareness stage, target groups often know little or nothing about the subjects companies want to bring to their attention. They also wouldn’t search for information on these topics; they simply don’t have them on their radar. This is why it’s important to pique their interest and present content that encourages them to explore the material at hand further.

In this stage, the following types of content are particularly effective:

  • Social media posts and e-mails that address new target groups
  • Content that’s both informative and entertaining, such as videos, podcasts, or animations
  • Search-engine-optimized web content that attracts new visitors to your website
  • Infographics

2. Evaluation Stage

The next stage is about nurturing the interest you’ve attracted. To that end, you provide the leads you generated in the first stage with relevant information that will encourage them to consider your offerings.

For a customer journey, this means taking potential customers by the hand and guiding their decision-making in your direction. You’ll need to highlight the advantages of your solution and clearly show them how you can improve their current situation.

In the case of change management, explaining the underlying reasons for the changes planned is key, as is underscoring the improvements that can be expected.

In the process of launching a product, this stage is the right time to give your sales team more details on the plan you’ve put together. When exactly is the launch expected to start? What target groups is it meant to address? What marketing activities are planned?

To get people excited about your brand, product, service, or proposal at this stage, consider the following ideas:

  • Brochures, flyers, landing pages, product presentations, and similar content that contains detailed information
  • Easily digestible information in the form of videos, animations, interviews, or FAQs
  • Case studies, white papers, press releases, newsletters, articles, blog posts, materials for employee communications
  • Training courses, webinars, podcasts

3. Conversion Stage

Once you’ve managed to bring potential customers this far, it’s important that you reinforce the faith they have placed in you. This is the only way to coax them into taking the final step, whether it’s making a purchase decision or becoming an eager participant in what you’ve proposed.

In this stage, those in the middle of their customer journey are especially receptive to success stories and reviews from other customers. The goal is to convince them of the benefits of your solution and how serious your company is.

In change management processes, you’ll need to identify challenges and provide answers to potential problems. Make it clear to your employees that you’re prepared to tackle such obstacles and have the resources required to do so.

A product launch also presents opportunities to dispel any remaining concerns and stoke enthusiasm. Here, you can show your sales employees the materials and other resources you plan to support them with during the launch. By reducing your team’s workload, you’ll increase their commitment to the process.

When it comes to winning people over, the right content is crucial:

  • White papers, case studies, press releases, articles from opinion leaders and other sources
  • Internal communication campaigns
  • Sales tools and guides
  • Training courses
  • Personalized offerings

4. Retention Stage

You’ve done it: The customer is reaching for their credit card; your new employee program has been rolled out; your latest product is out there on stores’ shelves. While the bulk of the work is now done, you can still incorporate content into your communication strategy in beneficial ways.

The customer journey is an area where the retention stage plays a particularly important role. It offers the chance to turn one-time customers into loyal brand ambassadors. To pull this off, you need to be ready to provide help and support in solving the problems they may encounter. User-friendly guides and service hotlines are just two examples of how you can have a positive influence on customers’ experiences with your brand after they’ve made a purchase.

Maintaining employee loyalty in a change management process is a tricky subject. Changes in the workplace can lead to frustration and disappointment. In the worst case, employees may find themselves no longer identifying with your company, or the changes themselves may founder. To prevent this from happening, be responsive to your employees’ gripes, establish settings where they can share their experiences, and appoint staff to serve as points of contact.

To promote loyalty within your sales team following a successful product launch, it helps to keep your ears open. What went well – and what could have gone better? By taking advantage of your team members’ experiences, you can further hone your ability to design future launch processes.

The following types of content are well-suited to fostering loyalty:

  • How-to guides, instructions, training materials, and so on
  • Best practices and FAQs
  • E-mail newsletters
  • Exclusive content and offers
  • Brand communities
  • Databases that compile the collective knowledge of all participants

The possibilities are virtually unlimited

When utilized properly, content can strengthen buy-in, engender trust, and help build relationships. International companies should also bear in mind that localization lowers the threshold for internal and external audiences to understand and apply your carefully created content. To guarantee flawless communications that these target groups are sure to understand, leave it to the specialists in transcreation and multilingual content writing. This will extend your reach and enable potential customers around the world to connect with your message.

With sophisticated content at your disposal, you can cover a great many bases and help your business get ahead. To maximize your success in doing so, you’ll want to align all your activities within a holistic content strategy. This is another area where Lexsys can help: Our content experts know how you can effectively address your audience in every stage of their decision-making and guide them from one stage to the next.  

To find out how you can tap into the full potential of your content marketing, why not get in touch with us today?.

 

 


About the Author

David Hegarty

Senior Technical Writer and Content Creator

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