21 Feb The Minimum Viable Marketing Machine
A content marketing framework to help you touch every level of awareness on the buyer journey
No two customers are exactly the same.
But the buyer journey is known to have five key stages.
The journey can be fast as a bullet train or as slow as an old mountain goat picking its way.
The buyer journey is not always linear or straightforward either. Customers can jump around, skip stages, and go backward! It’s all part of the fun.
Each stage has a different need.
Content marketing can touch every point.
You can create as few or as many pieces of content as you like.
If you are restricted by time and money, you only need to do one or two as a minimum.
I love cycling and I saw a YouTube ad on the weekend that I loved it. So I am going to use Swooch (a fictitious company) as my running example to help explain how you can do this too.
Below is a buyer’s journey through the stages of awareness and some stimulus they may have seen or read. You can pdf download the template and play.
Let’s start at the top. We can make people aware of the problem.
First of all, we start with the problem.
What is the problem that you solve?
Describe the problem.
How bad is it?
What does it feel like?
The ‘unawares’ are by far the biggest slice of the pie.
I’d start by targeting people who don’t have an ebike. Like Ben.
Ben has a regular pushbike but is not serious enough to buy an ebike because of the massive cost.
Ben considers himself ‘concerned’ about carbon pollution.
Ben thinks the cost of ebikes is such a shame because we desperately need electric transportation to tackle climate change.
The Swooch converter kit can power a cyclist for up to 50 miles, which is more than 80% of everyday trips.
That way you target those who are open to riding a bike based on their proximity to where they need to go, and pro-climate action, which is a lot of people.
So that is where I would start. This is something you can do to tackle climate change and reduce automotive carbon pollution.
An ebike can motor up hills, so it is great for people who haven’t considered themselves ready for a long slog to the office. The 250W motor can help get you up and away.
Writing articles about the problems and your solution is a good place to start. Think about an interview with the founder about why the solution was pressing.
2. Aware of the problem
Carbon pollution is shocking in the city, and in the suburbs. No one is immune, thinks Ben.
“Yes, we can plant green median strips on the motorway but how does that really help when so many buses and cars are constantly belching out exhaust fumes?”
In the future, we would all get to work and school on nifty electric bikes that would zoom us up the hills.
We all need to do something, but how can we?
Plus, I have this extra tire around my belly to contend with, which means I can’t ride my regular bike anyway.
I’ll just have to get fitter and healthier one day.
Oh, Jane Smithery who lives a few blocks away got an ebike by the looks!
Case stories of someone who has used your product to solve their problem is an excellent way to lead to the solution stage.
3. Solution aware
Ben sees that electric bikes are a thing. But who can afford one?
The entry price is over 1,000 pounds in the UK and double that in Australia.
If you don’t want to drive your child that one mile to the store, you can convert your bike for less than buying another machine.
It is possible to convert a regular bike into an ebike!
Did you know that?
Link your product with the problem in a memorable and positive way. Audio jingles and a magic phrase can help. Shareable graphics or linkable assets can spread the word if they are of value.
4. Product aware
There is a segment of the cycling market dedicated to converting regular bikes into ebikes!
Swooch is a conversion kit to turn any bike into an ebike. It is a front wheel and a 700-gram solar battery you attach to the handlebars.
That is easy for most children to lift.
Jane was ready to throw away her old bike. She saw Swooch and converted it into an ebike to help her climb those hills to work.
Jane also has a few kids and they have bikes too.
There are versions for five to ten-year-olds and another for seventeen-year-olds. That would work for our kids.
We could all be sailing the streets together.
But we are accident-prone. Is there a servicing facility?
Is there after-hours support?
What happens if I crash? I can be a bit wobbly these days. How can I replace a broken unit? Is it easy enough?
There will be a lot of questions you can answer in detailed information posts about the product, the service quality, the contact phone numbers, the source location, the hours of operation, and so on.
Video instructions. A contact email address and a community group where support can be received from other riders all help close the deal.
A good FAQ section will help reduce emails and phone calls as well as being searchable by the ‘engines’.
Content can be text, visuals, audio, tables, web pages, or anything else that informs, educates, entertains, and delights customers and prospective customers.
5. Most aware
This is the pointy end. They are ready to make a purchase!
It doesn’t stop here, though.
We have to prevent buyer’s remorse. We also have an opportunity to turn our customers into our marketers by giving them the very best treatment.
To achieve these two goals, there is a lot of content we can create.
First, we keep reminding them of what an excellent decision they have made.
One of the best ways to do this is through advertising.
Yes, advertising reminds our most loyal customers they made the right choice.
Showcasing your awards also achieves this.
At a low-cost end, give a bonus or a thank you.
An email sequence about servicing and how-to tips would work.
You could even send bonus map of the best picnic bike paths for the family or most romantic cycleways in London, or the loveliest Sunday cycles for riders over 70.
Delight them in whatever way you believe would please, based on their customer profile.
Keep them happy and it will surpass their satisfaction and they’ll be recommending you to others.
Content marketing can be used to inform about a problem, describe the consequences of not solving it, and describe the solution. And then get masterful copywriting at the pointy end. Your stages four and five are your buyers.
This is the minimum viable marketing machine. Use a variety of content and social channels to educate, entertain, inform, reward, and delight your customers.
The stages of awareness are not linear and they can go instantly to step 5. A solid landing page can radically speed up the buyer journey.
There are long-copy articles that do exactly that. They are part informational and part sales.
Keep in mind that some people can go back and forward. Some will stay permanently in one stage.
Time to get creative!