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Those who achieve the Dot Com lifestyle are successful because they well understand the prime principle of commerce:

Customers buy when they’re ready to buy and trust the vendor from whom they’re buying.

In other words, once they identify their target market, they introduce themselves and let that market come to them. They do it effectively by automating their message.

The role of cyberspace in commercial transactions has become vital in this century, to the point that content marketing has taken over many of the traditional salesman’s functions. Better yet, this is the engine that can draw customers and associates 24 hours a day.

So awareness of content marketing’s fundamentals is essential:

Anyone wishing to be successful in business — especially online — must make a point of being familiar with the buying cycle.

This is a well-established customer-behavior pattern that segments the purchasing process into four distinct stages. Here they are, with suggestions as to which content vehicles would be most effective at each level:

Awareness … Here’s where a customer’s interest is piqued. This isn’t a selling stage, per se; it’s more of an educational process. Content vehicles that are quite effective at this stage include blog posts, white papers, ebooks, webinars, and how-to videos.

Consideration … Here’s where a vendor’s credibility comes into play. The more authoritative the vendor’s position is conveyed, the more a consumer will perceive
that vendor as a source who can fulfill a need. Content vehicles suitable for this stage include opinion-leadership blog posts, customer testimonials, press releases, media mentions, and analyst reports.

Evaluation … Here’s where a vendor takes the opportunity to be confirmed as the best option available to provide a good or service the customer now desires. Content at this stage must show that the vendor has what it takes when the proverbial rubber meets the road. Content vehicles appropriate for this stage include product videos, case studies, data sheets, ROI examples, and FAQs. These are clearly items that call for the customer to engage in deeper research and subliminally become more attached to the product or service in the process.

Purchase … Keeping the analogy going, here’s where the vendor lays tracks. The customer is engaged — literally opening the ‘virtual’ door — and wants to justify his or
her decision for being there. The message has been accepted in a positive manner by all he or she has read and/or researched, so now it’s time to meet all expectations. Effective vehicles for this task include free trials, live demos, no-obligation cost quotes and consultations, and pricing discounts.

With these segments in mind, here’s how to maximize the message: dip into the wonderful world of apps and plug-ins. Look how their presence adds impact to the buying cycle:

Remember, the content for each stage must include a call to action, usually to encourage the customer or associate to keep advancing through the buying cycle.

A simple means of accomplishing this goal is to pull one or more of the content vehicles from the next segment in the cycle and incorporate it as an incentive for customers and associates to proceed.

And proceed they will, at the direction of a good content marketer.

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