When customers are getting ready to buy a product or service or comparing their options, many go online to look for detailed information. One such data source is your buyer’s guide.
Buyer’s guides educate prospects on terms, features, and conditions they must consider before making the purchase. By helping your potential clients find a product that suits their budget and needs, you can help minimize buyer’s remorse and improve their experience with your brand.
Providing clients with the information they need also encourages them to stay on your website and learn more about your products. As they do, they may eventually buy from your store, thus helping improve conversion rates.
But if they cannot find the data they need or are unhappy with your content, they will leave your site. They may also switch to your competitors’ stores to search for more information and decide to buy from them instead.
To help you create a useful buyer’s guide, below are five critical steps in crafting actionable content and how to promote it.
5 Steps in Creating an Effective Buyer’s Guide for Your Ecommerce Store
1. Identify Your Customer
Before drafting a buyer’s guide, you need to get clear who your target customers are. You must personalize your content, so it speaks or appeals directly to them.
To achieve this, you must first have your buyer personas.
Hootsuite defines buyer personas (sometimes called audience/marketing personas or customer avatars) as “a model that describes your typical or target customer, based on detailed audience research.”
In building your buyer personas, you can dig through:
- your current clients’ characteristics, such as their age, gender, location, life stage, and interests;
- surveys, focus groups, or studies you’ve conducted; and
- characteristics of individuals who are interacting with your brand online.
Aside from demographic characteristics, include essential information, such as your buyer personas’ goals and values, pain points, and possible objections.
Source: Digital Marketer
2. Decide on a Content Format
Once you’re clear who your target clients are, list down topics and formats that can help them choose the perfect product or service provider. For instance, you can publish a:
- comparison of two or more products’ features, pros, cons, and pricing;
- comprehensive guide; or
- tips for a specific group, such as first-time buyers or small business owners.
Source: Business News Daily
Once you have ideas for the content and outline, pick the type of guide you want to publish. It can either be text-based or on video formats.
Buyer’s guides can be printed as:
- standalone blog posts;
- a series of articles covering different aspects of the product;
Source: Consumer Reports
Source: Linus Tech Tips
- interactive content; or
- interactive content; or
- a combination of different content types. For example, an article can also include downloadable checklists, videos, and online calculators.
3. Coordinate with Content Creators
Whether you’re doing the content in-house, partnering with SEO services for small businesses or content marketing teams, you must have detailed instructions. This ensures that you and your creators are on the same page when it comes to:
- target keywords;
- required internal links; and
- essential points to cover.
This also minimizes editing or the need to overhaul the content, enabling you to publish your buyer’s guide quickly.
4. Prioritize Quality
Publishing high-quality buyer’s guides will allow you to truly help your target clients while also gaining their trust and increasing traffic to your products or services.
But what exactly is high-quality content? Here are some factors you must consider.
- Readability: Content that is easy to scan and understand can increase your engagements. According to Readable, 83 percent more people will finish reading a piece of content if its readability is changed from grade 12 to grade 5. Also, 85 percent will be able to read your content if its readability is at or below grade 8.
To ensure that your buyer’s guides are readable, follow the following tips:
- Use simple words, short sentences, and brief paragraphs.
- Check your content for spelling and grammar errors.
- Organize the content into headings.
- Use bullet points or numbered lists.
- Leverage readability tools.
Source: Hemingway App
- Search engine optimization: SEO-optimizing your buyer’s guide helps your potential clients find your content and improves your organic search ranking.
- including your target keyword(s) in your title, meta description, headers, body, and URL;
- ensuring the page is mobile-friendly; and
- adding internal links.
For video content, you can optimize it for YouTube by using your target keyword in the title and description and mentioning it during the video as well.
- Valuable details: Your guide must cover essential topics and questions buyers often ask (or should ask, but don’t). Reading your article or watching your video must move them closer to taking action, such as purchasing or signing up for a free trial.
- Not a hard sell: Calendar president John Hall names being too “sales” as one of seven sales-sabotaging mistakes to avoid in content marketing. “Content marketing is not the same as sales propaganda,” he writes. “It’s sharing helpful information that can answer your audience members’ questions or solve common problems they’re facing.”
So even if you want your readers to choose your product, or to buy a more expensive option from your store, avoid making your content sound like a hard sell. Focus on making it informative and actionable for customers.
- Relevant photos, videos, and links: Inserting high-quality product images and videos improve your content’s readability and appeal. These break walls of text, help illustrate critical features and allow readers to envision themselves using your product or service.
Don’t forget to optimize your images for search engines by using your keyword in the images’ alt tags.
- Freshness: After publishing your buyer’s guide, revisit it occasionally. Check for grammatical and spelling errors. Add new products or features, and remove broken links or links to items you’re no longer selling.
Keeping your content updated not only allows you to provide up-to-date recommendations to your potential clients. It can also improve your ranking in search engines, as Google considers “freshness” as an indicator of your site’s quality.
How to Promote Your Buyer’s Guide
Like other types of content, you must promote your buyer’s guide. You can either use it as ungated content or add it as a gated asset to increase your subscriptions and leads.
Here are a few ideas to make your buying guide accessible and more comfortable to find:
- Include a link below or beside product categories on your site.
- Add internal links in your previous and future blog posts.
- Use it as a lead magnet.
Source: Dave Ramsey
- Have a dedicated web page for all buying guides or add it as a section in your FAQ, Help, Customer Service, or Product Support page.
- Send a link to your email newsletter subscribers.
- Share it on social media.
In the past, many customers approached store personnel to find out more about a product. But today, online buyers do their research before making a purchase. Make the decision-making process easier for them by providing all the information they need so they can reach a buying decision faster.
It’s a win-win for you and your customers.
Do you have tips or best practices to share on buyer’s guide creation and promotion? Leave them below.
Vincent Sevilla is a professional web designer and inbound strategist for HostingFacts. His goal? To innovate ideas, create good art, and to travel all the best places in the Philippines. You can follow him on Twitter @easyvince