Have you ever heard for-profit marketers use the term “buyer journey” and wondered how something like that could apply to you and your nonprofit organization?
It can. And it should.
Using the buyer journey to develop content allows you to take your audience by the hand and guide them to their natural "next step” with your organization. This is the process that can move someone from the point they first learn your organization’s name, all the way through to becoming an avid supporter.
The typical buyer journey is depicted as Awareness ➡ Consideration ➡ Decision.
Let’s take a look at how your audience members might behave at each of the three stages in this concept.
The Awareness Stage
Readers in the Awareness stage are seeking early information to resolve pain points they may have. In the context of your organization, this may mean they are Googling questions related to your cause - "how do I adopt a dog?", "recent development in cancer research", "information about homelessness in my city".
To speak effectively to someone at this stage, you'll want to offer resources that offer solutions, ideas, and information that answers the questions they are asking. It is important to use neutral language with limited (if any) jargon or technical verbiage.
Avoid "pitching" or positioning your organization too much in content developed for people at this stage. They're just researching right now. They're not ready to make a decision to get on board with your cause, mission, or organization quite yet.
Great examples of content for this stage: educational content in blog posts, guides and e-books, white papers, infographics.
The Consideration Stage
Readers in the Consideration stage are now seeking information about how they can ACT to support this cause. This often means they are evaluating whether your organization or another will be best able to address the problem they are seeing.
At this stage, you are still delivering critical information to help your audience make the best possible decision.
Here, you want to give readers a better understanding about what specific problems your organization's programs address. Also consider sharing what it is about your team that makes you the best people for that job.
This is where you can win them or lose them. But don't take it personally - sometimes your message just won't resonate with someone. It will resonate with someone else.
Great examples of content for this stage: blog posts and content that highlights your team's expertise, stories about the people involved in your programs, live interactions like podcasts or video.
The Decision Stage
Readers in the Decision stage are in the final steps now, before committing to the cause.
Readers are finally assessing the best way they can go about providing support. This may mean becoming an advocate for your organization and spreading its message to their own networks; it may mean volunteering their time; or, it may mean they are supporting you financially.
The most important thing you can do to support someone in this stage is to provide resources that makes them feel confident about their decision.
Great examples of content for this stage: testimonials from volunteers and donors, impact reports illustrating how donor funds are used, case studies highlighting stories about people impacted by your programs.
It is essential to know what stage of the customer/audience journey your reader is in before you begin developing your content.
Having a clear understanding of the type of information would be most helpful to your audience at any specific point in their journey with you means you can power up your content by 5x or 10x!
You will be speaking in exactly the language they need and want to hear in that moment so you can make maximum impact.