In the age of digital domination, content is more than just a collection of words or images – it is a powerful tool that can shape consumer behavior. With more information at their fingertips than ever before, consumers are making well-informed decisions, heavily influenced by the content they consume. In this article, we will explore the intricate ways in which content can sway consumer behavior, driving sales and forging brand loyalty.
What Is Consumer Behavior?
Consumer behavior refers to the study of how people or groups decide what to buy, use and get rid of in order to meet their needs and wants. It includes understanding why and how they make these choices.
Understanding consumer behavior is crucial because it helps marketers know how consumers make decisions and what factors influence their buying behavior. This knowledge enables marketers to create effective marketing strategies aimed at influencing consumers’ perceptions, attitudes and purchase decisions in favor of their product or service.
To understand consumer behavior, one must know who the buyer is.
Importance of Buyer Persona
By creating a precise profile that includes demographic information, buying behaviors, interests and challenges, businesses can tailor their messaging and content to speak directly to their target audience.
This enables them to attract the most valuable leads and customers and serves as a critical tool for aligning all work, from product development to sales and customer service.
Understanding your buyer persona is of utmost importance as it allows for a more focused, cost-effective approach to market research and campaigning, ultimately leading to a better return on investment (ROI).
We’ll discuss later in this article how we can use buyer persona to create content that is relevant to the target audience.
How Content Affects Consumer Behavior
Content has the potential to not only inform but also to inspire, engage and sway consumer decisions like never before. By crafting content that resonates with a consumer’s needs, wants and values, businesses can deeply influence their perception and decision-making process, ultimately steering them toward a purchase decision. This persuasive power of content forms the foundation of our upcoming exploration into the nitty-gritty of how content impacts consumer behavior.
Role of SEO: Win E-E-A-T
Google says Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) are part of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines. And so, marketers all around the world are focusing to win the E-E-A-T to rank better. What remains unsaid, yet obvious, for better rankings is “relevance.” Unless your content is relevant to the user, Google won’t prioritize it despite your experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.
Be relevant first.
Being relevant requires you to understand who the consumer is and what they are looking for. In this digital age, search intent is one of the key aspects of targeting. The search intent shows in which part of the consumer journey funnel the potential customer falls – awareness, consideration, decision or retention. The type of information the customer is interested in depends on which part of the consumer journey funnel they are in.
There are two ways to make sure, as a marketer, the right content reaches the right customer:
- Categorizing content topics based on search intent
- Categorizing keywords based on the topics decided above
Topic and Keyword Categorization Based on Search Intent
Understanding the user’s search intent is critical when creating content. By categorizing content based on the four main types of search intent – informational, navigational, commercial and transactional – businesses can tailor their messaging to best meet the needs and wants of the consumer.
- Informational: This type of search intent is used when users are looking for more information on a particular topic, issue or question. They are in the discovery phase and are usually not ready to purchase. Hence, the content should be informative, educating the user about a specific topic or answering their questions. This type of content usually helps consumers in the awareness stage. Individuals driven by informational intent aim to broaden their understanding of a particular subject.
- Navigational: Users with navigational intent are looking for a specific webpage. The content created for this type of intent should lead the user directly to the desired page, ensuring easy and quick navigation. This type of content includes a product description, a specific feature, or any particular tool.
- Commercial: Commercial intent refers to searches where users are looking for a specific product or service but are still in the decision-making phase, comparing different offerings. The content here should highlight the unique qualities of your product or service, making it stand out amongst competitors.
- Transactional: Users with transactional intent are ready to make a purchase. The content should, therefore, make the buying process as seamless as possible, providing all necessary information, such as product details, price, shipment and return policies, to facilitate the transaction. These types of pages should have persuasive sales copy that would convince the users to make a purchase.
By aligning content with search intent, businesses can effectively guide users through the buyer’s journey, from discovery to purchase, creating a more personalized and efficient user experience.
The idea of topic categorization came up to our team when we noticed this style of classification for keywords used by SEMrush. We figured classifying topics is far more valuable than keywords right at the get-go. There are thousands of potential keywords, but a few topics. So, it is easier to categorize topics first, followed by keywords for each of those topics. That way, the keywords would automatically be classified into the four categories.
It is far more important to identify the topics first for us to be able to decide which keywords to use for writing a specific piece of content.
Effective Ways to Design Content to Influence Consumer Behavior
Writing a piece of content is an art in itself. Every word, every section, every button and the design is important and together, they decide how persuasive the copy is. Every user that comes to that page is an opportunity, much like a potential customer visiting a store. The first thing we need to know about that person is the demographics, also known as the buyer persona.
Building the Buyer Persona
Personas in the digital age should be created based on the following factors:
- Content your target customers like to consume
- Topics that interest them
- Formats of content they prefer
- Channels they use
- Stage of the buyer journey they are in
- Keywords they use when searching
- Questions they ask
Utilizing Call-to-Actions (CTAs)
HubSpot’s research reveals that hyper-personalized CTAs perform over 200% better than basic ones. It’s crucial to target CTAs to user’s behavior and preferences to drive better engagement.
Developing Shareable Content
To create highly shareable content, it’s crucial to incorporate statistics and facts to add credibility and intrigue to your message. Consider using popular content formats such as how-to guides and listicles, as they tend to resonate well with audiences and prompt them to share with others.
Don’t forget to include social media buttons in all your blog posts, making it effortless for readers to spread your content across their networks. Leveraging your brand’s social media accounts to share your posts will broaden your reach and increase the chances of engagement.
Additionally, enhance the overall appeal of your content by incorporating a variety of visuals, such as images, videos and infographics, as they are more likely to captivate viewers.
Implementing Scarcity Marketing
Scarcity marketing is a psychological approach that capitalizes on a consumer’s fear of missing out. It creates urgency by presenting a product or service as limited in availability, whether by time, quantity or access, thereby increasing its perceived value and desirability.
The principle of scarcity is based on the fundamental human tendency to assign a higher value to resources that are, or are perceived to be, in short supply. This principle drives consumers to act quickly and decisively to secure those limited resources, making scarcity marketing an effective strategy for boosting sales and conversions.
Scarcity marketing can be a powerful tool but requires authenticity and balance. Avoid overusing scarcity claims that aren’t true, and don’t come off as pushy or aggressive.
Check out some of the examples here.
Triggering Emotional Responses
Marketing campaigns are successful for several reasons, one being their ability to evoke emotions. Simplify social sharing and create brand imagery and messaging that elicits unique emotional responses.
Utilizing the Power of Memories
Evoking emotions such as nostalgia and fear can significantly influence consumer behavior. The key is to create an emotional connection with your customers, as people often make purchases based on emotional reactions rather than rational thinking.
Apple’s choice of casting for the iPhone 6s advertisement to promote Hands-free Siri brought a delightful touch of nostalgia by featuring the beloved sweet-toothed Muppet, Cookie Monster, making it a standout and heartwarming spot.
Check out the video using the link in the image caption below.
You can read more examples of nostalgia marketing here.
How Brands Affect Consumer Behavior
Brands significantly influence consumer behavior by creating a perception of value and establishing trust. When consumers recognize a brand and have positive associations with it, they are typically more likely to choose that brand over lesser-known competitors.
Brands also create an emotional connection with consumers through storytelling, appealing to their values, and reflecting their identity. This emotional bond can be a powerful motivator in consumer behavior, leading to brand loyalty and repeat purchases.
This is why companies invest heavily in brand-building activities to ensure they effectively resonate with their target audience and positively influence their purchasing decisions.
Role of Branding in SEO
Once you know how to be relevant (as discussed previously), it’s time to win the E-E-A-T. All of the E-E-A-T factors are closely associated with how reputed your brand is. Provided all the other factors remain the same, KFC writing about fried chicken has a higher chance of ranking better than PFC (Prasanta’s Fried Chicken). Google will prioritize KFC’s content if it is more relevant to the user.
Leveraging SEO to build a brand demands an understanding of both your brand identity and the intricacies of SEO. Building a successful brand through SEO involves a blend of strategies that focus on increasing your visibility on search engines, establishing your industry authority and enhancing user experience.
SEOblog has an entire category you can check out to learn more about SEO.
Understanding Customer Behavior Trends in 2023
In recent times, consumers are increasingly gravitating towards brand experiences rather than simply acquiring products or services. This shift in behavior means that brands need to maximize the impact of their digital brand content by actively involving their customers.
Brands predominantly deliver these consumer experiences via consumer brand engagement in a pull environment. Here, consumers are drawn toward digital brand content that aligns with their interests and holds relevance for them.
Therefore, it could be posited that the focus of content marketing on online consumer behavior is fundamentally rooted in understanding how consumers respond to digital brand content.
The effective creation and delivery of this content have the potential to forge robust relationships, engender loyalty and foster trust, ultimately culminating in the consumer’s decision to make a purchase. This approach ensures that brands not only satisfy immediate consumer needs but also build long-term customer relationships that can result in repeat business.
Four consumer behavior trends to look into in 2023 include:
- Online Buying
- Clean and Green Companies
According to Deloitte’s recent report on consumer behavior, three factors are evolving the shopping process and empowering consumers:
- Recommendations and Reviews
The role of digital content in shaping consumer behavior cannot be underestimated. Businesses today need to focus on creating content that not only resonates with their audiences but also aligns with the current consumer behavior trends. These trends emphasize the importance of transparency, online shopping, anonymity and sustainable practices. Additionally, businesses need to leverage the power of branding and SEO to increase their visibility, establish authority and enhance user experience. By understanding the consumer’s response to digital content and delivering interactive brand experiences, businesses can build strong customer relationships, foster trust and ultimately drive sales.