In today’s digital world, most of your prospective constituents will spend a significant amount of time researching your association online before speaking to one of your team members or signing up to become a member.
In other words, users want to be informed before making a decision and look to organizations that offer the right resources to match their needs. Understanding a prospect’s path to becoming a member, or user's journey, will set your association apart from competitors.
Continue reading to learn more about the user’s journey and its importance.
What Is a User’s Journey?
While a user's budget, amount of time spent researching, and problems will vary from one industry to another, all users generally experience the same three stages on their path to a purchase: awareness, consideration, and decision. Each stage represents the user's pain points and needs associated with that particular moment.
Potential members that are in the awareness stage of their user journey are looking to contextualize their problem with answers, resources, education, opinions, and insights. They’re not yet thinking about actual providers or solutions at this point, but rather need the information to more clearly understand their problem.
Prospects that have officially put a name to their problem are in the consideration stage. These individuals still aren’t ready to become members, but are now looking for the best association for them. During the consideration stage, users conduct heavy research to determine what is and isn’t a good fit for their problem.
In the decision stage, prospects are ready to create a list of their top options and choose the best one for them. Oftentimes, they will choose to become a member of the organization that seems the most trustworthy and is best able to meet their needs.
Benefits of Understanding the User’s Journey
Understanding the user’s journey also enables your team to better communicate with prospects. Here are a few other benefits of understanding your user's unique journey:
- You can align the benefits of your service specifically with the pain points of your prospect.
- By providing the right resources at the right time, your brand is establishing trust with the potential member (even if you haven’t spoken to them yet!).
- You can align your marketing activities and messages with each stage of the user’s journey.
How To Create a Marketing Plan Using the User’s Journey
Offering a free trial means nothing when offered to a prospect at the wrong time. Thus, it is critical to align your marketing materials and messaging with each stage of the user’s journey.
During the awareness stage, your goal should be to show up in search results for researching users. Informational content that requires low commitment from the user works best during the awareness stage. Ex. Blog posts, social media shares, white papers, ebooks, and videos.
Someone in the consideration stage is looking for articles on solutions to their problem, as well as proof that your solution may be a superior choice. Note: It’s important to inform users of all solutions in the market, not just yours. The goal is to allow the user to come to their own conclusion, not sell to them. Ex. Comparison guides, case studies, testimonials, webinars, and pros and cons articles.
By the decision stage, a user wants to be confident in their preferred solution. Make it easy for the user to understand your solution and any next steps that should be taken. Keep in mind that 76% of associations don’t offer benefits or affinity programs to create returning members, making this a strong growth opportunity. Ex. Free trials, live demos, and event coupons.
Having a better understanding of the user’s journey builds valuable trust with potential members, saves your team resources otherwise spent on unready leads, and ultimately results in more revenue. How well does your marketing plan align today?
Is Your Content Strategy Optimized to Serve Users at Every Stage of Their Journey?
If not, here’s your sign to get started. If content isn’t your forte—or you simply don’t have enough time to develop a purposeful strategy—we can help. Reach out to us below about our comprehensive content services.