When, exactly, does a purchase happen? With numerous online and mobile platforms—combined with more platforms on which to do research—that question has become more complex in recent years. To demystify the answer, Google introduced a concept called the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMoT).
As its name implies, the Zero Moment of Truth is when the buyer begins their customer journey voluntarily as the result of some sort of stimulus. It’s the moment immediately after something—an advertisement, a reminder or direction from their boss, for example—motivates a buyer to begin their product research, often without the seller being aware of their interest.
At first blush, the Zero Moment of Truth may seem more applicable to B2C than B2B, but that’s not the case. Pre-purchase research is every bit as prevalent—if not more so—in the build-up to a B2B purchase. Google has encouraged B2B companies to treat the internet as one massive tradeshow and win the ZMoT by putting out content that’s informative to prospects.
1. Always be enlightening
The trade show analogy is an apt one—digital platforms have supplanted many physical spaces as the best venues for shopping, socializing and being entertained. So, too, has the internet age transformed the B2B marketplace. And just like trade shows, B2B inbound content is all about raising awareness.
A big factor in winning the Zero Moment of Truth is having the content out there to inform researchers. Keep a steady stream of material flowing that contains pertinent, useful information. Use blog posts to go into detail about what you offer and how it helps a buyer. Utilize video to go into greater detail about your product, service or company. When prospects are looking up information to make purchasing decisions, they want to be enlightened and informed.
2. Remember the buyer is still human
It’s rather easy to forget the human beings involved in a B2B purchase. With multiple decision-makers, each of whom has specific needs and questions based on the position they hold, you may eventually feel like you’re producing content for a parade of anonymous executives.
The Zero Moment of Truth is a very human moment. Google clarified the purchasing journey further by identifying micro moments, which speaks to the human motivations behind the ZMoT: “I want to go/do/know/buy something”. Use your buyer personas to take that understanding and make your informative content enticing as well. Appeal to the values of your ideal prospects and use testimonials and surveys to make your content relatable.
3. Win the SEO game
The most important element of winning the ZMoT is the ability to be found easily. Search engine optimization takes on greater importance in this battle for attention. Being at or near the top of search results is vital; otherwise, your content may not be visible enough when prospects begins their research.
Understand the different questions people ask that your content can answer. Identify keywords that aren’t just applicable to what you sell, but also to relevant tangential concepts. Link thoroughly to high-quality sources and keep topics front-and-center by optimizing your titles. Do whatever is possible to have a detailed SEO strategy so your content is visible and so you’ll know what to fix if you’re not getting found.
4. Provoke further action
ZMoT-focused inbound content needs to finish strong. Answering questions and providing knowledge is good and necessary, but it doesn’t do much if a prospect doesn’t know what to do with their newfound understanding. The goal, as always, is to take these visitors and convert them into qualified leads.
Of course, this isn’t anything new—the call-to-action has been a staple of inbound content for nearly as long as inbound marketing has been practiced. Because the Zero Moment of Truth happens so early in the buyer’s journey, CTAs take on greater importance. When producing content specifically for the ZMoT, take care to nudge a prospect further along without being too pushy. Just don’t end an article or video without giving the viewer a chance to learn more from you and reach out.
The buyer’s journey is far more amorphous than it used to be. Awareness and consideration are closer together than the traditional funnel explains. Adjust your inbound content strategy to win the Zero Moment of Truth and you can reach B2B buyers more reliably when they’re looking for you.