What do you typically do when you’re thinking about buying something for the first time?

If it’s a new toaster, a bottle of wine, or something equally inconsequential, you probably just try it out and see what happens. When it comes to bigger purchases, however, say a new car or enterprise software, people tend to spend a lot more time and energy trying to make informed decisions.

That makes sense. Unlike a toaster, which is relatively inexpensive and can easily be replaced, cars and enterprise software platforms are big-ticket items that you’re going to live with for a long time. Buy the wrong thing, and you’ll probably live to regret it. That’s why people generally pay close attention and research thoroughly when making these types of purchasing decisions.

To help them make informed decisions, they’ll look for advice from friends, family, colleagues, and other peers who might have insights. They’ll go through rigorous vetting processes (test drives in the case of cars, product demos in the case of enterprise software). And, perhaps more than anything else, they’ll go online to find as much information as they possibly can to help inform their decisions.

That’s where content comes in.

Content Helps Inform Purchasing Behavior

If you have a question, any question, who’s the first person you ask? More often than not these days, the answer seems to be Siri, Alexa, Google, or some other variation thereof. That’s because they are all tools for accessing the Internet — our portal for tapping into vast amounts of information on just about every topic imaginable.

The Internet is full of content: blog posts, articles, videos, company websites, new sites, customer reviews, case studies — you name it. When you’re interested in learning more about a particular topic, you’ll often look for as much content as you can find about it.

So if I’m thinking about buying a new car, for example, I might search for photos and videos that show me its interior and exterior design. I might look for articles that speak to its selling points, such as its gas mileage, safety features, and superior handling. I might visit online forums where people who have already bought the car collaborate about why they like it or why they don’t. All of these types of information are going to help paint a picture of whether one car is right for me versus another.

It’s the same if I’m thinking about buying enterprise software. Only in that case I might be looking at company websites, watching webinars, reading case studies, and studying detailed product information. All of that content will help educate me about what I’m thinking about buying and the pros and cons of buying it from one company versus another.

Understanding Content’s Role

To be clear, most people don’t buy things because of a piece of content they’ve consumed. Case studies, webinars, and videos alone aren’t what sell products and services. The products and services themselves have to do that. But what content does is help people decide whether your products and services are even worth their time considering. It gives them the facts they need to make informed decisions. And it helps to ensure that they know what they’re getting so that they don’t wind up with buyer’s remorse.

We don’t buy based on content, but we’re heavily influenced by it. For that reason alone, it’s important that you make plenty of content available to your target audience.  Content needs to demonstrate what your products and services are like, what you’re like as a business, and why in a world that’s full of options, you’re the best choice for them.