There’s probably a million and one things you feel like you could direct your attention to for the benefit of your company. Regardless of what we do, we’re all focused on driving solid traffic to our brands and turning leads into conversions. You may have heard of a sales funnel, but has a content marketing funnel ever come to mind? Learn how a content marketing funnel of your own can complement and elevate your marketing and sales strategy.
What Is a Marketing Funnel?
A marketing funnel is the process we take our customers through to familiarize them with our brand enough to get them to convert. Picture an actual funnel — you drop in a large group at the top and as the funnel narrows, you’re also narrowing down the list of best qualified leads. This process helps your sales team know where to best allocate their time.
A content marketing funnel will match this and help you meet your potential customers where they’re at as they move through the sales journey. The content that’s distributed throughout the funnel then becomes more strategic and better serves the needs of your audience.
Marketing Funnel Stages
There are three main stages in a content marketing (and sales) funnel — awareness, consideration, and conversion. Each phase is tailored to different needs and perspectives so it’s important to understand each one’s purpose and who it serves.
What you create in this stage is known as top of funnel (TOFU) content. At this point, your audience is potential customers that have little to no knowledge of your brand. They’re the furthest step from buying and most likely have no idea you exist. The goal here is to build that awareness by introducing who you are and what problem your product or service solves.
The messaging should be tailored towards creating interest. You want to drive traffic to your social media, your website, or your actual storefront. What you’re after is enough attention to get your customer started in their buyer journey. You can pique their interest with a well-made advertisement, an informative video, or the promise to share something of value in exchange for their contact information. Content that marketers like to leverage here includes guides, infographics, webinars, or whitepapers.
Also known as the middle of the funnel or MOFU, this portion of the funnel starts to narrow. You’re getting fewer prospects to this stage but the good news is that they are going to be higher quality and more engaged.
The goal is to turn your audience and traffic into potential leads. These are people that are likely interacting with your content. They are the ones engaging — liking, commenting, saving and willing to jump on offers, sign up for events, and follow links.
The conversion stage is what you’ve been building up to. Also known as the bottom of funnel (BOFU), the goal here is entirely focused on converting those hard-earned leads into a sale. This final dash consists of content that shows your customers why you’re the best option.
At this point, you’ve already spent a lot of time nurturing your leads. This stage is all about getting those specific, lingering questions answered, case studies shared, and tempting offers sent. Your content may highlight specific use cases for your product, showing off why it’s the ideal fit for your customer’s needs. You could also share a FAQ that consists of commonly asked questions or videos that touch on common concerns customers have. This is also the ideal time to offer up your best deals — some companies will send out discount offers throughout the nurture and save the best deal for their final offer.
Marketing Funnel Strategies
Understand the Customer Journey
A vital aspect of creating a content marketing funnel that works involves understanding the customer journey. It’s really valuable to map this out ahead of time so you can properly address any concerns throughout each stage. Your customer will have a more thorough experience in getting to know you and why you’re the solution for them.
Tailor Content to Each Stage
There’s a reason we’ve covered each stage of the funnel in-depth. It’s so that you know exactly what kind of content to create to be effective.
Top of funnel content is really about that initial exposure. Keep things light with social media posts, blog updates, podcasts, newsletters, etc. This is where you show your prospects what you’re about.
Middle of funnel content takes a bit of a turn. You’ve moved beyond the awareness stage and your potential customers really need to understand how you fit their needs. This facilitates evaluation of your product or service and can include content like educational resources, webinars, events, downloads, and even a sweet discount.
Finally, bottom of the funnel content is what it all comes down to. This type of content is meant to facilitate conversion. Share customer testimonials, competitor comparisons, and even bring your prospects in for a demo so they get the full picture of how your product or service will benefit them.
Don’t Forget “Stage Four”
Most people focus on the three main stages of the funnel. However, we all know that one of the major contributors to business success is retention and loyalty. Keeping your customers around is less of a hurdle than earning them which is why it’s encouraged to keep up the content and engagement even after they have converted.
Continue sharing resources and content that keep them in the loop. It never hurts to send information someone’s way to help them keep up with industry trends or update them on new products or upgrades you offer. Actions like this really help solidify that business-to-customer relationship and keep the business performing well.
A good content marketing funnel will nudge your prospects along at just the right pace and help you distinguish between those that are and aren’t ready to make a purchase. Once you’ve reached the bottom, you’ll have a good group of qualified leads that are ready to convert. Now that you have an idea of what a content marketing funnel is, it’s time to take these ideas and create a journey that’s unique and valuable to your prospects.