Although you may not have realized it, everyone on the internet is selling something. It’s not the snake-oil type of stuff. Instead, it is content that serves a purpose.
Do they give you complete information? Free video tutorials? Perhaps, even tips? They either need your email to subscribe, or both. They don’t ask for anything in return but. This is probably because they are nurturing you before selling you a product.
This is a good strategy considering that 73% of companies who invested between 10 and 70% of their marketing budgets in content marketing had great success. How did they do it? They developed and maintained a content marketing strategy.
A content marketing funnel will help you direct website visitors to the point where they can purchase to replicate this success. This is how you can create and leverage a content marketing funnel that works for your brand.
What is a Content Marketing Funnel (CMF)?
The content marketing funnels are documented strategies that move potential customers from being aware of your brand to buying. To guide customers to a particular action, the content funnel uses different distribution strategies and content formats.
This action might vary depending on the industry and customer. This action may also be affected by your goal and the steps that lead to it. It could be to sign up or purchase something. Conversion occurs when your visitor does any of these actions.
Let’s look at the stages that make up a content marketing funnel.
What are the Stages of a Content-Marketing Funnel
While there are many visual representations of a content marketing funnel they all share three main stages. Wordstream compares a marketing funnel to an Ice Cream cone.
These three stages can be seen in the above image.
- Top of the Funnel with content targeted towards Awareness
- The Middle of the Funnel generates leads with content that is aimed at Nurturing and Educating.
- Bottom Of The Funnel (BOFU), with content that is targeted at Conversion.
Each level of the funnel can be used to organize your content marketing strategy. It is crucial to ask: What content format and at which stage would you get the best results in content marketing?
Some content types can be just as useful at the top as they are at the bottom, provided that they are presented correctly.
Some content types are better suited for certain stages than others, even though they can technically be used at all stages. To attract your audience, you could use a case study on the TOFU stage and then use another case study to convince them to sign up for BOFU.
How do you make a content marketing funnel work?
How can you build a winning content marketing funnel?
Your marketing funnel should be tied to a specific purpose. This will help buyers navigate through different pain points. What are their challenges? What can you do to help them?
Next, find out where your target audience is online. If you sell home goods, Instagram is a great place to start. If you’re selling home goods, social media content can be a powerful part of your content marketing strategy.
Once you have these details figured out, map your content touchpoints at each stage.
- Top of the Funnel — Awareness or Attraction Stage
To be successful at the TOFU stage, it is important to assume that your target buyers and audience are not aware of your brand. Inbound marketing is the best way to increase awareness. TOFU content is for people who are looking for information and resources online to solve a problem.
When creating content for this stage, your goal should be to draw these prospects with useful and educational resources. It shouldn’t be salesy to raise awareness.
Your site visitors may be referred to your content hub to find more relevant information. Content hubs can be used to store curated content such as infographics and videos that you can use in your content marketing campaign.
These are some examples of effective awareness stage content
Blog posts are designed to answer the most pressing queries of potential customers. Write articles in AP style. This consistency will build trust with your audience.
Shareable infographics and Ebooks to draw visitors to your site with high-value resources. This can be done by creating landing pages that are unique to your most valuable resources.
Get the complete how-to guide to make yourself an authority in your field. You can find this content in many forms: videos, pillar blogs, and interactive content. It typically covers the same topic as long-form content, but it is usually more detailed.
This content type can be used to get visitors to convert. You could give 95 percent of it away for free, and offer bonus content if they sign up for your mailing list.
Other examples of top-of-funnel content include engaging videos, podcast episodes and social media posts.
- Middle of the Funnel: Educating
This stage is where you must nurture the leads that you have at the top of your funnel. These leads are looking for a match with your products or services. Your content strategy should educate and show how your product/service can meet their needs.
There is no need to be pushy. Your content will speak for itself. Sending small amounts of targeted content to customers who are interested in your product or service is a good idea.
This can be done by using the following content types:
Marketing are a great way for prospects to move from the awareness stage to that of the educating stage. They can be used in the BOFU and TOFU content stages, depending on their purpose. Email marketing can influence 50.7 percent to convert.
This newsletter allows you to educate your audience by sharing success stories and case studies that encourage trust. This will help your prospects move on to the next stage of the content marketing funnel.
How to content, showcasing products
Until they have seen your product in action, some customers might not believe you are the right fit. You can help your customers make informed decisions by creating content that demonstrates how your product works.
Source: Kelty Linger YouTube
The video makers who made the video for the side table have kept the how-to video simple and concise. The video makers included all the information users would need to purchase the product.
Showcase your product in its best light and then offer customers a call to action for them to purchase it.
Demo and explainer videos are more factual than commercials, but not as detailed or as how-to content.
Source: What a Story YouTube
Fronter, a project management tool, uses short explainer videos to help users understand the features and functions of the software. Without boring potential customers, demo videos can be used to inform them in the middle.
You can also try gated content, buying guides, case studies and social media posts.
- Bottom of the Funnel- Build Trust
The bottom of the funnel hosts leads who are ready and willing to buy, but may need a little extra push. This is where you should focus on making a sale.
You want prospects to be able to recall you long after they have made a purchase. The bottom of the funnel content must help build trust and convert prospects to your brand.
There are some types of BOFU content:
Consultations and assessments can help you present yourself as an industry expert, and show how your company can solve customers’ problems. Make sure to offer valuable advice and point out both strengths and areas that can be improved during a consultation.
Customer-led marketing efforts to encourage customer conversion include testimonials and reviews . These include written reviews, photos, videos and user-generated content that shows social proof.
Product features and use-case pages are a hit-the-nail-right-on-the-head kind of content. This content is extremely targeted and is great for those who are looking for products for a specific purpose. Prospects should be able to see the most important benefits of your product in the content.
Mention has a page dedicated to use cases that are both industry- and need-specific.
A testimonial strengthens their product’s credibility towards the bottom.
Mention encourages customers to sell the benefits of each benefit, not just the features. This will allow you to present a compelling use case that will convince prospects to convert at bottom of funnel.
A content strategy that is effective in content marketing should have one goal: to make content that converts. A solid content strategy will allow your company to influence clients at all levels of the content marketing funnel.
To help your customers use your products better, send them email tips and insight. Email automation can be used to increase outreach and identify new audience segments.
You can run a funnel analysis to determine if you are not reaching your goals and then work on content optimization strategies until you achieve your desired results.
Scoop.it Blog published the article How to Make a Winning Content Marketing Funnel.
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