When you hear the word content, what comes to mind? Do you think about blog posts, listicles, and guides on your website? If so, you’re not wrong. However, there is more to content than what’s under the blog button neatly tucked away on your homepage. Content encompasses every aspect of our business and plays a pivotal role in turning strangers into customers. That’s why you need to think about what your content marketing funnel looks like.
Everything we do to promote our business and communicate with customers involves creating content. Think about the last time you scheduled your social media posts for the coming month, you were writing and cultivating content for your online audience. Social media is just the beginning. Your pricing page, testimonials, emails, and marketing copy all fall under the umbrella of content.
It’s our job as business owners to create content that captivates, inspires and solves a real-world problem. Creating high-quality content means we can easily direct consumers through our sales funnel, which results in happy customers and increased sales. We are going to take a look at how to bring customers through your funnel, starting at the top Additionally, we will show you how you can design content that grabs the interest of your audience and eventually convert them into a customer.
Let’s dive into creating your content marketing funnel!
Stage 1: Finding Prospects
The first stage of every sale funnel is about finding prospects who may be interested in your business. Brand awareness is the name of the game. It’s impossible to get sales if no one knows who you are or why your product is relevant to their lives.
Obtaining information about prospects involves extensive research into your ideal customer. Think about who would benefit from your product and where they reside when they are online. You may want to consider creating customer personas, which are detailed bios on the people who are most likely to need what you’re offering. Customer personas include information about how your ideal customer lives, their hobbies, pain points, and buying habits. All of this information can give you plenty of information about how and where to find consumers.
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You’ll use the data obtained from your research to find out what social media platforms your prospects frequent. It’s generally a good idea to create content for all of your social profiles, but pay close attention to the ones that are most used by your audience. Engage with consumers regularly, regardless of whether they have made a purchase on your website. Interacting with businesses help build awareness, which directs consumers down the top of your content marketing funnel.
There are various content marketing tactics you can use to entice consumers to check out your business. Try to focus on your customer’s pain points and how your product or service will impact their life. For example, if your business is centered around helping marketers grow their business, you may want to consider creating an online contest on your social media profiles where you offer a free crash course in marketing.
Odds are, people who are struggling with marketing their business will enter the contest. You’ve offered a solution to their pain point, which helps build awareness. If you require people who enter your contest to share your post and tag some friends, you’re casting a wide net that’s bound to bring in some promising leads.
You must continuously work towards obtaining new leads for both your email marketing campaign and building general awareness on your website. Don’t forget; you can include your crucial blog posts on social media, which can lead them to the second phase of your sales funnel — building engagement. Engaging with your audience is an essential part of lead nurturing, which is the middle section of the average sales funnel.
Stage 2 – Building Trust and Lead Nurturing
You’ll hear marketers say that there are anywhere from three to six phases of an average sales funnel. The reason there is such a difference in the number of steps is that many business owners break the middle of the funnel down into multiple parts.
We would argue that the middle of the funnel contains various marketing aspects, but the steps occur at the same time, with the same goal — building rapport. Once people start consuming your content and become casual fans, it’s time to take your content strategy to the next level. The second phase of the process consists of writing blog posts to get more email subscribers.
At this point, your prospects are not quite ready to seal the deal. They want to understand what makes your business different from the competition, and your content can help you shine.
For example, you could create an email drip campaign for your subscribers that delivers relevant information and content right to their inbox. You’ll want to segment your lead lists, if possible, and create different campaigns for the various needs or goals of your prospects as part of your email marketing strategy.
Let’s go back to the fictional marketing company we mentioned earlier. If you wanted to build trust with your audience, you could create campaigns that focus on various marketing needs, like social media and email marketing. When consumers subscribe, they can pick the kind of content they want to receive, and you can start sending out emails on a timed basis that provides the prospects with valuable information depending on their interests.
This process is known as lead nurturing. When you take the time to nurture your leads without asking for anything in return, you’re showing them that your goal is to provide tangible value and offer a solution to a problem. You’re slowly leading your prospects down the funnel and to the third phase of the content marketing funnel — the sale. When you consider that lead nurturing can land you between four and ten times the response rate, this step is crucial to converting the semi-interested into hardcore fans.
Stage 3 – The Sale
Now you’re at the phase where the customer is interested in what you have to offer, they’ve subscribed to your mailing list, and they are ready to buy your product. These are the people who trust you as an authority in your industry.
You must create various types of content that helps guide the consumer through the final stage of the content marketing funnel. The first place you should start is your pricing page. The design of your pricing page needs to be crisp, clear, and accurate. Your copy should include all of the key benefits of each product. It’s equally important that you list a price that matches the total your customers will see when they are at the checkout page.
A testimonials page and reviews can give consumers an idea of what to expect after their purchase, which can help close the deal right away. Customers tend to buy from businesses after they see what kind of experiences other people have had with your product or service.
It’s generally a good idea to post testimonials from a variety of people across different platforms. When consumers see that people across various platforms praise your product, it helps build social proof in their minds. Social proof is a phenomenon where consumers are more likely to buy something if they see other people buying, and enjoying, the same product.
Finally, you have to create a smooth, easy to access, sales process. Typically, the buying process spans across several pages. Each page should include essential and relevant information that will make your new customer feel like they are making a smart decision by purchasing your product or service. Make sure to set expectations and help consumers along the way by giving them helpful tips about checking out, delivery time, and pricing after taxes.
After the sale, you have to keep customers engaged in your brand. There are plenty of ways to improve your customer retention with your content. New blog posts help boost your retention rate because customers who are satisfied with their purchase generally want to stay involved with your business and the surrounding community.
Once you’ve wrapped up your drip campaign, you can continue sending out periodic emails to your customers. Use your connection through email to let your audience know about new posts, products, and industry information. As you get more email subscribers, it’s important to start segmenting your email lists and continue building rapport with your customers so they become advocates for your brand. It’s also possible to leverage chatbot technology to update users about new content when they access your site. Chatbots are useful for assisting customers that land on your website, but have some questions. You can direct consumers to your FAQ page, a specific blog post, or your pricing page, depending on their interaction with the bot.
Our businesses thrive due to content creation. Blog posts, social media updates, emails, and testimonial pages all have their place in your content marketing strategy. As you gain a better understanding of your audience, you’ll learn how to expertly navigate them through your content marketing funnel while improving your sales and conversion rate. The possibilities are endless when it comes to content creation.
For more details on what goes into a content marketing funnel, check out this great infographic from FRACTL.