If you current content marketing strategy is lacking in conversions – consider this checklist/blueprint of layering your content with more structure to lead your prospects into a ‘content funnel' which in turn will provide a greater chance for conversions.
Something you may not have realized before is that content marketing involves more then just a blog. Meaning, blogs are a major player in drawing the focus to your posts and stories but isn't always (by itself) remunerated.
1 – Perfect Content Marketing is Full Funnel
I know this is Marketing 101 stuff but stick with me for just a second before I get into the more advanced content marketing concepts we’ll be covering.
For an ice-cold prospect to become a customer they will need to travel through three stages…
- Awareness – The prospect must first become aware that there is a problem and that YOU or your organization have a solution for it. (This is where your blog EXCELS)
- Evaluation – Those that move through the Awareness Stage must now evaluate the various choices available to them, including your competitor’s solutions and, of course, taking no action at all to solve the problem.
- Conversion – Those that move through the Evaluation Stage are now at the moment of truth — purchase. At DigitalMarketer, our goal at this stage is to convert leads into frequent and high-ticket buyers.
A cold prospect cannot evaluate your solution until they are first aware of the problem AND your solution. And conversion is impossible until the prospect has first evaluated the possible courses of action.
To move a prospect through a marketing funnel, they will need content designed to satisfy their needs at each of the three stages.
In other words…
- They need content at the top of the funnel (TOFU) that facilitates awareness.
- They need content in the middle of the funnel (MOFU) that facilitates evaluation.
- They need content at the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) that facilitates conversion.
Blogs are fantastic facilitators of awareness — but they do a poor job of facilitating evaluation and conversion. And, at the risk of pointing out the obvious, evaluation and conversion are super critical to your business.
To move prospects through the middle (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU) you’ll need other content types.
It looks like this…
We call it The Content Lifecycle.
Let’s look at each stage of the funnel and the content needed at those stages…
Top Of The Funnel (TOFU) Content Marketing
The prospects entering the top of your funnel are completely unaware of your solution and, often, completely unaware of their problem.
As a result, you need content with a low barrier to entry — because they have little to no motivation to put skin in the game (think giving you contact information or money.)
You need freely available content at the top of the funnel (TOFU) that…
- or Inspires
… and you need to make it readily available using content types like:
- Blog posts
- Social Media Updates
- Digital Magazines/Books
- Audio/Video Podcasts
- Print Magazines/Newsletters (You’ll need a bigger budget here)
- Primary Research
Do you need all of these content types at the top of the funnel? Heck no.
Most businesses will post content to a blog and to social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Once you’ve mastered these two content types, you’ll want to add more top of funnel content to the mix like a podcast or a print newsletter.
Remember, the big goal at the top of the funnel is to make prospects ‘problem aware’ and ‘solution aware.’
Notice how Whole Foods, using their Whole Story blog, raises awareness for a sea scallops offer while providing valuable content (recipes and cooking instructions)…
At DigitalMarketer we provide educational content our prospects are interested in — raising awareness of our training products and services…
Notice how this kitchen remodeling company uses photographs of remodeled kitchens to make prospects ‘problem aware’ and ‘solution aware’ …
Unfortunately, the top of the funnel is where most organizations begin and end their content marketing efforts.
Smart content marketers know that, with a bit more effort, they can move prospects from awareness to evaluation in the middle of the funnel.
Here’s how it gets done…
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) Content Marketing
The big goal in the middle of the funnel is to convert ‘problem aware’ and ‘solution aware’ prospects into LEADS.
We use free content to incentivize prospects to submit their contact information and opt-in to receive future marketing.
We call this type of content a Lead Magnet.
Lead Magnets can be…
- Educational Resources (Case Study, White Paper, etc)
- Useful Resources (Swipe File, Checklist, etc)
- Software Downloads
- Discount/Coupon Clubs
This is a Lead Magnet that DigitalMarketer uses to generate leads for our products surrounding Facebook advertising…
By clicking on the Download Now button you will be prompted to enter your email address to receive the piece of content.
This piece of content (a White Paper) from Cloud Margin generates ‘solution aware’ leads…
But you can’t deposit leads in the bank.
A third content type is required at the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) to convert leads into customers…
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) Content Marketing
Ok, it’s point of sale time.
What types of content will your new lead need to make an informed purchase decision?
Here are a few…
- Demos/Free Trials
- Customer Stories
- Comparison/Spec Sheets
Your lead may be reading your blog and downloading Lead Magnets (and it will help convert her), but you’ll need content that helps her decide between you and your competitor to move her through to purchase.
Notice how Salesforce supplies leads in the bottom of the funnel with plenty of customer stories to prove that their product can handle that lead’s circumstances…
Salesforce.com has dozens of these customer stories — one for every major industry, product offering and size of business.
Customer stories are content that converts — and they are the responsibility of the content marketing team.
Consider this piece of content designed to assist prospective Quickbooks customers in choosing the right solution…
Google would suggest a comparison sheet between Quickbooks and their competitors (such as Xero) is another piece of content that should be on the radar of the Intuit content marketing team…
And while we’re at it — look at all the bottom of funnel (BOFU) content Xero’s content marketing team has built…
Is creating top of funnel (TOFU) content on a blog important?
But failing to build a full-funnel content plan will leave you disappointed in your content marketing results.
There you have it, straight from the folks over at Digital Marketer. They dive even further into the topic on their post here (check it out) –> digitalmarketer.com/content-marketing
Remember this streamlined process when building your future blog posts and you'll convert more leads/sales/prospects more often
See you soon fellow marketer
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