A guest blog by a CloudTask partner - Atomic Reach
Think about the last big purchase you made, did you just see something and immediately know you had to have it? Probably not.
Most of the time when we’re making a purchase we do our research. In fact, according to AdWeek that number is 81 percent of us. We get to know a brand, look at multiple options for a product, read reviews and figure out what will work best for our needs.
No one really wants to part with their hard earned cash unless you give them a good reason. Customers aren't just going to take the chance that your product does what it says it will, so you have to create content that guides them on their journey to finally make that purchase.
This is where your content marketing funnel comes in. Your funnel is broken up into stages and your customer will pass through each stage on their way to converting. From the first contact with your brand to hitting that checkout button, your content will fuel them along, answering their questions and convincing them your brand is the right choice.
Learn more about the importance of content marketing in the post: Why Is Content Marketing Important? 54 Marketers Share [Data]
Defining Your Buyer Journey
For most businesses, you will divide your content marketing funnel into three stages:
- Top of the funnel (ToFu): The content you create for the top of your funnel will be all about generating awareness and will have a low/no barrier to consumption. It will have the widest audience, be the most general, targeting visitors that are the least ready to convert.
- Middle of the funnel (MoFu): Middle of the funnel content is about evaluation. People in the MoFu are general prospects, there is a lower barrier to consumption and the content will be more targeted towards their problems.
- Bottom of the funnel (BoFu): This stage of the journey is known as the “Purchase Stage.” The people that are in this stage of your funnel will be ready to buy and already shown significant interest in your product or service.
Each business will have a unique content marketing funnel but this is a good general place to start. Your industry and the audience you’re targeting can both impact the structure of your funnel and where you decide to concentrate your efforts.
For example, B2B prospects spend a lot more time in the MoFu than B2C, as B2B products often have higher price points. It takes a lot more nurturing and information to influence a decision to purchase a $500 a month CRM than it does to purchase a $40 t-shirt.
Creating buyer personas will give you a more in-depth understanding of your audience so you know who you are targeting in your funnel. You can create a persona for each stage of your funnel and this will help you ensure that each piece of content you create is going to help push one of these personas a bit further through your funnel.
Demand Generation Activities
Before we delve a little deeper into your content marketing funnel, lets quickly cover demand generation activities.
Demand generation activities are conducted through many tactics to generate leads. These can range from filling out a form to downloading a guide or ebook. Adding Demand Generating Activities to content at stages of your funnel helps you get a greater ROI and allows you to further nurture that lead at a later date.
Top of the Funnel: Awareness
How do you get visitors on your site to care about your brand?
Your ToFu is often where you try to hook visitors to your site into your content marketing funnel. You need to show them the value in your product and explain how it can solve a problem they are having.
These leads have the lowest value as only a small percent will convert into paying customers but that percent that finds your content informative and helpful will move into the MoFu.
The users at the stage of your funnel are looking for information and answers to pain points they have. Content at this stage will, therefore, need to be educational and can be in various forms such as:
- Social Media Updates
Remember that this content should not have a sales tie-in. You are not trying to make a sale yet, these leads are cold and need to be warmed up, they may not have encountered your brand before and need to build trust with you. You have to establish yourself as a knowledge base for your industry.
Another thing to remember is that this content should have a low/no barrier to consumption and be easily accessible for all.
Middle of the Funnel: Evaluation
As mentioned above, the length of time a lead spends in the MoFu can vary greatly between industries and businesses. This is somewhat responsible for a lot of companies neglecting this stage of their content marketing funnel.
The Demand Gen Report showed that 52% of those surveyed viewed 8+ pieces of content from the vendor they chose to make a purchase from. The content in the middle of your funnel is going to guide your buyers on their journey and without having throughout content for every stage you will end up with leads that just sit, stuck in your funnel.
Your MoFu content supports your BoFu content, pushing your leads through and making it far more compelling for them to make a purchase at the last stage of your funnel. This content needs personal engagement more than ToFu content as to help to nurture relationships with qualified leads.
MoFu content can come in various forms. Some common ones are:
- Educational resources such as guides
- Software downloads
- Coupon codes
MoFu content should have a lower barrier to consumption than BoFu content but not have no barrier at all. For example, one of Hubspot's MoFu pieces of content is “The Essential Guide to Internet Marketing.” This is an educational resource but has a barrier to consumption - a lead gen form. The data from this form can go on to their sales team and they will know how best to target this lead with future content.
Bottom of the Funnel: Purchase
Only a small section of your website visitors will reach the BoFu. These are high-value prospects and generally, MQL or SQL, they will be interested in a particular product or service you offer and be at the buying stage.
Content at this stage should highlight the benefits of your product but avoid the sales pitch, segwaying naturally from the MoFu content and a purchase.
Examples of types of content used at the BoFu:
- Free trial
- Case studies
- Product comparisons
Maximize Your Conversions
Content from any one stage of your funnel on its own is unlikely to convert a customer. All your content needs to work in harmony to create a seamless buyer journey, answering their questions and providing relevant information while they’re making the decision on what to purchase.
By understanding your audience, you can gauge their buying intent and create content that they find valuable. By mapping out a content marketing funnel well, with buyer personas for each stage of your funnel, you will have a huge impact on your customer relationships, as well as maximize your conversion rates.
Want to start creating optimal content for each stage of your funnel? Find out how Atomic Reach can help.
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