June 9, 2021 - Natalya

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How To Develop A Winning Content Marketing Funnel in 2021

In an ideal world, anyone who has ever heard of your company would become your client. The truth is only a few out of hundreds and thousands become clients. Why this happens is described by the classic marketing metaphor — the sales funnel.

The idea is simple: the closer to the deal — the fewer potential customers remain. At the top of the funnel is a broad audience, people who can theoretically be interested in your brand. The middle of the funnel is getting narrower: there are far fewer people who are not just interested in you but who are willing to give you money. The lower part of the funnel is very narrow: these are people who have become customers. When moving down the funnel, part of the audience is eliminated.

It is believed that the place of content marketing is at the top of the funnel. But this is complete nonsense: content marketing works at every stage. Content marketing is a marketing strategy that helps attract new customers and build trusting relationships with existing ones. According to a survey by Demand Metric, content marketing generates three times as many leads as outbound marketing, and it is about 62% cheaper. 26% of adult Americans are almost always online. What does it mean for a business owner? This is evident – online marketing, website content, and sales go side-by-side.

Since the content is the text, images, and videos that a person comes across on the website (and other channels), you can create different types of content for different stages of the funnel. But first, you need to understand what the content marketing funnel is. Read further to dive into this topic and learn how to build a successful content marketing funnel.

What Is A Content Marketing Funnel?

A content marketing funnel is a graphical diagram of the process of attracting customers who are not familiar with the brand, turning them into leads, and converting them into buyers with the help of content. A content funnel is a relatively new definition. This is a tool that allows you to move from “Who are you?” up to “Give me two!”. Because of the difference in the mood and level of customer confidence at different sales funnel stages, you need to know what content will help you take the next step.

Agency Vista: Content Marketing Funnel - ToFu, MoFu, BoFu.

Marketing specialists define three levels of the funnel:

  • top funnel (TOFU)
  • middle funnel (MOFU)
  • bottom funnel (BOFU)

At each stage, there is an interaction with a completely different target audience. For example, engaging your audience with entertainment, information, and inspiring content at the top of the funnel is essential. This means that you will have to deeply study potential customers’ desires and pains before planning a content strategy.

In the middle of the funnel, you can observe partially interested people. They are aware of their problems and needs, but they have not yet decided to choose you. Marketers use numerous ways to convert a potential customer into an actual customer at this stage. They often use a lead magnet – a book, a webinar, a discount to engage the target audience and get their contact details.

The last stage involves finding a solution and the actual action of the potential client. If you develop websites, they order the building of a web resource; if you hold a business forum, they order a ticket, and so on.

Benefits of creating a content marketing funnel:

1. Less investment in paid advertising

When a brand has a content marketing funnel, there is a chance to spend less on paid advertising. The content is constantly being created. Therefore, over time, the website will get a high position in search engines. This will allow you to introduce the brand to a new audience and help the site get backlinks. Also, there are chances to spend less on advertising and continue to get targeted leads for the site on an ongoing basis. This is a significant difference from paid ads, where the ad campaign ends as soon as your budget is exhausted.

2. Increase brand awareness

Brand awareness is not just about users knowing the company name. With this awareness, the audience understands what qualities distinguish the brand from others. To form this understanding, you need to create valuable content.

3. Increasing credibility

The more content a company creates that meets the needs of a potential customer, the better its credibility increases. People trust those whom they consider being authorities. 49% of consumers use the recommendations of these influencers before making decisions. Human psychology works so that people like to buy from those they know, love, and trust.

4. More organic search traffic

Content marketing fuels your organic search traffic. The truth is that if the content is good, organic search traffic will increase. When a potential customer enters one or more keywords that you are targeting in the search engine, they will see your site.

As practice shows, content is a crucial component of marketing activities worth investing in, and a content marketing funnel is one of the best tools for understanding consumer behavior and building long-term relationships with them.

How To Choose The Right Content For Each Stage Of The Marketing Funnel?

1. ToFu – Awareness 

Goals: Indirect customer acquisition, increasing brand awareness.

Tactics: Educational and viral content.

At this stage of the funnel, the task is to introduce the market and potential customers to your company. It is necessary to create a favorable information background around your brand, interest, and even intrigue the user. To do this, you need exciting and helpful content.

When creating content at this stage of the funnel, the main rule is not to sell the product but to provide helpful information about the product to help customers solve their problems. In the eyes of your customers, you need to be an expert in your field so that readers can trust your content, and eventually, your company. The more loyal your readers are, the more likely your product or service will be in demand, and they will reach the next stage of the sales funnel.

Content is best suited for ToFu?

1. Useful materials

Do not be afraid to give free interesting content — at this stage, few customers will be ready to pay money for a product they do not know. According to the study, educational content works excellently in terms of attracting traffic — infographics (28%), checklists (27%), and ebooks (26%).

2. Brand information

Who you are, what you do, whom you helped, and how you build your work. Such content will help increase the trust of the audience and continue the contact.

3. High-quality graphics

Visual enjoyment is essential to attract attention. Accompany your posts/articles/notes with beautiful images. This way, you can attract the attention of those who are not in the mood to read.

4. Behind the scenes of the company

This item can be related to brand information. But there is one significant difference — through the backstage, the client sees that there are real people behind your product, open to communication and questions.

2. MoFu – Leads

Goals: Direct customer engagement.

Tactics: Solving existing problems.

If potential customers stayed with you after the first stage of the funnel, it means that they have a problem that they can solve with your product. At a minimum, your content is beneficial to them at this time. This is some evaluation stage – the best time to collect the database. Collect contacts that the clients are ready to share, test the waters for the best offers, and tell them how you differ from your competitors.

Be careful: do not engage in direct advertising; now, customers only evaluate you and your product. Be persuasive but not intrusive. Provide valuable content, share experiences, and let the users make their own decisions.

Content is best suited for MoFu:

  • Extended versions of materials, webinars, and podcasts. Make it clear that you are happy with the contingence and constancy.
  • Tutorials, training materials, checklists, and much more to improve the skills of your audience. Provoke the desire to buy something even more enjoyable.
  • Comparisons. Be careful with this point. Offending your competitors is a bad idea. But, to show the good sides of your product objectively is valuable and practical.
  • Turn on the activity. At this stage, you can ask to evaluate your products and brand. Run tests, surveys, or votes — this way, you will learn the opinion of your subscribers, collect necessary information, and add it to your database.

It is the best time to change the status of your “potential customer” to “buyer.” Overall MOFU content success is measured by conversion rate (75%) and the number of leads (54%)

3. BoFu – Conversion 

Goals: Making a purchase.

Tactics: Product descriptions and unique selling proposition.

At this stage of the funnel, it is time to show how good your product and your company are. This is the narrowest part of the funnel, which very few people reach. But since they are already here, it means they are interested in buying your product. Impress them. Resolve the last doubts. Show that your product is what they need. Therefore, we take the big guns in the form of a detailed product description, add a unique value to your offer, reviews, and stories of satisfied customers to convince potential customers to purchase this product. It is the step when we will understand how well and effectively the previous stages were completed.

An important feature that should be considered when creating content for the conversion stage is straightforwardness. Provide the customer with simple, straightforward, and honest content that will reveal the benefits of your product. Provide complete information on the service pages (payment and delivery, about the company, warranty) that will help increase customer confidence in your company and increase the chances of making a deal.

What content is best suited for BoFu?

  • Specifics. No one likes to pay money for abstract things. Write down what precisely the person pays you for.
  • Cases and reviews. The experience of another satisfied customer is positively reflected in the decision of others in a brown study. Please show what you have already sold, and it ended well for all participants of the transaction.
  • A small list of suggestions. No matter how successful your customers move through the funnel, you should not give out all the current offers at the last stage. If there are many products — segment them, in other cases — make offers gradually. 
  • Free discount codes. Encourage your clients to buy more from you.

Analyzing the customer’s response to the content is necessary to help you create your working funnel. Be helpful, responsive, and honest at all stages of the content funnel. Keep the customer department informed at every step, involve customers in content creation, and collect statistics.

How To Create An Effective Content Funnel

1. Identify the audience for the content correctly 

You need to understand whom you will work with and whom you are going to sell to. To not waste the budget on the development and promotion of the company, marketing activities should be aimed at the target audience. Identify customer needs and the benefits of interacting with you. After that, you will quickly understand how to win the competition and which channels to use for interacting with customers.

2. Research and create relevant content for each funnel stage

From brand awareness to purchase decisions, your audience should get relevant content to stay engaged. It is essential to manage the available information correctly and present it accurately to customers. The formed mutual trust is the key to the success of each party.

The sense of using the right content for each stage of the funnel is the ability to determine the main phases of making a purchase decision, building proper communication with the client, taking into account not only the needs but also the mood, desires, and opportunities at each stage of the client’s journey.

3. Use viral content to drive traffic

Such traffic drivers as “how-to” guides, infographics, and landing pages are actively distributed on the web and generate new targeted traffic. People like the content and start actively sharing it, which brings new visitors to the site. These types of content are not an aggressive way to attract attention. There is no aggression in SEO either, but there is a problem – organic SEO traffic is not always 100% targeted. But this content, as a rule, leads to targeted traffic.

4. Publish success stories and product overviews

Now it is not enough for people to see a beautiful website design and appreciate the simplicity and ease of its use. Today’s users want more: the ability to evaluate how good your products or services are. The easiest way to do this is to read real reviews from people who have already worked with your company. Share user-generated content along with success stories and product reviews to attract more attention to the brand.

5. Use email marketing to reach your audience

Email marketing is a powerful and effective tool for communicating with your customers and increasing sales. Make the most of email marketing to answer the users’ questions, highlight your brand strengths, and send a personalized message. With the help of email marketing, you can significantly increase the sales of your product or service, build loyal relationships with customers, learn about their values, interests, expectations, and share the necessary information with potential clients.

6. Measure your content marketing funnel effectiveness

One of the performance indicators in content marketing is the conversion rate (CR). CR determines how many users who clicked on the site made a request or performed another target action. The CR on each funnel stage illustrates how well the ad content is created and delivered.

Conclusion 

Content marketing, built into the sales funnel, helps promote services to the market and effectively sells them. Each stage of the content marketing funnel requires a particular approach to the content. When you are just getting acquainted with a potential customer, what works at the first stage will not work at the third stage — at the sales stage. The main thing is to always clearly understand who your audience is, what it needs, and which problems you can solve. The content marketing funnel allows you to understand at what stage most customers are lost and focus on producing content that ultimately converts them into actual customers.

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