There are many ways to generate leads, and therefore sales, through content marketing, but there are just as many ways to lose customers as well. If you’ve put a lot of money and effort into one area of the marketing funnel, say top of funnel (TOFU) blog posts, but neglected the next steps of Evaluation and Conversion for potential customers, then your chances of turning leads into buyers are greatly reduced.
But what is the Content Marketing Funnel?
Before we go into how to optimize content at every stage of the funnel, it’s probably a good idea to break down what the funnel actually is and how it works.
Content Marketing Funnel, or The Buyers Journey
Put simply, there are three steps of the buyers journey and the process is broken down into stages of a funnel, with the Top of Funnel (TOFU), Middle of Funnel (MOFU), and Bottom of Funnel (BOFU). Each stage requires targeted content and each has different objectives, but all three have the same end goal: converting leads into buyers.
The top of funnel stage is where prospects gain Awareness of your business and where initial interest is piqued. In this stage, they should also become aware that there is a problem and that you have a solution for it.
The middle of funnel is where prospects that have moved through the Awareness stage begin to evaluate what your company offers and the choices available to them, including what your competitors are offering. Evaluation is where a lot of prospects are lost, so we’ll look into how to retain them a bit further down.
Those that move through the Evaluation stage now know a bit about your company or product, which usually means they are more inclined to be converted to buyers. But it’s important that this Conversion stage isn’t off-putting to prospects, as they can still easily leave the buyers journey.
Take a look below at the types of content that are most effective at each stage.
Image via DigitalMarketer
5 Ways To Generate Leads
So, we’ve wrapped our heads around the Content Marketing Funnel and the types of content to utilize at each stage, but how can you optimize your content to generate leads and keep buyers on their journey?
We’ve put together 5 things to keep in mind when creating content at each stage.
- Keep it simple
The important thing with the Awareness stage is keeping content simple and easily digestible, but also eye-catching. This is the prospects first interaction with your company, so they know very little about you and essentially, don’t care about your company yet. At this stage it is most effective to have as little written content as possible. Use images, videos, landing pages, and even gamification to hook prospects in.
- Target a problem
The easiest way to show prospects that they need your company or product is by presenting them with a problem and showing them you have the solution. Highlight a problem they may not even know about yet, or target one that is common within your industry. By promising a solution to follow, they will be interested to learn more about you.
- Offer the solution
When offering a solution to the problem, you are providing prospects with more information about your company and more reason to care about you. Give them quantative solutions like facts and figures, info-graphics, or freely available educational content.
- Give them an incentive
This one is fairly straightforward. Prospects have made it to the Evaluation stage, but still have no obligation to become buyers. A simple incentive is a great way to turn them into buyers. Offer things like discounts or coupons, educational resources, eBook downloads, and easy quizzes or surveys to gain more information about them.
- Make it easy to Convert
They’ve made it to Conversion, and by ensuring the next step of becoming a buyer is as easy and painless as possible, you’ll make prospects more inclined to continue on their journey. If you have a survey or ask them for personal information, try letting them know you won’t be spamming their emails. Offer them free trials so they won’t feel locked into a purchase, or try making the buying process as uncomplicated as possible.
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