If you want your content to generate leads and convert them into customers effectively, you’ll need to plan and develop a content marketing funnel.
Content marketing has been gaining in popularity in recent years, with as much as 76% of marketers planning to increase content production in the future.
However, most businesses aren’t using content marketing effectively, with as much as 63% of them not having a documented content strategy and 32% not being satisfied with their content production workflow.
A content marketing funnel will allow you to approach content marketing strategically, as well as help you set goals and devise a plan of action for achieving them.
How Does a Content Marketing Funnel Work
A content marketing funnel is a series of content pieces designed to generate leads and convert them into customers. It allows you to reach members of your target audience at any stage in the buyer’s journey and help them progress towards making a purchase.
The content marketing funnel is most frequently defined as having three distinct stages:
Awareness (Top of the Funnel)
A prospect encounters an issue or gets introduced to your product or service in the Awareness stage of the content funnel. The goal of Awareness stage content is to improve brand awareness and attract your target audience’s attention.
Consideration (Middle of the Funnel)
In the Consideration stage, leads are weighing different options (including your product or service) that can help them solve one of their pain points.
Consideration stage content serves to generate leads and educate them on why your product or service is the best choice for them.
Decision (Bottom of the Funnel)
Once at the Decision stage, leads are almost ready to purchase your product or service. All they need is a little push to make them finalize their decision. Decision stage content is focused on converting leads into customers.
Your content needs to drive prospects down the sales funnel by providing them with answers to questions that they’re having at each stage of the funnel.
By providing the right answers at the right time, you help remove friction and make it easier for prospects to decide to make a purchase.
Consider Your Audience
Audience research is the first step in creating your content marketing funnel. In order to be able to create effective content, you’ll need to gain a greater understanding of your target audience, their goals, challenges, and pain points.
It’s crucial that you clearly define your target audience before you start producing content. This will allow you to create personalized content and help you develop a meaningful relationship with your audience.
After doing proper audience research, you’ll understand what tone and voice you need to use to address your audience most effectively, which of their needs you need to cater to, as well as how to present your product or service most effectively.
Find out what problems your target audience is faced with and base your content around helping them solve those problems.
Top of the Funnel Content (ToFu)
Top of the funnel content is designed to attract the attention of your target audience, as well as build brand awareness.
This type of content should be free of any promotional messages and focused on solving your target audience’s pain points and challenges while answering any questions they might have.
Prospects arriving at your ToFu content are looking for solutions for a problem they’re having.
Your task here is to educate your prospects and provide them with resources that can help them solve whatever issues they’re having and try to move them to the next stage of the funnel.
By educating your audience and helping them solve their pain points, you’ll build trust and develop a relationship with them, which will allow you to sell to them more effectively later on in the funnel.
Since prospects arriving at your ToFu content are still in the research stage, they won’t be ready to purchase anything, so trying to sell your product or service to them at this stage would be pointless.
The most common types of ToFu content include:
- Blog posts – Creating informative, high-quality, in-depth blog posts is a great way to attract prospects looking for solutions to a specific problem. These will most likely make the majority of your ToFu content. They are great for attracting organic traffic as well as repurposing by converting them into other types of content such as infographics or ebooks.
- Videos – While they might be more time-consuming and expensive to produce compared to blog posts, videos allow you to reach and educate all the visual learners in your target audience.
- Infographics – If you tend to discuss complex and data-heavy topics, infographics are a great way to make them more interesting as well as easier to understand. Infographics are very likely to get shared around, both on social media and blogs.
You’ll need to understand how your ToFu content is performing to be able to improve it. Look at how many visits and social shares it’s generating. Analyze the visitors that are landing on your ToFu content and check if they fit your target audience.
See how many of your visitors are progressing to the next stage of the funnel and try to find out if there’s anything you could do to make your ToFu content convert better.
Middle of the Funnel Content (MoFu)
Middle of the funnel content serves to convert prospects into leads. This is usually done by providing prospects with an attractive offer (such as a free trial, audit, ebook, etc.) in exchange for their contact information.
Your offer needs to be something that your target audience will find valuable and won’t mind giving you their email address to gain access to it.
You’ll need to make sure that your offer actually delivers on its promise. If it doesn’t, converted leads will leave your funnel once they find out that the content you’ve provided them doesn’t fulfill their needs.
Prospects that consume your MoFu content are evaluating different options that can help them solve their pain points and trying to decide if your solution is right for them. Your content needs to show them why your offering is the best option for them.
The types of content you can use in the MoFu stage of the funnel include:
- Case studies
- White papers
- Cheat sheets
Bottom of the Funnel Content (BoFu)
The purpose of bottom of the funnel content is to convert leads into paying customers. It’s the most important stage of the content marketing funnel, and getting it right is crucial.
Leads that reach your BoFu content are already familiar with your product or service. You’ve already built a relationship with them by providing them with valuable information.
Now it’s time to provide your audience with the opportunity to purchase your product or service and give them that final push they need to complete the purchase.
This is where you should let your audience know how what you’re selling can help them. Show them how your product or service can make their lives better.
Types of content that are suitable for the bottom of your content marketing funnel include:
- Product/service comparisons
- Free trials
- Product demos
Create an Effective Content Marketing Funnel
A content marketing funnel allows you to use your content to generate leads and convert them into customers predictably and effectively. It’s divided into three distinct stages (Awareness, Consideration, and Decision), all of which require different types of content.
At the top of the funnel, you’ll be creating educational content (such as blog posts or videos) that provides your target audience with information on their pain points.
Your middle of the funnel content will inform prospects on the different solutions to their challenges and convert them into leads through the use of an enticing offer, such as an ebook or a white paper.
Finally, your bottom of the funnel content will convince leads who’ve already been familiarized with your brand into purchasing your product or service.