Content marketing is all about attracting leads, educating your customers and encouraging them to take action on the information you provide. It must be a vital part of every company’s digital marketing strategy. The process of creating content may vary, depending on the stage of the marketing funnel where it falls.
This is where marketing requires some knowledge of social psychology because you must leverage the ‘forces of attraction’ to gain people’s attention.
Varying your content marketing tactics according to the different stages of the marketing funnel: where does this idea come from?
It is a fact that people’s expectations vary according to the level of their interaction with the other party, which may be a person, brand, or product. An intelligent content marketer knows how to monitor audience patterns and fulfil the expectations of their prospects and leads.
This article does not establish any hard and fast rule concerning choosing formats, channels, and methods for relating with your leads as a content marketer. Instead, it encourages you to pay attention to the changing needs of your audience as they pass through the marketing funnel. Consider the tactics here as valuable suggestions to connect with your audience better.
Top of the Funnel: Content Creation for Attracting Leads
The top of the funnel is its widest part. Therefore, you must use content formats that cast your net as wide as possible. For instance, you may want to reconsider email marketing as a TOFU tactic because the email list is an exclusive register of people already aware of your business/product.
So now, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. When people don’t know about a product, how do you gain their initial interest? How should a marketer gain your interest?
- Show them proof that the product works (testimonials, user-generated content)
- Answer all possible questions and clear misconceptions (blog posts, FAQs)
- Position your company and the leaders as experts in the industry (guest posting, link building)
- Explain in detail all that your business/product is about. Focus on the problems you are solving for users or in the world (guides, ebooks, whitepapers)
Middle of the Funnel: Content Creation for Retaining Leads
At the middle of the funnel, you’ve already filtered your audience by interest. You know definitely that all the people at this stage are intrigued by your business/product. Now, you need to sustain that interest by engaging them consistently.
People establish businesses to meet a need or solve a problem for other people. And people get interested in a business/product because of what it promises to do for them, in terms of meeting a need or solving a problem.
As such, at this stage of engagement, you should keep the audience at the centre of your strategy. Remember that it is not simply about what your product does; it is about what your product does for them.
This is what a content marketer should do here:
- Offer more insightful resources in exchange for user information (blog or newsletter subscription, gated content: webinars, podcasts, ebooks, reports, etc.)
- Exhibit and explain your product’s functionality in greater detail (case studies, demo videos, how-to videos)
- Establish regular interaction with your audience (social media, infographics, quizzes, live video stream, social audio)
- Storytelling (blog posts, social media, video)
Bottom of the Funnel: Content Creation for Converting Leads
This stage is known as the decision stage. You have secured the person’s interest and engaged them; now they just need the little but powerful nudge that gets them to the other side, where you want them to be: using your product.
At this point, you need to reinforce your message to inspire their final conviction. The type of content for this stage is the most straightforward. It is also the stage that requires the most sale-sy language.
And here’s the deal: you want to assure each person that purchasing or subscribing to your product is the best decision they’ll make. So, what to do?
- Reinforce social proof (testimonials, user-generated content, success stories, photos and videos)
- Show why your product is superior to its competitors (charts, infographics, reports, checklist)
- Create urgency (email marketing, social media)
- Trigger action by using a clear call-to-action (this cuts across all content types and channels)
Analysing Content Performance for Different Stages
Content marketing must be a cohesive strategy. It’s not about churning out content frequently, you must set goals and objectives, determine and track performance indicators, and analyse success metrics.
At the top of the funnel, the main goal is awareness; you want to bring your product/business to the attention of potential leads. Some useful metrics for the TOFU stage include page views, average page session duration, etc.
But the most important metric to measure at this stage is impressions, applicable to SEO as well as social media posts. However, since impressions simply count each time a post/ad/result displays on a user’s screen, it is not an action-based metric.
As such, when moving to the engagement stage (middle of the funnel), you must use richer metrics that analyse how users interact with your content. Such metrics include clicks, bounce rate, scroll depth, signups, etc., as well as social metrics (likes, shares, replies etc.)
Bottom-of-the-funnel metrics are focused on conversion. You want to track the rate of goal completion, downloads, purchases, return on investment (ROI), etc. according to the objectives you have set.
Of course, while there is no one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing, some common themes apply across all stages of the funnel. However, by understanding these differences at each step of the funnel, marketers can better tailor their content for each specific stage and satisfy the expectations of prospects. That’s a more innovative way to convert leads into customers.
Finally, don’t forget: content marketing is a powerful strategy that can help you attract and retain customers. A well-executed content marketing campaign can help you increase brand awareness and build a strong reputation among your target audience.
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