Marketing is really hard to do without content. Aka you can’t market without it. And, according to Hubspot, 82% of marketers understand that. The other 18% (that is, 10% that don’t use content marketing and 8% that don’t know) really don’t know what they’re missing out on.
But executing a winning content marketing strategy is a careful process, and it cannot be done without a content marketing funnel. So in this post, I’m going to take you on a tour of the content marketing funnel, from awareness to conversion and beyond, and share with you the best types of content for every stage, my tips for success, and plenty of templates.
The content marketing funnel helps you to map your content to your customer’s journey. Just as they have different goals and problems at different points in their journey, so too should your content (have different goals, that is, not problems).
There are a gajillion types of marketing funnels out there with different frameworks and names for each section. But we’ll keep it simple with these:
Let’s take a closer look at each stage of the content marketing funnel.
At this stage of the funnel, your readers are aware of their problem(s) but not of your solution or of your brand.
Their goal is to get information that will help them solve a problem, execute a task, or learn something new.
Your goal is to attract them to your business and website, generate brand awareness, demonstrate your expertise, and build authority.
Here are some examples of content that live their best life at the top of the funnel. Note that checklists, guides, and quiz results can be used as gated content to capture leads.
Do your keyword research. SEO is most important for TOF content, as users are not yet aware of your brand. Do careful keyword research and cover all your on-page SEO bases so you can maximize your online visibility and get found.
Keep self-promotion to a minimum. It’s okay to include CTAs to other resources and free tools in your TOF content, but your primary goal here is to educate and build trust. Always pushing your products/services in your content can detract from your sincerity.
Go heavy on the bog. In terms of resources needed and scalability, blogging is the most cost-effective option here. Check out our blog post ideas and blog post templates for help getting started.
🚗 Useful guide: 25 Ways to Get More Traffic to Your Website 🚗
At this next stage, your target audience is now aware of your business and the solution you provide, and they’re interested.
They trust you enough to make slightly bigger commitments, like signing up for a webinar and engaging with longer-form content; and they’re interested enough in your offering to read brand-specific material like case studies, testimonials, and newsletter emails.
Their goal is to learn more about the solution you provide—both in general and the one specifically offered by your business.
Your goal is to educate them on your offering and set your business apart from competitors—not just with your features and benefits but with your expertise and knowledge.
Now, your audience member has decided that they want to purchase the type of solution you provide. They’re pretty sure they want your solution specifically, but still need a little convincing and/or guidance.
Their goal is to feel confident in choosing you and in the particular product/service they choose.
Your goal is to get them to convert obviously, but it’s also to address any objections and hesitations.
Hyper-target: All of your content should be geared for your target audience, but at this stage particularly, it should be catered to very specific buyer personas and even personalized to the prospect (such as with a pitch deck)
Copywriting is important here: The prospect is now in scrutiny mode, so every detail counts! Use my tips on how to write copy that sells so you can make the most of this content.
Always be testing these pages: Try out different call to action phrases, information presentation, and page structure, and also make sure that these pages are free of pop-ups or other widgets that might interfere or interrupt the experience.
⚠️ Useful guide alert:
At this point, you’ve got a customer. Good job! But does that mean your work is done? Far from it. Not only do you need to continue providing value through helpful tips, but you also need to keep them engaged.
Their goal is to learn how to best use your product/service and to make the most of their investment.
Your goal is to keep them engaged, provide the support they need, and continue adding value.
Continue providing informational content. The very top-of-funnel content that helped them become aware of your business is still useful, even way down here at the bottom. That’s because this content isn’t directly related to your specific products and services, but also covers ancillary topics.
Segment your audience. This may go without saying, but whether you’re running a Google Ads campaign, an email campaign, or something else, segment out your customers—maybe even further segmenting by levels of loyalty—so you can cater to them specifically.
And that concludes our tour of the content marketing funnel. For more help with creating great content, check out these resources:
Kristen is the Senior Managing Editor at WordStream, where she helps businesses to make sense of their online marketing and advertising. She specializes in SEO and copywriting and finds life to be exponentially more delightful on a bicycle.
See other posts by Kristen McCormick
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