Lead generation forms, pages and overlays.
Content can dramatically impact the success of your organization’s marketing if matched to the experience your ideal customer is having with your business at each stage of the sales funnel.
A compelling content strategy can drive links to your web properties, engagement on social media, traffic to your website, leads for your business and most of all, content can help build trust with your user base.
The difference between a beloved brand and just another business is the memory a customer associates with a company. Content marketing is an effective technique for building a positive memory with a person that can lead to them becoming a loyal, long-term customer.
As compared to traditional marketing, content marketing costs 62% less and generates about three times more leads according to Demand Metric.
Content marketing saves your organization valuable budget to allocate elsewhere, while generating more results from your efforts since it’s an inbound marketing technique and leads come to you since they’ve already established a level of trust with your company through content.
To successfully apply content marketing to your company’s unique customer base; it’s essential that your content provide value to a lead at each stage of the sales funnel.
From the very beginning it’s important to develop accurate buyer personas that describe the various types of customers that would be most interested in your content and business offerings.
A buyer persona maps out the interests and motivations of the ideal buyer of your products or services, which is extremely helpful to understand when crafting any of your marketing messaging.
A buyer persona is completely informed by consumer insights either generated through surveys, interviews, marketplace monitoring, focus groups and more to help your organization identify the pulse of a demographic related to what your business is capable of producing.
Once you’ve developed a profile of each customer segment, you’ll be able to cater your products and services to their needs, as well as the content you’re creating to service them throughout the sales funnel.
The buyer persona will inform the types of content you’re creating, the frequency of content distributed, the topics covered in your content, the channels of distribution, what content comes at each segment of the funnel and all other aspects of your content.
Once you’ve developed buyer personas for your organization to inform your content, start by creating top of the funnel content to build awareness.
Top of the funnel content is educational on topics related to your industry and is not promotional in any way. What’s most important is that this content is of interest to your audience as it loosely relates to your company’s offerings.
This content can come in the form of a blog post, video, infographic, image or other piece of content that is either informational, provides insightful analysis, educational or entertaining.
Content at this stage of the funnel won’t likely convert customers or leads for your business since it is likely one of the first interactions a person will have with your organization.
For example, Ziploc has a blog dedicated to sharing recipes, tips on staying organized, ways to stay fit and insights on having fun that all relate back loosely to their product lines. Ziploc’s visual content and blog posts serves as top of the funnel content to build awareness during the first dozen or so interactions a person has with their content.
By repeatedly reaching your customer base with top of the funnel content, you’ll continue to drive awareness about your business and overtime, move certain readers down the funnel to the next stage.
Building awareness of your business through content is likely the most difficult stage of the sales funnel because it takes time, effort and a lot of experimentation to build a relationship with a reader. Continue to create quality content at the right frequency that is of interest to your audience to gain the attention of your customer base.
Once a person is familiar with your organization after engaging with a variety of your content that provided them with helpful insights and value, they are far more likely to trust your organization.
It’s important to continue to provide content to your audience as it relates to answering their questions, solving their issues and delighting them at each part of the funnel.
At this stage of the funnel it is important to capitalize on the trust your company has established with content by providing more content that’s more closely related to your products and services.
For example, GM’s Fast Lane blog features content about the industry as a whole by covering various trends in the auto industry, tech, culture and more, but also regularly shares blog posts and videos with in-depth coverage of their own products.
As a blog with an established audience, the Fast Lane blog adds in more product focused articles as a part of their overall mix to help generate interest with loyal readers as they move through the research phase of buying a car and into the next step of the sales funnel.
This content should continue to provide valuable information to people still near the top of the funnel, but begin to answering different types of questions matched with this stage of the funnel, addressing more advanced concerns and continuing to give away this content for free to continue to build trust.
As your audience becomes more aware of and interested in your organization through content, it presents another opportunity to move a lead further down the sales funnel using premium content.
Premium content is high quality content that is an important part of your ecosystem of content that requires a person to provide their information in order to gain access to it.
To gather more information from an individual like their name and email address, require they provide it to access an in-depth white paper, eBook, video, presentation, gallery of images or another premium resource that provides them with another level of value.
This way you’re continuing to offer content that moves them down the sales funnel, which only costs your audience their contact information.
The more information you’re able to gather from your readers the better buyer personas you’re able to build of them for the future. Not to mention, this additional information from your leads can help your organization reach them wherever else they are active like email.
Once you’ve got permission, continue to send quality content to subscribers via email and elsewhere to help influence their consideration and intent to purchase your goods and services. At this stage of the funnel, it’s appropriate to present your products and services as a part of your overall messaging mix.
For example, Gypsy Warrior, a women’s fashion brand, regular shares blog content, lookbooks and then adds in relevant products and sales into their emails to provide their subscribers with a variety of messaging whenever they check their inbox.
After a person has become familiar with your content and trusts your organizations; it’s likely they’ll be more interested in what your company is selling and consider your offerings. Add a section to your content focused emails that features your product offerings or send sales driven emails as a part of your overall mix of emails to subscribers.
Since you’ve developed accurate buyer personas, your readers have a need for the type of products or services you’re selling when it is time to send sales focused messaging. If this isn’t the case, then you’ve got a problem and should revisit the audience you’re trying to target.
Overtime your content will help drive sales, as a result of constantly providing quality information, at the right frequency and catered to the interests of your customer base.
When coordinated with your other marketing channels, content marketing can drive long-term results for your business at a lower cost with a higher return.
Once you’ve been able to convert leads through the sales funnel into customers, it’s time iterate on the formula that you’ve found to work for your business when it comes to content.
Every company’s approach to content marketing is unique, which is why the content formula that works for one audience isn’t the same as it is for another organization.
To capitalize on your success, reuse tactics that have worked for your team by repeating what works and discontinuing what doesn’t.
Content marketing gives your business the ability to experiment at little cost and be more agile than you’re able to be with other forms of marketing. With the real-time reporting functionality in Google Analytics and other web analytics services, your business is able to quickly understand what is and isn’t working as it’s happening.
Focus on reusing and repeating past content marketing strategies that have worked to move your customers through the sales funnel, while recycling techniques that didn’t seem to have an effect on your customer base.