Starting with research on search engine optimization techniques, you get confused that content creation should start at the end of other optimization tasks. However, SEO content is everything that a website presents to users, to satisfy their immediate needs, in any of the states in which it is located, within the so-called consumer journey. One of the best ways to understand the true importance of content creation is by using the Content Marketing Funnel.
What is Content Marketing Funnel?
Content marketing is not simply writing blog posts. This is a misconception that many entrepreneurs and some marketers still believe. It is clear that blogging is a very important part of a content strategy, but there is certainly much more at stake.
The price table of your products or services is also content. The video explaining the details of the product you are selling is also content. Advertising on social networks (publications, photos, offers, images, videos) is also content. The FAQ section of your website is also content. Your clients’ testimonials and stories are also content.
This theory, raised by content marketing specialists, is based on the so-called consumer journey, or Consumer Journey, used as the basis of Inbound Marketing.
The main objective of the Inbound Marketing methodology is to attract people defined as a target audience, convert them into clients, and retain them, so that they love the brand and promote it, thus obtaining more clients, naturally and reliably.
In each of the stages of this methodology (attract, convert, close, and delight) it is necessary to serve people the appropriate content to satisfy their information needs about the product or service they are interested in purchasing. That’s where the Content Marketing Funnel comes in.
The Content Marketing Funnel assures us that each of the pieces of online content is what users expect to find, thus enhancing the search engine positioning campaigns of each website.
Who Can Affirm That This is Not Content?
Yes, it is the Basecamp price table, but it is the perfect type of content for potential customers who are already immersed in your marketing funnel and are considering subscribing.
However, this type of content is not appropriate for leads who are still in the early stages of Basecamp’s marketing funnel. You must consider your content as one of your most valuable assets to attract your target audience and convert leads to end customers.
But not without a plan!
The content marketing formula is clear: without content (or with poor content), there is no audience and, without an audience, there is no one to whom you can sell your products.
In this post, we are going to see the different stages of the marketing funnel for a content strategy followed by some examples and practical tips.
What is A Smart Content Marketing Funnel?
By “smart content marketing funnel” we mean a fully integrated website with additional tools and plug-ins that recognize each visitor and display dynamic content and offers based on what stage of the funnel you are in.
Gone are the days when brands could successfully promote themselves by simply placing static content in front of their users.
At least in theory.
You will probably still see many companies doing things the old-fashioned way. But that carries a lot of missed opportunities. Many companies fail in their marketing efforts by failing to follow good practices such as retargeting, email marketing, lead data collection forms, A / B testing, landing pages, or social media advertising.
There are a few key factors that are crucial to a smart content marketing funnel.
Buyers’ expectations have changed and evolved.
Online competition increases (which forces you to be creative and generate new ideas).
New technological advances and tons of marketing tools and advertising technology innovations emerge such as reorientation, dynamic automation of email marketing, intention to exit detection, integrated CRM marketing technologies, geolocation, etc.
From a content marketing point of view, there is nothing better than connecting the type of content with each of the stages of the marketing funnel.
Just by having a “perfect piece of content”, there is no guarantee that you can immediately sell your product to a potential customer who has never heard of you. It is quite unlikely. People first need to become familiar with your brand and the product or service you are selling.
During that process, the “types of content” you use daily with your partner are also changing. It doesn’t tell the same stories when you’re married as it does on the first date.
The idea of content marketing and smart content is the same.
How is Content Marketing Funnel Done?
The travel customer always starts with the awareness phase, followed by the evaluation phase (sometimes also called consideration) and ends with a conversion. Like the analogy of the previous marriage.
In the knowledge stage, leads cannot even be aware of the problems they have. They don’t know your brand, and they certainly don’t know the solution you have available to them. They’re just looking for answers, resources, research data, opinions, and insights, with no special goal in mind.
In the evaluation stage, leads are considering various options, including your competitors. This is usually the time when they do extensive research on whether your product or service is right for them and a perfect time for content that tells them exactly that.
Those who go through the evaluation stage are now presented with the final decision: to make a purchase or not. And with the help of the right content at the right time in the right place, this decision will be easier to make.
As the lead journey cycle changes, your content should change too.
Because of the awareness and expectations of the potential customer change. Each stage of a buying cycle has a specific set of questions that your leads will generally ask as they move through the stages. Providing them with answers to these questions at the right time will help them in the decision-making process and consequently increase your conversion rate.
The main goal of a marketing funnel is to keep your potential customers unaware of their problem or opportunity, to the point where they can make an informed buying decision.
To move a potential customer through the stages of a purchasing cycle, you’ll need to create different content designed to meet their needs in each of the three stages.
Structure of the Content Marketing Funnel
The first step towards success in an SEO strategy, after defining the main characteristics of the target audience, is keyword research, at this time there is an approach to what digital content should be developed to each stage of the consumer journey. The structure of the funnel is as follows:
Here we educate potential customers, that is, we help them understand what problems they face with the products or services they are trying to acquire, the situations of use, examples, experiences of other users, etc. The goal is to demonstrate credibility about the brand.
Some tools of the SEO attraction content creation stage are the following:
- Blog posts.
- Informative articles about the industry and products in general.
- Webinars or videos on the company’s channels.
- Complete guides on the operation, applications, and others.
- Frequently asked questions from users.
- Press releases.
- Opinions of influencers.
In this part, the person already knows what their true need is, along with the solutions they obtain when acquiring the product or service they are looking for. This is the first success of any generation of content aimed at natural search engine positioning, for example.
The user already knows what he wants, now he concentrates on determining which of all the brands, models, and prices is the most convenient for his investment. Here you should create pieces of content like:
- Study cases.
- The technical and characteristic information of the products.
- Demonstration of the use of the products through videos.
- Guides and user manuals.
- References from other clients.
The objective at this stage of the content marketing strategy is to convince people that our brand is what they need. Remember that at this moment, the user already knows what he wants, it only remains for him to decide between the market options, for the same product or service.
What all SEO positioning planning looks for: conversion. A conversion is an action that the user must perform, depending on the business objective, this can be a sale, a download, etc. The important thing here is to stimulate the leads, or future clients, to make the final decision, in a subtle, although effective way.
The types of content that best take advantage of this situation are:
- Comments from other users.
- Happy buyer testimonials.
- Possibility of accessing a demo version (in the case of online services).
- Free consultation channels, pre- and post-sale.
- Operation guarantees, etc.
High-Quality SEO Content Creation
The relationship between a search engine optimization strategy and the content marketing funnel is a symbiosis. We cannot think of the success of an SEO campaign, without defining a target audience, creating content appropriate to each decision stage, and providing an effective call to action, that is, that turns leads, or prospects, into clients.
Some aspects to take into account when creating quality content:
- Understanding the audience and use the language of the users is vital. This will result in choosing the right keywords, along with creating content that meets the needs of the target audience.
- Don’t lose focus as it helps readers complete a specific task. Each piece of content should focus on a single topic.
- Call to action in the content must close with a clear call to action. Something that tells the user to do more than just read an article or watch a video.
Steps to Implement A Smart Marketing Funnel
Implementing a marketing funnel for your content strategy is something that would easily be categorized as a single project for all companies. But it can vary greatly depending on the business model, the final objective of the campaign, and other factors.
The only thing that is universal to all of them is this you must guide the new visitor through each step of the funnel by providing them with the appropriate content.
The spinal column of each funnel is based on some main concepts and steps that we will explain in detail below.
Step 1. Content for the top of the ToFU (Top of the Funnel) funnel
It is at this stage that you are recruiting your audience. At the top of the funnel, you must be concerned with awareness of the problem you are trying to solve.
You should speak with a very cold perspective at this point. Leads may not be aware of the problems they have, they don’t know your brand, and they certainly don’t know the solution you have available to them.
When a visitor comes to your website for the first time and relates to you (reading your blog, visiting your home page, learning about your services, visiting the web store, etc.), they may not realize what that you are selling.
In the ToFU stage, your goal is to communicate the final benefits to your audience. Resist the urge to pester them with detailed specs. Give them their reward. There will be time for in-depth specifications later on in the funnel.
What many entrepreneurs do wrong at this stage is trying to sell to the first-time user. Help him get to know you first or just ask what’s bothering him. Avoid any sales or even the typical sales language at this point. This way, you will have it in your funnel for a longer time.
The content in the ToFU stage should be oriented towards problem-solving. Find out who your target audience is. Identify different groups of people within your audience and start investigating what issues they have, at least loosely, related to what you’re doing.
Specific problems will dictate different types of content, but the main idea is to help your target audience solve their doubts or problems.
Content at this stage should, therefore, aim to educate, entertain, or inspire.
Increase awareness about solving the problem. Identify your target audience and their problems, check where they are, and start giving them answers. Be subtle with promotions at this stage.
Increase reorientation lists. People are much more likely to become customers after several “touches” and commitments to your brand.
Increase engagement through more retweets, actions on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks mean more page views and lower bounce rates.
Increase traffic to your site.
Site interaction rate.
The number of inbound links.
Unfortunately, brands often start and stop their marketing efforts by producing content only for the first stage of the marketing funnel. As a result, they lose the opportunity to obtain higher conversion rates that can be achieved later in the funnel. This involves attracting more visitors and leading them to a purchasing decision through a series of well-researched pieces of content that are well combined in various ways to promote them from one stage to another.
Step 2. Content for MOFU (Middle of the Funnel) funnel
At this stage, your visitors generally know your brand and what you have to offer. Now is the time to guide you beyond the conversion funnel. The best way to keep them interested is by trying to build a long-term relationship with them.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to establish an eye-catching CTA (call to action) and invite your visitors to join your email list.
If you followed all the steps, investigated, and already know the doubts and problems of your target audience, now is the time to put that information to use by creating attractive and irresistible content and offering it for free. Or to be more specific, to get an email address.
Email addresses, especially the most relevant ones, are one of the most powerful resources in digital marketing. Not only do you know what your target audience is interested in, now you have a way to track them with a content strategy that suits your audience: newsletters, special offers, educational pieces, or anything else. You can build trust directly with your visitors and convince them to return to your website and slowly build a buying decision.
They are already halfway there.
If you have an established business, your most profitable pieces of content will generally be in the middle and bottom of the funnel. These are also the places where you should impress your target audience by demonstrating your qualities, experience, and reliability.
Your content at this point should encourage your prospects to send you their contact information for future marketing communications.
Step 3. Content for the bottom of the BoFU (Bottom of the Funnel) funnel
The last step we must take on our journey is to find out what content your potential customers need to make an informed purchasing decision.
The ultimate goal of a content strategy funnel is to turn potential customers into paying or end customers. It is at this stage where you need to help them choose you against your competitors.
In theory, your visitors have read your blog posts and seen your case studies, and now is the time to provide them with highly specific content.
Knowing the target audience is essential to create unique attraction content, which is the star of any SEO positioning strategy.
Currently serving as the Managing Director of SEO Discovery, Mandeep Singh is an ardent reader, learner, and writer. He embarked on a career in Digital Marketing decades ago. Since then, he has been providing solutions to many businesses. He also takes time to keep readers posted with what he learned while building his years of experience. That’s so because he believes in the concept of sharing his expertise.