Think of your content marketing funnel as a metaphor for the relationship between you and your customers.
At the widest part up top is a big group of your potential customers who don’t know about your business, and at the narrowest part down bottom are the people who have digested your marketing content and determined you can solve their problem.
The job of your content is to get them from point A (never heard of your brand) to point C (happy customer). The three stages in between are known as: awareness, interest, and action.
First, you need to make prospects aware that you have a product or service that will solve a problem they have. Second, you have to build a relationship with your prospects by consistently providing them with valuable, educational, information. Third, you’ll need to convert that prospect into a customer.
Here’s the thing, though. Someone in the “awareness” stage doesn’t need (or want!) the same content as someone in the “interest” stage. You can’t go straight for the sale with a prospect who barely knows anything about you. And you also don’t want to send an introductory blog post to a subscriber who has been on your email list for months.
In both cases, you’ll annoy the prospect, and damage the relationship.
High-quality, useful content is the backbone of any content marketing funnel, but remember that the timing of your content is just as important as the quality of it.
So, what type of content should you offer, and when should you offer it?
The three marketing funnel stages
Prospects in this stage are finding out about your brand for the first time. In this stage, you’re looking to educate and entertain people. Focus on:
- Blog posts (there are many kinds of blog posts, but start with the types below)
- How-to or tutorial posts
- Round-up posts
- Checklists or listicles
- Inspirational stories
- Presentations or slideshares
- Social media posts (you don’t need to use them all, pick one or two to start)
- Print newsletters
Your main goal in the awareness stage is to get the prospect to understand that they have a problem that you can solve.
Establish yourself as an authority on this problem, amuse them, inspire them with possibilities, and start getting them interested in what you have to say.
You’re now ready to convert this prospect into a lead. You’ve built a little trust, and you want them to opt-in to receive future marketing from you.
That opt-in could be joining your email list, subscribing to your weekly podcast, or signing up to receive a free information packet. Whatever it is, you’ll need to offer something to them in exchange for their personal information. This is called a “lead magnet.”
A lead magnet is a highly-valuable piece of content that you’ll trade prospects for personal information that’ll help you follow up with them going forward.
What types of content make great lead magnets? Focus on educational content, such as:
- White papers on complex or popular industry topics
- Webinars or live events
- Swipe files
- Audits or consultations
- Epic round-up posts with expert advice
- Exclusive interviews with experts (especially on video!)
- Specific, proven techniques to solve a problem
Now it’s time to convert that lead into a customer. You’ve built a relationship by providing lots of valuable content, but you still need to prove to your leads that you’re the business they should choose to purchase from.
To do that, share:
- Success stories and case studies from other customers
- Comparison sheets (make these visually appealing and easy to follow!)
And get specific. Showcase statistics and ROI that prove you’re better than your competitors. Then, call your leads to action with a statement that emphasizes the benefits that they’ll get by doing business with you.
How does your content funnel look?
Remember that as you guide your prospects from awareness to interest to action, when you offer content is just as important as what content you offer.
If you need a content funnel roadmap, right click and save this photo to your computer. It’ll let you know what you need to do at each marketing funnel stage to nurture your prospects to purchase.
I’m curious to know: What kind of content do you find the most success with at each stage of your content marketing funnel? Let me know in the comments. I read every one.
Then, use a content marketing platform like BlabberJax to schedule and publish everything in one place, so that you can send content at the perfect time, every time. Schedule a free demo today.