Is your content achieving your goals?
Last week we looked at how important goals are to strategic content marketing. And we saw how the goals for your content change through the sales funnel. Now you need to develop content that will achieve those goals.
This week we look at the types of content -tactics – that will support and encourage your prospects in their journey through your sales funnel.
For you see, the tactics you use to deliver your content will change, along with your goals, through the sales funnel:
- At the top of the funnel your content needs to build AWARENESS
- In the middle of the funnel, content must enable EVALUATION
- At the bottom of the funnel, your content needs to CONVERT
Section 1: Tactics at the top of the funnel
At the top of the funnel you are striving to build awareness. Awareness of your brand and your products. Awareness that your solution will solve your prospects’ problem. You may even need to make your prospects aware that they have a problem, a problem you can solve!
At the top of the funnel you provide quality information that informs your audience. Content should be engaging and informative not full of hype.
There are many tactics that are effective at the top of the funnel.
Blogs are imperative for top-of-funnel content publishing. Provide relevant and timely information about problems in the industry and available solutions. And provide the information consistently. Decide on a schedule and stick to it.
When you post a blog you then post social media updates with links back to your blog and website.
Problem/solution whitepapers are an excellent tactic at the top of the funnel. (More detail about white papers through the sales funnel here). And whitepapers are a great call to action. By downloading the white paper, they are showing an interest. Ready to be drawn further into your sales funnel.
Infographics can provide information in an entertaining and easy to digest format. And by requiring an email address to download, they become a powerful call to action.
Newsletters are an excellent channel to build and maintain relationships. Keep the content 80% information and education and 20% about your company. How you work, how you interact with your community, your employees.
Provide primary research on trends in your industry. Conduct and report on surveys of your customers about their pain points, issues with current solutions, emerging trends.
Regardless of the tactic used, always provide value. The top of the funnel is about building awareness. Establishing trust. And that only comes through quality content provided consistently.
Section 2: Tactics in the middle of the funnel
In the middle of the funnel your prospects are evaluating your solution. Making comparisons. Showing some interest but keeping a distance.
Therefore, in the middle of the funnel, your tactics should provide information that will assist them in their evaluation of your solution.
For you, the middle of the funnel is all about lead magnets. Lead magnets that compel your prospects to take action.
What is a lead magnet? A lead magnet is an irresistible bribe that gives a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange to their contact information.
In the middle of the funnel the best tactics include:
Educational resources including case studies, free reports, eBooks, and white papers. Numbered-list white papers are very effective in the middle of the funnel. They provide information in an easy-to-read and skim-able format.
Useful resources can be even more powerful than educational resources as lead magnets. Checklists, templates, tool kits, resource lists all provide that chunk of value that compels your prospect to give you their contact information.
A quiz or survey on a relevant industry topic can entice readers to divulge contact details as well as provide valuable information for blogs and articles.
Webinars and events are an opportunity to provide valuable content while gathering contact information.
In the middle of the funnel your tactics must continue to provide valuable information. Information your prospects are willing to trade their contact details for. Lead magnets that change prospects into leads.
Section 3: Content at the bottom of the funnel
At the bottom of the funnel you are striving to convert your leads into customers. Here you need to provide specific details about your solution. Enough detail to convince your lead that your solution will in fact solve their problem.
At the bottom of the funnel effective tactics include:
Showing how your solution works with a demo/free trial.
Providing specific, technical information in a backgrounder white paper. Give your leads all the information they need to convince themselves that your solution will solve their problem.
Using customer success stories to demonstrate how your solution worked for a specific customer. These stories are closer to testimonials than case studies. The point is to demonstrate your solution and your services.
You can now see that the tactics you use change as your goals change through the sales funnel. It is also clear that mapping your content to your buyers’ journey is critical for a good return-on-investment for your content:
- At the top of the funnel publish content that builds AWARENESS of your brand, your solution.
- In the middle of the funnel provide information that encourages EVALUATION of your solution.
- At the bottom, tactics must CONVERT leads into customers.
Next week, we check out how to measure how well your tactics are working through metrics.
Do you have trouble producing enough content to satisfy your audience? Do you struggle producing white papers and case studies? Lack the time to write those blogs, that newsletter article?
I am an expert water quality scientist with experience in the water industry. I understand the science behind your solutions. I can interpret the jargon. I can explain complex ideas in simple terms and compel your prospects into action.
Contact me to discuss your next content project.
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