It’s vital to deliver the right information at the right time and content marketing is where it matters most. Give prospects too much information early in their buyer’s journey, and they aren’t ready to make use of it. Deliver too little content in the middle and end of the funnel, and you lose their interest. Your marketing automation system (MARKETING AI®) plays a critical role in establishing the right nurture track for your leads, then in catering to them with the right information for their stage of the buying journey.
Content for the Top of the Marketing Funnel
At this stage, your potential customers sense that they have a problem and are still fact-finding. They have enough information to recognize your brand, but they haven’t yet committed to or signed up for more content from you. Therefore, your content creation team’s focus here is to offer information that encourages deeper exploration, answering “who” and “what” questions. You don’t want to flood them with jargon-laden articles, webinars, or in-depth case studies at this point, because you haven’t established that they’re ready to accept these from you. Your marketing automation lead-scoring system gives interactions with this content a lower priority than contextual cues from leads that explore deeper content.
Top-of-funnel content includes:
- Short-form social media blasts
- SEO articles
- Overview blog posts
- Brief YouTube videos
Establishing Authority in the Middle of the Marketing Funnel
As they move deeper into your marketing AI’s nurture program, your leads know that they have a problem, and have some idea how your offer solves it. They’ve given you enough of their data to establish a dialogue, but they’re still deciding whether or not to choose you. Your content’s role here is building your authority by educating your prospects. They want proof that you’re a leader in your industry, so content at this phase is usually longer and more specific than the information designed for newer leads. They want their “when,” “where,” and “how” questions answered in greater detail.
Middle-of-funnel content includes:
- E-books and print books
- White papers
- Calculators and self-tests
- In-depth blog posts and articles
- Subscription-based, topic-specific newsletters
Approaching the End of the Funnel with In-Depth Content
At the later stages of their trip through your sales funnel, your prospective customers need to know details, and they need to know why you’re their best choice. You’re still establishing your authority, but now you’re doing so with an audience that has amassed some intellectual authority, too. They want to know the answers to questions that an expert is likely to give them, and you must be that expert to win their business. Some of them are past customers who already know your bona fides and now need the details on a different set of purchases. These clients already want to choose you or they wouldn’t be here. At this point, your content marketing strategy should be to validate that choice.
Bottom-of-funnel content includes:
- Deep-dive webinars
- Case studies
- Testimonial videos
- Pricing promotions
It’s worth noting that all phases of the buyer’s journey involve promotions. Promotions are always important catalysts for action. The type of promotion you use is still heavily dependent on where your lead is in the funnel, so contextual cues are as important here as ever. Introductory offers have the most appeal at the top of the funnel, while loyalty programs most effectively reach the prospects near the base of your sales funnel. Product promotions should be rotated with no more than one product promo for every three pieces of content sent.
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