If you’ve read our content marketing series, you are now equipped with the Importance of Content Marketing (Part 1), your Content Marketing Needs (Part 2), and How To Create The Perfect Content Marketing Plan (Part 3). So what’s next? The Content Funnel.
What Is a Content Funnel?
A Content Funnel, generally speaking, has three stages a prospect goes through as they transition from a cold lead (someone who didn’t previously know of you) to a “converted” customer (conversion simply means they took one or more actions that you wanted them to take – like opting into your list or completing a sale). The common names for those stages are:
1. Awareness. Vistors need to know who you are. They need to know what problem you are solving. Blogging and social media play a huge role here. Once they do, they become prospective buyers.
2. Evaluation. Once prospective buyers hear about you, they need to decide if what you have solves their problem. During this phase prospects typically compare your product or services with your competitors.
3. Conversion. After evaluation, this is where they take action and make the purchase!
Each stage leads to the next. A prospect can’t make a decision about whether to buy your product until they know about it, and they can’t make a purchase until they’ve evaluated the decision.
Since there are three stages in the customer journey, it makes sense to have three types of content:
- Content to help prospects become aware of your brand and products, such as blog posts. This is called top of the funnel (TOFU) content.
- Content to help them evaluate the decision, such as price comparisons with your competitors. This is middle of the funnel (MOFU) content.
- Content to help them convert, such as a free trial. This is bottom of the funnel (BOFU) content.
1.TOFU – Top of the Funnel Content – Awareness
At this stage, provide content that’s easily accessible, brings awareness to a problem, and offers a solution. For example, a kitchen remodeling company may use before-and-after photos of remodeled kitchens to remind customers of the problem (sad, outdated kitchens) and the solution (beautiful, renovated ones). In this way, the customer becomes “problem aware” and “solution aware.”
Your goal when creating this is to give them something that:
- Educates, or
You can deliver this content via:
- Social media posts
- Print materials (magazines, mailers, newsletters, ads in publication)
And before you get too overwhelmed, NO, you don’t need to use all of those! Most businesses use a combination of blogs and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Remember, your goal at this stage is Awareness and readers mustn’t pay or enter their email in exchange to receive this content. Consider it a public service, free of charge. So, take something your ideal customer will be interested in and simply provide content about that topic.
… and that brings us to stage two.
2. MOFU – Middle of the Funnel Content – Evaluation
Your goal here: Take people who now know about your problem and your solution, and turn them into people who might become customers.
Keep using free, accessible content to move them along the journey. This is called a Lead Magnet. Some examples of lead magnets are:
- Quizzes and surveys
- Resources (checklist, guide, calendar)
- Educational resources (white paper, case study)
- Discounts or coupon clubs
A lead magnet is something a prospect consumes, exchanging their email address for information they want.
To download or receive the offered item, the prospect is asked for an email address so they can receive the lead magnet.
So this is great, but you haven’t made any money yet.
… which is where the final stage comes in.
3. BOFU – Bottom of the Funnel Content – Conversion
Here it is — the moment your prospect becomes your customer. While your prospect moves forward to make a purchase, you need specialized content to solidify the knowledge that you are the best option – not your competitors.
To help them convert, consider providing the following forms of content:
- Testimonials (provide social proof)
- Free trials/demos (Create reciprocity)
- Price/feature comparisons to competitors (Establish a leadership position)
- Access to webinars or events (Establish authority)
- Classes (Reciprocity, liking, authority)
Remember, people purchase outcomes or transformations, which is why your complete funnel should clearly communicate their before state (what caused them to look for a solution) and their after state (how their situation will change when they purchase from you).
There you have it! The Content Funnel from top to bottom.
What did you think about the discussion of the content funnel in this article? Let us know in the comments section below.