Content Strategy That Converts: The Marketing Funnel

April 26, 2016
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Oh, the Places You’ll Go… In the Marketing Funnel

A marketing funnel is a theoretical journey a visitor takes as he or she gathers more information about the solution for his or her problem. To illustrate this journey, pretend that it’s around dinner time and that you’re hungry. First, you need to decide whether you want to make a meal at home or order takeout. Once you decide you’re too busy to make dinner, you have to decide what type of takeout you’re in the mood for. Once you decide on cuisine type, you then pick which restaurant you want to order from. Notice how you narrowed down your options? The same process applies to the marketing funnel.

Keep in mind that all who enter the marketing funnel will not make it to the bottom. The people who often move further down the tunnel are higher quality leads. Also, the funnel is not a one-way street. Customers can become leads again if there is an opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell them. The marketing funnel takes advantage of the consumer decision-making process, distinguishing leads by where they are in the decision-making process. You don’t want to treat all your leads the same way. Asking a first time visitor to commit to buying your big ticket item is like asking a child to apply to college – they’re just not ready yet. But they will be once you give them time to learn and grow.

TOFU

TOFU: Top of the Funnel

No, we’re not referring to the vegetarian option at your local Asian takeout joint. TOFU refers to the first step leads take as they work their way down the marketing funnel.

The marketing funnel aligns perfectly with the consumer decision-making process. Visitors at the top of the funnel are aware that they have a problem that needs to be solved. With an open mind, they eagerly consume your content seeking to give a face or name to their problem. And while it’s exciting that so many people are interested in what you have to offer, it’s important to not waste a lot of time or budget to capture everyone in this stage. Your main goal is to attract high quality leads that will have a high customer lifetime value (CLV).

How do you attract high-quality leads? First channel your energy into improving your website’s SEO and keyword strategy. Not only will this make your content more search engine-friendly, but it will also create content that visitors are actually interested in, such as blog posts, eBooks, white papers, etc. Once you add optimized titles and meta descriptions to each page, experiment with paid search ads.

Middle of the funnel

MOFU: Middle of the Funnel

While there are definitely exceptions to the rule, the middle is most often the best part of everything in life – the cream filling of an Oreo, afternoon naps, and so on. People in this stage are crucial to your business because they know they have a problem and are in search of a solution. These people aren’t just window shopping. They’re ready to pull out their wallet within a moment’s notice. It’s time for you to delight your visitors with what makes your company/service/product so awesome.

People at the middle of the funnel are higher quality leads; therefore, they expect higher quality content. We understand that you don’t want to give away your secrets to success for free, and we don’t blame you! We recommend putting your more valuable content behind forms. In order for someone to access this content, they need to provide you some personal information such as name and email. This will make it easier for your to market to them with personalized emails or have your sales team get in touch.

bottom of the funnel

BOFU: Bottom of the Funnel

The leads who make it to the bottom of your marketing funnel are a mere fraction of those who first entered it. They’ve identified their problems, done their research, and are ready to make a final decision. You’ve put a lot of time to nurture this lead down the funnel – maybe not directly, but you’ve put a lot of effort into each offer and content. It’s time to seal the deal with a little nudge.

How do you know when someone is ready to buy? Their behavior changes. Notice that the keywords they use to find you get more long-tailed and specific. They also might reach out to you directly about purchasing your service. Before your sales team kicks down the door, give one final push with BOFU offers, including free trials, demos, free consultations, and coupon codes. And don’t forget, even if a lead becomes a customer, they can still work their way through your funnel all over again! Continue your relationship with them on social media.

A great marketing funnel doesn’t form overnight. Let our marketing experts coach you how to create useful content for each stage in the marketing funnel. Contact our team today!

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