What is the most effective content for each step of the sales funnel? – WAU
Learn how to use content marketing strategically, aligned with the steps of the sales funnel, to generate business intelligently.
Content Marketing serves as a philosophy for the business world: you use relevant content to reach potential consumers, with the intention of creating a good relationship and generate more conversions.
And through good information your company will be able to attract users’ attention on the Internet, turn them into leads – that is, potential consumers – and encourage qualified leads to complete a purchase.
In fact, 98% of the strategists interviewed in a survey conducted with B2B companies – which offer services / products to other companies – stated that content is the instrument more vital of your marketing.
But how to put this philosophy into practice? How can we draft a plan for your Content Marketing strategy?
For this, we made this complete content to answer these questions through the following topics:
What is the sales funnel
The sales funnel is a metaphor for demonstrating the trajectory of an ordinary user until it becomes an interested party, a buyer and an advocate for your brand.
It is depicted in the form of a funnel – from a wide top to a short base – why the attraction and entry of users will always be greater than the conversion made.
It is important to highlight that your content planning should always take into account that, even though a large contingent of people have an initial contact with your company, only a select part of this group will, in fact, be your consuming public.
At each stage of the sales funnel, the potential consumer has a different mindset – he searches for different information and has specific online behavior.
That’s why you need to target your content production for each of these parts of the funnel.
Know, therefore, what kind of information and what contents – articles, e-books, guides, tutorials, webinars, campaigns – are more effective in dialoguing with those who are your potential customers.
The importance of maintaining a blog and dissemination networks
Before deciding which type of content is most effective for your sales funnel steps, you need to verify that your company has the digital structure necessary for Content Marketing.
First of all, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of creating and maintaining a blog – inside or outside your website.
This is the most vital way to attract users to your brand, and it is through your blog that your company will be able to feed these interested users and guide them through the sales funnel, offering different types of content.
In the same way, you need to know that the information and content you produce cannot be stopped in one place – you must disseminate it.
For this, you and your team will need to identify the main social networks and online platforms to insert your brand.
This selection must follow a simple criterion: where is your audience? What sites does your real consumer go to? Knowing the profile of your customers and knowing who your persona is is vital not only to decide whether your company should be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, among others, but also to guide your content production.
Below, we’ve listed the main forms of content for each step of the sales funnel.
However, remember that investing in consumer research will always be useful for your marketing strategy.
After all, the more aware of the needs of each type of potential consumer, the more likely your content will convert.
Funnel top – discovery and interest
At the entrance or at the top of the funnel – the widest part of the three – is represented by the attraction content and the first forms of contact and relationship between user-brand.
The individuals here are usually those who end up on your company’s website through search engine results on Google or social media posts.
A large portion of users’ “discovery” of their blog articles and other content comes from research tools and publications shared on Facebook and other sites.
The user at this stage is not interested in purchasing a specific product to solve a problem – he hardly knows which, in fact, this problem exists.
How the funnel top works in practice
Let’s say you own an online car dealership and want to produce content that attracts new readers to your sales funnel.
These individuals who are going to be interested in your articles of attraction still don’t consider buying a car, but they know the difficulties and wills of everyday life: they take time to get to work on public transport, they want more convenience for their lives, they want to make some medium or high cost investment, but they still don’t know what, etc.
So the potential stakeholder here feels only some of the symptoms of a problem – and it is up to your business, through content, to name this problem and offer a possible diagnosis.
So, interesting content for the car dealership example could be a blog article on “Cars vs. Public transport: what are the pros and cons? ” or “Infographic: the real benefits of a car in your life”.
Best types of content for the top of the funnel
The most common type of content at the top of the funnel is blog posts. They are easy to create and manage through a CRM.
At this stage, shorter posts (around 500 words) and in large quantities are usually created. The idea is to answer questions that can be searched on search engines.
Some good suggestions are guides, tips, lists, tutorials and objective answers. The texts must be educational and useful.
Viral content is also a great choice, as it can generate organic traffic on social networks.
Webinars are videoconferences, usually live, in which an expert comments on a subject.
In fact, they are used at any stage of the funnel, but you need to match the persona to define the specific stage.
At the top, they should aim to answer more basic questions, as the user is interested in the topic, but does not understand it in depth.
Without a doubt, videos are the format of the moment. Platforms that invest in audiovisual, such as YouTube, Instagram and Vimeo are powerful tools to attract visitors.
As with top-of-funnel texts, they must be short, objective and answer the most basic questions to attract users.
The important thing to remember is that, at this stage, the user does not yet have in-depth knowledge about what you sell. So, the content should be comprehensive, but of quality.
Middle of the funnel – consideration and intention
The user here is no longer a mere visitor to his site / blog, but an individual who knows that he has a problem and would like to find possible solutions and know what his options are for solving it.
This is where the “unknown” becomes a lead and becomes brings you even closer to the final sale.
In other words, this is the part of the sales funnel where the future consumer knows about his symptoms, knows about his diagnosis and looks for options to solve the problem he is facing.
A potential customer will be willing to provide basic information about you and your company (name, email, telephone, number of employees, etc.) in exchange for more specialized content for your needs.
How the funnel medium works in practice
Let’s use the assumption again: your business is an e-commerce for fishing instruments and you want to create content that will point to the solution offered by your product.
An e-book “Complete fishing guide for beginners” or a webinar “Everything you need to know for good fishing” can reach and educate the interested consumer.
When he offers his information in exchange for these materials, you will learn more about this lead and may have more appropriate data for the next sales funnel: evaluation and purchase.
Best types of content for the funnel medium
When in the middle of the funnel, the user already has greater knowledge and, therefore, the content is more in-depth than those produced at the top of the funnel. Therefore, it is necessary to answer more specific questions and go even deeper into the topic.
There they are again. However, as the main objective of the middle of the funnel is to convert, it is possible to create more extensive and elaborate content. After all, the user is thirsty for knowledge, and you can indulge it.
More complete posts, over a thousand words, are widely used at this stage. The information is more advanced and unravels themes that were covered superficially at the top of the funnel.
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Know the concept of Smart Content and its impact on Content Marketing strategies
It is highly recommended that you offer more developed content to the user. Unlike blog posts, e-books require more work to be composed, since they require layout, worked images and format conversion.
However, this model allows the collection of more more specific information from the user, such as geographic, demographic, behavioral data, etc.
In addition, people who download an e-book reveal that they have an interest in its content, which is a great indicator that it is engaged.
The consumption of audio media is very frequent in today’s world. This is because, unlike other formats, it does not require total concentration of the user, and can be consumed at the same time that the user performs other activities, such as working out, driving or walking.
Podcasts are great solutions, as they work like radio programs and can last longer.
Slide shows are also widely used in the middle of the funnel, as they allow user control over the content consumed and can bring graphics, images and several other resources inserted.
Another format that is quite common at this stage, but which requires certain technical knowledge for production, is the infographic. In it, text and image are grouped to facilitate the understanding of the information.
Funnel bottom – evaluation and purchase
At this stage of the funnel, your qualified lead is about to become a consumer of your business.
She is, in fact, considering her product / service as a solution, a “treatment” for her problem – and it’s the content you produce that will convince you.
How the funnel bottom works in practice
Let’s go back to our examples: the online dealership can produce an exclusive study – or an email campaign with the addresses collected with the content of consideration – with the main models sold and the needs they meet.
The e-commerce of fishing materials can create a kit of the main tools and accessories that can make a difference bringing professionalism when fishing.
This is where the sales department also acts – if a potential consumer is close to the conversion, but still has doubts, a more personal contact, either by email or phone call, can help you clarify and motivate you for the long-awaited purchase.
Best types of content for the funnel background
Users at the bottom of the funnel are very close to closing a deal. So he is interested in hearing about his brand.
As a potential buyer, users at this stage open up a dialogue about what you have to offer.
So how about showing him customer situations that were successful with what you offer? Use any of the formats to show that your product or service can help you.
Users at the bottom of the funnel have a high level of engagement. So the offer of trials, free tools and demo versions is very welcome.
As said, the people at the bottom of the funnel are one step away from buying. Therefore, it is possible to show testimonials from buyers who have already been successful as their customers.
In our example, we use a fishing shop. So, how about showing the different types of sticks available, for example? This will certainly facilitate the purchase decision.
After the sales funnel
If you think your goal was accomplished after the sale, you are wrong. It is much easier to retain a customer than to acquire new ones. Then, the time has come for you to charm José and make him a frequent consumer.
Brand loyalty is one of the most important factors in the digital world. Therefore, after all steps of the sales funnel, you must continue to produce content for users who have purchased.
Content formats to delight and retain customers
In this step, several content formats mentioned above can be used. Add to that:
- special offers;
- explanatory videos;
- specialized support;
- and advanced tutorials about your product or service.
Remember if: any format can be used at all stages of the sales funnel. What really defines which one should be used varies according to the user’s level of education and the chosen strategy.
The sales funnel can be an incredible ally for your company to better understand your consumer and be able to create unique and personalized content that meets your needs.
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