When you’ve published lots of content and are not seeing any concrete results, it’s easy to think the answer is you just haven’t yet published enough.
If it’s high quality content, it certainly won’t do any harm to make some more. However, if your content publishing efforts are following no clear structure or strategy, then it will also probably do little to help either.
This is where the content marketing funnel comes in. A content marketing funnel is similar to the buyer’s journey in inbound marketing; it’s a process based around your content that the user or potential buyer goes through, ideally ending in a sale of your product or service.
In the buyer’s journey, the main stages are awareness, interest, decision, action. When it comes specifically to content marketing, these turn into discovery, consideration, and conversion.
Starting with discovery, let’s dive into the content marketing funnel and help bring some structure and results into your content publishing efforts.
1. Discovery: The Blog Post
They’re out walking the dog or sitting at home stroking the cat, and suddenly they become aware there’s a problem and they need or want something to help fix it. So they stop what they’re doing and jump online and get researching.
This is the discovery stage, the broadest part of the funnel in which the goal for the buyer is to become better informed. You want buyers to come across your brand at this early point in the process, not only to get you on their radar but also because you can play a part in making them more aware of and informed about the actual problem they’re facing.
What you want here is high quality content in the form of blog articles. The key is to make the content as informative and fair as possible, giving the buyer an overview and insight into the market without being bias or pushy and trying to sell them your products or services.
2. Consideration: The Value Offer
Once they’ve gathered some information on the problem and what it is they need to help address it, they move into the consideration phase. This is the stage in which the buyer starts seeking out and comparing options in the light of making a purchase.
It’s important to be bold and persistent here, but not so much that it drives potential customers away. Buyers are still looking for information, but now they want more targeted details and comparisons to find out which is the best option on the market for them and why.
The buyer is becoming more committed at this stage, so a good way to appeal to them and keep them in your content marketing funnel is by offering a free ebook, webinar, appointment, or the like, in exchange for them signing up to your email newsletter.
3. Conversion: Making The Sale
The final stage of the content marketing funnel is the conversion. This may seem like a single point in time and the main focus of the whole process, however, it’s been building throughout your entire sales process — starting from the first impression you made with your blog posts.
Your content here is more directed towards you as a brand and your particular products and services. You want to show buyers what makes them better than the alternatives and why they should choose you. Buyers love honesty here; they see through claims about your offering being the best of all, and instead want to know what type of people you’re not for, what makes you different, and why you may not be for everyone.
If the buyer is on your email list, then that’s already a big obstacle overcame. Giving away their email address is a personal transaction, and with an invite to their inbox, you can make the gradual yet firm sell of gently reminding them you exist and persuading them to choose you.