How to create content for every stage of the digital marketing funnel
If you can only memorize one thing about marketing, let it be the marketing funnel.
The marketing funnel is a conceptual framework that puts all digital marketing tactics into context.
When you’re deciding on your online advertising goals, segmenting your emails, planning your social media strategy, and crafting CTAs, the skill that will consistently help you is a clear understanding of the marketing funnel.
So what exactly is this miraculous funnel?
The digital marketing funnel is an illustration of the journey customers take to go from people who don’t know about your brand to people who buy from your business again and again.
It’s a central concept in inbound marketing, the marketing methodology that focuses on bringing customers to you through content.
There are three key marketing funnel stages. While different digital marketers give these stages different names, you can start by learning these simple terms:
- Top of the funnel (ToFu): You’ve got a large audience floating around at the top of the funnel. A percentage of them are your ideal customers. You want to help those ideal customers continue through the funnel without leaping out over the side.
- Middle of the funnel (MoFu): You’ve narrowed down your audience to prospects. These individuals are actively engaging with your brand, using your content to educate themselves, and comparing your solution to others on the market. You want to help them view your product or service as the best solution to their problem.
- Bottom of the funnel (BoFu): You’ve narrowed down your leads to people who are ready to buy. They’ve decided that your solution is the best choice, and now they need key pieces of information such as pricing options and technical specifications to push them towards their final decision.
As a business owner, you want to develop content for every stage of the funnel, so you don’t lose prospects at different stages of the buying journey.
Content marketing for the top of the funnel (ToFu)
Top of the funnel content builds awareness and credibility for your brand. At this stage, you give without asking for anything in return. Your audience doesn’t fully understand its problem yet. They’re still asking questions, so it’s up to your brand to help them find the answers.
Your goal is to attract all of the people searching for answers related to your industry, service, or product.
You should create and publish content that focuses on helping this audience, not selling to them. This includes content such as:
- Blog posts
- Explainer videos
- Social media graphics
- How-to articles
You want to draw people to your brand’s online headquarters (your website), impress them with how much value you provide through free, high-quality content, and convince them to continue coming to you with their problem.
How do you come up with ideas for ToFu content?
- Rally your internal experts: Talk to your internal subject matter experts. Ask for their two cents on market trends or product features and turn this into useful content for your audience.
- Conduct keyword research: Use keyword research tools to capture your target audience’s searches. This is a great way to discover what knowledge you take for granted. You may assume a certain industry technique is common knowledge, when in reality there’s an entire group of people in your target audience eager for that information.
- Peek at your competitors: What topics do your competitors write about and which topics get the most engagement? Peeking at your competition is a quick way to understand where your audience’s interest lies. Of course, your goal is to use these insights to produce content with your own unique perspective, not to directly copy your competitors.
Content marketing for the middle of the funnel (MoFu)
Middle of the funnel content demonstrates how your product solves your audience’s problem and why your solution is special without including a hard sell. At this stage, your customers understand their problem, and they are considering solutions from your brand and other companies. You want to continue cultivating the relationship you have with them through educational content.
The content types in the middle of the funnel are not too different from the content types at the top of the funnel. What’s different is the angle and the amount of reciprocity.
ToFu content helps customers define the problem without asking for something in return.
MoFu content asks for something in return to gauge how motivated a customer is before your brand invests too much time. So while the content types stay the same, access becomes more exclusive. You ask for an email address or phone number before sharing valuable content like:
- Pre-recorded demos
- Use cases
- PDF versions of blog posts
Notably, MoFu content can also be used on existing customers. After someone buys your product or subscribes to your service, there are extensive opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.
How do you come up with ideas for MoFu content?
- Look at your website’s search queries: When people wind up on your site thanks to awareness stage content, do they search for other information? Create content around these queries.
- Track a website visitor’s journey: After customers arrive on your site, what content do they click on next? Do they gravitate towards templates and checklists? Create more collateral like this.
- Hint at what distinguishes you from your competitors: Think about what you do differently from your competitors and then highlight that in your MoFu content. For instance, you may offer a white label solution that allows companies to brand their content management system.
Content marketing for the bottom of the funnel (BoFu)
During the BoFu stage, your leads are eager to buy. They may be speaking to sales or independently comparing prices. It’s time to close the deal with this sales funnel.
You were patient and focused on education during the previous two stages of the marketing funnel. Now, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. Your content must answer the following questions:
- What’s the cost?
- What are the different pricing models?
- How much do I get for my money?
- What are the technical specifications?
- How do I integrate this into my existing tech stack?
Content types that help answer these questions include:
- Vendor comparison PDFs
- Product comparison infographics
- Case studies
- Product specification PDFs
- Pre-recorded demos
How do you come up with ideas for BoFu content?
Talk to your sales team: At this stage in the marketing funnel, your sales team directs the conversation. Ask them what questions they usually receive from customers. This will help you narrow down what kind of content your customers need at the sales stage.
The marketing funnel focuses your efforts and generates revenue
A marketing funnel is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal. It helps focus your efforts, keep your content relevant, and identify which areas require the most attention. Understand your marketing funnel and you’ll understand how to systematically transform your brand audience into lifelong customers.
Webinars are an excellent way to move people through your marketing funnel! If you are ready to connect with your customers and generate leads for your business, check out our free webinar guide: How To Host Webinars Like A Pro.