Content marketing funnel is a strategic model that writers visualize while shaping their content, to effectively attract and retain potential customers. A company’s digital marketing strategy is often found lacking because of the very little attention paid to this marketing funnel.
High-quality content aligned with your company’s goals and customer journey can do wonders for your business. This is why spending time formulating your content marketing funnel is vital.
This article explains everything you need to know, from creating a marketing funnel to generating leads. Read on to learn more.
Table of Contents
- What is a Content Marketing Funnel?
- Why is a Successful Content Marketing Funnel Important?
- How to Create a Content Marketing Funnel That Converts?
- The TOFU Content Stage
- The MOFU Content Stage
- The BOFU Content Stage
- Retention Stage
- Tools to Assess your Content Marketing Funnel
- Benefits of Having A Content Marketing Funnel
- Final Thoughts
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What is a Content Marketing Funnel?
A content marketing funnel is an effective content strategy that helps writers structure their content to attract target audience and convert them. Content is created to support each stage of the buyer’s journey and guide them seamlessly to conversion. Content is curated for each of these stages; for introducing the product to potential customers, for providing more informing on the product to an interested customer, and for prompting the customer to make the purchase.
Marketing Funnel Stages
A content marketing funnel is made up of three different stages. They are:
- TOFU – Top Of the Funnel, is the awareness stage. This stage is all about attracting your audience and educating them. Your content must address the pain points of the customer, and draw them in with a solution.
- MOFU – Middle Of the Funnel, is the consideration stage. This stage involves introducing your business and creating lasting relationships with your audience. Gaining trust and building relationships are prioritized in this part of the funnel.
- BOFU – Bottom Of the Funnel, is the decision stage. This stage is where the sales happen. You can strengthen the trust you gain from your audience and then inspire them to make a purchase. Your content must convince them to believe that you are the best choice in the market.
Don’t worry. We will discuss these stages and tips to create content for each step later.
Why is a Successful Content Marketing Funnel Important?
The user intent is different at each stage of the content marketing funnel. Therefore it is vital to create relevant content that matches their intent. Because if you sell your product in the TOFU stage, you will not be able to drive many conversions.
A properly formulated funnel can help convert your website visitors into loyal customers. This is why having a content marketing funnel can be vital for your business.
This kind of content strategy does not just focus on making sales. It also focuses on producing educational resources that empower and enrich your audience. Thus, creating a win-win situation.
How to Create a Content Marketing Funnel That Converts?
Creating a content funnel is made up of three significant steps. These are as follows:
The TOFU Content Stage
You found someone interesting on an online dating profile. The person seems quite promising, but you still have doubts. You want to know whether the person is compatible with you or not. So, you decide to go on a date with them.
The top of the funnel is very similar to the above scenario. Your potential customer finds you through your marketing efforts, such as paid ads. At this stage, you try to attract their attention and spark their interest. This is the beginning of the lead generation process.
To generate leads successfully, talking about yourself will not work out. You should figure out what your target audience needs and cater to that. This gets them interested in what you have to say and gains their trust.
TOFU Content Ideas
When you educate your audience and address their pain points, you establish yourself as the brand authority. And when your audience has a need, they think of you first. This is why it is called the awareness stage; you make them aware of your business.
Educational content that you can use at this stage are as follows:
- Long-form content like blog posts
- Social Media posts
- How to guides
- Landing page
- Marketing channels such as social media accounts and Youtube channels etc.,
TOFU Content – Do’s
We have already analyzed the importance of this stage. But some vital things need to be kept in mind while formulating this part of the marketing funnel. Keep in mind the following Do’s to reap the maximum benefits of this stage.
Do Solve Their Problems
The vast majority of people search the Internet to find the answer to their queries. And brands that provide solutions to their problems win the race. This is one of the crucial ways to gain their attention. Hence, make sure to create content that solves a problem your potential customers are facing.
One way of knowing your target audience’s queries is by using tools such as Quora and Answer the Public. Based on these queries, you can create a content marketing process for your business. Knowing your customer, understanding their queries and their interests is the key step in any business.
You can also check the kind of content that your competitors are creating. You can select exclusive content that works best for them and recreate it with your unique spin.
Do Repurpose Your Content
This part of the content marketing strategy requires tons of content to be published. This means you can play around with different types of content and see what works best for your brand.
Use tools such as Google Analytics to analyze the reach of your content and shortlist the ones that perform well. Repurpose that content and publish it across your other channels. For example, a well-performing blog post can be converted into a carousel post and shared on social media channels.
Do Create Content With SEO
While producing content, it is also vital to incorporate SEO measures. This increases your chance of being found by your target audience by ranking higher in search engines. This is referred to as driving organic traffic.
Using SEO optimization to rank at the top of the search page is known as organic content marketing. Some factors that need to be taken care of are:
- Make sure to add keywords, alt text, meta description, etc.
- Your website should load quickly and be compatible with all devices.
- Add images that can load quicker and alt texts.
TOFU Funnel Content – Don’ts
Some of the practices that you should avoid are as follows:
Don’t Sell From the Get-Go.
One quick way to lose trust is to sell your product from the start of the funnel itself. This can result in losing leads and, thus, sales in the long run. On the other hand, if you instill trust in them and educate them, they have better chances of purchasing from you. They might even become long-term, paying customers.
Don’t Sleep on Collaboration.
Stand-alone content may work well. But there are untapped resources, such as collaborating with experienced people in your business niche. B2B content ideas help you to collaborate with other businesses and increase your exposure. B2B In addition, when you have experts endorsing and supporting your content, the credibility of your content increases.
The MOFU Content Stage
After going on a couple of dates, you think they might be your person. But you are still skeptical and want to learn more about them before you seal the deal. The MOFU stage is similar to this scenario.
Now that your audience knows and trusts your business, introducing your products and services to them is the next step. This is why the middle of the funnel is the consideration stage. The existing customer compares your products with that of your competitors. And hopefully, conclude that your product is the best solution for their pain point.
It would be best to continue lead nurturing, and educating your audience. It would help your customers realize how your business is the best fit for their needs and stand out from the competition.
Build interactions and relationships with your audience. Also, make sure to strengthen the trust they have in your business.
MOFU Content Ideas
Some of the content types that you can use to influence their purchase decision at this stage are as follows:
- Case studies
- Product descriptions
- Free Consultation
- Statistics etc.,
Middle of the Funnel Content – Do’s
Now that you have spent so much time attracting your audience, it is vital not to lose them. Make sure to follow these do’s and keep them on track.
Do Focus On Providing Solution
You would have provided a solution to many of your customer’s pain points by this time. But that does not mean you can forgo giving an answer at this stage.
Your marketing team should concentrate on providing more in-depth solutions to your customers at this stage.
At this point of the buyer journey, your existing customer has understood their pain points. Now is the time to give them detailed, step-by-step directions on solving their problems. You can achieve this by producing longer-form pillar content such as product comparisons, solution comparisons, in-depth research, and case studies.
Do Customer Validation
At this stage, the customer validates whether your business is the best fit for them. It is essential to make them understand how you can solve their problems to aid your buyer in decision-making. Give them detailed, accurate information to help in this part of the buyer’s journey.
Testimonials and reviews play a vital role in establishing credibility and reliability. Therefore, ensure to get written testimonials and reviews from every one of your customers.
The next stage of the funnel is to make conversions and acquire sales. Therefore, this stage should build a solid foundation of trust and gain customer validation; testimonials help you achieve that.
Do Spend Time
Since this part of the content strategy provides in-depth information, it requires more research and time. Therefore, spend a sufficient amount of time when creating content for this stage.
Your middle-of-the-funnel audience have high expectations of your brand, and it can be satisfied only by providing high-quality, accurate information. Build content assets that help you to achieve your business goals and also satisfy your customers.
MOFU Content Funnel – Don’ts
Some of the things that you should not do during the MOFU part of the content marketing funnel are as follows:
Don’t Just Discuss Pain Points.
You have already pinpointed and discussed most of your audience’s pain points at the top of the funnel stage. There is no need to do it again in the MOFU stage. This will feel repetitive. Instead, focus on how you can help them solve and overcome the problem.
You can share case studies and customer stories where you successfully solved their issues. You can even quote them, which adds credibility.
Don’t Be Ambiguous
In this stage of content marketing strategy, ambiguity can be your worst enemy. Your customers are considering if your business is worth purchasing from. And the only way they can decide is by weighing all the pros and cons.
If they do not find enough information about you, they feel like you are not credible enough. This can affect your inbound marketing and affect lead generation.
Make sure to be transparent in sharing information so they can quickly conclude. This will lead to more sales and an easier conversion process.
The BOFU Content Stage
Finally, after countless dates you are at the stage where you are thinking about sealing the deal. This is what happens at the bottom of the funnel. This is the customer acquisition stage, where the transaction part of the business happens.
The BOFU content is pretty straightforward. You get to use your sales skills at this point. Ensure to mention detailed product descriptions and how they can specifically address their pain points.
Most of your audience who are not interested in your services would have left you by now. At this point, you have just a segment of prospective customers who are genuinely looking for your assistance. With the right persuasion, you can easily convert them into potential customers.
Content for Bottom of the Funnel
Some of the content types that you can use at this stage are as follows:
- Pricing page
- Product descriptions
- Business success stories
- Positive reviews
- Customer success stories
- Calculators etc
BOFU Content – Do’s
Your customers have tons of options out there. Keeping that in mind, you should move them delicately through this stage. Some of the things you can do to influence their purchase decision subtly are as follows:
Do Focus on Decision-Making Content
Content creation here is a direct line process. You make them understand that the solution you are offering is the best one in the market. And they decide to buy your services. Keeping this in mind, content should be formulated in a way that aids in decision-making.
You can also consider adding pages that compare your product to other companies at this stage. You can also mention how your products or services can benefit your customers.
Make sure to stress your USP (Unique Selling Point). USP is how you set yourself apart from the rest of the competition.
When creating content for this stage, include a clear CTA (call to action) button. Do not assume that your audience knows what to do next. Make sure to point it out to them. Tell them the exact steps that you want them to take.
Do Divert Some Attention Here
It is easy to be tied up with the rest of the funnel and ignore this part of the content marketing funnel. Since the top of the funnel requires more frequent content creation than the bottom of the funnel, this happens a lot.
But, this part of the buyer’s journey is crucial. Hence, spend adequate time and effort preparing content for this part.
BOFU Content – Don’ts
This is the most crucial part of the sales game. You should not do some things at this stage to self-sabotage your sales. Some of those things are as follows:
Don’t Think you are a Lone Player.
You are grossly mistaken if you think you are the only player in this game. There is a lot of competition; you must keep this in mind when producing content.
It has never been easier for your customers to go and compare your services with that of your competitors. Do not give them the chance to find your competitors.
Create a persuasive copy that will make them purchase and seal the deal.
Don’t Avoid Listening to the Market.
Some companies have dedicated content marketers consistently doing market research. This is to keep up with the changes and trends. This is easy to study with the help of tools like Google Trends. Similarly, your business should also listen to the changes in the market and keep up with them.
Fill in content gaps when needed and stay ahead of the content marketing game. Listen to your sales team and find out where you are lacking. Actively improving your content marketing funnel is a necessity.
Retention is not a part of the funnel. But it is the most critical step in your business.
A customer journey does not end with purchasing a product. Based on the product quality and their satisfaction with your service, they can decide to make or break your business. If they like your product, they become your biggest advocates.
Your content marketing plan should include existing customers as well. This way, you can keep your existing customer’s attention and manage inbound marketing.
Content for Retention Stage
Some of the content that can be used to delight your existing customers at this stage are as follows:
- Email newsletters
- Problem-solving guides
- Marketing messages
- Follow-up messages
- Loyalty programs
- Referral bonuses
- A blog post featuring their stories
Retention Stage – Do’s
Your present customer does not require TOFU, MOFU, or BOFU stages. They just want to be reminded that you are the best time to time. Some of the things that you need to do at this stage are as follows:
Do Remind Them of your Value
Newer products and innovations are constantly hitting the market. Therefore it is easy to be forgotten by your customers.
To avoid this from happening, you need to listen to their feedback and improve consistently. Make sure to keep them updated on any new upgrades. This way, your customers will be assured that your product is still the best in the market.
Create a customer community and interact with them on a regular basis. This helps you to form an ever-lasting relationship with your customers. A good relationship with your customer induces brand loyalty and, thus, recurring customers.
Do Reward Your Long-Term Customers
It is easier to make your present customers buy from you than to make new ones buy from you.
Spend some time to know who your recurring customers are and how long they have been with you. Once you know who they are, pay them special attention.
You can give them additional discounts and offer referral rewards to them. You can also send them appreciative emails thanking them for their support.
You can use CRM platforms to keep track of sending these emails. Because sending them manually can be a daunting task.
Retention Stage – Don’ts
While creating content for this stage, there are a few things that you should not do. Some of them are as follows:
Don’t Send Irrelevant Information
Your database has information about a buyer’s journey. Use this information while sending follow-up messages to your customers.
For example, if a customer buys cat food from you, it does not make sense to send them discounts on dog food. This kind of irrelevant information can irritate your customers and avoid you.
Use their purchase history and specific preferences to curate content for them. This makes your customers seen and heard, which is good for retention.
Tools to Assess your Content Marketing Funnel
Now that you have formulated the perfect funnel, it is time to check whether it is working efficiently or not. After all, a good marketing funnel is only effective as far as it works and dives up your conversions. Here are some tools you can use to keep track of your inbound marketing.
Content for each stage, be it blog posts or social media content, ranks higher with the help of keywords.
But it is easier to miss some key ones in creating these. Or you might think of adding some new keywords to your old blog posts. In these cases, it is essential to pinpoint the keywords to be added.
Serpstat is a vital tool that can help you in this process. You can add your URL to the missing keywords tool and quickly generate answers. It will give you information on the following details:
- It will provide you with a list of keywords your competitors rank.
- It will also provide you with related keywords that are not widely adopted in your content.
- Search volume and competition strength for each query.
Search Intent Analysis
Making content that does not make sense to your audience wastes time and effort. To avoid that from happening, you need to understand whether your content matches their search intent.
Analyzing search intent manually and matching your content can be a challenging task. However, some tools can simplify this process for your business.
Text Optimizer is one such semantic analysis tool. By checking this tool, you can find whether your content reaches the right type of audience. If it attracts the wrong ones, you need to revamp your content.
Enter your search query and your URL to make a search intent analysis. Once you enter this information, the tool will give you a list of concepts you can use in your content. If you use 20-25 of such ideas, you will rank higher for such queries.
Google has developed unique ways to identify whether your content meets users’ needs. Therefore the better you care for their needs, the higher your rank on Google.
Conversion Funnel Analysis
Your content will probably have CTAs on your landing page or blog posts. But some parts of your funnel might slow down your conversion rate.
Finteza is a free tool that will track multiple CTAs on your page and monitor their interaction. Thus if one step in your funnel slows your conversion, you can remove that step.
Running all these analyses separately and consolidating them than coming up with a plan is a long process.
This process can be further simplified by using a tool called as ContentCal.
Every time you find a strategy you need to implement, write it down as a project. Then you can create cards for each project and share them with your team members.
A centralized dashboard helps you quickly and efficiently share your ideas and plans with your team quickly and efficiently. It further enables you to keep track of your progress and stay organized.
There are further areas that you can check and improve on, but these areas are the most prominent ones.
Hopefully, these tools will help you create and assess your content seamlessly. This further automates the inbound marketing process, thus lessening the chances of error.
Benefits of Having A Content Marketing Funnel
The benefits of having a content marketing funnel are numerous. Some of them are as follows:
Each lead is personally nurtured, which makes them feel valued and heard. Therefore, higher chances of your audience becoming a customer. This leads to increased sales for your business.
Funnels ensure to gather detailed insights into each lead’s intent and behavior. The more you know about their behavior, the easier it is to close deals with your sales team.
Helping and addressing their pain points before being salesy helps build trust and brand value. This will be helpful in the long run.
The whole process can be automated, which saves time and effort.
The automated process will have lesser errors than the ones that humans handle.
What are the four stages of the marketing funnel?
The four stages of the marketing funnel are based on intent with which your business approaches the customer;
Awareness – At this stage the aim of your content is to attract the potential customer and build brand awareness
Consideration – It aims to give more information and gain the trust of the customer who is still considering different options to meet his need
Conversion – Its objective is to prompt the passive reader to take action, and to increase conversion rates
Loyalty – The aim of the content during this stage is to retain and secure the customers of the business
What is a content marketing funnel?
A content marketing funnel is a model that the writer visualizes while approaching the potential customer. The writer finds the reader at different phases of the funnel.
The reader is either completely oblivious to the business and needs to be introduced to it, or the reader is considering different options and must be given more information in order to gain their trust, or they are at the final stage and need to be convinced to take action and invest in the business. Content writers curates their material according to which phase the potential customer is in.
What is an example of a content marketing funnel?
An example of a content marketing funnel is a customer looking for answers and landing on your website. Your content offers direct answers that encourage the customer to take action by staying on your page longer and reading more about your products. The customer moves further down the funnel by subscribing to your newsletter or providing their email address.
What is the difference between marketing and sales funnel?
The marketing funnel advertises your product or services to get leads for your business. The end of the marketing funnel is the beginning of the sales funnel. The sales funnel nurtures the leads to become prospects and convert them to customers. The sales funnel aims at retaining customers and making them buy from you frequently.
What are the benefits of a marketing funnel?
The benefits of a marketing funnel are that you can identify where you are losing your customers. If the customers don’t get into the second stage of your funnel, you need a better strategy to bring awareness about your products.
What is funnel optimization?
The needs and goals of every business are different, and to bring maximum conversions, you need to optimize them. Funnel optimization comes after setting up your funnel to improve sales and revenue.
Once the customer reaches the end of the funnel and becomes a loyal customer, you should retain them. Creating content that satisfies these kinds of audiences is also vital. How-to guides are great ways of achieving this.
Make sure to create high-quality, value-adding content best suited for all these stages. This will help you increase your brand value and earn loyal, recurring customers.
With a content marketing funnel in place, your business will be unstoppable. Therefore if you do not have one, it is high time you start developing it.
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