What is the Content Marketing Funnel?
The idea of the content marketing sales funnel is that the number of your potential clients grows smaller by the time they decide to finish their first transaction. At the top of the funnel, or the widest part, is where your target audience discovers your company and becomes aware of it. The middle of the funnel is smaller since there will be fewer people who will consider buying your products. And, the bottom of the funnel, is where the remaining potential customers actually decide to buy what you sell. Your goal is to make this funnel as cylindrical as possible, meaning that you want to lose less people throughout each stage and get as many people as possible to convert their interested in you into actual sales.
This buyer’s journey is not necessarily linear. Content can reach people at any phase of the funnel and either encourage or discourage them to buy from your company. It’s important to know which type of content will be of most use in each stage of the funnel.
The three main stages of the content marketing funnel are:
- Awareness – when a potential client first discovers your company
- Consideration – when a competent lead wants to assess whether your product or service is the solution to a problem they’re facing
- Conversion – when the lead gathers all the information they need before deciding to buy and eventually become a customer
There is one more stage of the funnel that you can implement in your strategy for long-term and lasting results:
- Retention – when a loyal customer is so satisfied with your brand that they become an advocate to it and return to buy more of your products and services
Let’s find out more about each stage:
Awareness: The Top of The Funnel
The goal of the top of the funnel is to create an awareness among your target audience about your brand, products, and services. That can be done through viral and educational content. In this stage you have to educate your potential clients about a problem they are facing and the solution you’re providing. Often your audience doesn’t realize it even has a problem or a need. It’s your job to show the users what they are lacking and to persuade them that you are the one to solve their issues.
Especially, if you are a new brand, you need to generate interest by creating viral and engaging content. People need to be curious about your business so as to slowly integrate it to their list of trusted companies.
The top of the funnel is the phase when inbound marketing is present. Here you don’t necessarily have to talk about your company. Just give your audience what they want and need to learn about their problems. Thus you encourage feelings of gratitude, respect, and an authority to your brand. Moreover, you are educating your audience in a way that your products and services will be even more useful to them.
Types of Content to Create Awareness
- Blog posts
- Big content (games, tools, long-form content, parallax scrollers)
- Comprehensive guides
- Email newsletters
- Landing Pages
Consideration: The Middle of The Funnel
Now, your goal is to start acquiring direct customers by providing solutions to the problems they meet through your products.
In the consideration stage, your audience is more prone to think of your brand and its solutions when facing a problem. Therefore, this is the time when you need to provide them the information that will help them assess your products. Don’t try to sell your products and services yet. Instead, show your potential clients that it’s easy to find information that helps them distinguish you among your competitors. Speak directly to them and give them all the knowledge they need to solve their problems.
Types of Content for the Consideration Stage
- Case studies
- How-to content
- Demo videos
- Product descriptions
- Data sheets
- Social Media Posts
- White papers
Conversion: The Bottom of The Funnel
At the conversion stage, the goal is simple – turn your potential customers to buying ones. When transactions have occurred, you know you got your audience to the conversion phase. To get there you need to give them detailed product descriptions and provide them with a unique value proposition which they cannot find anywhere else.
Here, you make the final pitch of your products and services. Up until this point, it’s possible that you have lost the attention of a couple of people. So, this is the narrowest part of the funnel. Which means that those who remained interested in your brand, are most certainly about to buy what you sell. You just need to prove them that you’re worth the money and time spent.
The type of content to use in this phase is more straightforward. Make sure you amaze your audience with your exceptional products and services and the notable value you bring. Focus on the unique features of your products, compare your different products to one another or to those of your competitors. It’s time to sell your message and convert people’s interest into transactions.
Types of Content to Increase Sales
- Ratings & Reviews
- A streamlined, comprehensible, and trustworthy sales process
Retention: Beyond the Funnel
After you close the sales with your new customers, it’s natural that you want to keep them. You can send them even further down the funnel to the retention stage. Here, your customers become advocates of your brand, showing loyalty and eventually returning to buy more of your products and services. The goal is to turn the one-time buyers into repeat clients by creating personal connections with them. Show them that they are valued by helping them when they have a problem, giving them special offers and discounts, sharing inside knowledge, and recognizing them for they loyalty.
Types of Content to Create Loyal Customers
- Customer support
- Help documentation
- Special offers, contests, and giveaways
- Insider how-tos
- Email outreach and follow-up
- Effective product UX
There you have it – the basics of the content marketing funnel. Now that you know which types of content to implement in each stage of the funnel, learn more about those different types of content marketing assets and how to use them in your strategy. And, if you are ever in need of help or more information, keep following our blog or contact us directly for a content marketing consultation.