Building content marketing initiatives that deliver involves many important pieces. It starts with a content strategy to guide your execution and stay true to your goals. One aspect that some enterprise content teams fall short on is matching their content calendar and sales funnel. Alignment between these two things is critical to driving traffic and conversions.
Your content calendar and sales funnel should be in agreement, but that’s not always easy. In this post, we’ll dive into this challenge and provide you with takeaways to ensure you have alignment.
Start with an Assessment
The first thing you should do is a content audit to see where the gaps are with content and sales funnels. The sales funnel has three main areas:
- Top of Funnel (ToFU): Content that provides awareness to an audience about a problem or pain point.
- Middle of Funnel (MoFU): Content that engages customers considering all the options to solve their challenges.
- Bottom of Funnel (BoFU): Content that nudges buyers to make the final decision to become a customer.
You’ll need content that fits into each stage of the sales funnel. Before you make plans to tie your content calendar into your sales funnel, you need to know what existing content you have. You should be able to categorize each piece of content. From this evaluation, you’ll see where you lack resources.
Look at Analytics
This is also a good time to review content analytics on performance. Is your current content actually doing its job at each stage? Is it resonating with audiences and creating traffic and conversions?
Collaborate with Sales
Another step in the assessment is to work with your sales team. They have direct contact with your buyers every day. They hear about the issues your customers face, and this is a gold mine for developing new content that hits every stage of the funnel. You should be in regular communication with sales, asking them for feedback so that you can deliver content that enables them to win more business.
Where Do Your Customers Enter the Sales Funnel?
It would be great if all customers entered the funnel at the top, but that’s rarely the case. Some buyers are already aware of their pain and may be using a competitor, so they move into BoFU initially. Others may have been researching solutions and meet your brand during this time, so they’d be at MoFU.
Understanding where a buyer enters most of the time can also help with alignment. The most critical aspect is matching messaging and content to every stage and not making assumptions about what buyers know and don’t know.
How to Map Your Content Calendar to Your Sales Funnel
Now that you have all the background information, it’s time to go back to your content plan and refresh it. It’s time to map each content idea to the sales funnel and strategically place it on your calendar based on your throughput.
If you publish 15 pieces of content a month, you could complete five for each stage. This may vary if you already have a higher concentration at some phases. Also, most brands tend to focus more energy on ToFU content because it’s the most general and needs to work for you in ranking, more so than MoFU or BoFU.
Creating ToFU Content
In this awareness stage, you’ll need to focus on content that guides a buyer and is very problem-focused. You need to have core messaging that places the customer at the heart of the content. It’s about them and their journey, not your brand. Your solutions are what support the customer.
You may already have a lot of basic content for this stage. If it’s performing well, then leave it be. If it’s not, you may want to update the content to improve its quality and relevancy.
The most impactful types of ToFU content for your content calendar are:
- Problem-focused blogs that target keywords your audience is using
- Gated ebook guides that allow you to collect contact information to use later
- Social media posts that address pain points and lead people to resources
- Thought leadership guests posts on reputable third-party sites
- Explainer videos with a narrative vibe
Creating MoFU Content
Your audience is more enlightened now. They are fully aware of their challenges and the fact that solutions exist. At this point, buyers compare options and dig deep to assess how one solution works versus another. Now it’s time to convince them with specific messaging that makes a case for your brand.
What MoFU content to include on your content calendar:
- Case studies that demonstrate your organization’s ability to solve real-world problems
- Product videos or guided demos
- Data-driven white papers
- Testimonial videos that offer social proof
- Email nurture campaigns that align with previous stage content downloads
Creating BoFU Content
It’s time for the buyer to make a decision. You’ve been considering every aspect of the customer’s concerns, challenges, and motivations. They just need a little nudging to convert.
BoFU content for your content calendar could include:
- Comparisons of your product versus your main competitors’ products
- Sales spec sheets
- Pricing pages
- Reviews and testimonials
- Email marketing with special promotions
Once you have a content plan in place with topics for every funnel stage, you should add them to the content calendar in the most strategic way. For example, if you’re doing a ToFU social media campaign, post it on the days you have the most activity on your profiles. If you’re creating a nurture email for MoFU, consider what intervals you should place between messages.
Create Kickass Content for Every Funnel Stage
The best way to ensure alignment of your content calendar and sales funnel is to follow these steps of assessment, ideation, and planning. You can do this most efficiently by relying on technology tools like DivvyHQ. With our robust, dynamic content calendar and so many other features, your team will love it. Take it for a spin today with a free trial.