Selling is much more difficult today because of the easy access to competitor deals and other information. Modern consumers check numerous pieces of content across several websites before moving from one stage of the purchase journey to the next.
According to a recent research study, around 87% of shoppers start product searches on digital channels. Creating the right content to answer the customer’s queries, nurturing their opinion of you, and eventually converting leads into paying customers is a challenge. As a result, most marketers and brands feel lost when it comes to picking out the right kind of content.
How does your content strategy relate to the marketing funnel?
To gain the edge, brands need to develop a content strategy that is in line with the buyer’s journey, to lure and engage consumers at the right time with the right content.
Your prospective customers are all at different stages in their buyer journey, ranging from awareness to consideration and finally decision. Relevant content can provide the fuel to keep them moving along the funnel towards a purchase and build the customer loyalty even beyond the purchase.
The struggle of coming up with interesting and relevant content that targets different parts of the funnel is real but understanding how content relates to the different stages of the funnel and curating a strategy that is optimized for increasing conversions is something you definitely need in your arsenal.
Creating Content For the Different Stages of the Marketing Funnel
Stage 1- Awareness
During the first stage, potential customers become aware of the issue they are facing and begin seeking information on services or products that will help them solve it.
However, since the readers are still in the discovery stage, the conversion potential of the awareness stage content you create is going to be lower. Prioritizing on content creation around the top of the funnel keywords targeting prospects in this stage only results in you casting the net too wide.
It may result in surge in the web traffic coming to your website but the actual business benefits it brings is minimal. When designing your content calendar, scheduling a top of the funnel content piece occasionally is great for building brand awareness but you need to make sure that it organically leads them further along the marketing funnel.
Stage 2- Consideration
Buyers in the consideration stage are still comparing quotations, assessing the competition, and determining which service or product is the best fit. They may not yet be ready to make a purchase, but they certainly want to narrow down their options.
Bright marketers make productive use of the brand awareness they built during the first stage by using content tactics that make their business stand out from the rest and build stronger relationships with a narrowed set of potential customers.
Focus on creating content around the middle of the funnel keywords and addressing the queries prospects may have in the consideration stage. Try to base content around all the afflictions customers experience, and follow that up by drawing their attention toward the practical benefits of your product or service.
Stage 3- Decision
Next in line is the ever critical “decision” stage where a customer picks out which service or product he/she prefers the most and makes a purchase.This is the decisive stage where business is won (or lost) making it the phase you need to concentrate your content marketing efforts on.
Creating content around the bottom of the funnel keywords, building backlinks to it and ensuring that your content ranks in the search engine rankings when your prospects are searching for the targeted queries may have low traffic volume but has high conversion potential, thus generating revenue for your business.
Formulating a Rewarding Content Strategy that Gets Conversions Rolling
Step 1- Target the ‘Bottom of the funnel’ keywords first
For articulating a marketing strategy that leads to higher conversions, you need to prioritize on producing content that is aimed at targeting the prospects in the decision stage of the marketing funnel and bringing about conversions.
Now, the content that is at the top of the funnel (TOFu) has its own set of advantages. It has the capability to dispatch the right signals to the search engines and later increase your topical authority. Since the search volume of the TOFu content is remarkably larger, ranking for them has the ability to drive a huge amount of traffic down your content marketing funnel.
So you can add the top of the funnel content to the mix every now and then. However, if you wish to gain maximum return on investment and propel your business towards generation of a predictable revenue consistently, you need to target the bottom of the funnel (BOFu) keywords.
Image Source: Hubspot
You also need to create content for particular queries that the prospects are seeking often. BOFu keywords have a strong buy intent. Understanding the target audience, their pain points, needs and actions is highly crucial here.
Step 2- Take ‘Middle of the funnel’ keywords next up
Once you have added conversion-optimized bottom of the funnel keywords, the next step involves making sure they rank, and thereafter, are discovered by the prospects in the decision stage of the marketing funnel.
Layering the landing pages with the middle of the funnel keywords (MOFu) can aid in getting them to rank. While doing so, you can also organically direct referral traffic to the decision stage right from the consideration stage.
The basic role of middle of the funnel content is to act as a navigating bridge between the detailed information that the prospects absorb in the awareness stage and the final decision stage.
Pay utmost attention on the middle of the funnel keywords in your keyword research and create content around it. Doing so guarantees that the prospects in the consideration phase of the marketing funnel connect with your content. This also acts as a medium to build links back to your landing pages and improves your rankings in the SERPs.
Building backlinks from high authority publications to your MOFu content pieces further ensures that in the end, the link equity passes on to the landing pages helping them to rank while engaging referral traffic simultaneously.
Step 3- The ball is in your court. Just retain it now!
Content consumed after the purchase should place more weightage on brand advocacy, customer retention, referrals and cross-selling. This stage also decides whether or not your business will gain success in the long run.
You need to keep offering relevant, valuable content to your buyers to increase loyalty. It isn’t only about providing aid to your customers in extracting maximum benefits from your product or service, but it is also about giving away genuinely helpful, free information that keeps your brand right at the forefront.
Truth be told, there are no barrages to the high-level information addressing the prospects in the content marketing funnel that you can issue. However, the amount of returns those efforts would manifest aren’t promising.
If you want to minimize the leaks in your funnel and ensure a high return on investment, prioritizing on generating the bottom and middle of the funnel content is something that is highly recommended.
The most successful brands always place prime focus on developing a clear content plan, plotting each category of content to a particular stage of the sales funnel. Each new piece of content has a clear purpose then and can also be measured in terms of its content marketing performance.
The only way to develop strong customer relationships is by creating a content-rich and engaging buyer’s journey.
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