Do you ever see an item in a store and purchase it immediately? Chances are you may do this with a low-cost item like a book or piece of clothing but you won’t do it for a car or a pricy piece of software. You, like most customers, go through the sales funnel first. If you want to develop quality content marketing and get success from your efforts, you need to pay attention to your content at all stages of the funnel.
The Sales Funnel Explained
The sales funnel is made up of all the stages a customer goes through before they make a purchase. They may look at your website to see what you have to offer, join your mailing list, read your emails for weeks or months and then call to speak directly to a member of your sales team.
Top of the funnel content starts the relationship with the prospective customer by offering them an opt-in. Middle-of-the-funnel content provides you with an opportunity to educate them and build trust with the aim of moving them closer to making a purchase. Many marketers pay a lot of attention to the content they produce at the top of the funnel and in the middle of the funnel, but they neglect the bottom.
In fact, a 2018 study by the Content Marketing Institute found that while 47 percent of marketers created content at the top of the funnel, only 21 percent were creating content for the bottom. This means that while they are generating interest, they may not be doing enough to convert this interest into sales. However, since the aim of marketing is ultimately to drive sales, quality content marketing must include the entire funnel.
If you only pay attention to the top and middle, you may be left with the impression that content marketing doesn’t work. However, you’re doing your business a disservice if you don’t have the ability to close the sale.
How Bottom-of-the-Funnel Content Works
Bottom-of-the-funnel content makes a definitive offer to the prospect and gives them clear reasons to buy what you’re selling. At this point, the target has already done their research and they just need a final push. They have a good idea about the product or service they want but they may be trying to decide between you and a competitor.
This type of content is, therefore, likely to be used by your sales team to highlight specific products or services. If you’re in the B2B sector, prospects want to know exactly how a product works and how they can sell it to the person who makes the purchasing decisions. You need to give them content which they can share internally to show why they should choose you. This is the time to leverage the trust you built at the top and in the middle of the funnel.
Since marketers aren’t yet taking full advantage of this type of content, you should do so now. Bottom-of-the funnel content can take several forms including whitepapers, video, testimonials, and case studies. It typically includes a strong call to action and a free trial offer if applicable. Here are types of bottom-of-the-funnel content you may want to try.
Case studies provide you with social proof which you can use to bring prospects over the line. When they see how companies or individuals similar to them have benefited from your product or service, they are more likely to convert. B2B customers are especially likely to respond well to proven results and numbers. Conducting case studies also allows you to provide your sales team with hard figures which they can cite in conversations with leads.
Whitepapers and eBooks
PDF documents are often used for lead generation but their usefulness is by no means limited to the top of the funnel. Reports, whitepapers, and eBooks which are thorough and properly designed can increase the credibility of your business. They also provide an excellent opportunity for direct product mentions and you can educate prospects on how to use your products.
If you have an extensive array of products, your audience may find it difficult to figure out exactly what they need. Interactive product pickers make it a lot easier for them to identify the item or items which will meet their particular requirements. If people are interested in your products, you don’t want them to be so overwhelmed that they choose your competitor. Simplify the buying process wherever possible.
Branded Search Queries
People who are ready to make a purchase often search for specific brands. Typically, they are looking for prices, testimonials, and reviews and they may be looking for your brand or brands you sell. You should, therefore, be creating content which provides them with the information they need. Keep in mind that modern consumers often research inline even if they make the purchase in-store.
You may be familiar with using webinars at the top of the funnel, but they can also be used to close the sale. The same webinars you used at the top of the funnel can be made available on your website for people who want to research your offering. Repurposing content is a great way to boost your marketing efforts without having to worry about creating even more content.
Free Trials or and Discounts
Product tours are common, but you can take this a step further by offering a free trial or discount, depending on what your product or service is. People who are on the verge of conversion may be swayed by a discounted trial period. This is especially useful for software products since customers want to be sure it will meet their needs before they make a commitment.
As you work to add bottom-of-the-funnel content to your marketing mix, keep in mind that your funnel will vary depending on your industry, product, audience and business model. B2B customers don’t spend a lot of time in the middle of the funnel when compared to B2C customers. With the latter, you will need to do a lot more engagement since their investments tend to be larger. In any case, to ensure quality content marketing, you need to pay attention to converting leads.