For enterprise and B2B companies, the buying process is often long, complex, and involves input from multiple stakeholders. Because of this, it's essential to develop a content marketing funnel that effectively leads prospects to select your product or service.
What's a content marketing funnel?
It's a strategy using different types of content to push leads through their buyer journey, from simply becoming aware of your company to making a purchase. It requires a comprehensive understanding of your target audience's needs and how you can provide value at the right time along the way.
A content marketing funnel consists of three main stages:
1. Top of the Funnel (ToFu) - Awareness stage
2. Middle of the Funnel (MoFu) - Consideration stage
3. Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu) - Decision stage
This article will take a closer look at how you can create content that converts through each stage based on:
- Buyer Status - What is their current mindset?
- Buyer Questions - What common questions do they have?
- Content Goal - How can you accelerate their desired outcome?
- Types of Content - Which format works best?
- Keyword Research - What does the strategy look like?
- Website Architecture - How can you make sure there's a clear path from the home page to the content?
ToFu: The Awareness Stage
Buyer Status: At this stage, buyers may or may not be aware of the challenge they're facing. If they have an idea of their challenge, they may have difficulties articulating it or they're unsure if it needs to be addressed at all. They're performing general and educational research so they can better diagnose their challenge.
- Do we have a challenge?
- Do we need to solve this challenge now?
- What's the risk of inaction?
Content Goal: You need to provide the educational and entertaining content buyers are looking for. You can create content that helps them acknowledge that there's a problem, the source of the problem, the risk of inaction, and solutions like yours exist. This stage aims to position your company as a subject matter expert, increase brand awareness, and build trust.
Types of Content: It's best to create content that is readily available to a broader audience to achieve the above goals. The most effective types of content for this stage are:
- Blog posts
- Social media updates
- Tip sheets
Keyword Research: You can look for keywords related to the buyer challenges that your company addresses at a high level. Here's where queries starting with "how to," "strategies for," "tips for," "what is" are especially relevant since you want to attract a wide audience to your ToFu content.
Website Architecture: For buyers who are early in their journey, you need to make it easy and clear to get to your "Resources" or "Blog" page where your ToFu content lives. Even if buyers start exploring different parts of your site, they will want to return to those primer content pages as reference for the future.
MoFu: The Consideration Stage
Buyer Status: Buyers have either moved along the funnel by converting on your ToFu content, or they've discovered your company because they are aware of their challenge and are actively looking for a solution. They're likely to look at different use cases and capabilities, perform research on what their peers have done to alleviate the challenge, and read product reviews. They are trying to form a shortlist of possible vendors with which they can work.
- How can we best solve our challenge?
- What does our business need?
- What should we look for in a solution?
Content Goal: The messaging of your content here should continue to educate, but now, you can position your company as the best solution for your buyer's challenges. You want to make sure that you're amplifying your company's credibility, expertise, and quality. It's also important to make it clear how you differentiate from competitors.
Types of Content: To build credibility and provide more education on how their challenges can be solved, the best types of content are:
- Case studies
- Comparison charts
- Evaluation guides
- Original research
Keyword Research: At this stage, buyers are using long-tail keywords to be more specific with their searches. You should also consider comparative words in search queries such as "best" or "pros and cons."
Website Architecture: You need to make your solutions page is easy to navigate, especially if you have many products or services. MoFu content should have lead capture forms so that you can continue to nurture them through their buyer journey.
BoFu: The Decision Stage
Buyer Status: Buyers at this stage have finalized their shortlist and are looking to make a purchase. Now, they need to validate the different options by ensuring your company is the right fit and can bring success and value to their business.
- Which solution should we choose?
- Does this solution meet our requirements?
- How is this solution better than the competition?
Content Goal: You need to give your buyers that extra push to choose your company as the solution. Your content should emphasize how you can get them to achieve success and provide them with the reassurance that you are the right choice by adding touches of personalization.
Types of Content: Here is where you need content to validate that your solution is a cut above the rest, such as:
- Free trials
- Free assessments
- Personalized product or pricing brochures
- Product webinars
- ROI calculator
- Case studies
Keyword Research: At this stage, they're aware of the names of solutions on the shortlist, so you don't need to worry about broad keywords. Instead, you can focus on branded keywords such as "(company 1) vs. (company 2)" or "how is (company 1) better than (company 2)?"
Website Architecture: You should make customer success stories, video demos, and free trials prominent for BoFu content. The buyer is most likely in your CRM system already, but now you can monitor how they interact with the BoFU content on your site.
No matter where your buyers are in their journey, they need content tailored to their needs at the moment they need it most. Creating a content marketing funnel provides buyers with information and guidance on how to solve their challenges best, giving them the feeling that they're in good hands.