The process of attracting leads and converting them into sales is often visualized as a funnel. It’s a neat metaphor for the buyer’s journey from beginning (awareness of your company) to a sale. Everyone has a different way to visualize the steps along this funnel from a sales point of view. To keep things easy, we’ll break it down into two basic sections: the top and the bottom. Let’s focus on what these sections are at and what the funnel means for your marketing efforts, especially your content marketing.
At the Top of the Funnel
The wide part at the top of the funnel is the part where you build awareness of your brand and reach out to your target audience. Here’s where you establish your thought leadership and expertise. Here’s where traffic comes to your website. And here’s where people start liking, commenting, and sharing. How can you reach these goals?
Marketing to the Top of the Funnel
This is the stage where you’re standing in front of the big top with a megaphone. You’re reaching your target audience and letting them know you’re there. What works here?
- Branding and Impression campaigns – If you are brand new to the scene, you will want to focus on awareness
first to establish yourself in the targeted space.
- Social media – After you have a bit of a following you’ll show up more and more in social media feeds, and combining that foundation with advertising on the right networks means you can precisely reach your target.
- Search engine marketing – You’re there when your audience is searching for keywords that reflect your products and services, and you can use landing pages to drive traffic to your specific objective.
- Display ads – Digital display ads drive website traffic and brand awareness, and they can be precisely targeted. You can even remarket to those who have visited your site before.
- Blog posts – Your regularly updated blog helps your SEO, reputation, and trustworthiness. If you provide valuable information and content, you will be linked to and again that will drive traffic to your website.
Moving Towards the Bottom of the Funnel
Going a little further down that funnel, you’re turning that traffic and that brand awareness into leads, and converting so-so leads into great leads. These prospects have expressed an interest in your brand and what you’re selling. At this point, you’re all about building relationships and helping those prospects move down that funnel and converting them from leads into sales.
Marketing to the Bottom of the Funnel
Here’s where things get trickier. At the bottom, you may need nurture these leads and your relationships. You show them
how you solve problems, answer questions, and generally make life easier. And you keep your brand visible.
- Email newsletters – Email remains a powerful tool for maintaining and growing these relationships with leads. Newsletters can showcase your other content (blog posts, webinars) and inform prospects of deals and new leads they need to know about.
- Email lead nurture drip campaigns – Not the same thing as a newsletter, and not sent to the same lists. These are carefully timed campaigns that keep your company top of mind for leads from specific sources, customized based on their interests, thanks to their form responses and their visit history.
- Webinars and demos – Reach out to these prospects by showing how your products measure up to the competition and how they solve problems.
- Ebooks and longer white papers – Longer form content (gated through a form requiring an email) builds your expertise and poises your company as a problem solver—informing and educating without necessarily selling your product or service.
- Analytics and user experience – It may be easy to get lost in all types of collateral projects, but what about what your leads and customers are experiencing once they reach your site? Are they frustrated? Can they find the information they want/need? Is it visually appealing and intuitive? Looking at data and extracting meaningful insights, then creating actionable items from that data, is extremely important. Smart use of analytics can make all the difference for your business.
Your marketing efforts at different points in the funnel have different goals. Feeling like you need a bigger picture? Here’s where a marketing agency with a specialization in inbound marketing can help you develop marketing goals and budgets for different points in the process. A digital marketing firm can help with strategy and give you the overall marketing know-how to you need to accomplish your goals.