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How to Build an Effective Content Marketing Funnel That Converts

Simone Cunningham How to build an effective marketing strategy that works

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Let’s think about your online behaviour for a minute.

Are you the kind of person who buys a product or service from the first website you visit?

Or are you a person who researches and educates themselves by reading through a couple of articles? I bet you’re in the second category, yes? I’ll tell you why.

Research shows the average customer engages with at least 3-5 pieces of content before making a purchase decision.

 

Isoline content marketing

 

Modern consumers are becoming more discerning and savvy. They’re now comparing various pieces of content across different websites before moving on from one stage of the buyer’s journey to the next.

Smart brands and businesses know this fact. That’s why they focus on creating content marketing funnels and strategies.

Content marketing funnels provide content assets that target customers in various stages of their journey. If you’re having trouble choosing and creating content for each stage, this article will teach you how to create a content marketing funnel that converts.

If you’d prefer to listen, click on the 5-minute podcast episode below.

 

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3 Essential Types of Content Marketing to Attract and Convert Customers

 

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If you prefer to watch the video check it out below.

 

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What is a content marketing funnel? How to create content in 2022

 

 

If you’re continuing here in the blog, let’s get into it. First, we’ll cover the basics.

 

What Is a Content Marketing Funnel?

 

A content marketing funnel is a system that helps a brand or business attract prospective customers through a step-by-step content flow. 

This leads them through the journey from the initial interaction with you, to the purchase stage.

A content marketing funnel has 3 main stages: 

  1. Top of the Funnel (ToFU)
  2. Middle of the Funnel (MoFU)
  3. Bottom of the Funnel (BoFU)

 

What Are the Stages of a Content Marketing Funnel?

 

The awareness stage or top of the funnel (ToFU):

  • This is the initial point of contact with your prospects.
  • It is the stage where you create awareness content and nothing else.
  • Your aim is to share attention-grabbing content about your business, products, or services.

 

The consideration stage or middle of the funnel (MoFU):

  • At this stage, you should focus on creating valuable, truthful, and educational content to foster trust with your prospects.
  • This is where potential buyers compare and contrast your business with your competitors.

 

The conversion stage or bottom of the funnel (BoFU):

  • This is the stage where you focus on converting prospects by providing product-focused information. Here you close the deal.

 

content-marketing-funnel-template

Importance of a Content Marketing Funnel

 

With all the content floating around, your unique and useful content might get buried if you don’t market it well.

That’s why 50% of B2B and 59% of B2C brands are planning to increase their content marketing budgets in 2022.

However, content marketing is not that easy. 

Wonder why? It’s simple, most businesses don’t grasp the buyer’s psyche well.

They don’t understand that leads need to be nurtured before they’re converted.

A huge number of brands focus on ToFU content marketing activities that attract leads and create awareness. However, they forget to produce or level content that satisfies every stage of the content marketing funnel.

 

Here’s why a content marketing funnel is important:

 

  1. A content marketing funnel can help monitor the investment you’ve sunk into creating and marketing your content.
  2. It can help give direction to your content marketing efforts. A funnel that is leak-proof will help glue clients to your brand and turn them into loyal promoters and advocates.
  3. Creating a content marketing funnel will help keep your campaigns on course. It works closely with your content marketing strategy to ensure that you reach your goals.
  4. Finally, a content marketing funnel aids in customer retention and endorsement. Happy customers consume your free ToFU content and also advertise your brand for free. 

Now let’s jump to the funnel creation process.

 

How to Create an Effective Content Marketing Funnel for Each Stage

 

The whole process of creating a content marketing funnel involves 3 major steps:

 

1. Set the Goals and KPIs

 

For every stage of the content marketing funnel, identify goals and metrics that matter to you as a business.

Be as precise as possible while setting goals to avoid shooting in the dark.

Remember to keep your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Real, and Timely).

Some of the content marketing KPIs you can track include: 

  • Overall traffic
  • Time spent on a page
  • Social shares
  • Scroll depth
  • Comments and likes
  • Organic rankings
  • Click-through rates (CTR)
  • Conversions
  • Subscribers
  • Content attribution
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)

Content costs money and takes time to produce, so make sure you keep track of the expenditure incurred on acquiring leads, and creating and distributing content.

 

How to Create an Effective Content Marketing Funnel for Each Stage

 

2. Know Your Audience

 

This one goes without saying. You can’t create helpful content without knowing who’s going to consume it.

Knowing your target audience just doesn’t mean knowing their income bracket or location. That’s basic information.

You’ll have to dig further and get answers to questions like:

  • What is their preferred mode of consuming content?
  • What kind of content do they love?
  • What are they talking about/searching for?
  • Which channels do they hang out on?
  • How can your business solve their problems?

Going for a general approach of creating, distributing, and marketing content may not get you the desired outcome.

You need to clear understanding of your buyer persona and then adjust everything to fit it. For instance, let’s say your target audience is stay-at-home moms. Their needs and challenges are going to differ from working women.

This means that they’ll consume content differently and will be active on different platforms. 

You can make use of social media and web analytics to get the answers to these questions.

 

3. Create Content

 

It’s critical that you research content ideas first before you start creating content. 

Remember, to make an effective content marketing funnel, the essence is to create high-quality and valuable content.

Social media and web analytics will zero in on content ideas that are popular among your target audience.

You can ride the wave by creating unique content along the same lines or create content that your competitors have overlooked.

Additionally, you can check out what other brands in your niche or industry are creating. You can then use that as inspiration for your content.

Now, let’s jump into the content types for the different stages of the content marketing funnel.

 

Types of content to create

 

Designs-Content-Marketing-Funnel

 

I. ToFU Content

The main goal of your ToFU content is to attract your audience’s attention and put your brand in front of your target audience.

All the content should be free and shareable. The content should entertain, educate and inspire.

The types of content to create within the ToFU stage are:

Pro tips:

  • Make use of trending news pieces to improve your brand visibility.
  • Reutilize high-ranking content to save effort and time.
  • Systematised content works well on social media. Only share relevant and quality content.
  • Social platforms are the most widely used by B2B brands for the organic distribution of content. 
  • Infographics and videos generate more social shares and backlinks than plain-text content.

 

II. MoFU Content

 

MoFU content is usually useful and educational. It’s also gated — this means your target audience can only access it after providing their contact information, mostly an email address.

This type of content is also known as a lead magnet. Your target audience should feel like they’ve scored big because they find the content so good.

Aim to please here.

The best content types to create for the MoFU stage are:

  • Whitepapers
  • Ebooks 
  • Quizzes/Surveys
  • Case studies
  • Webinars/Events
  • Useful Resources (Swipe File, Checklist, etc.)
  • Software Downloads
  • Discount/Coupon codes
  • Guides
  • Worksheets (to go along with explainer videos and how-to articles)
  • Email nurturing 

Pro tips:

  • Ensure your lead magnets are completely free.
  • Leverage LinkedIn for both organic and paid distribution of content.
  • Use test-driven case studies and research-backed whitepapers to reassure your target audience that your product or service is the perfect solution to their problems.

 

 

LinkedIn by the numbers-content marketing

 

III. BoFU Content

 

BoFU content should be compelling and personalized. The plan here is to close the deal and convert them from a “maybe” to a “yes”.

Email workflows are an ideal way to deliver content in this bottom funnel.

You nurture warm leads and prime them into paying customers. Go for personalized emails with powerful content.

Pitch exclusive offers and deals that are suitable to recipients. Since email marketing returns $40 on every $1 spent, it is time well worth spent.

Some of the content formats you can use are:

  • Demos/Free Trials
  • Mini-Classes
  • Customer testimonials
  • In-person events and webinars
  • Comparison/Spec Sheets
  • Exclusive discount codes and deals
  • Pricing comparisons
  • Product-focused content (like in the example below)

 

why small businesses choose Xero over QuickBooks- content marketing

 

Pro tips:

 

  • Include compelling CTAs (calls-to-action).
  • Create urgency with time-limited offers and deals.
  • For you to get more engagement, ensure your BoFU content is more interactive.

 

What’s Next After Putting the Funnel Together?

 

Yes. Good question. We’ve looked at what a content marketing funnel is, the 3 stages of a content marketing funnel, why you need a content marketing funnel, how to create a content marketing funnel, and the types of content to create for each stage of the funnel.

Like we mentioned earlier, this process is no mean feat. 

You’ll need to decide which content you want to create at each stage of your content marketing funnel and put it into your content marketing strategy.

Make sure you know your KPIs and goals, know your target audience like the palm of your hand, and create content that is high-quality and extremely valuable if you’re to be successful and cut through all the noise.

 

Infographic recap

 

See the infographic below, 3 Essential Types Of Content To Attract And Convert Customers, with a summary of the funnels and content types to create.

Feel free to save it and use it with attribution.

 

3 Essential Types Of Content To Attract And Convert Customers

 

Ready to get started?

 

If you’re ready to start reviewing your current content now and would like some assistance, book your FREE Followers to Customers Content Marketing Funnel Audit (1:1 call) with me.

I’ll support you in identifying content opportunities in your business and how you can attract more customers through organic marketing strategies. 

Content marketing is the organic (free) way to bring in new business. If you don’t do it, you’ll forever be paying for social media ads, and as we know, they’re getting more expensive every year.

So, if attracting new customers through informative, useful content THAT CONVERTS, is what you want to do more of, book this call with me.

 

Want more?

 

For more tips in content, marketing, videos and publicity, listen to all my  “Improve Your Content in 5 Minutes” episodes.

 

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Simone Cunningham

Simone Cunningham

CEO Simone Cunningham Media & eWords Agency

Simone is a public relations and content marketing strategist. Partnering with businesses and individuals over the last 20 years to achieve their content and publicity goals.

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SIMONE CUNNINGHAM

SIMONE CUNNINGHAM

CEO Simone Cunningham Media & eWords Agency

Simone is a public relations and content marketing strategist. Partnering with businesses and individuals over the last 20 years to achieve their content and publicity goals.

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