A quick guide to how to build a four-stage content marketing funnel using different types of content.
One of the key challenges around digital marketing is what type of content to use when. With so many choices out there, you don’t want to be spreading yourself too thin. Here’ is an expanded four-stage content marketing funnel showing different examples of content that is ideal for using during each of the four stages:
The four stages of digital marketing
The first stage of digital marketing is when you don’t know who your customer will be, and they don’t know your business or your product or service. You need to find ways to attract their attention.
Types of content marketing you can use during the attract stage are:
Social media, print media, signage, radio and television. Any combination of print, digital and broadcasting channels. A large part of advertising is simply building brand awareness, although you need a clear call to action to help advance someone to the next stage if and when they are ready.
These usually refer to web pages created for a specific campaign, although any page where a visitor lands is technically a landing page. By default, your Homepage is your website’s main landing page.
Use optimised content and good SEO practices to attract visitors interested in what you offer through organic searches.
Videos (e.g. Explainer or Product Demo)
You can display these directly from your website or distribute via social media platforms like Facebook, Vimeo, or You Tube.
Infographics (or slide presentations)
Visual representations of a process or something else that informs. This short clip features on a web designer’s web page about the web design process they offer:
Provide a short and easy to absorb list of tips that provide something useful, one that is eye-catching and with an option to save, share or repost.
Once you have a person’s attention, you want them to take some form of action. In other words, you want them to engage with your content and hopefully your business. You can of course incorporate a call to action in any of the content types listed in the Attract stage. However, there are a number of types of content that are ideal for generating engagement, which is the primary aim of the conversion stage.
One of the main things a prospect will want to know after deciding that a product or service might be useful is whether they can trust the brand behind it. A good way to build that trust is by establishing area expertise as a helpful thought leader. And helpful leaders usually offer free advice.
Examples of content marketing for the convert stage are:
You started with some organic posts that are interesting, relevant, entertaining/informative and shareworthy. Now you are ready to launch yourself as the go-to person for your area of expertise or product knowledge. Engage in or host groups, promote training webinars or live face-to-face workshops, run a series of posted content addressing your customers’ FAQs.
Blog Posts (How Tos or Guides)
Regular blog posts can serve to improve your website’s natural rankings and be used to target long-tailed search phrases. They also provide shareable content via other digital marketing channels including social media posts and e-newsletters. Engagement can include commenting and sharing, which may lead to the customer clicking through to your website to read other articles, subscribing to a newsletter, or making an enquiry.
Creating something of value for people to download, that enables you to capture their contact details, which allows you follow up with more information or a phone call or (with permission) to add them to your contact database for sending notifications or e-newsletters.
These make great reading and can be a valuable part of the research process for a potential customer before making a decision about who to do business with.
Webinars and Podcasts
Podcasts are a growing form of online information that provide online learnings or showcase a business’ own tried and true methods. Some people simply can’t get enough of them, and are constantly searching for new ideas they can glean from other successful business people in a wide range of skills. If you have a person willing to book a spot for your podcast or webinar, then they might be open to signing up for a training course or coaching package or buying a book. If they stay right to the end, are probably more than halfway to becoming your customer.
Your potential customers have now seen your landing page, found your social media accounts, laughed at your viral videos, and probably looked over a few of your compelling and impeccably designed infographics. And they’re ready for more.
You have their attention, they have shown interest by engaging with your content and you may have captured some of their data and contact details for following up. They may already have been your customer at one time and you are looking for some form of feedback from them, re-engaging with them to bring them back for a second or third purchase.
Content types for the close stage of your content marketing funnel are:
Ratings & Reviews
Provide the opportunity for your customers to rate and review your business. Many digital platforms allow you to activate a rate and review function. Encourage your customers to post their reviews when you address them in outbound content marketing or provide a link in your email footer.
Show your customers that their experience matters. Gain insights and adapt your services or products in response to the feedback given. Let your customers co-create the buying experience with you.
People love to learn about themselves. If you can encourage people to take a quiz that helps them to categorise themselves as a key customer type, then you can create a far more targeted offering for them.
E-mails (outbound content marketing)
Follow up your leads with an email or series of emails. They may have dropped off because they are busy or got distracted, or an unexpected expense came along. You want to be front of mind when they are ready to re-engage, so a timely reminder could be all it takes to get them to take the next step.
A great way to get insights in how to improve your business and to build a greater understanding of your target market. The more you know about your customers, the better armed you are to attract more of the same and to deliver a superior customer experience.
Reward loyalty. Don’t focus all your best deals during the Attract stage. If you neglect your existing customer base and those who have already shown some interest and support, they will be more likely to switch to a competitor offering a great introductory deal than stick with you.
Contests & Giveaways
These can be good ways of engaging or encouraging people to share. Make them interactive. If entry includes sharing an experience, tagging a friend who deserves the giveaway offer, or presenting an idea for using/changing a product then you gain so much more than exposure from entries.
Regular contact is a good way to re-engage with your customers too, sharing your news, helpful information or latest offerings and reminding them why the liked you enough to do business with you in the first place. If you use an e-newsletter platform for your outbound content marketing, you can also group people who regularly open your e-newsletters and click through on links into one or more new sub-groups for sending additional material that fits their area of interest, based on what they engaged with.
Keep the channels of communication open with regular content for your followers to engage with. You haven’t gone away. Don’t become a distant memory.
This is a good way to continue adding value to those customers, clients and leads who have engaged with your content before. If they can subscribe or sign up for push notifications when you post something new then they are part of that all important fan base.
Whitepapers and E-books
More for the service based and B2B businesses, or those selling large ticket items with a longer buyer’s journey. One consumer targeted industry, however, that is using e-book giveaways effectively to build a strong following are indie authors.
Subscriptions to online content channels (Blogger, You Tube, Twitch)
Create a reason for people to follow you online. They will become your core fan base and a fount of knowledge when you want feedback and will also be your early adopters when you want to float something new.
Customers who become e-mail subscribers are essentially passed through a second funnel: the e-mail marketing funnel (supplemented by social media), which eventually turns them into loyal customers and potentially, promoters of your brand.
It goes without saying that one company’s content marketing strategy isn’t going to work for all businesses or organisations.
However, the beauty of the digital marketing funnel is that it can be adapted to any business, no matter what you’re offering. The examples given above at the different stages are there to serve as an inspiration for your own content marketing strategy.
Remember: for completely unqualified prospects who know absolutely nothing about your brand or product, the best types of content are simple landing pages, short introductory or product videos, and infographics. In other words: there should be as little written content as possible. More detailed information and content type is best kept for the later stages of the digital marketing funnel.
If you would like some help with including some of these option in your digital marketing contact Fiona Cole to arrange a free consultation on 021 285 5580