Most people think a successful content marketing strategy is one that collects a lot of leads. While that might be the case, if you can create a content marketing strategy that effectively moves leads through your sales funnel it’s likely more valuable than the longest list of leads. This process of moving leads is known as nurturing and content plays a huge role in lead nurturing. Here are # tips for nurturing leads through content.
Top of the Funnel
The first step for most users is known as the “awareness” stage. This is when users might not be looking to specifically purchase, but are becoming familiar with the brand and subsequent value beliefs of your company. Content is vital for the top of the funnel and is an excellent opportunity for you to generate brand awareness. The content during this part of the lead nurturing stage is designed to cast a large net, evoke emotions and cover top-level topics. Below are some common types of content that are effective for the top of the funnel:
- eBooks and white papers: Top-level eBooks and white papers can be leveraged to cover value propositions of your offering and are ways for you to generate email lists based on different topics. Once you know the topics that a user is interested in by which eBook or white paper they download you can be more targeted with your future content.
- Infographics and blog articles: Low-commitment content is the definition of top of the funnel content. Infographics and blog articles that are less informational and more geared to emotional appeal can accomplish this goal. They give you an opportunity to develop your brand’s personality and identity. This will give you brand equity and provides immeasurable value to leads.
- FAQ page: A frequently asked questions page is a top of the funnel type of content that is excellent at providing leads information that will help them feel comfortable moving towards purchase. In every industry there are going to be common questions or obstacles that will need to be addressed before the user is ready to purchase. If you can effectively create a page that addresses these issues directly to the user at their leisure, they will be able to move themselves through the funnel when they are ready.
- Videos: Videos are another great way to communicate your brand’s offerings and identity to potential customers. Not only is this type of content more engaging than standard text content or static digital media, it also hits multiple senses that might lead to more effective messaging.
Middle of the Funnel
As leads start to move through the funnel they will look for content that is more in-depth and informational. The top-level content is excellent at attracting eyes and garnering attention, but in order to effectively nurture leads the middle and bottom of the funnel are vital. Content during the middle stage is more niche and offering-focused than the initial stage. Users have already committed their interests in your offerings and they now need a reason to continue forward with your solutions. Below are some common types of content that are highly-effective during the middle of the funnel:
- Newsletters and Emails: If your top-level content is done effectively you will hopefully have built a number of email lists. Email lists should be as narrow as possible so that you can provide custom, tailored marketing Emails and newsletters. Make sure the content in the Emails are inline with your brand and the user’s specified interests. Create calls-to-action that perpetuate a user response.
- Product/Buying Guides: Long-form informational guides about your value offerings, product benefits and ease of use are highly effective types of content during the middles stages. Users should be able to access and download these guides on your site and by gating the content you can create more narrow email lists.
- Client Testimonials/Reviews: Testimonials and reviews are an underutilized form of content, but one that is extremely powerful for lead nurturing. They help eliminate remorse and can provide the small nudge in the right direction.
Bottom of the Funnel
By this stage users are highly committed to either your brand, your offering or your content. This provides you a unique opportunity to close the lead with your content. The content during this stage needs to be very niche and should showcase your expertise. This content should perpetuate action and overcome the final objections of the sale. Below are some common types of content that are used during the bottom of the funnel:
- Coupons: While I’m not a huge fan of coupons because of their short-term focus, they do have merit especially for bottom of the funnel conversions. If you’ve effectively followed your user through the funnel you should have a strong idea for what offering they are most interested in. Developing a coupon or offer that is specific to the user will help perpetuate a sale.
- Custom Proposals: Proposals are an effective tool for closing a sale. They provide the user with all the pertinent information needed to make the purchase and if executed effectively a custom proposal can showcase your company’s professionalism, client service capabilities and brand identity. I cannot emphasize how important a custom proposal is to moving a lead through the final stage of the sales process.
Content is key to the sales process and while most marketers focus on just lead generation, an effective content program can easily lead a user through the sales process. So let me ask you, are you ready to purchase some content now?