How to Build a Content Marketing Funnel That Converts (Template)
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What could be more annoying, having a great product and not making any sales?
Always creating content and getting positive comments and everything just seems to end in the comment section.
And you are back to where you began.
Here is the thing.
You are one thing away from getting those sales you want.
So what could be keeping that distance between you and your goals?
Just the elementary things of marketing you just seem to forget: the content marketing funnel.
Content marketing funnel!
You need a content marketing funnel to make every content marketing effective in converting readers and driving leads to your products.
You don’t have to struggle to convert your audience if you have a perfect content marketing funnel.
In this post, you will learn how to create a perfect content marketing funnel that converts.
Yes, that is what the title says and that is exactly what you will get from this post.
Download Your Content Marketing Funnel Template
Apply the advice in this post and create a content plan that maps to the marketing funnel with this easy-to-use template:
What is a Content Marketing Funnel?
A content marketing funnel is a system that involves the creation of content in each stage from creating awareness to converting readers and making sales.
It is a step by step system where you need to create content for each stage of the buyers' journey.
For a prospect to become a convert (not the come-to-Jesus type of conversion), he goes through three main stages which you need to create content for.
Awareness (Top of the Funnel)
You need to make your prospect is aware that there is a problem and there is an urgent need to solve it.
The moment you make them understand there is a problem they are not yet aware of, you have created fear and a search for a solution in them.
At this point, you make them know that you have a solution
Evaluation (Middle of the Funnel)
Prospects that pass through the awareness stage would be willing to evaluate the choices available to them, and definitely including your competitor's products.
Purchasing (Bottom of the Funnel)
At this stage, you need content that will be personal and promotional to help your prospect in purchasing your product.
At this stage, you have already won the trust of the prospect through the awareness and evaluation stage.
Let's dive in.
Stages of Content Marketing Funnels
Top of the Funnel (ToFU)
Top of the funnel is the first point of contact with your audience. At the top of the funnel is where you create awareness.
Your job at the top of the funnel is to create awareness and nothing else through your content.
The question is what are we creating awareness for?
- Create awareness for your brand/company
- Create awareness for the problems your audience have
- And finally create awareness of the solutions available
These are the three important things you need to create awareness for before you can be sure your audience would be moving down the funnel to the next stage.
But you need to remember this is your first impression with your prospects and you need to do your best in getting their attention.
If this is done wrong, you might be losing your prospects to your competitors.
You would be wondering, how do you make a good impression at the top of the funnel?
The answer is simple, provide value.
As simple as this sounds, it goes a long way in determining the success of your content marketing.
If you provide value, your prospect would be more than willing to go down the funnel; in the hope of getting more valuable resources from you.
For example, Mr. Mike is a small business owner who runs a local store off wedding accessories. He is doing well with his store but does not know having a website can bring the best result for him.
To make him hire you to develop a website, you need to first make the need for a website appear as an urgent need for his business.
You need to let him know his competitors are taking advantage of the web to grow their business.
So your content should be hammering the need for a website.
2. Middle of the Funnel (MO-FU)
In the middle of the funnel, you need to create content that provides truthful and valuable evaluations of the options available to your prospects.
Upon hammering the needs and problems of your prospects, the next step you are subconsciously pushing your prospects to take is to hunt for available solutions.
In this digital world, it is difficult to convert prospects immediately. And that is because prospects are smarter to make research on their own.
Prospects research would be to:
- Verify if they really have that problem you described
- Look for available solutions to the problem (cheap and efficient solutions)
- Compare available solutions to source out the best
That is what your prospects' research would look like.
You cannot expect them to easily fall into your arms because you stated the problem to them.
Making them aware of their problem you have only gained their trust. You now need contents to also help them evaluate the available solutions.
And that would mean making mentions of your competitors.
Why would I want to do that?
That is a good question to ask. Why would you want to make your prospects aware of your competitors?
That is because it would add more credibility to your profile and also portray you as an expert.
And isn’t that what you want.
Reviewing the possible solutions alongside with your prospects would make you build a more personal relationship with your prospects.
And that would make you be the one in control of what you want them to know and what you want them to see.
So you are not only helping your prospects find necessary information, but you are also doing yourself a favor. You are building an awesome brand everyone would want to relate with.
And lastly, reviewing your competitors would make them love you and show you some love on their platform too.
3. Bottom of the Funnel
At this stage of the funnel, you have already reviewed the options available alongside with your prospects. And all you are waiting for is to have your prospects place an order or buy any of your packages.
Though you can now successfully boast that you have won the heart of your prospect and you are only waiting for them to purchase from you; you need to create guide them all through the end.
Do not leave a gap for them to doubt you. You need to assist them in order to make purchasing from you easy.
The bottom of the funnel is the stage you create content that helps your prospects successfully place an order.
If you don’t have this in place, there is a tendency that they might walk-away. When you leave them alone at this point, you are only passing the information that you are after their money. That’s all.
You have done a good job up till this moment, but there is no good in it if you cannot finish the job.
Your goal is to appear to your prospects as a helper in solving their problem, not as a salesman (yes, you are.)
But do not make the mistake in not having a perfect sales pitch.
At this bottom, you need to be selfish towards your competitors and only write a perfect selling pitch for your products.
Examples of content that work here are free sign ups, E-books, free trials, etc.
Those are the type of content that work at the bottom of the funnel.
How to Create Content For Each Stage
Having learned about the stages of the content marketing funnel, the next thing would be how to create content for each stage.
To create content for each stage, your contents have to hit the below checklist:
- Your content has to be valuable
- It has to be in the right form
- And it has to be distributed through the right channel
These three things are the most important things when creating the right content for each stage.
But to ensure your contents attain the three checklists above, there is a proven formula for that. There is a walk around for that.
- Know Your Audience
- Write the content
- Distribute the content
1. Know Your Audience
You have heard this umpteen times, but do you know the power of this?
Who are you targeting, are the ladies of the age of 20 or women of the age of 50?
You need to know who you are targeting.
The language you will use when communicating to a 20 years old lady is different when communicating to a 50 years old woman.
Using the wrong language when communicating with your prospect can make you appear more like a spam.
But as simple as this sound, this is a secret most people neglect. You would not know what your audience need not until you take your time to understand them and know them better.
A perfect illustration is CoSchedule, a marketing suite. CoSchedule has been able to add more features to their product through understanding their audience needs.
CoSchedule started has an online scheduling tool for business owners of different sizes and has been able to add new features to their product.
Now CoSchedule has Headline Analyzer Studio, a Google Chrome extension, and many more amazing features.
So how on earth were they able to achieve this?
It's simply by knowing their audience.
So if you are going to take a word out of all I have written so far, then knowing your audience better would be best for you and your business.
What exactly is your audience searching for?
Knowing what your audience is searching for online would help you in creating the right content.
What could be worse creating great content on what your audience does not need?
Waste of time and resources!!
And we must be time conscious when working to get a good result.
So taking your time to learn more about your industry and what your audience is searching for should not be a big deal?
You are creating a strong foundation for your content marketing by researching.
When researching, you need to search for terms that your audience use at each stage of the content marketing funnel.
Here is what I mean.
- At the top of the funnel: How to Improve Productivity as a Blogger
- Middle of the funnel: Best Blog Planning Tools
- Bottom of the funnel: CoSchedule tool review
At the top of the funnel, the prospect is having issues increasing productivity as a blogger, at the middle of the funnel he is looking for the best blog planning tools, and at the bottom, he is looking for a particular conversion tool (CoSchedule Calendar).
Do you see the difference?
At the top of the funnel, he is more interested in improving productivity as a blogger. Upon learning the importance of planning to improve productivity, in the middle he is looking for the best blog planning tools.
Then at the bottom, he is more specific with the blog planning tool.
That is what research does for you, revealing the problems of your audience to you.
3. Create the content
Creating content is the next thing you have to do. To create the content, you can employ a freelance writer to help you create amazing content with your customer insights.
And you can also do this yourself. After deciding what you would be writing on, put a day aside to create your content.
If it’s a blog post, then ensure the blog post is the most in-depth guide on the topic you would be tackling. If it is not then you have not achieved anything yet.
So how do you know its in-depth?
Your content has to answer all the questions of your audience and the doubts they have. So that means your content has to be lengthy and fleshy (most times above 2000 words).
If you are creating videos, ensure that the video is of high quality and also answers the questions and doubts of your audience.
4. Distribute your content
Creating amazing content is very important and of the essence but not as important as distributing the content.
If you have amazing content on your blog with no one to read it, then it is of no use on that website.
You need to redistribute your content on different platforms in order to increase your reach. A typical way to distribute your content is to not only share but reprocess your content for different platforms.
What do I mean?
After creating your blog post, create infographics with the key points mentioned in your blog post. Go ahead and create an image containing small-bite contents lifted from your blog post for social media platforms like Facebook, tweet your blog posts, create short videos on your blog post for video platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
That is what reprocessing your content is all about. Doing this, not only will you be able to build a brand everyone can resonate with, you will be able to convert leads to recurring customers.
Take a Look Into Life Examples – CoSchedule Calendar Content Marketing Funnel Case Study
CoSchedule is a content marketing tool that helps in planning and scheduling content on different social media platforms. It is a marketing suite that handles organizations of your daily blog activities and business.
So how does CoSchedule content marketing funnel look like?
You will find out below.
Top of the Funnel: How to Improve Your Personal Productivity as you blog
CoSchedule has been able to ace their top of the funnel contents with so many business inclined contents they have been pumping out.
You need to remember that CoSchedule customers and prospects are mostly bloggers in need of a scheduling tool to help in automating some of their tasks.
Now CoSchedule is now doing a shout out by creating content on how to improve productivity as a blogger. In contents like this, they can easily create awareness of their tool as the solution to bloggers' problems on productivity.
You would have a little trust but might not easily convert here.
And you would surely hear them and even other bloggers in their niche make mention of having a blogging plan.
CoSchedule did not neglect the possibility of their readers interested in blog planning. This is why
you would find contents like this one on their blog: How to Craft an Effective Blogging Business Plan that Nails your Blog’s Success
In this post, there is no way you would escape hearing about CoSchedule products as a solution to creating a blogging plan.
This is a screenshot from the post stating scheduling as a factor
So that is the way product outreach is being done at the top of the funnel.
You try to be helpful and create great resources at the same vein creating awareness for your business or product.
Middle of the Funnel: How to Make the Best Project Management Plan to Organize Workflows
Evaluating the content according to the title, it seems like an outright how-to guide to help the audience make the best project management plan, but it’s actually a review of CoSchedule.
Two things will occur here, prospects who are in need of a project management plan will only get tips for creating the best project management plan with the help of CoSchedule suite.
So having an awesome guide on how to get the best out of CoSchedule, the two things that follow are:
- Prospects would be aware of CoSchedule as not just a blog but a powerful marketing suite
- Prospects would be aware of the features and how to get the best out of CoSchedule
Having this form of content would create a better conversion rate for businesses.
This form of content could have been used as a knowledge base for users of the products, but it wouldn’t have done a great job there.
The blog post is indirectly an introduction of CoSchedule and what it does to prospects in need of a project management plan.
Bottom of the Funnel – Free Trials
If there is something CoSchedule is acing, it is their content marketing strategy. CoSchedule is very sure and can boast of having the best marketing suite for bloggers; so they did not a drawback in creating free trials for not-so-easy-to-convert prospects.
Each and every one of their tools under the umbrella of their marketing suite has been independently licensed for free trials.
And they have not in any way drawback from giving their prospects and audience an opportunity to test out their tools and make their own decision.
Putting the Funnel Together
As you move down your content marketing funnels, there is a massive drop in the numbers of people that make it to the next until the last stage. And this means that the numbers of people who will finally make it to the bottom of the funnel might be surprisingly less than 1% of the audience you had at the top of the funnel.
To make it and succeed in content marketing, then you need to be ready to spend more time understanding what your audience needs and then providing it for them.
To crown it all, you will have more success the larger you cast your net at the top of the funnel. So what do I mean?
You should not just publish content on your blog only, reach out to bloggers in your own niche and guest post on their blog.
Your prospects and customers are on all other blogs, so if you are only covering your base then you are doing yourself more harm.
Pay a visit to that blogger that writes in the same niche and build an audience off the blog.
And as you go ahead and make the best, remember that the best content marketing is the one done with the audience in mind.
Make your audience the heart of your business and VALUE your motto.
March 2, 2020