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You review your marketing funnel and realize the content you’ve created focuses on one section of your funnel and leaves out the others. This creates a gap that your prospects can “leak” out from and cause you to miss potential revenue.
What’s the solution?
Mapping out content ideas on your editorial calendar, and aligning them with each stage of the funnel.
This way, you can present potential customers with the right message, at the right time, to encourage more purchases.
At CoSchedule, we saw this in action when we used the following framework to help us create an email drip campaign that increased our conversions by 69.77%.
In this post, we’ll walk you through exactly what a marketing funnel is and how to map your content to your funnel. We’ll also walk you how to develop messaging and show you how to choose best types of content to deliver those messages at each stage in the funnel.
This easy-to-use spreadsheet will help you sort the content you’ve already created and assign it to stages in your funnel.
Plus, you’ll also easily be able to see where the gaps in your content are so you can map new content to prevent those leaks. This content, in turn, will guide your audience all the way through the funnel.
Before we launch into how to map out your marketing funnel, there are a few terms you should keep in mind.
Understanding how your customers flow through your marketing funnel is essential to make sure that it does its job. Here’s an infographic that gives you a little more information.
The fact of the matter is that people don’t move through the funnel in a linear process. So, you’ll need to have content that reaches your audience at whatever stage they’re at.
Marketing funnels can come in all shapes and sizes. They will change a bit based on the company that created them, so here are six examples to look at.
The CoSchedule funnel is built in five stages and looks like this:
Moz’s marketing funnel looks like this.
The Single Grain marketing funnel looks a little like the Moz funnel, but it breaks down into three parts instead of four.
The Crazy Egg sales funnel looks a little different than all the other marketing funnels. In this example, theirs is mapped out based on the pages they’ve created to address customer needs at each stage of the funnel. Where the other examples are more theoretical, this one shows how a website might be structured to move customers down the funnel.
Neil Patel’s conversion funnel resembles more of a bow-tie and looks like this.
If you want to learn more about different sales funnels and how they work check out this video from a CMWorld talk by Andrew Davis.
Before you dive into your funnel, you need to define your audience persona.
Why is knowing your target audience so important?
Because if you don’t know who you’re talking to, you can’t craft the right messages that will help them move through your funnel.
So what is an audience persona, and how can you create one?
An audience persona is:
A document that details your target audience’s who, what, when, where, and why. It also includes general demographic information such as gender, job title, job function, business size, team size, needs, pain points, and challenges.
To build your marketing persona, you need to be able to answer the following questions:
You can gather that information by sending a survey through social media or email. You can create a survey using services like Survey Monkey or Poll Daddy. Once you have your data collected format your information into an audience persona statement.
“[INSERT YOUR BRAND] creates content to help and inform [INSERT DEMOGRAPHIC] so they can [INSERT ACTION] better.”
The marketing funnel goes by many names, but the core of each one is still the same. At CoSchedule, our marketing funnel looks like this:
Now, you usually would want a customer to flow through the marketing funnel from top to bottom. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes your customers can enter in at a different point of the funnel besides the top.
If you don’t have content throughout the funnel that helps guide your customers to the bottom, they will most likely get frustrated and leave.
So how can you ensure that there is content in each phase of your funnel? You can do this by mapping out each phase and assigning content to it.
As we’ve mentioned, there are three phases to the marketing funnel. At CoSchedule, we’ve broken each of down into different subcategories, too. Here’s what our stages look like.
In the Discovery phase of your marketing funnel, your customers know absolutely nothing about your brand. The end goal of this phase is to have people learn more about your company.
Your content should slowly guide your customers to the conclusion that while they can solve their problem themselves, your product will make it easier.
Some recommended content types for this phase of the marketing funnel are:
Before you decide what types of content that you’re going to create for this phase of the funnel, you need to determine the messages you’ll send.
The unaware phase is the very top part of your marketing funnel. At CoSchedule, we define this phase as:
These prospects haven’t identified a pain or a solution. They may have stumbled across a link to our blog or website within a piece they were reading, met us at an event, or saw an industry ad. Another possibility is that something we published piqued their curiosity.
You can use this definition or you can come up with your own. After you have your definition set, record it in your template:
The message that needs to be delivered to your audience in this phase of the funnel should be about solving a problem or answering a question they might research. They’re reading your content for a reason. That problem may or may not be directly solvable by your product, but it should be something that your target audience cares about.
In this phase, you’re trying to get their attention and show them they can trust you.
Define the message you want your content to send in the unaware section and record it in your template:
If you’ve already written marketing content, how do you know if it falls into the unaware category? Ask yourself these two questions:
If the answer to both is yes, you can categorize it as top of the funnel/ unaware content.
The last section of your template that needs to be filled in is the example section and the expectations that your unaware content needs to meet:
The next phase of this process is the pain aware phase. This is where your customer realizes there is a problem that needs to be fixed. We define this stage as:
These prospects feel pain of some kind, but don’t know of a solution. They have identified an issue/challenge with their existing process, and are actively looking for information to help them fix it.
Add your definition to your template.
The message you need to deliver in this phase is: You can identify the problem and you will teach them how to fix it.
The difference between the pain aware stage and the unaware stage is that the problem you are looking to solve for your reader directly ties into your product.
To identify if your previously written content fits the pain aware stage, ask yourself the following:
If the answer is yes, you can file that content under pain aware.
Add in the expectations your pain aware content needs to meet as well as any examples that you may have.
The solution aware phase of your marketing funnel is when your potential customer realizes that there are products out there that may help solve their problem.
The definition we use at CoSchedule is:
These prospects feel a specific pain and just discovered there are solutions for it. They have hit the point of frustration where they actively seek solutions to help. They know tools are designed to help them solve the problem.
Use CoSchedule’s definition or create your own and add it to your template.
The message that needs to be delivered for this phase should be targeted toward showing your customer that there are solutions that solve their problem (including your product). They could take care of the problem by themselves by implementing your advice. However, your product will make it even easier.
Decide what message you want to send during the solution aware phase of your content and record it in your template.
Now, if you’re trying to categorize solution aware content for your funnel, here are the questions to ask:
If you answered yes to those questions, you can fill that piece of content under the solution aware category.
Identify the expectations that your solution aware content needs to meet as well as examples of solution aware content that you’ve already created.
Once your potential customers are out of the discovery phase of your funnel, they move on to the consideration phase. At this point, they are aware of your organization and are actively thinking about purchasing your product.
Now you need to convince them that your product is the best one out there. Some recommended content types for this phase of your funnel are:
In the product aware phase of your marketing funnel, your customer is finally aware that your product is the solution that they’ve been looking for. At CoSchedule we define this phase as:
These prospects are learning our product is a solution to the pain. They may be trialing and comparing different tools to ultimately choose the best one that will solve their pain.
Decide on your definition and record it in your template.
The message that needs to be delivered to your potential customers at this point in the funnel is that while other products could solve their problem, yours is the best option.
Based on that information, decide what kind of message you need to deliver with your product aware content and record it in your template.
If you are trying to decide if your existing content fits into this format, ask yourself the following:
The last step for your product aware phase is deciding what expectations your product aware content needs to meet and examples of product aware content you’ve created.
The last phase of your marketing funnel is the purchase phase. At this point, your customer should be ready to convert to buying your product. They may just need that extra push to get there.
Some recommended content types to create at this stage of the funnel are:
This is the final subcategory of your marketing funnel. At this point, your customers are the most aware of your product and are ready to purchase. We define this phase as:
These prospects are learning that our product is the best solution to the pain. They love our product in comparison to the other tools available to solve the pain and are looking for options to purchase. They are deciding which plan fits them best and how it works in their budget.
Define what most aware phase means for your marketing team and record it in your template.
The message that your audience needs to hear at this point is reaffirming their decision to trust your product and possibly see how others in their position have loved their choice.
Using that information, highlight what message your most aware content needs to send to your audience.
If you’re trying to decide if the content you’ve already written fits this phase, answer the following questions:
Finally, identify the expectations your most aware content needs to meet and include examples of most aware content you’ve already created.
Now that you know what makes up your marketing funnel, you can move on to the very last piece: filling in the content gaps in your funnel.
Using your template, fill in the content name, the URL (if applicable), the publish date, and the stage in the funnel your content is in.
Use the questions listed earlier in this post to determine which phase of the funnel your content belongs in. Once you have everything sorted, you may have your funnel stages listed out of order like this:
You can sort your content by stages in the funnel by selecting column A on your spreadsheet.
Click Data and then sort:
Select “Continue with the current selection”:
Make sure that you sort by column A:
Click OK and you should be good to go:
Now you can track your content this way, or you can make it even easier and track, organize, and publish your content with CoSchedule. Our marketing calendar has several organization features that will help you map your content to the funnel.
Tags in CoSchedule can help you sort and label your content quickly and easily. To use them, select the piece of content on your CoSchedule calendar and click Tag in the upper left-hand corner:
Type in the tag name and you’re good to go.
You can also use the filter in your calendar to sort by tags. Choose the funnel in the upper left-hand corner, scroll down to Tags and select the tag you want to sort by:
You can also sort and organize content using Color Labels. Color labels allow you to assign specific color codes to your content and sort your content types according to what color they are.
To use them, go to the settings portion of your calendar and scroll down to Color Labels. Each color code will need its own label. The best part is that with Custom Color Labels, you can always create more:
Once you have your labels built, go back to your primary calendar and select or create a piece of content. In your content, you’ll see a little white circle.
Your color labels will appear, and you can select which one fits the content best:
You can sort your calendar by Color Labels as well by going back up to your funnel and scrolling down to Labels.
Now you know how your marketing funnel should work and how to solve the gaps in your funnel with content that helps increase conversions.
Work with your entire marketing team to brainstorm what’s next and constantly adjust your material based on what’s working for your customers and what isn’t.
See how our marketing calendar can help you get and stay organized as well as sort all your content by marketing funnel stages.
Do you have a different funnel that is creating success for your marketing team? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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