Here’s the problem: You’ve created an excellent website, you’re publishing tons of great content, and you’re executing a thoughtful marketing strategy, but you’re still struggling to drive sales. This can be a frustrating problem and it can be challenging to know how to solve it.
The best place to start diagnosing potential issues is to develop a strong understanding of how the marketing funnel works and ensure you are communicating the right messages to the right people at the right time. By ensuring you have the right content and messaging that customers need at each stage of the sales cycle, you can increase your odds of increasing conversions.
In this chapter, 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 the best types of content to deliver those messages at each stage in the funnel.
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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 illustration that shows how it works:
While it’s commonly thought that customers follow a linear process through the funnel, the reality is often a little bit more messy. However, it’s still important to have content and messaging at each stage so your brand can meet customers where they’re at, no matter which stage of the process they find you at.
While marketers may label each phase of the marketing funnel a bit differently, they all revolve around the idea that the funnel has a top, middle, and bottom.
Typically, more content and advertising will be created at the top to bring people in, and fewer but more targeted pieces in the middle and bottom to encourage sales (for example, a company may have tons of blog posts, social posts, emails, ads, and so forth, but fewer website pages where actual sales happen):
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 and messaging to it.
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 you know how your marketing funnel should work and how to solve the gaps in your funnel with content that helps increase conversions. You’re now ready for the next chapter in this guide.