Nowadays, with greater understanding of the importance of nurturing leads throughout all stages of the sales funnel, businesses are counting more on marketing in areas where sales traditionally played a bigger role.
Content marketing has emerged as an essential tool for generating leads, but as it turned out, it can also be instrumental in helping entrepreneurs guide their leads through the sales funnel. In today’s business milieu, where opportunity to engage with customers exists at various touchpoints, content marketing should not be focused solely for optimizing your top-of-the-funnel strategy. You’ll find that you can utilize this tool to convert leads to paying customers and to build long-lasting relationships with them.
The idea is to prepare quality content at every stage of the sales funnel, keeping in mind that as customers move down the funnel, they will have a different set of needs at every stage.
The top of the sales funnel is the stage where businesses should concentrate on creating awareness and interest for their brand, product, or service. Web users are still in their initial stages of doing their research, so this is the time when you want to introduce your brand so that they can decide whether or not there is any value in patronizing what you offer.
During this stage, think of your customers as unqualified leads. They don’t have a clue yet about who you are, so don’t expect them to care that much for long pieces of content. Offer content that can be easily read or is very engaging.
- FAQ pages – An FAQ page addresses your customer’s important questions, making them feel more at ease with your brand.
- Landing pages – A simple yet compelling landing page can lead your visitors to more important, information-rich areas of your website.
- Informational videos – These videos summarize your brand’s strengths and unique selling points. Make them concise and engaging enough to convince leads that they need to learn more about you.
- Infographics – Despite their name, infographics tend to contain not a lot of information, but their illustrations and charts can create an emotional response that is hard to match.
Engaging with sales-qualified leads
If you are successful during the awareness and interest stage, your leads will eventually move lower down the sales funnel and will want content that is more thorough and provides more information. At this stage, your leads have transformed into sales-qualified leads and are now more willing to make a purchase. Thus, the nature of your content at this stage should be more oriented toward convincing people to buy.
- Blog articles and downloadable guides – Creating short blog articles that provide valuable and relevant information to leads is a great way to establish your brand identity and highlight the usefulness of your products or services, as well as the benefits that can be derived from using them. Some great article ideas include creating how-to guides, buying guides, and listicles. It can also be helpful to a lot of web users if you make some of these materials available for download.
- Social media posts – At this stage, leads are also more interested in joining online communities. Create official accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other relevant social media sites where you can regularly post updates and talk to your followers.
- Ebooks and white papers – Creating ebooks and white papers help you demonstrate your expertise in your field by providing in-depth information to your leads. These materials can also help you segregate your leads based on the topics they download. This will allow you to create more targeted content for specific groups of people in the future.
- Webinars and demonstration videos – Like ebooks and white papers, webinars and demo videos provide more comprehensive information to people. They give you an opportunity to showcase your knowledge of your chosen subject matter.
- Email and newsletters – After you have built your email lists, it’s time to send emails and newsletters to your leads. The content of these materials should be tailored as much as possible to the interests of the groups of people you will be sending them to.
- Client testimonials and reviews – Instead of creating content that talks about how good your brand is, why not use the actual words of customers who have had positive experiences dealing with your business? Positive testimonials and reviews can help reassure your leads that they are making the right decision in purchasing your products or services.
Building and maintaining relationships with your customers
If you do everything right, you’ll be able to arrive at the last stage of the sales funnel, where you gain paying customers. They will be very much committed to your business, your products and services, as well as to the content you offer. This is the stage where you should create content that will perpetuate the purchasing cycle and strengthen your relationship with your customers.
A lot of the content marketing tools you used during the middle tier of the sales funnel can be also be used in the last stage. Keep offering valuable and relevant content through blog articles, guides, social media posts, and newsletters. On top of these, you should also be offering the following:
- Coupons – It’s important to remind your customers that they are special to you. Offer discount coupons or other benefits that will encourage your customers to continue patronizing your brand.
- Contests and giveaways – Simply put, who doesn’t want to win prizes?
Creating the right content for every stage of your leads’ journey down the sales funnel can help tremendously in your efforts to convert them to customers. Don’t set your eyes on lead generation alone; aspire to create long-lasting relationships with people.