From in-depth attitudinal research to persona development, as a marketer, you’re all over this audience-centric content thing. You know your target, Joe, is a 38-year-old, married-with-two-kids IT director, afraid to make the wrong enterprise software purchase decision. And you have just the information (and product) to help him. But are you crafting valuable content for every phase of his buying journey?
The sales funnel is a fundamental principle of B2B marketing, but its application during content creation is often neglected. You might intuitively create content that appeals to a specific stage of your buyer’s journey, but are you strategically applying your investment based on your objectives? Does your content plan provide a healthy balance of information that attracts prospects and helps you nurture them and close the sale? Furthermore, which stage of your funnel is the highest priority—either because it’s been neglected or because you’re missing opportunities? Here’s a breakdown of what it means to create funnel-centric content. For more tips on sharpening your content strategy, check out this free e-book.
At the top of the sales funnel, you’re targeting not only people in the very beginning of the product or service research phase, but also those who don’t even know they need you (yet!). This calls for high-level, general-interest content that represents what your brand stands for, but isn’t overtly promotional or product-specific. With the aforementioned Joe, this might mean a gated e-book about top trends in cloud-based software (with little to no mention of your particular product, but ample ways to learn more about it).
Engage and nurture
Once prospects are in your net—or are actively seeking your type of offering—it’s time to nurture them. Think “news you can use” that informs them generally about your type of offering and begins to introduce your brand’s differentiators. For example: a buying guide that helps our friend Joe narrow down his CRM software options.
Your sales team might balk at the idea that a piece of content could close a sale. But targeted, low-funnel content can certainly help seal the deal. This content should cover more technical detail about your product (along with how it benefits the prospect) and provide information to help the buyer make a final purchase decision. For example: a comparison chart that spells out the difference between your product and competitors’ offerings.
If you thought your work was over after the sale, think again. Marketers have an important obligation to help contribute to ongoing customer satisfaction—with post-purchase content that adds value to the purchase. This not only provides resale / upsale opportunities, but also fosters goodwill and positive word-of-mouth. Webinars and video tutorials that help your customers get the most value from your product or service, for example.
For a fill-in-the-blank funnel to help you prioritize—along with a dozen other actionable content planning exercises—download The Content Strategist’s Workout Plan.