Search

What Is A Content Marketing Funnel And Why Does It Matter to My Business?

The term “marketing funnel” has become a hot buzzword in recent years, but the truth of the matter is, it’s not a new concept. When I was in college 20 years ago, my marketing professors and marketing textbooks referred to the concept as a pyramid where every marketing effort moves customers up the pyramid until they ultimately buy. A marketing funnel explains the same concept, but instead of climbing up the pyramid with people dropping off along the way, people move down the marketing funnel with only the “best” customers making it through to the bottom of the marketing funnel. The marketing funnel term has evolved to have not only a strategic meaning (as described in the previous paragraph) but also a tactical meaning. Marketers build content marketing funnels using specific content offerings to move targeted customers through the buying cycle. The marketing funnel is divided into three parts: top of funnel (TOFU), middle of funnel (MOFU), and bottom of funnel (BOFU). Let’s take a closer look at each. 1. Top of Funnel (TOFU) At the top of the funnel is everyone who isn’t close to ready to buy yet. For example, new prospects are at the top of the funnel. Your goal at the top of a content marketing funnel is to create a lead magnet that will attract a large number of leads into the top of the funnel. Offering a free ebook is a great way to generate leads through content marketing at the top of the funnel. Here’s how it could work: 1. Offer a free ebook to visitors on your website who provide their email addresses. 2. Using an email automation tool such as MailChimp or Infusionsoft, instantly send an email message with the free ebook to the lead. Now, you have the lead’s email address, and you can follow up with them with more useful content to try to push them further down the funnel. Customers at the bottom of the funnel are much more likely to buy, so a content marketing funnel should be built with a specific end goal purchase in mind. In other words, when the email campaign for the content marketing funnel is over, customers at the bottom of the funnel should be ready to buy a specific product or service. 2. Middle of Funnel (MOFU) Your next step in a content marketing funnel is to move people from the top of the funnel to the middle of the funnel. Using the email marketing campaign in the Top of Funnel section above, you could offer at least two free bonus items and automatically send those bonuses to leads through two separate email messages sent at a timed interval. For example, you could send the first bonus one or two days after the ebook download message is sent and the second bonus one or two days after that. The goal is to start building a relationship and trust with prospects by giving them more useful content. You’re building a comfort level between your brand and the prospect. However, a couple of freebies aren’t enough to push someone to the middle of the funnel. You have to give them more. Offering a free webinar is great way to start pushing leads into the middle of the funnel. For example, a new email campaign could promote a webinar that is a natural extension of the free ebook and bonus items. People who attend the webinar are clearly getting more interested in your business and brand and what you have to offer. They’re moving to the middle of the marketing funnel! The key to success at this point is avoiding the mistake of giving too much away. Remember, your goal is to get people to buy a specific, higher priced item at the bottom of the funnel, so your webinar should offer just enough that the audience gets extremely interested and wants more. You can give them the “more” at the end of the webinar when you promote the ultimate product or service you’re trying to sell. 3. Bottom of Funnel (BOFU) When you promote the ultimate product or service you’re trying to sell in your content marketing funnel, your job isn’t over. It takes a bit more effort to move some people from the middle of the funnel to the bottom. You’ll need to create an email campaign for everyone who attends your webinar that offers more useful bonuses and content and reminds them about the product or service you’re trying to sell. Communicate with them every couple of days for at least the first week after the webinar and then touch base again each week with more targeted, useful information that will make them considering buying your product or service. If they haven’t purchased within a month (or two at the most), it’s unlikely that they will. You’ve moved people as far through this content marketing funnel as you can. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t convince them to buy through a different content marketing funnel. The trick is finding the right mix of content to effectively move the largest number of your best customers through the funnel to make a purchase. This requires a lot of testing so don’t worry if you don’t get the results you want after your first content marketing funnel comes to an end. Review the results and build a better funnel next time! Eventually, you’ll get your content marketing funnels running like well-oiled machines.

What Is A Content Marketing Funnel And Why Does It Matter to My Business?

6K
What Is A Content Marketing Funnel And Why Does It Matter to My Business?

The term “marketing funnel” has become a hot buzzword in recent years, but the truth of the matter is, it’s not a new concept. When I was in
college 20 years ago, my marketing professors and marketing textbooks referred to the concept as a pyramid where every marketing effort moves customers up the pyramid until they ultimately buy. A marketing funnel explains the same concept, but instead of climbing up the pyramid with people dropping off along the way, people move down the marketing funnel with only the “best” customers making it through to the bottom of the marketing funnel.

The marketing funnel term has evolved to have not only a strategic meaning (as described in the previous paragraph) but also a tactical meaning. Marketers build content marketing funnels using specific content offerings to move targeted customers through the buying cycle. The marketing funnel is divided into three parts: top of funnel (TOFU), middle of funnel (MOFU), and bottom of funnel (BOFU). Let’s take a closer look at each.

1. Top of Funnel (TOFU)

At the top of the funnel is everyone who isn’t close to ready to buy yet. For example, new prospects are at the top of the funnel. Your goal at the top of a content marketing funnel is to create a lead magnet that will attract a large number of leads into the top of the funnel.

Offering a free ebook is a great way to generate leads through content marketing at the top of the funnel. Here’s how it could work:

1. Offer a free ebook to visitors on your website who provide their email addresses.
2. Using an email automation tool such as MailChimp or Infusionsoft, instantly send an email message with the free ebook to the lead.

Now, you have the lead’s email address, and you can follow up with them with more useful content to try to push them further down the funnel.

Customers at the bottom of the funnel are much more likely to buy, so a content marketing funnel should be built with a specific end goal purchase in mind. In other words, when the email campaign for the content marketing funnel is over, customers at the bottom of the funnel should be ready to buy a specific product or service.

2. Middle of Funnel (MOFU)

Your next step in a content marketing funnel is to move people from the top of the funnel to the middle of the funnel. Using the email marketing campaign in the Top of Funnel section above, you could offer at least two free bonus items and automatically send those bonuses to leads through two separate email messages sent at a timed interval. For example, you could send the first bonus one or two days after the ebook download message is sent and the second bonus one or two days after that.

The goal is to start building a relationship and trust with prospects by giving them more useful content. You’re building a comfort level between your brand and the prospect. However, a couple of freebies aren’t enough to push someone to the middle of the funnel. You have to give them more.

Offering a free webinar is great way to start pushing leads into the middle of the funnel. For example, a new email campaign could promote a webinar that is a natural extension of the free ebook and bonus items. People who attend the webinar are clearly getting more interested in your business and brand and what you have to offer. They’re moving to the middle of the marketing funnel!

The key to success at this point is avoiding the mistake of giving too much away. Remember, your goal is to get people to buy a specific, higher priced item at the bottom of the funnel, so your webinar should offer just enough that the audience gets extremely interested and wants more. You can give them the “more” at the end of the webinar when you promote the ultimate product or service you’re trying to sell.

3. Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)

When you promote the ultimate product or service you’re trying to sell in your content marketing funnel, your job isn’t over. It takes a bit more effort to move some people from the middle of the funnel to the bottom. You’ll need to create an email campaign for everyone who attends your webinar that offers more useful bonuses and content and reminds them about the product or service you’re trying to sell.

Communicate with them every couple of days for at least the first week after the webinar and then touch base again each week with more targeted, useful information that will make them considering buying your product or service. If they haven’t purchased within a month (or two at the most), it’s unlikely that they will. You’ve moved people as far through this content marketing funnel as you can.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t convince them to buy through a different content marketing funnel. The trick is finding the right mix of content to effectively move the largest number of your best customers through the funnel to make a purchase. This requires a lot of testing so don’t worry if you don’t get the results you want after your first content marketing funnel comes to an end. Review the results and build a better funnel next time! Eventually, you’ll get your content marketing funnels running like well-oiled machines.

Susan

Susan Gunelius

Blog Author

Susan Gunelius is a 20-year marketing veteran and President & CEO of KeySplash Creative. She also owns an award-winning blog, Women on Business.


Website : http://www.womenonbusiness.com/

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Suggested Blogs

5 Content Mistakes that Will Kill Your E-Learning Course

E-learning is experiencing a “boom.” From academic courses for high school and college credit to online training and development programs to courses that provide skill upgrades for career changes, to mini-classes for hobbyists, e-courses are just everywhere. With as much competition as there is, and with student ability to post reviews of courses everywhere, anyone who creates an e-learning course must make it engaging, powerful, and worthwhile. Whether you are designing a course for an institution or as a mompreneur, looking to market it to businesses or individuals, you will have a high dropout rate and gain a poor reputation if you make some pretty common content marketing mistakes that have “killed” other courses. Don’t let yours languish in the trash heap of thousands of other e-course fails. Make it “sing” by avoiding these 5 content mistakes. 1) Not Stating the Course Goals in Simple Terms Especially in academic and highly technical circles, it is easy to get carried away with wanting to appear sophisticated, knowledgeable, and a full expert. In doing so, however, we can use terminology and another vocabulary that is beyond our target students. Just reading those types of goals and objectives in the course description will send them away, in search of a course they think will be more at their level. You need to put yourself in the place of the learner here. The course is, after all, designed for the learner, not you. The best way to describe the learner outcomes for your course is, to begin with, “By the end of this course you will…” and then state what it is they will know or be able to do in terms they can understand. Examples By the end of this course, you will have a working knowledge of JavaScript and be able to write basic programs. By the end of this course, you will have an understanding of 5 types of leadership and will have developed a style that works best for your personality and role within your organization. Note: for academic courses that last as long as a semester, you will obviously have more than one goal; however, the same “rules” for simplicity apply. 2) Not Carefully Planning the Scope and Sequence of the Course We have all had teachers and/or professors who have totally confused us from the beginning of the course. Where are they going? Did I miss something before this lesson? This is the response you had when a course just seemed totally disorganized and the instructor just hopped around from topic to topic. Don’t be that instructor. For those who are not trained in educational jargon, here is the simple explanation. Scope refers to the depth of your course. If it is a course for beginners, how far will you take them? If it is an advanced class, what will you assume they already know and how far will you go from there? The sequence is the order in which you will cover the units of the course. Most courses are sequential, so they begin with the basics and build on those, getting gradually more complex as you go along. When scope and sequence are not planned out ahead of time, the units of study can become disjointed. Further, the learner can be overwhelmed at the very beginning, if the start of the course is too “deep.” Confusion, frustration and an attitude of defeat can result. You will have a high dropout rate, not to mention the fact that your course will get bad reviews. This will discourage others from taking it. 3) Not Making Huge Use of Visuals, Videos, and Conversation There is no excuse for a course without visuals today. There are amazing tools to use to create them. There are also amazing tools to make your own explainer and how-to videos. Including the video tools that are now built into most smartphones. You do not need a professionally produced video. Think of yourself as a teacher in a classroom – film your explanations and how-to are just as you would present them in a physical classroom. One of the biggest problems with e-learning is that students often feel disconnected from their instructor and from one another. You need to have lots of visuals and videos and methods by which students can ask questions and talk with one another. Using a conversational tool like Skype really helps. You also might want to experiment with live streaming video apps rather than pre-recording your videos. The important thing is to engage your learners – you can’t do this with text and charts – You need to see one another. And anytime you can use a visual (chart, graph, infographic, pictorial example) do it. Of course, there will be written material for learners to read and study. That is expected. But the challenge here is to write that copy in an engaging, clear, and easily understood manner. If this is not your forte, then you will need to find help yourself. Explain the type of learner you are serving and have a professional editor in the field review your copy and make suggestions for improvement. 4) Trying to Serve a Multitude of Learners with One Course Learners are at all different stages in their understanding of course content and their skill levels. Course designers sometimes think they can design for all of these learners at once. They try to differentiate assignments and projects; they try to divide up lessons, pointing different levels of learners to a different unit of study. This results in a hodgepodge mess of a course. Learners are confused, are angry because what they are taught is either too easy or too difficult and generally leave such a course feeling as if it has been a waste of their time and money. This is where segmentation and scope and sequence come in. If you want to teach all three levels of students (beginners, mid-level, and advanced), then you must establish your course scope and sequence from beginning to end and then segment it into the three groups of learners. Design three separate courses. And if you have your scope and sequence mapped out well, you can explain, in the course descriptions where each course begins and ends. Now you have given learners the information they need to choose which of your courses fits their current status. Do not be lazy – segment your course. 5) Believing that You Only have to Teach a Concept or Skill Once You have finished a unit. Students have submitted their assignments/projects or have taken a test. Some did well; others did not. What will you do for those who did not master the content or skill? Will you just move on as if everyone has mastered it? If you do, you have lost those learners – they will either lose interest or drop. This is where good teaching comes in. When you have learners who are struggling, you have to have supplemental resources and materials; you have to be willing to give the extra time of your own to help them. This is where flexibility comes in. There may be deadlines in terms of course completion, but the beauty of e-courses is that learners can put in extra time on their own to work on mastering what they did not the first time around. Your job is to have the materials available for them to accomplish this. Planning and Some Hard Work Whether you are teaching a drawing class or a college-level algebra course, the principle of teaching and learning still apply. Know the learner for whom you are planning the course, map out the scope and sequence, plan lessons that will engage and motivate, and always stay in touch with your students. Relationships and connections are even more important in an e-learning environment. If you do it right, you have a course that will be popular and endure.
5 Content Mistakes that Will Kill Your E-Learning ...

E-learning is experiencing a “boom.” From acad... Read More

How 2017 Will Be A Promising Year For Social Media ??

Social media dominated the world in the year of 2016 and digital marketing agencies are utilizing it very well. Social media remains one of the most reasonable means of branding options for startups and corporates. Moreover, it has enhanced the way customers interacted with companies. Social media marketing is expected to rise exponentially in the coming years. This is due to a lot of new features getting added live streaming, VR (Virtual Reality), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and the fake news scam that the entire social sector fights against. Facebook alone has has reached around 1.79 billion monthly active users followed by Instagram that has 600 million active users. More social media marketing tips huge possibilities for growth. In this post, we’ll discuss how 2017 will be promising year for social media. Below are the social media trends that will probably gain popularity. Live Streaming: Various social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook have rolled out with live streaming features. Additionally, Facebook has recently announced to roll out 360-degree video options for its users. Live video will give business a huge opportunity to connect with their customers and instantly. Brands can also conduct AMA (Ask me anything) sessions and give product demos live. Fight Against Fake News: Fake news was one of the major issues Facebook faced in the year of 2016. During elections, we have also seen fake news was shared across all social media platforms. To tackle is challenge Facebook has already starting working on its technology. They have also started weeding out some stories. In addition to this, Facebook is working with fact-checking organizations to check if the news is fake or not. They are working with ABC News, Snopes, AP and FactCheck.org to launch this initiative. Recommendations: With this new Facebook feature, you can find new event, places, services and things to do around you. According to Facebook, it has potentials to solve the problem from booking a ticket to interact with business easily. AI (Artificial Intelligence): AI is about to change the face of social media, the way customers communicate to brands. AI is not just about communicating with customers but encourage sales and increase conversions. AI is the perfect solution in enhancing the user experience. Companies such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and many others have initiated this feature in order to provide better customer services and serve better. Paid Social Media Promotion: It has become difficult to attain results only with organic social traffic. This is due to introduction of the new Instagram algorithm in the year of 2016. In other words, if you want your business page to be seen, you have to opt for paid promotions. According the research done by Adobe, social media spending is expected to surpass $41 billion mark in the current year. Rise in Chatbots: Customer service should be one of the most important factors for companies entering 2017. Chatbots are important in order to provide better customer service. It allows fast and immediate action by facilitating a quicker communication and reducing the response time. Do you know that Slack and Facebook messenger are using chatbots to communicate with Even companies are now building their chatbots for people to interact faster. They provide answers to FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and to provide instant information about the product or service. Mobile Advertising: According to the research done by stat counter, mobile internet usage exceeds desktop. Whereas internet coming from mobile devices accounted for 51.3 percent compared to 48.7 percent by desktop. Mobile advertising is expected to grow in the coming year. If you are not advertising on mobile devices you may miss out your potential customers. Moreover, brands generated more traffic coming through mobile ads. Conclusion: Social media is changing rapidly, and to increase the reach brands need to incorporate new trends to let customers identify them and this sea of brands. Brands need to bring out innovative ways to communicate with customers for better effectiveness.
6228
How 2017 Will Be A Promising Year For Social Media...

Social media dominated the world in the year of 20... Read More

Is it really a good idea to make your business app-only?

The world is an ever-evolving stage and so are all of us human beings inhabiting it. We are always developing, always evolving, and looking for something new and better. We have a natural appetite for continuous improvement and this is what comes into play when we talk about technology and everything related to it. A majority of businesses prevalent today fall into the category of ‘e-commerce’ and these firms mainly operate through a website which acts as their office space. In recent times, these firms have taken a step ahead and moved on to mobile applications. Although this is a welcome development; is it a good idea to abandon the website all together and move the entire business to the mobile application? This is a very subjective topic and a lot of factors need to be accounted for, before coming to any conclusion. Here are some advantages of making your business app-only: 1. More personal connect with customers Although companies have been able to reach their consumer’s homes with the help of websites, the mobile is a more personal device when it comes to individuals. Going app-only can strongly help you in establishing a deeper personal connect with your regular customers, which also goes a long way in winning the loyalty of customers amidst fierce competition. 2. Opportunity to conquer unoccupied territory The website platform is highly saturated and each and every category of websites has its own market leaders and followers. For example, Google for search engines, Facebook for social networking, and so on. On the other hand, the mobile application market is still a comparatively unchartered territory and any company willing to take the risk of going app-only also stands the chance to gain a huge first mover’s advantage. 3. Rapidly increasing smartphone penetration Mobile devices are increasingly becoming affordable, enabling all strata of the population to use them effectively and on a regular basis. Major e-commerce companies such as Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc. have reported a drastic increase in their mobile application traffic in recent years. Each and every person of the society, ranging from a teenager to an elderly person, owns a smartphone; thus allowing access to a huge customer base. 4. Chance to move away from biased browser ecosystem It is common knowledge that browsers are not neutral and they are always biased towards certain firms. These firms may be owners, partners or aggregators the point being that browsers analyse the traffic that is present on a website and this data can be used at that particular site, in order to favour certain other firms. Using a mobile application rids the firms of this unnecessary trouble. Having listed down some major advantages of an app-only business; it needs to be kept in mind that this is still a new area and has very few takers. Companies such as Flipkart and Myntra have showcased interest to move to a dedicated mobile application, but the effects of such a phenomenal change in the business model still remain to be seen.
Is it really a good idea to make your business app...

The world is an ever-evolving stage and so are all... Read More

Useful links