According to the Content Marketing Institute, 88% of B2B marketers are focused on creating “more engaging and higher quality content”—or at least planning to do so in the coming year. By now, most people understand the importance of creating quality and engaging content. However, many fail to grasp the idea that a well-developed content marketing funnel is also key to success.
Being able to consistently connect with, impact, and influence your customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey is crucial to generating conversions. As a result, a full-funnel approach is quickly becoming the industry standard. So, what exactly is full-funnel content, and how can you implement it to see greater results? If you’re interested in learning more, look no further than these next few lines.
What is a full-funnel content approach?
Content marketing used to be a top-of-the-funnel kind of thing—great for capturing interest and leads during the awareness phase but rarely leveraged to generate conversions. However, there has been a significant shift—content is now seen as an effective solution which can be used across all stages of the marketing funnel.
With a full-funnel approach, marketers create and implement specific content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, from awareness to conversion, to create a seamless and consistent experience that serves to inform, educate, and most importantly—convert.
How to implement full-funnel content
If you want to successfully implement a full-funnel content strategy, you must identify each stage in the buyer’s journey. Next, you need to create content tailored for each of these stages and leverage it in a way that helps move individuals further through the funnel.
The top-of-the-funnel is your awareness stage. This is when a prospect first discovers who your brand is and what it’s about. The goal here is to attract a large audience of potential leads. During this phase, it’s good to establish problem and solution awareness by identifying pain points and educating prospects on resolutions.
Effective content must be informative and educational but not too “sales-y,” as this can be off-putting. Ninety-six percent of individuals who visit your website or blog aren’t ready to buy yet. This is an important statistic to keep in mind. The ultimate goal of the marketer at this stage is not just to attract leads but to provide value to these prospects—to show them your worth. The best content to leverage at this stage includes blogs, social media posts, newsletters, press releases, and online ads.
This is the evaluation stage. A prospect officially passes through the top-of-the-funnel and into the middle when they decide to take action to find out more about your brand, product, or services. This is where lead nurturing is key. Research shows that companies which excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads than those who don’t, and the leads they generate make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. In short, make sure your content counts.
The goal is to convert problem-aware and solution-aware prospects into leads and to encourage the exchange of information. Your content should educate, but it should also begin the process of positioning the company as the solution to people’s challenges and provide greater value than the content provided at the top-of-the-funnel. Downloadable content such as white papers, e-books, webinars, and educational resources are ideal for this phase.
This is the conversion phase. It’s do or die, baby! In this stage, your leads are gathering the last bits of information they need to decide whether they should become a customer. Your goal here is to convince them. Help educate these new leads so they make well-informed purchasing decisions. You want to remove any inkling of uncertainty or doubt.
Content that specifically aims to instill confidence about your company is key here—think customer testimonials or price comparison spec sheets. You can also take measures to sweeten the deal with a promotion, discount, or valuable offer, such as a free trial or consultation, or direct prospects to an optimized landing page with a clear CTA.
It’s important to continue to build the relationship with your prospects even after they’re converted into paying customers. Unfortunately, research shows that just 29% of brands continue to nurture their leads beyond the initial purchase. This couldn’t be more of a mistake. The post-conversion phase provides you with the ideal opportunity to build brand loyalty and convert one-time customers into loyal brand advocates.
Leveraging automated email campaigns and user-generated content (UGC) is the perfect way to achieve this. Encourage your customers to share their experiences on social media and feature your user-generated content heavily on your website, blog, and social media pages. The idea is to establish a community of loyal customers and brand advocates by building strong long-term relationships.
Today’s B2B marketers can no longer get away with a unidimensional top-of-the-funnel approach to content creation. Gone are the days of generating leads and simply handing them off to the sales team to convert. Consumers are becoming more and savvier, and as a result, marketers must optimize for the entire customer journey to ensure their efforts remain truly impactful.
Content marketing is more than just a way to drive traffic and spread awareness. With a full-funnel content strategy, marketers can take a granular approach to targeting leads by leveraging unique content specific for each stage of the sales funnel. This hyper-focused approach allows marketers to gain better control over content performance and results, leading to increased conversions and the ability to truly prove the ROI of content to companies.