The Power of Content Marketing within Your Sales Funnel
We live in a time when we are inundated with content. At the beginning of 2020, the number of bytes in the digital universe was 40 times more than the number of stars in the observable universe according to the World Economic Forum.
Let that sink in a moment.
This bit of knowledge is important to consider as we produce content for our audiences. Marketers understand that content is a driving force in sales. Lack of content, or the wrong content, can drive business away.
But how do we produce meaningful content that brings value to our audience and doesn’t get lost in the sea of data? How do we make our content stand out among the more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data* created each day?
*Social Media Today
Aligning your content within your funnel
The key is to introduce your content to people when they need it most. To do this, you need to understand where they are in your sales funnel and what they need from you. Your four actions of the sales funnel are:
This is the first step of every funnel. Your audience is cold, and this is their first interaction with you. They may have heard of you, but you have no way of contacting this group without either paying for it or having the good fortune of them finding you when they need you. Common online tactics to introduce yourself include:
search engine optimization
lead magnets (freebies)
The goal is to obtain their contact information so you can continue the conversation.
Once you’ve captured contact information, the relationship has elevated to a warm audience. Warm audiences have a higher closing rate in sales. Nurturing tactics include:
retargeted paid advertising
social media posts
The goal is to build the know/like/trust factor.
This is the point of the funnel that every business jumps to. If you’ve done the steps of introducing and nurturing, this step should come relatively easy. Conversion tactics are simply asking for the sale. Ask, and ask often.
Social media posts
The goal is to get the sale and turn them into a hot audience.
Congratulations! You got the sale! Now make them aware that there’s more, because this hot audience is your lowest hanging fruit.
Social media engagement
You’ll notice a few of these tactics cross over into multiple aspects of the funnel. You can often utilize one piece of content multiple ways, saving you time! Below I outline three of my favorites: social media, your website, and email marketing.
Marketing Tactics to Promote the Funnel Flow
Social media, either free or organic, will aid you at every step in your funnel. Platforms are so numerous (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google My Business, TicToc, YouTube…) it is virtually impossible for a small business to maintain a meaningful presence on them all. Sure, you can create a post and post the same thing across all channels, but this is not an effective strategy to maximize the benefits of each platform.
Begin by choosing one platform. It should be a platform your audience prefers and it’s helpful if you are a part of the platform yourself. If you’ve been averse to social media, you will want to rethink this as the opportunities are too plentiful to ignore on most of these platforms!
Once you’ve mastered your chosen platform, add a second to the mix using the same criteria to choose which one. Continue to add as long as you can be effective in utilizing it!
Don’t be afraid to try an up-and-coming platform. If your audience is there, it will be easier for you to be an early adapter and set yourself apart from the competition.
Your entire site is one big content marketing machine. Landing pages, sales pages, products & services pages, testimonial pages, about pages, and of course my favorite: your blog.
All of these pages fit into the flow of your sales funnel at different points. It’s important to direct visitors through the funnel so they can quickly find the information they are looking for in a minimal amount of clicks. For this reason, your Home page is a workhorse. It needs to serve all visitors no matter where they are in your funnel: cold, warm or hot audiences will all land here. This is why clear navigation is so important.
It’s also why landing pages are so popular. When you are warming a cold prospect, you don’t want them distracted by things further down the funnel. Distractions can confuse and overwhelm if they aren’t ready for that information yet. Many landing pages have no navigation menus… the only place to navigate to is an opt-in to receive a freebie. These pages are intentionally minimal, and wildly effective.
Once the visitor has opted in they’ll eventually be led to a website containing all the information their heart desires, including blogs.
As I mentioned, blogs are my favorite content of all. They are so versatile. A little bit of time investment up front yields multiple ways of providing information to your audience. The same blog article can be posted on social media, emailed, added to your home page, utilized as a lead magnet, made into a vlog, and so much more. Even better, you can resurrect old articles and update them with current information, add a few additional comments, and repost the same material!
Contrary to what many are saying, email is far from dead, and is actually an important role in nurturing, converting and retaining your customers. If you’ve experienced dismal results from email marketing, it’s likely because your content was dismal.
The key to successful email marketing is providing valuable content that your readers need. If you are just selling to your audience, you’ll quickly turn them off. Providing value doesn’t always mean discounting your stuff or giving things away for free. You can also provide useful tips and tricks, links to valuable resources, insights into how to do things more efficiently… the list is endless! Simply remember your buyer’s journey and how you can take them from where they are to their desired end result. Get them one step closer.
The frequency of emails depends upon where they are in your sales funnel. If they have newly opted in, daily emails for the first 5–10 days aren’t out of the question. These emails should introduce you to them, your business philosophy, ethics, and your brand story. Once they know, like and trust you, you can begin to give them tastes of what it’s like to do business with you. Then make your pitch to an introductory offer.
Once they’ve been indoctrinated into your fold, the emails can slow. Minimally you should reach out once or twice a month to stay top of mind.
Planning Your Content Marketing Strategy
Knowing what to do and doing it are two different things. To jump in and start executing on every level would overwhelm even the most seasoned marketer if they were the only one to execute it. As a small business owner with a business to run, it’s easy to see why things sit on the back burner. But here’s a method I’d like you to apply as you prioritize your marketing.
The Get It Done Method
Where is the biggest fire in your sales funnel? If you are struggling to hit your revenue goal, you need to focus on conversions. If you’ve got a revenue base but you’re struggling to grow your client base, you need to focus on introducing your business to prospects and nurturing them. If you’ve got a lot of people buying, but they’re not coming back, you need to focus on retention.
Identify a specific goal for that step of the funnel. If your goal is to get more leads, you can’t measure the effectiveness of your efforts based on the number of sales you make. But you do want to make sure that your efforts are preparing for the sale.
Focus on one marketing activity to help you achieve that goal. Make sure it will have a big impact.
Apply your content to applicable areas of your funnel to maximize your efforts. As mentioned above, power content such as blogs can be used in multiple applications. Exploit it!
Dedicate a few hours each week to your marketing by blocking the time out on your calendar. Guard it and don’t let anything interfere! The longer you produce content, the more material you’ll have that you can tweak, update, and reuse and the less time it will take to execute your strategy. Try not to overwhelm yourself in the beginning trying to have everything in place. Work through the steps and do what you can.
Would you like to join a marketing coaching group dedicated to content marketing? Get It Done Marketing does just this! Learn more.