Most businesses today understand that they need to create content for their sales pipeline. Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to build your brand, engage with your prospects, and strengthen your reputation. However, 63% of companies don’t even have a well-documented strategy for their content marketing efforts.
So, what does a good content strategy entail?
It all starts by aligning your content with your actual sales funnel. Otherwise, you risk wasting your time, marketing budget, and other resources on the wrong content that doesn’t meet your market’s needs.
But, no worries. In this article, we talk about what a sales funnel is, why it matters, and how to create content for every stage of the funnel to boost your bottom line ultimately. Let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is a sales funnel?
- The importance of your sales funnel
- Creating content for every stage of the sales funnel
What is a sales funnel?
Over the last several years, “sales funnel” has become a popular online marketing term. Luckily, it’s actually a very simple concept to understand. A sales funnel outlines the journey your prospects and leads take from the moment they learn about your product or services until they sign up or buy.
A sales funnel typically follows the AIDA framework, such as the example below:
In their journey through the sales funnel, your customer will interact with various types of content, which can come in the form of your paid ads, webinars, emails, blog posts, videos, social media content, and more. The goal of the sales funnel is to guide your prospect through each stage with appropriate content to educate and persuade them about your product or service.
The importance of your sales funnel
So now you know what a sales funnel is, but what makes them so important? Simply put, sales funnels are essential for the bigger picture of your marketing and sales strategy. With a sales funnel, you can refine your business plan and execute it faster. Without one, you risk wasting a lot of time creating inefficient or incorrect content.
When businesses don’t implement good sales funnels, a lot of other problems can arise like:
- Missing out on leads. Without a sales funnel, customers can fall through the cracks. You may not provide them with the right content at the right time to engage them, answer their questions, and solve their most pressing problems.
- Selling too soon. Using purely promotional content too early in the funnel is likely to deliver poor results. Initially, prospects need to learn more about their own problem(s) than your product or solution. By not creating the right content for the top of the funnel — i.e., the Awareness or Interest stages — you may skip the important step of building a relationship with your niche.
- Lack of organization. A sales funnel ensures you create the best content for each stage, and helps you stay organized as a team. Instead of reinventing the wheel, you can use proven frameworks to create content variations across all stages of the funnel. This is much more effective than a random “shotgun” approach.
With sales funnels so crucial for online success, you need to create content for each stage. That way, you can better align your messaging and its timing with your audience.
Creating content for every stage of the sales funnel
Let’s talk about how to create content for every stage of the sales funnel. You’ll notice that some types of content may overlap across different stages, while you should reserve others for a specific stage:
Stage 1: Awareness
At the top of the funnel is the Awareness stage. Here a potential customer is either oblivious to or barely aware of their problem or its possible solutions. They are just starting to understand that a problem exists and the need to fix it. A simple ad headline with “Save 50% today!” would not necessarily work to capture their attention because they don’t even know they need to save.
Instead, for this funnel stage, you should use content that brings their problem into sharp focus. You can call out their problem directly while promising valuable resources or information to solve it.
This Google Search Ad is a great example of top-of-the-funnel content:
It accomplishes the goal of putting your customer’s focus on their problem (i.e., the need to operate more sustainably — “Go Paperless”) and promising them a way to do it (“How to”) right in the headline.
Some other content types for the top of the funnel include:
- Facebook Ads
- LinkedIn ads
- Cold emails
- Beginner’s guide blog posts
Stage 2: Interest
At the Interest stage, the customer is aware of their problem but doesn’t know which solution is best. They have likely done some basic research on your product and others but need some compelling reasons to choose yours.
This stage is where you need to create content that differentiates your company from the rest. It should arouse your market’s interest in engaging further with your brand. This can come in the form of factual information, statistics, and the benefits of your product.
Content for the Interest stage can be lighthearted content that resonates with your audience, even if it is focused on pure entertainment, such as a sales meme blog post. The key is to bring your prospect further into your funnel, where you can educate them and eventually pitch your product.
Other great content ideas for this stage of the funnel include:
- In-depth FAQs
- Showing statistics to support your claims
- Listing the benefits and advantages of your product
Stage 3: Desire
At this stage, the prospect is aware of your solution and those of your competitors. However, they need to feel an emotional connection to your product. And content at this stage should build desire and the belief that your solution will truly change their life or business for the better.
Video content is excellent at this stage to show who your real customers are or to demonstrate your product or service. Video and other visuals help stimulate emotions; in fact, 80% of marketers say using video to appeal to their customers’ emotional side helps them increase sales.
Other content options for the Desire stage of the sales funnel include:
- Testimonials and reviews
- In-depth blog posts to explain the benefits of your solution
- True stories of past customers
- Case studies
Stage 4: Action
Once you have grabbed a potential customer’s attention, piqued their interest, and placed a desire in them for your product, they are in the final stage of the sales funnel: they are ready to take action. Now they have the information they need to decide but need your help to feel confident in pulling the trigger.
Content at this stage should reassure your prospect that choosing your services or products is safe, effective, and smart. Restate the benefits and proof of your solution, as well as any satisfaction guarantees you provide at your company. That way, when you ask for the sale, the customer feels they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Here are other types of content to include for customers at the bottom of the sales funnel:
- Call to action (CTA) buttons
- Follow-up emails
- Limited time offers and discounts (to create a sense of urgency)
Content is key in today’s online marketing world. But far too many companies jump right into content creation first, without doing the proper planning. A great content strategy should revolve around your sales funnel.
Aligning your content to your sales funnel is crucial because it allows you to guide your customers effectively through each step of the buying journey. So follow the tips above in this post. That way, you can craft compelling, persuasive content that meets your visitors’ needs at that precise moment. The end result? — More consistent traffic, leads, and growth.