Are you producing irresistible content for your audience? I hope so, because the truth is, there seems to be no other way. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing paid ads or standing on the shoulders of influencers, content is still the key to success online.
However, somewhere along the way, content lost its appeal in the buyer’s journey — but the dynamic nature of the web and user behavior have once again made it a viable tool for persuading prospects and customers.
Content marketing is a great strategy you can leverage to help increase your sales conversion rate. A recent study by Forrester shows that 82 percent of buyers view at least five pieces of content from a vendor before they become a paying customer.
Despite the misconception that content marketing works only at the top of your sales funnel, it can actually be used at every stage of the sales funnel to increase conversion rate. According to HubSpot, “68 percent of consumers feel more positive about a brand after consuming content from them.” After consuming content from your brand in the first stage, customers may not buy from you immediately. They might even switch to your competitors. So if you want to move your prospects from one stage of the sales funnel to another and convert them to paying customers fast, you’re required to produce relevant content in every stage of the funnel.
Let’s look at how you can do this for each stage of your sales funnel:
Stage 1: Discovery.
In this stage of your sales funnel, you want to indirectly acquire customers by creating awareness for your brand. You want to create content that educates your potential customers and gets them ready for the next stage.
This is the top-of-the-funnel (TOFU), and the purpose is to get leads into the funnel. Don’t be pushy. Simply ensure that your content is informative.
You’ve got to find out what your potential customers want to learn, and teach them those things. This is the stage where you can apply your inbound marketing strategy properly.
You must have a proper understanding of your potential customers to be able to know what they want to learn and how they learn best. To do this, you should create buyer persona, not just for this stage, but for every other stage of your sales funnel.
Unlike the traditional sales funnel methodology, you want to make your customers know you beyond your name. You’ll give them so much value that they’ll begin to see you as an authority and have your brand in mind always. Most customers don’t know they have a problem. It’s at this stage (top of the funnel) you let them know about it.
Here’s a list of the type of content that works well in this stage of your sales funnel:
- Branded blog post
- Email newsletters
- Comprehensive guides
- Ultimate guides
- Long-form content, tools parallax scrollers and games
Want proof? Theo Chocolate is a perfect example. The brand sells different varieties of chocolate, and in their factory, they give periodic tours, where they teach people where the chocolate comes from, how it’s being grown and how the beans from the cocoa pod are converted to chocolate bars. From the website, you can get all the information about how chocolate goes from raw cocoa to a delicious finished product.
With this type of content, potential customers feel like they know a lot about chocolate, thanks to Theo Chocolate. So, whenever they want to buy chocolates, guess what company comes to mind? Theo Chocolate.
You may not sell chocolate or even a tangible product. Whatever you have to offer, use informative content to persuade and drive leads into the top of your funnel.
Stage 2: Consideration.
Unlike the discovery stage, at this stage, your target customers are now familiar with your brand, so you’ll be speaking directly to people who need your solution.
This stage doesn’t have as big of an audience as the discovery stage, the people are likely to be more engaged. You need to create content that will help show your potential customers why your product is the best solution to their challenges. At this stage, you’re basically differentiating yourself from your competitors.
Educate your prospects about your product and the exact value it offers. But don’t start hard selling yet as they may not have absolute trust in your brand. At the consideration stage, some of the content types which you can create are:
- Case studies
- How-to content that showcases your products
- Demo videos
- Product descriptions and data sheets
Studies have shown that when customers are ready to buy they’ll find you. Don’t push them to buy at this stage.
By the time people consume quality content from your brand that relates to your offering, you’ve built trust. This will help get customers ready for the final stage — conversion.
Stage 3: Conversion.
The conversion stage is where the customer is making the actual buying decision. Now it’s time to nudge them to buy your product. At this conversion stage of the sales funnel, you want to convince your customers that your product is worth their time and investment. You need to show them strong reasons why they should commit to your product.
Here are the types of content that generates results in this stage:
- A streamlined, comprehensible and trustworthy sales process
At this stage, your content must be compelling enough to persuade prospects and get them to take the right action. You can create charts that compare your products with others and showcase your free trials. HubSpot uses a lot of cases studies as one of their main bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content offers. The case studies are in the form of text or video, showcasing how their product has helped hundreds of customers.
Zapier also offers a “free forever plan” with limited features. Once you register and start using it, at a point, you’ll need some of those features and with that you’ll be recycled to the bottom of the funnel fast. Great strategy.
The importance of producing and using great content to drive potential customers closer to the bottom of the sales funnel can’t be overemphasized. It’s important to understand who your potential customers are at every stage of the sales funnel and to create relevant content that will help them move to the next stage easily.