You probably already know that old saying “content is king but distribution is queen and she wears the pants”, right? But be warned: distribution will do you no good if the content you create isn’t great. And I mean great as in the best your potential buyer can find. Want to know how to get there? Read along, I’ve got some tips and tricks that will help you form the best content possible!
First, let’s start off by getting to know our users…
Three Stages of Inbound Marketing Sales Funnel: ToFu, MoFu & BoFu
When creating content, it’s very important to keep in mind your user’s journey through the traditional model of the marketing funnel and its three stages: Top of the Funnel (ToFu), Middle of the Funnel (MoFu) and Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu). Why is this important? The pool of your potential customers grows smaller as they move toward a first transaction with your business and that’s the point of the funnel. It’s crucial that you create the right content for each stage.
In the first stage or ToFu, your users are in the phase of discovery, of getting to know you, and you are building an awareness of your brand. Your goal should be not just sales but building trust with your readers by offering them a solution to a problem.
The next stage of the funnel is MoFu, which is also the most important one. Your users are in the consideration phase, which means they’re starting to associate with your product or the solution you’re offering; this is the right time to create content that represents you so that they can evaluate you and your product. But it shouldn’t be a sales pitch! You will lose credibility if you’re too pushy and don’t appear helpful. It’s best to present some of your greatest solutions to your customers’ problems and let users get to know you through the work you do.
And this is where the magic happens, BoFu – the bottom of the funnel. Your users are ready to convert they just need a little push to become buyers. If I highly advised against a sales pitch in MoFu, now’s the time to use it and close the deal. Users have gotten to know your product or service they just need a final validation that you’re the best choice for them.
So what types of content should you use for each stage?
First thing’s first. Creating content should be a whole strategy, don’t focus solely on individual pieces. It’s important to create a story, a vision for the type of content you’ll be publishing; decide when you’ll publish it and how you want your target audience to engage with it. I can’t stress this enough, really take the time to make a content strategy, giving it purpose and identity. Otherwise it’s just going to be a big mess and confusing to your readers. Before the creative process can begin, you must define your purpose, goals, target audience, writing style and how your content will differ from your competition. Without strategy your content will lose its purpose.
Once your strategy is set you can start thinking about what type of content to use for each of the funnel stages. Here are some tips on what works best and might be good for you to try.
Top of the Funnel
As I said, this is the discovery phase and we use this content to engage our users and try to pull them into the sales funnel. You have to create informative and striking content to capture a large enough segment and continue nurturing it through the funnel. These are the best types of content for this stage:
- Blog articles
- Free webinars
- Email newsletters
- Big content
- Video content – I wrote it last but it might just be one of the most effective types of content at the moment, depending on your product and target audience. Here are some tips on creating your first marketing video.
Middle of the Funnel
This is the most important stage in the funnel and the key point for you to influence your potential buyers with the content you create. It’s also the trickiest part of your content strategy since you have to guide your potential buyers from awareness to conversion. This is the time for you to shine!
Users are already aware of your organization, and are browsing to find an answer to their struggles – you should be there with great content to present them the solutions you can offer. Once again, don’t be too salesy. Here are some tips on what works best:
- Case studies – Case studies are the easiest way for you to show your most excellent solutions and let your target audience know what exactly it is you do, how you do it and why you’re the best choice for them. But let me warn you, this must be high-quality content. Producing a perfect case study is a form of art and takes a lot of effort, but in the long run it will all be worth it, I promise you. When creating a case study, try to include as much data as possible, add infographics, customer interviews and pack it all in an appealing graphic design.
- White Papers – White papers are advanced problem-solving guides and creating an intriguing one might be a challenge, but don’t give up immediately. Take the time to find a topic that’s relevant to your industry and hasn’t already been covered before or if it was, make the effort and find a way to cover it differently. It might take weeks of research to create a valuable content piece, but it’ll all pay off with the leads you’ll get. Users who are deep into the funnel are good candidates for closing sales. But remember, a white paper is not a product pitch, it’s an informative in-depth report on a specific topic, and making it into a product catalogue will only deter your readers.
- How-to content – Your time to shine! How-to content is a great way to showcase your products in a subtle way. How to make your content engaging for readers? (See what I did there? ;)) Make it aspirational and be sure to present a solution the people in your market are actually looking for. If possible, prepare a video, not just text. Of course, this all depends on the topic of your content. But keep in mind to really be as informative as possible, include all the necessary steps to be followed and probable difficulties your audience may encounter. Do this type of content well and you’ll soon become top of mind for your target audience when in need of a step-by-step solution to their problem.
- Product descriptions and data sheets – Yes, you read it right, it’s that simple. Potential buyers will more likely further engage with your brand if they get as much information about your product as possible. Let me just remind you that this also has to be great content, not just dry facts about your product or solution. Make it a story, make it intriguing. When creating data sheets, keep in mind to make them easy to read and don’t forget to highlight the key features of your product.
- Demo videos – Demo videos are an upgrade to product descriptions and they can be a very effective way to present your product in action. Potential buyers love to see the first-hand user experience and you’ll be much more appealing to both visual- and text-based audiences.
- In-Depth Blog – I already mentioned blog in ToFu, but what I mean here is a much deeper and more educational content that could also be treated as a how-to guide. In fact, you’re reading one right now.
I’m repeating myself but I can’t stress this enough – this stage of the funnel is crucial and probably your one chance to really influence possible buyers with the content you create. Take your time, think it through and always think of the quality, always.
Bottom of the Funnel
Time for reward! Working hard on ToFu and MoFu content pays off in this stage and you’ll be opening champagne in no time. People that come to this part of the funnel are interested in what you have to offer and your job is to close the deal – convince them your product is worth it. With what type of content? It’s simple:
- Goodies – No, not candy or cake (although that isn’t a bad idea). What I mean is a discount code, a free webinar, free consultation… a small gesture will make a big difference, trust me.
And remember, BoFu is the only place in the funnel to make an obvious sales pitch.
Stop the Party, It’s Not Over Yet
No, it’s not. Sorry to have to tell you this, but your work doesn’t end with a sale or the bottom of the funnel. Now comes the phase of keeping the buyers and turning them into repeat customers. With what kind of content? Email outreach, special offers, next level how-to guide, help documentation… you name it. They chose you because of your high-quality content and your solutions to their problem, so they’re the perfect audience to nurture; remind them that you’re here for them every step of the way.
And there you have it! A little insight into building the best content to help you influence your buyer’s decision. Let me just remind you, when creating content, always think of SEO and really try to optimize everything – you’ll get a better ranking and higher traffic to your site, which is what you want, right? You didn’t work this hard to not get noticed, I’m sure of that.
So… proceeding on to BoFu, are you? 🙂