There needs to be plan and an objective behind your content marketing. While being spontaneous may occasionally work, this isn’t an advised course of action. General content marketing is all well and good, but the requirement for funnels that logically steer readers from an introduction to a sale cannot be ignored.
No doubt you’ll want to get started with your content marketing funnel quickly, so consider the following three questions:
1. What are your goals? What should happen at the end of your funnel? Do you want to raise awareness, and ultimately drive more sales, of a single product? Once you have a process that will help you achieve your goal, you can utilise a marketing funnel that connects potential customers with targeted information.
2. Are there any problems that need to be overcome? They’ll be a ripple or two in the development of each service and product. Try to identify the stumbling blocks people may face ahead of them doing what you want them to do, and how these can be overcome.
3. Can I inform targets and use the content they read to achieve what I want? You’ll be killing two birds with one stone if you provide them with useful content that drives them to make a sale.
If you’ve got answers to the above questions, you’re in a position to establish your funnel. This will have different stages, and at each one you must consider the desired result.
The first step: Writing an article
Top-quality content should be a prerequisite in any article. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case – as any person who’s read a shallow article for backlinks’ sake will testify.
Your written content should drive people to make an action – more often than not, this will be to make a purchase. When achieving this goal you will no doubt be presented with problems along the way – how effective your competitors are, for example.
Content should educate your audience and empower them with the knowledge they need to make a purchase. When you publish this article to directories, you can make use of the About the Author and Bio sections to point people in the direction of the next step.
The second step: Offer a freebie
Once a target has been directed to your website, the offer of a free whitepaper, case study, ebook or report may entice them – but only if it contains more information about the product they’re interested about.
The focus of your freebie, therefore, needs to be on the reader – not on the product or service they’re directing their attention on. You may need to tone down on the self promotion and instead make clear how your potential customer can benefit from what you’re offering.
Calls to action should be a consistent feature in your freebie’s content, and these should either encourage a purchase or a request for further information. By this point, hopefully, a relatively high proportion of targets will have been encouraged to click through to the shopping cart or the ‘contact us’ page – those that aren’t can be targeted by the methods in step three.
The third step: Comprehensive content
Comprehensive, in-depth content is vital. If a prospect reaches this stage of the funnel, it is here that you’ll want to achieve your final goal by highlighting and emphasising what was communicated in the first and second steps.
Clever incentives can also be incorporated into the all-important third step – an upgraded postal option free of charge, for example, or additional perks not offered to other customers.
Targets and customers operate in different ways. Some are able to make quick decisions based on a relatively limited amount of information, while others are more cautious and want a number of questions answered.
A good content marketing funnel should take a prospect from the introductory stage right up until they make a transaction, no matter how long this process takes. It’s important that every customer receives what they need.
For more information on strategic content marketing and how to implement a content marketing funnel in your business contact us.