Following on from our guide to top-of-the-funnel (ToFu) content, it only seems right that we head further down the cone and show you the best way to attack the other two levels as well.
When one leaves the top and heads down towards the bottom, one inevitably passes through the middle – and this is where our journey through the sales funnel shall be taking us in today’s article. Once your excellent ToFu content has grabbed their attention and established you as someone worth looking at more closely, now is the time to start gently nurturing those casual website visitors into paying customers.
However, before a sale can be closed, you need to know how to demonstrate you are not only a brand which knows what it’s talking about, but you also have the solutions to their problems – possibly problems they don’t even know they have yet.
You may be asking yourself at this point what lead nurturing is and why you should care about it. In the interest of making sure everyone is on the same page, we’ll assume zero existing knowledge and go from there.
(Image source: ventureharbour.com)
Generating leads and web traffic is one of the biggest challenges facing marketers, but also the one with the greatest potential for reward.
In this context, a lead is when a visitor to your website has given you their contact information – by signing up to your newsletter, downloading an eBook, etc. – and consented for you to contact them. Consent is very important, especially in the post-GDPR regulatory landscape, so make sure this base is adequately covered.
Once you have a lead’s contact information, it’s time to start using content to gently test whether they were just after some information on a one-off basis, or whether they are experiencing any of the problems your company specialises in providing solutions for.
Two statistics which should be at the forefront of your mind when deciding whether your business could benefit from content-based lead nurturing are:
In a nutshell, nurtured leads mean significantly more sales for your brand and a far more attractive profit margin. And this is where middle-of-the-funnel (MoFu) content comes in.
The fact that a potential customer has consented for you to contact them means you stand a reasonable chance they will be interested in your product or service. Of course, there will be a portion who were accessing your content for academic research or when creating their own content, but modern contact harvesting software is very good at highlighting persons such as this.
Now we want to use MoFu content to keep those people interested in and aware of your brand while answering any questions or concerns they might have.
MoFu is about taking those prospects and guiding them through the consideration stage and towards making a purchase. This is the point at which they are likely to be comparing you to others in your market, so you want to use content to not only educate and inform them about your product, but also to build trust, confidence and emotional connections.
This can (and should) be achieved with personalisation. MoFu doesn’t use the same scattergun approach as ToFu does, and the content you select to send to each prospect should be based on their demographic and firmographic profiles. There are tons of marketing and CRM automation platforms out there which can make this process much easier for you, automatically selecting the right content for the appropriate prospect based on a number of pre-set parameters.
Video content makes for great MoFu material.
Videos account for nearly 80% of all web traffic, and including them in marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 96%. Add into this the fact that 90% of consumers report that videos form a huge part of their purchase decision-making process, and it should be clear to all that video content is a great way of keeping people interested and moving them towards the bottom of the sales funnel.
As you see in the below video, TechSmith is using video marketing to inform prospects of a problem they may not even realise is a problem – the importance of using images. This short and amusing video will hopefully communicate to the prospect that they should be using more images to get their message across more effectively.
(Video source: youtube.com)
Now look at this next video, released a few weeks after the last one. In this vid, TechSmith goes from telling the prospect they should be using more images to demonstrating some of the ways in which its product can be used to do it. This is classic MoFu content, highlighting a problem (which the prospect may not even realise is a problem) and demonstrating why your product is the ideal solution for it.
(video source: youtube.com)
Written content is still very much at the top of the pile when it comes to nurturing leads. Videos are great it’s true, but it’s not always convenient or appropriate for your audience to watch them – such as when they’re out in public and consuming content on a mobile device without headphones.
Case studies make for great MoFu content. Not only do they show real-world examples of your product or service in action solving problems, but they also establish your brand as one which already serves an established client base. Case studies can be especially effective if you have any household names among your clientele, as discussing these will help build the prestige of your brand.
Format case studies like a report. Introduce the company and the specific problems it was experiencing, followed by a detailed breakdown of how your product or service addressed them. Finish off with a section detailing the results of the intervention – increased revenue, less staff turnover, improved outcomes for training, etc. If the outcome is quantifiable, even better – list the key stats you want your prospects to know.
(Image source: appannie.com)
App market data platform App Annie uses case studies to great effect in its MoFu strategy. See in this example how App Annie places one of its biggest clients – Coca-Cola – front and centre, and describes in detail their relationship. Distinct headlines lay out the challenge, solution, and results, and there’s even a video to accompany the written content, using the best of both worlds.
Product guides and FAQs can also form a strong element of a MoFu strategy as well. When potential customers are considering whether your offering is the one they need, this kind of content will help them understand how it works and what some of the common queries are surrounding it. This will help build confidence in your prospect and edge them ever further down the funnel.
FAQs in particular offer a great opportunity for conversion. You should avoid trying to answer everything in excruciating detail, but instead, use succinct answers to the most common queries people are likely to have about your offering. FAQs should never be a black hole, but rather a springboard for further conversations about your products.
(Image source: aws.amazon.com)
Note the above example from Amazon Web Services. See how Amazon avoids going into lots of detail about specs and such, and instead explains the product in the simplest and most jargon-free terms.
eBooks, white papers, and research reports should also be in your MoFu content arsenal. This kind of material is what can lift your brand in the eyes of your prospect from being a blogger who has some good ideas, to someone who takes their market very seriously. These kinds of formats give you space to really go into detail, with tons of statistics, charts, graphs, and more to demonstrate that you really know your market inside and out. Prospects want to feel you understand them and their business, and this kind of material is the key to achieving that.
You may think creating an eBook or white paper sounds like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have a blog, chances are you already have enough material to fill an eBook. Take this article for example, as one of three parts looking at the entire customer journey through the sales funnel through the lens of content marketing, we could (and likely will) combine these blogs into a single eBook, which we can then send out to our middle-of-the-funnel prospects (if you are reading this as part of said eBook right now, this will all seem incredibly meta).
People love statistics, which makes infographics and research reports imminently shareable and informative. Knowing the hard facts about the industry you serve – and its pain points – is a sure-fire way to convince prospects you hold the solutions they need.
(Image source: abbyryandesign.com)
One of my favourite infographics of all time was created by Abby Ryan Design back in 2013. It shows the world’s most popular toys over the preceding 50 years. What makes this infographic so effective – my unwavering nostalgia for many of the toys featured notwithstanding – is that it uses images so effectively.
Each image is simply designed, yet immediately communicates the franchise it belongs to. Combined with this, the retro colour scheme perfectly fits the subject matter and the text information is kept to the minimum amount necessary to communicate what the infographic needs to.
People use infographics for two things – the images and the stats – so focus on these and try and avoid anything extraneous.
MoFu content is all about showing that your brand doesn’t just talk the talk but can walk the walk as well. Answering questions before the prospect necessarily even knows they want to ask them and demonstrating why your offering is the very best choice to make their working lives easier.
Join us soon for part three in this series, where we’ll be showing you how to effectively use content at the bottom of the funnel and finally close that next big deal.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for quality and professional-grade content for all stages of your sales funnel, markITwrite has a team of talented and experienced writers and creators ready to go to work for you.