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How to Craft a Compelling Sales Funnel with Content Marketing

by | Jan 22, 2021 | Sales and Marketing, Strategic Workflows, Women in Business

How to Craft a Compelling Marketing Strategy with Content Marketing

Lead generation is important – more than likely you need a marketing strategy, learn more about them.

Content Marketing

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Whether you’re a new business owner or eager to scale up your enterprise, you’re probably looking for efficient ways to get more customers. It all starts with lead generation – but that’s only half the battle. What good will it do to collect people’s information if you can’t convert them into customers?

To do this, you need to build a strong content marketing strategy that takes your audience from lead to customer – ideally without you having to work all day at it! At Masterly, we focus on doing this through automation. Read on to learn how to craft your very own content marketing strategy that helps you generate and nurture your leads.

What is the aim of content marketing?

Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach that addresses brand-building and customer engagement through the creation of value-driven content that can be used to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. You must create and distribute valuable, relevant, and consistent content in your marketing campaign. Content marketing is an indispensable tool for brands to use to drive profitable customer action.

A clearly defined content marketing effort engages, educates, and drives brand advocacy, to attract a clearly defined audience that will take action. It’s not only about getting traffic or show traffic, it’s about converting that traffic into customers and followers. Content marketing must be focused on driving profitable customer action.

Alternatively, a traditional funnel starts with cold contact (e.g. a phone call) and ends with “closing.” Along the way, prospects go from being cold leads to warm leads to hot deals. Each stage is considered a “conversion.” The temperature metaphor reflects the way that account-based marketing tends to work. A company hires sales reps to conduct outreach.

In a B2C situation, the marketer targets their prospects through ads or cold calls. They pitch the product, then deliver targeted messages, testimonials, and other information designed to convince the prospect to buy. The funnel is often characterized as “Awareness – Consideration – Decision,” which mirrors their journey from prospect to lead to customer.

In both B2B and B2C contexts, a traditional sales funnel often follows these steps:

  1. Create awareness. (Cold calls, emails, ads, etc.)
  2. Describe the offering’s benefits and features. (Product specs, claims, etc.)
  3. Overcome objections. (Testimonials, FAQs, etc.)
  4. Convince the lead to buy. (Special offers, discounts, etc.)
  5. Close the deal / obtain a purchase.

The problem with traditional funnels is two-fold: (a) they depend on artificial constructs of customers and (b) they rely on an interruptive method rather than an attractive method. For that reason, traditional sales funnels are usually considered a form of outbound marketing. If you’d like to generate leads while you sleep, you need to focus on inbound marketing.

Generating Leads through Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is just what it sounds like: you lure new prospects and get them to trust you sooner. Outbound tactics can easily backfire if you misdefine your personas or misconfigure your ads. And everyone knows that cold-calling is quite hit-or-miss.

The key to generating leads while you sleep is to focus on attractive marketing. This type of sales funnel still nurtures prospects into warm leads and ultimately customers, but begins with “Attract” rather than “Raise Awareness.” The idea is not to interrupt your prospect’s day to announce your existence, but rather to position yourself as a potential solution to their problems – one that they will find because you are already situated correctly.

Then, you convert them through a series of steps. While a traditional funnel might include tactics such as cold calls, PPC advertising, an inbound funnel follows these steps: “Attract – Convert – Close – Delight.” The last phase is especially important because it encourages customers to re-engage with your company and tell their friends. This creates both loyalty and word-of-mouth – both of which keep your pipeline full of leads.

Content Creation for an inbound funnel might follow these tactics:

  1. Attract potential customers based on their problems/interests. This is an educated way to build brand awareness.
  2. Entertain and educate with visual content ((e.g. through social media, blogs, downloadables, videos)
  3. Encourage them to continue engaging with your quality content (e.g. online course, e-books, demos, free consultations)
  4. Establish your authority and build trust.
  5. Convert them to a customer and continue to build a relationship with them.

The beauty of this method is that you can attract leads simply by publishing valuable content. From there, you can leverage email marketing, retargeting ads, and other tactics that nurture a lasting relationship.

How do you use content marketing?

An inbound sales funnel can take many forms. While a traditional funnel often relies on direct messaging between a prospect and a sales rep, an inbound approach allows you to automate much of the process. Once you effectively set up your top-of-funnel systems, you can enjoy a steady stream of leads, then devote your time to nurturing those who are already warm.

Ideally, you generate leads without doing a lot of work; your digital content marketing works as a lead generation machine that pulls people into your pipeline. Plus, your content is already targeted to your ideal customer, so you’re more likely to get qualified leads than tire-kickers.

You can absolutely have multiple sales funnels. Each should speak to a certain pain point or core desire, then gradually position your brand as the solution. You do this through great content that speaks to your prospect at each stage of the funnel. For example:

What is good content marketing?

The answer to this question will depend on your buyer persona and the content type or channels that reach them most effectively. Here’s an example:

Your company makes fitness equipment, and you’re selling a new resistance band that allows people to measure their flexibility.

  • You could start running ads for people who are interested in fitness, but you find that you have to select arbitrary factors to create an ad audience. You don’t want to just target people of a certain age group or fitness level. Rather, you want to reach people who are interested in improving their flexibility and enjoy doing at-home workouts or training by themselves.
  • You decide to create an inbound funnel using content marketing. So you start by creating a blog with topics about flexibility, such as the difference between active and passive stretching, the biology of flexibility, and how to do a split.
  • At the end of each blog post, you include a call-to-action for people to download your free flexibility tracker. They provide their email to do so.
  • You start sending them emails with flexibility tips. After you run a short nurture sequence that includes flexibility videos and more blogs, you offer a discount on your product.
  • Some of your subscribers buy the product, which comes with access to an online flexibility course.
  • They become more flexible and start talking up your product to their friends.
  • Now, your product has an engaged community and you’re getting leads from both your blogs and the previous customers who are referring their friends to you.

Sure, this is a lot longer than a typical outbound funnel. But what is the result? As opposed to traditional marketing, you have leads coming to you, and your customers are more likely to “Know, Like, and Trust” you – the bread and butter of conversion!

How can a brand get started with content marketing?

As the saying goes, take the long road, it’s faster. That’s the core of inbound marketing. You’ll get better results if you craft a funnel in which people feel like you’re truly helping them with their problems and desires. That’s why content marketing plays a huge role in an effective marketing funnel. Start with assessing your target audience and researching their problems/interests. It’s important for both b2b marketers and b2c marketers to understand who they are selling to. Your research should also uncover where you’ll find your audience and determine your distribution channel.

Your content strategy should create brand awareness on how you solve their problem. A defined content marketing plan will help you optimize your marketing efforts.

To learn more about lead generation systems and how to become a skilled content marketer, check out our e-book full of expert guidance on how to get more customers – even while you sleep!

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