Every journey starts with a step in the right direction and then continues with another step after that. Creating a journey, or path, for your customer to follow is one way that modern marketers can engage with their audience through every step: from uneducated prospect to devoted brand evangelist. The sales funnel provides customers with a concrete path that guides them with structure and information through the three buckets of the sales funnel: awareness, consideration and ultimately making a decision.
Creating a brand evangelist doesn't happen overnight, and it certainly isn't an easy process -- but it's worth it! Content marketing is one of the most personalized ways to encourage users to walk along a particular journey with your brand. That doesn't mean content should be static, or the same for each customer you're in contact with; quite the opposite in fact!
Steps in the Content Marketing Funnel
Top of the Funnel: Awareness.
A deep understanding of how a customer begins their journey is critical. If you're a real estate agent, perhaps the first step of the journey is when a prospect receives a postcard letting them know that houses in their area are selling at a greater speed and for higher prices than expected. This simple print promotion may trigger a hidden interest in making a move. Building awareness is the most general form of content marketing and should be purely informational, not promotional.
Middle of the Funnel: Consideration.
When a prospect is truly considering a specific direction, your content marketing should shift their journey towards consideration of how you want your prospect to proceed. Continuing with our example of a realtor, this is when you may reach out with a mailing piece that details the unique knowledge that a realtor possesses, and how you seek to add value to the transaction. This could be everything from market research to pricing, a good eye for staging a home and presentation, or even a great network of potential buyers. It's important to note that you're still not doing a hard sell. Instead, you're positioning yourself as an expert in the field.
Bottom of the Funnel: Decision.
At this time, your prospect has taken a step to request more information from you specifically through a direct-response card or personal invitation to call, and they're ready to take the plunge to become a customer. Now, a targeted piece with details about your business and how you individually will allow them to be successful in their goals is appropriate.
No matter your customer or business type, a content marketing sales funnel is a fantastic way to nurture prospects into customers. The best way to do this is to proactively provide your prospects with appropriate information that they need to take their engagement with your business to the next level. Do that, and you're one step closer to gaining brand evangelists and lifelong customers.