What is the marketing funnel?
The traditional marketing funnel works by pulling everyone in, assessing them for profitability, then tossing away whoever’s not needed. It’s like casting a net over the sea; you’re going to catch a lot of stuff that you don’t want.
There are many variations to the marketing funnel, but the general idea is that the demographic entering the funnel consists of every single potential customer.
For glove makers, that means everyone with arms.
For the F&B industry, that means everyone – which is one of the reasons why the F&B scene is so competitive.
Once they’ve entered the marketing funnel, the first step is ‘Awareness’. People who are aware of your products should know what you do even if they don’t buy anything from you.
Consideration refers to people who have actively considered buying your products. If they’ve bought something before, they become ‘Converted’, which is the next part of the funnel.
Loyalty is when your converted customers keep returning to your products, even though there may be many other competitors out there in the market.
The most vocal of them, the ‘Advocators’, are what many influencers are trying to do nowadays. The idea is that people will advocate and market products that they enjoy, and influencers are a great way for people to form some sort of distant trust with a company.
How will this marketing funnel help my company to grow?
This marketing funnel won’t. Here’s why.
The traditional marketing funnel is changing. Instead of creating a funnel that looks like a funnel, it should look something like this hourglass instead.
By getting customers to sign up for your newsletters, you can be sure that they are receptive to your updates. For this, it is important that your email is short, sweet, and concise, with a title that draws the reader’s attention.
The reason is simple: the traditional funnel ends with the customers turning into advocates.
There’s nothing you can do from there on apart from trying to convert more people, which takes up time and money.
Instead, focus on fostering a closer bond between your customer and your company. One of these ways is to gather feedback.
Remember: a customer that gives you feedback is a customer that wants to see you improve. Someone who doesn’t care about your business won’t bother telling you what’s wrong with your product. They’ll just go elsewhere.
The new ‘funnel’ ensures that your advocate customers return to your business and spread your name to their friends. Essentially, advocates do a part of your marketing for you.
Where does ‘content’ come into the picture?
Content marketing funnels are marketing funnels that use different types of content as a way to introduce new leads to your business. For instance, an advertisement builds awareness, a product page develops consideration, and customer reviews help to convert people into customers.
The quality of the content you put out will either retain them as loyal customers, or turn them into advocates.
Content marketing is ridiculously lucrative. A study conducted by Content Marketing Institute showed that content marketing generates over thrice the leads compared to outbound marketing, and costs 62% less.
How do I create a successful content marketing funnel?
Let’s go through this in order.
There are three main categories when it comes to a content marketing funnel: TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU.
TOFU (Top of Funnel)
Building up public awareness is the first and most important part of the content marketing funnel. If you don’t get any eyes on your company, it doesn’t matter how good your products or services are.
Some of the ways to improve brand awareness are to go through social media marketing or traditional billboard advertising.
MOFU (Middle of Funnel)
Now that your audience has taken notice of you, it’s time to build consideration. The important part here is to provide some form of sample or freebie for your audience – if you’re a content marketing agency, you could take the humorous approach. Funny content works excellently, especially if it earns shares on social media.
Alternatively, you could go for a whole range of other approaches – Thai insurance companies use sorrow, some digital marketing agencies in Singapore use Singlish, and American fast food companies use sass.
As long as your tone of voice remains consistent, anything has a chance of working.
This is the step that most inexperienced businesses jump into. They try to close a sale even before offering awareness or consideration, and this just annoys the customer – after all, why would you buy something without knowing about it?
When it comes to content marketing, a good way to convert your audience would be a product review page or a testimonial from the clients you’ve worked with in the past. Also, conversion can take place simultaneously with consideration.
After each post, a call-to-action button is a must, as it helps you to capitalise on your audience’s interest to close a sale. You don’t want them to forget about the content you’ve worked so hard on, do you?
BOFU (Bottom of Funnel)
Once your audience has been converted into a customer, the next step is to retain their loyalty to your company.
One of the best ways to do this is to use blog posts; it creates backlinks, indexed pages, and lead your customers to discover articles that they’ve missed before. Think of it as scattering a hundred little fishing lines into the ocean.
At the very end of the funnel is transforming your customer into your marketing partner. Customers who are satisfied with your content will tend to share it with their own friends, which is extremely crucial.
Advocates help you to bypass the TOFU portion of the content marketing funnel and go straight to conversion, saving you money and effort.
But how do you turn loyal customers into advocates?
People value their friends’ opinions because they trust them. For your customers to become advocates, your customers have to trust your company too. This can be done by personalising your service in little ways, such as excellent customer service or personally addressing their concerns on social media.
Of course, there are many more considerations to take note of before you develop your content. You have to take into account your target demographics, your budget, and the message that you want to convey.
Most importantly, though, you have to make sure that your tone is in line with your company’s voice – otherwise, you’ll only confuse your audience.