When it comes to creating a content marketing campaign, publishing lots of blog articles and infographics isn’t enough. You’ll need to ensure that the right content reaches the right audience. There’s no point in promoting a product when the target audience doesn’t know how it works in the first place. To create an effective campaign, you’ll need to have a digital marketing funnel in place.
What is the marketing funnel?
Before we talk about the digital marketing funnel, let’s focus on the traditional marketing funnel first.
A marketing funnel is essentially a way of breaking down the customer journey into stages. It’s a useful tool to visualise the process of converting your target audience into customers.
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”.
At this stage, 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 gained 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 be nowadays. The idea is that they’ll advocate and market products that they enjoy, which can be a great way for brands to build trust with their target audience.
How will this marketing funnel help my brand 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 an hourglass instead.
The reason is simple: the traditional funnel ends with the customers turning into advocates.
There’s nothing you can do from that stage apart from trying to convert more people, which takes up time and money.
Instead, you can focus on fostering a closer bond between your customers and your brand. One of the ways to do so is to gather feedback.
Customers who give you feedback are those that want to see you improve, so it’s essential to look into and incorporate them in your business. Someone who doesn’t care about your brand won’t bother telling you what’s wrong with your product. They’ll just go somewhere else.
The new funnel ensures that your advocate customers return to your brand 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 can be used with digital marketing funnels 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 can either retain them as loyal customers, or turn them into advocates.
Content marketing is ridiculously lucrative. According to Content Marketing Institute, 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 digital marketing funnel: TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU.
TOFU (Top of Funnel)
Building up public awareness is the first and most important part of the digital marketing funnel. If you don’t get any eyeballs on your business, it doesn’t matter how good your products or services are.
Some of the ways to improve brand awareness are to use social media marketing and traditional billboard advertising.
MOFU (Middle of Funnel)
This is the stage where your audience has taken notice of your brand, and it’s where you build consideration. The important part here is to provide something that’s relevant for your audience.
For instance, if you’re selling mattresses, you can do up a blog and a social media post on how to maintain good sleep hygiene.
Whatever the type of content you’re doing to convert your audience, ensure that it fits your company’s brand voice and industry.
For example, Thai insurance companies use sorrow, local brands use Singlish, and American fast food companies use sass.
Funny content works excellently too, especially when it’s shared on social media.
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 anything about it?
When it comes to content marketing, a good way to convert your audience is to have a product review page or a compilation of testimonials from the clients you’ve worked with in the past. Also, conversion can take place simultaneously with consideration.
It’s a must to put a call-to-action button at the end of each web page or blog post, as it helps you to capitalise on your audience’s interest to close a sale. After all, you don’t want them to forget about the content you’ve worked so hard on.
BOFU (Bottom of Funnel)
Once your audience has been converted into customers, the next step is to retain their loyalty to your brand.
One of the best ways to do this is to use blog posts; they create 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 marketing funnel is where you transform your customers 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 digital marketing funnel and go straight to conversion, saving you lots of 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 brand 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.