How often have you made a purchase purely because you saw it in a window (or more likely, on a website homepage), decided then and there that it was screaming your name and bought it? If your self-control is anything like mine, that’s actually how you do most of your shopping. Well, the impulse buy, while mostly fun and only sometimes a huge mistake, is on the wane as marketing learns how to talk to consumers long before they reach the shop front. Thank god for that too, or half of us marketers would have lost our jobs by now.
Typically, before truly becoming a customer, an individual goes through what we like to call the Marketing Funnel. It comprises of a variety of stages; from the buyer becoming aware of a product or service, to them doing their research, reaching out to the business before finally committing to buying it. In the modern age, it’s easiest to visualise it as all of the stuff a person does on their phone prior to actually buying something- researching a company, checking with friends that also own the product, messaging the company to learn more, etc. It's a concept that many marketers and salespeople use to define the journey that a potential customer takes before pulling the trigger. The stages themselves can change depending what model you choose to use, but with each stage the amount of potential customers within the funnel lessens (hence the funnel shape). The goal of the marketer is to move their prospects through the funnel, turning those folks with just a passing interest in your brand into valued customers.
Here are 3 stages of the funnel that will help you sell your product like a pro. Take a look!
1. Understanding Stage: (Top of the Funnel) TOF
At this stage, the patrons are just discovering your services and products. For this, they will research channels like your social media pages and informative content like blog posts, you’ll want your SEO to be on point here so that you show up when they inevitably have a bit of a Google. To get on the radar at this point, you want to create awareness about who are and what you do. Creating content themed around the sorts of issues that your customers may be facing (and that your product and service could help alleviate *HINT HINT*) is another good idea.
Content ideas for TOF
Almost everyone goes online to check out their options before making a major purchase these days. We’re glued to our phones, why wouldn’t we. Hence, there is a great chance that your customers fall in this category. One of the most powerful ways to grab their attention is using high-quality content like blogs or whitepapers. Use social media channels to promote your stuff and get that SEO popping and your on your way to ToFU success.
2. Education Stage: (Middle of the Funnel) MOF
Time for your prospects to get LEARNT, helping you move them from the ToFU to the MoFU. Now is the right time to start talking solutions- ways to fix the issues or problems you outlined in your ToFU content. You’re teaching people, educating them on how they can help themselves and preparing to show them how you specifically can help them in stage 3.
Content ideas for MOF
Blogs are a nice way to grab the attention of your customers, as are case studies and E-Books with an educational slant. You really want to engage with your customers at this point, as they’re a fickle bunch these days and they’re going to cut loose any solutions that are not a good fit to their problem.
3. Verdict Stage: (Bottom of the Funnel) BOF
The big finish is your content that specifically talks about your own products and services. By now, your prospects should have an understanding of their problem, have some ideas for solutions and be on the search for a specific product or service to fix their problem. I strongly recommend, in my professional opinion, ensuring that that product or service they’re looking for, is yours. We’ve waited until now to talk about ourselves because these folks have shown that they’re invested now- any earlier and we’d have been that super annoying dude who does nothing but talk about himself on a first date.
Content ideas for BoFU
Some of the most effective types of content that work at this point are trial offers, demos, product literature, and case studies. Talk about yourself- you’ve earned it.
So, this is how you become a content marketing pro. It's not all you need of course, the funnel is just one of the things you should look into as part of a serious, reasoned Digital Marketing Strategy. Take your time, understand your consumer, and then build a content strategy that can accelerate the number of patrons you have by your side right now.