There are few things worse than feeling like you’ve done everything you should from a content creation angle, yet the results you were looking for remain elusive. You’ve done the market research, keyword research and put in the effort to create a piece of content that provided real value to your audience, plus you delved into a topic that wasn’t already covered to death. Still, you’re hearing nothing but crickets in response.
Where did you go wrong?
The answer is nothing, and honestly, if you’ve put in this much effort, you’re already leaps and bounds ahead of a lot of other businesses out there. The problem isn’t with the quality of your content, but with the audience that it is – or isn’t – reaching.
We hear tons of advice on how important quality and value is for content, but it doesn’t mean much if your hard work isn’t making it into the hands of the audience that’s most likely to benefit from it. If you want to succeed with content marketing, you also need to be focused on writing specifically for the various stages of the customer journey. This involves knowing how to greet new customers with the right content as they enter your sales funnel and nurture them along every step of the way towards conversion.
Understanding the Sales Funnel
The sales funnel is a visual metaphor for the process of taking qualified members of your audience and turning them into customers. The general idea is that you’re going to attract a decent sized group of prospects into your funnel, and through nurturing, you’re going to move them along through that funnel. It’s inevitable that you’re going to lose a few each step of the way, but as the more qualified leads gets closer to conversion, your content approach becomes more targeted, personal and designed to fuel those last few steps.
The customer journey through the sales funnel is so important that practically every element of your approach to search engine optimization is designed to nurture it along – from first attracting a qualified audience through search engine marketing to creating blog posts that speak to your most interested buyers while meeting the demands of modern SEO.
There are essentially two ways to look at the sales funnel. The first is from a business standpoint, where the funnel begins with an audience that is attracted to your brand. Then, as they’re nurtured, they become qualified leads and ultimately conversions. The final exit point of the funnel is where conversions leave to become brand promoters.
The other way to look at it, is to view it from the customer perspective. They start out with an awareness of your brand, and through continued exposure, they consider investing in you. From there, they begin to seriously consider a purchase and finally cross the line to conversion and hopefully move onward to loyal customer status.
It’s this version of the funnel that you want to appeal to with your content marketing strategy. Here’s how to optimize your content by knowing how to meet the customer at each point in the funnel.
Writing for the Top of the Funnel – Building Awareness and Visibility
It’s not uncommon to see a business have above average success with the conversion process, but still have trouble gaining any traction because there just isn’t enough traffic coming in. Creating content that’s tailored to the people at the top of your funnel is one way to remedy this problem.
Effective top of the funnel content is focused on expanding brand reach and generating qualified traffic. The main thing to remember here is that you don’t want to go too narrow with content that’s intended to appeal to this group because they just aren’t that interested – at least not yet.
You want to create content with a broader appeal while maintaining a safe distance from anything that could be considered fluff. This starts with doing research on industry relevant keywords to support your blogging efforts. Choose keywords that are search friendly, and geologically relevant if you’re using local SEO to boost your small business.
Secondly, get yourself out there. Try your hand at creating guest posts for websites that are important in your industry and get active on social media where you can share your content and engage with prospective customers as they’re first introduced to your brand.
Writing for the Middle Funnel – Educate and Encourage
You’ve generated some great new leads with your top of the funnel content strategy, but now what? Studies tell us that companies that properly nurture their leads see a 450% increase in conversions. The middle of the funnel is where nurturing happens.
Unfortunately, it’s easy for leads to bow out – and many of them will if you don’t take this opportunity to educate them and encourage the next step. This is where they’re expecting to learn more about the product or service you offer, along with the reasons why they should choose you over your competitors.
For the middle funnel customer, you want content that establishes your authority and addresses their questions, concerns and pain points. You want to dive in deeper and explore the topics that a general audience is likely to bypass. For example, a real estate agency might create a blogs that talk about sub prime financing, a detailed explanation of the home inspection process or a post that helps buyers decide what size home they should consider. These are topics that establish authority and are of interest to buyers who are past the “just curious” stage.
Writing for the End Funnel – Provide Evidence and Eliminate Fear
With a strong approach to SEM and content creation, you’ve nurtured qualified leads to the edge of conversion. The only thing left to do is encourage them to take the final step – something that can be done by driving home your authority and alleviating their concerns.
For instance, this consumer is likely to be interested in content that answers common customer questions, tells stories of your success or establishes an emotional connection through testimonials. This is also the point where you don’t want to let the customer slip through your fingers, so make sure that your content is conversion driven, without being pushy, by including a relevant call to action at the end.
Would you like to know more about meeting your customers along their journey with quality content that performs? We offer the SEO services that produce the results you’re looking for. Contact Knowmad today to learn more.
Diona is a managing partner at Knowmad. Her areas of expertise include digital marketing strategy, project management, brand management, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising, inbound marketing, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, social media marketing and website design.