The Four Phases of the Content Marketing Funnel

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We’ve talked quite a bit about the importance of content marketing on the SAGE Blog. From how to write a blog that everyone will want to read, to how content improves your SEO, to how your content establishes you as a subject-matter expert.

Now that you know the benefits, let’s talk about the four phases of the content marketing funnel and how you can move prospects through it to convert them to loyal customers!

At the Top of the Funnel (ToFu), you have attracted prospects to your website and they’re getting familiar with who you are, what you do, and how you do it. You’re probably not the only stop in their research, so you can expect to be compared to the competition here. You’ll want to have some unique value propositions up front. Don’t underestimate the power of an easy-to-navigate homepage, modern and timely homepage banners, and cohesive branding.

Although this is a very consultative industry, your website can speak a lot on your behalf. So naturally, you want it to say that you’re full of trendy products they’ve been searching for, seasonal products they need, and some new ideas they haven’t even thought of yet. Most website traffic stays in the ToFu, but if you can entice prospects to click and interact, you’ll move them into the next stage, the Middle of the Funnel.

In the Middle of the Funnel (MoFu), your content educates and entertains prospects. In MoFu, you can help eliminate the universal concern online businesses have: prospects settling for the cheapest option. Help them make informed decisions in MoFu with blog posts, infographics, curated seasonal product carousels, or product showrooms. Get some small “wins” in this phase by asking them to sign up for your emails or a free sample/welcome kit to encourage some engagement and work your way up to “the big win,” the sale. You’ll gather up some valuable contact information in the process.

Although Amazon and Walmart certainly have the advantage of being big household names, they don’t specialize in promotional products or take the time to educate consumers on them. Content marketing is your competitive advantage. In the MoFu, you’ll establish your credibility and define your services as a one-of-a-kind, hands-on, collaborative opportunity to help businesses with their marketing mix.

So they are interested in what you have to say, now show them the value of your services in the Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu). This is where you can toot your own horn, so to speak. You want to let your prospect know you’re the best candidate for the job with case studies, a portfolio of your work, or behind-the-scenes videos of your team at work to encourage them to move forward with YOU. Keep in mind, 47% of buyers view 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.

Coming up with timely, relevant content is undoubtedly time-consuming, but the bottom of the funnel is where the fruits of your labor pay off. You’ve nurtured your leads moving them through the funnel, you’ve been able to garner trust with your prospects, and now it’s likely they are ready to purchase. Don’t be afraid to contact them directly or offer them a special discount to see if you can help in their decision. Don’t give up and stay patient. Research has shown it can take up to 7 or more points of contact before finally sealing the deal on a sale.

Once you’ve secured their business, don’t forget about retention. Some versions of the content marketing funnel may leave this out, but this is perhaps the most important stage of the funnel. Retention can be on the easier side, or more difficult, depending on how organized and dedicated you are with your content marketing efforts. You’ll need to keep your website updated with fresh and timely content. Your website won’t serve your clientele if it’s still running summer products in October, or not offering up any new product suggestions and sticking with fidget spinners. Make a plan to consistently post new content, or find a system that will do it for you and you’ll keep your hard-earned accounts!

If you need a little help with your content marketing, you can phone a friend — that’s us! SAGE Website Professional Plus includes a content library with fresh content created by us to educate your clients and prospects on promotional products! You can add industry-relevant blog posts, informational videos, custom-themed product carousels, case studies, and so much more. Upgrade your content marketing game with less effort and spend more time in the best stage of the funnel — the victory stage!

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Hayley enjoys debates between Team ALL CAPS and Team no caps. She resides in the middle of that argument, but is however, a supporter of the singular "they" and the lowercase "internet." Some rules are meant to be broken.

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