Your Inbound Sales Funnel; How to create killer content for every stage of the buyers journey
An Inbound sales funnel is a marketing strategy put into place with the goal of delivering meaningful content to consumers as they move through the stages of the buying process. Consumers enter into a sales funnel prior to initially purchasing a product or service from a company. First, an individual starts as a stranger to the brand. Next, they begin to go through the individual stages of the customer journey and eventually end as a brand “promoter.” The specific stages of the buying journey are the attract, convert, close and delight processes, also known as TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU.
The First Step: Developing your Buyer Persona’s
First, it’s imperative to understand who your consumer is and what their needs are. This must be discovered before a brand can craft content for their audience. A buyer persona is a segment within your target audience determined by a person’s demographics, characteristics, goals, challenges, and organization roles. To create valuable content for a customer, you need to know your different personas, and understand their needs and pain points. Next, a solution should be crafted to address their specific needs and quality content should be delivered to the customer. Eventually, each buyer persona will be going through a sales funnels for your company, based on their specific needs and goals.
Attract – TOFU (Top of Funnel)
Target Audience: Strangers to frequent visitors. Your entire audience – anyone who encounters your brand.
TOFU Content Offers: Blog, Social Media, Keywords, and Web Pages.
Goal: Brand awareness & indirect consumer acquisition. This stage aims to educate your potential clients on the solution to their problems. The goal is not to sell to customers yet, but rather to establish brand recognition, and share valuable information relating to your client. Ideally, you present your brand as an industry expert in this phase.
Creating Killer Content: During this stage, the goal is to deploy content that educates your potential prospects on what your business offers and how you can solve their problems. Trying to overtly sell your products is not the goal during the attract stage. Instead, attract them to your company by more genuine efforts to address their needs. For example, publish a broad sense of information relating to each section of the sales funnel. Start by understanding your potential audience base and research to understand what information your audience is looking for. Once you understand what your prospects are looking for, generating blog and social media content becomes much easier.
Convert – MOFU (Middle of Funnel)
Target Audience: Visitors to Leads. Visitors submit their contact information for types of content.
MOFU Content Offers: Calls-to-action, Landing Pages, Forms, Contacts
Goal: Once a prospect has reached the MOFU stage, they are intentionally searching for a solution to their problem. Now that you your client has experienced your company’s expertise, it’s time to tell them a little bit about how your product or services can bring value to their pain points. Share your unique selling proposition (USP) to show why your product is right for them.
Creating Killer Content: At this stage, people realize their problem and have become aware of your business. They are officially in your sales funnel and it’s time to build a personal connection and sense of brand trust. This stage is when you begin creating free, valuable content that integrates your business’s solution into the equation. Consider creating content on the following; how will your business increase their sales? How can you address their pain points? How does your business bring benefit to their business or clientele? By creating content that addresses these questions in return for a customer’s contact information, you can collect valuable consumer data. Be sure your content has a compelling call to action causing readers to click through to what you’re offering them. Typically, content offers will reside on your website on a landing page which requires someone to fill out a quick form, in exchange for your free, valuable content.
Close – BOFU (Bottom of Funnel)
Target Audience: Leads to Customers. Leads are highly qualified and are ready to make a purchase.
BOFU Content Offers: E-mail, Lead Scoring (how much value a lead has to your company), CRM Integrations (Customer Relationship Management), Workflow (Marketing Automation, Lead Nurturing, etc.)
Goal: You have a new client, fantastic! Your valuable content offer paid off, but your work is not done yet. It’s important to continue to engage your clients to ensure your brand stays top of mind and they continue to purchase from you. The main goal during this phase is to accelerate the sales cycle and inspire confidence in a future purchase decision.
Creating Killer Content: At this time, you supplied your contacts with educational information. However, now that they are educated, it’s your job is to convince them that your company will continue to provide them with even more valuable products or services through your paid offerings. You want to create content that explains to them that your business will provide more value than your competition. This can be though free consultations, reviews, trials, case studies, surveys, and discount codes. Once they’ve purchased, you can begin to measure your ROI as a result of your successful inbound efforts.
Delight – Beyond the Funnel
Target Audience: Customers to Promoters
Beyond the Sales Funnel Offers: Social Media, Smart CTA’s, E-mail, Workflows
Goal: Build customer loyalty so that your customers will continue to purchase from you. Happy consumers are likely to promote your company to family, friends, and contacts. If you continue to deliver relevant content, address customers pain points, and deliver successful products, your consumers will continue to purchase from your business.
Creating Killer Content: The job doesn’t end once a lead has converted to a customer. This is where the delight stage comes in. Your next goal as a business owner, is to turn you happy clients into personal brand promoters. Find what resonates with your clients, and produce content accordingly through email, social media, and smart CTA’s. An example for social media could be thanking them for reviews, interacting with them and asking/answering their questions. Understand the thought process of your target audience, and automate a workflow that certain information targets certain audience segments.
Create a More Engaging Buyer’s Journey
Creating killer content is vital throughout the inbound sales funnel process. Properly understanding each stage of your customers buying journey is essential to creating great content that is applicable to them, when and where they are purchasing from your business. Remember, the goal of your inbound sales funnel is deliver meaningful content to consumers to ensure they’ll continue purchasing from your company.
Marketing Funnels exist in all shapes and sizes which vary from industry to industry, and as you can see, each stage of the funnel requires a different approach. No matter what stage of the funnel you are creating content for, properly understanding each stage of your customers buying journey is essential to creating content that is applicable to them. With a developed sales funnel strategy, you will be able to both reach out to a broad range of potential customers, and rely on long-term customer loyalty.