Optimizing Content for the Marketing Funnel
For people and companies who engage in SEO, the primary consideration has always been to rank high on Google, or take advantage somehow of the carousel, or the image results, etc. But what if I were to tell you that in addition to rankings, you also have to take into consideration the type of content that you are offering at each stage or phase of the marketing funnel? A great example of a company doing so is SEOExplode.
Diversification of your content strategy is a must, and it is clear that with the increased emphasis on user-centeredness that we need to rethink what type of content to offer people and when to offer the content.
Diversification should be done because we don’t want to ignore the part of the audience that is not yet ready to make a purchase. In short, diversification takes care of everyone, not just the ready buyers or repeat buyers. So how do we do it?
First, we take a brief look at the three segments of the marketing funnel: the top, middle, and bottom.
Theoretically, the people at the bottom of the funnel are readier than ever to make a purchase off your business/website. The ones at the top, not so much, and the ones in the middle are deemed “warm” because they’ve already signed up for a few webinars or read some blog posts, and they’re getting interested in what you have to offer.
For the top of the funnel
Let’s talk about content for people who have just discovered your website, have no idea who you are, what your branding is all about, and why they should buy from you.
These people might have the financial capacity to make a purchase, but without further prodding, they won’t do it. You have mere seconds or minutes to capture their attention and make them read and stay. What kind of content is best for them?
- Infographics – Infographics are attractive, easy to read, and are naturally authoritative because they help crunch numbers that would otherwise have been difficult to read or research.
Infographics also provide summaries of key information that help people make important decisions. Invest in infographics and you can see social media shares go up, and reader engagement will likely be on an on all-time high.
- Blog posts – Blog posts are the bread and butter of the information production age, as they are technically empty vessels that you can fill with anything that you want. Since you know that some of your readers will be first time visitors, the trick is to make your blog posts as useful as ever for anyone regardless of their intent on the website.
Useful information builds trust, and people will add your website to their collection of trusted online platforms if you keep giving them the useful and credible information.
- Podcasts – Even Spotify AB is cashing in on the podcast boom, and everyone is getting into the podcast habit more and more. Podcasts that tackle quirky and interesting topics related to what you are trying to sell will get people to listen. And it’s also a great way to introduce your brand and what you are about in a more intimate fashion with your audience.
- Webinars – Webinars are not dead. They probably will never lose their potency. By having people sign up for free or paid webinars, you are automatically positioning yourself as someone to listen to, an industry expert, or at the very least, someone who cares enough to provide vital information.
- Industry news – Posting updates about your industry will show your audience the latest developments in your industry will definitely make them more interested – and will show them that you are very much involved with the latest innovations and changes in your industry.
For the middle of the funnel
The middle of the funnel is a sort of crossroads for some audiences, as some of them drop off while some soldier on, subscribing to more materials and getting in deeper on what a business is offering. At this point in time, the commitment to the brand begins to increase, the same as the readiness to buy.
The information provided to people in this part of the funnel is more specific, as we begin making offers to people on our list.
- eBooks – Everyone likes a reference/resource on subjects that are unfamiliar or are challenging to research. Since you are a credible source on the field, offering a report or eBook should definitely be something on your list. Find topics that are directly related to your main product and service, and make an interesting eBook about these topics.
- Whitepapers – Whitepapers are formal documents that describe in detail a project, undertaking, or concept. Even Facebook publishes whitepapers every now and then, the most recent of which is the whitepaper on the Libra cryptocurrency.
As Facebook gets ready to launch the cryptocurrency via the Calibra wallet on WhatsApp in 2020, the social media giants gets everyone ready by describing in detail what Libra is all about. Whitepapers are read not just by news outlets and consumers, but also potential stakeholders and investors.
- Comprehensive guides – They say that people go on the Internet to find solutions to their problems. Keep this formula in mind and we can assure you that people will remain interested in the content that you have to offer.
An in-depth or comprehensive guide that is only available for download when someone signs up for it gives it a breath of exclusiveness that makes people want the download to be rich and insightful So in terms of persuasiveness, you are already halfway there, truth be told. Just don’t disappoint them: if you make a promise, don’t forget to over deliver on the content itself.
- Checklists – Checklists are extremely flexible and can tackle a wealth of topics without requiring massive amounts of research time. The checklist can pertain to a product or service, or to something that you do when you have purchased that product or service. Or it can be something that is indirectly connected with the main offer/s.
For the bottom of the funnel
The bottom of the funnel is the stage where your audience is definitely warm and there’s a viable chance of making a sale.
Since the people who reach this stage of the funnel more or less trust what you have to say, you can begin offering them case studies (or proof of effectiveness of whatever it is that is being offered), testimonials and referrals (social validation and social proof are massively important – people trust other people!), vendor comparisons (people want to know if they are really getting the best deal – but who says that you can’t give them this information yourself?), and finally, product demonstrations.
Product demos can be in the form of videos, so make sure to make those videos interesting and make them pop so people would enjoy watching them. And don’t forget that in the end, your audience is craving for a connection with what’s in front of them, so keep in mind that we want to establish a personal-level connection with the audience as much as possible. Always keep in mind their needs, where they’re coming from, and why they’re there in the first place. Do this, and you can’t possibly lose in the battle for the best content on the Web.