Here’s a question for you:
When you plan the content for your business, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Let me guess…
SEO is an important element of getting traffic to your website, for sure.
But we’ve all become a bit obsessed with it, like it’s a new zombie series on HBO.
We’ve lost sight of the main point of a content strategy, which is to attract, nurture, and convert our leads.
Here’s another question.
How does content feature in your sales funnel?
Well, I can guarantee you are missing out on a big ol’ heap of revenue, my friend.
What makes me so confident? (Apart from my brains and epic fashion sense.)
It’s because of the results we’ve seen from our unique methodology.
And… (lowers voice)… come closer… no wait, too close… back up a bit… perfect…
I’m going to let you in on the (not so) secret.
Our Data-Driven Content Strategy is a topic I’ve spoken about at recent events and I’m going to share it with you in the form of not one.
Not even two.
But THREE blog posts.
I know, generous, right?!
Now, when I were a lad, the current obsession was a sitcom about six friends who lived in New York.
Know the one?
So, I give you the Data-Driven Content Strategy Friends-themed blog series, comprising of three classically titled episodes:
- The One Where Marketers Swipe Right for Revenue
- The one with the flywheel
- The one with the three brands (and what their content should look like)
We’ll be delving into how you can create a content strategy that is based on customer data and gently nurtures your prospects right the way through your sales funnel.
In this first episode, we will go back to the funnel drawing board and dig into why content marketing is essential for increasing your revenue.
This post will also introduce a surprise twist to our traditional five stages of awareness.
Ready? Let’s get started.
What is the point of content marketing?
In a nutshell – its job is to build revenue for your business.
Our full-funnel content marketing methodology is a game changer when it comes to increasing ROI for your marketing efforts.
Because it will help you to stop proposing on the first date.
Let’s kick off this (already fantastic) analogy with some timely Tinder talk.
How do you think it would go down if you made first contact with a potential life partner with the admittedly bold message:
Will you marry me?
It wouldn’t get you far, trust me.
But more importantly, it would be pretty gosh darn off-putting.
Kind of like when you’re out shopping, minding your own business, and you sense the approach of a stranger.
They’re holding a clipboard and wearing a vest with a well-known charity name on it.
‘You look like a friendly person!’ They say, trying to make a connection with a compliment.
You know the game.
‘Sorry, I’m in a rush!’ You say, through a smile (that’s more like a grimace).
It’s painful. And it might even make you feel like a bad person for saying no.
But I’m going to hit you with some harsh truth.
Your marketing can be painful too.
And you are a bad person (kidding).
Often, you are so focused on grabbing your leads and presenting the all-important sale that you forget to nurture a relationship.
I like a trilby hat. You may have noticed if you’ve come across me on social media.
If I went past a new trilby hat shop (it could be a thing?), I’d certainly go in and browse but it’s unlikely I’d buy one right away.
Because only 3% of people are actually in buying mode at any given time.
But if I had a positive experience in their shop I would remember it (and that devilishly cool hat I saw and was tempted by) and maybe make a future purchase.
I might even find them on social media and follow them.
At this point, I’m starting to travel the sales funnel.
In the content marketing world, we refer to the five stages of awareness.
Unlike a visitor to a physical store where getting the sale is a different ballgame.
In the digital world, if we strategically plan copy and content to nurture leads into the next stage, we are more likely to get that YES for the sales team.
The five stages of awareness
Aren’t prospects just the best? So full of promise and potential?
But no two prospects are the same, and in fact they’re often at completely different stages of how aware they are of you and what you have to offer.
You can typically split your prospects up and file them under one of these five stages:
- Unaware: Your audience is unaware that they have a problem.
- Problem-Aware: They know that they have a problem, but aren’t aware of any solutions.
- Solution-Aware: They are aware of some solutions, but they’re not aware of YOU.
- Brand-Aware: They know about your offerings, but they aren’t sure if it solves their problem.
- Most Aware (Offer-Ready): They are fully informed of your offering and they’re on the cusp of buying.
As a marketer, it’s your job to get people through these stages, turning them from being blissfully unware of what ails them, to ready and raring to pick up what you’re offering.
But that blissful unawareness is a tricky thing to conquer.
Just like Ross trying to get the gang to share his appreciation of a quality Skorpiovenator fossil (I just googled ‘cool dinosaur names’), you need to pull out all the stops and dig deep into your bag of tricks.
But there’s no need to pivot, my friend. The key to this is to create captivating, delightful content that is deep and powerful as Central Perks finest cup o’ joe.
The long awaited funnel
You’re smart people, you’ve all heard of the marketing funnel.
But just humour me here as I whizz through a quick explanation.
There are three stages of the marketing funnel:
- TOP OF FUNNEL – TOFU
- MIDDLE OF FUNNEL – MOFU
- BOTTOM OF FUNNEL – BOFU
The top of your funnel (TOFU) is where your unaware or problem-aware prospects will sit.
This is the more eduactionally driven section where you throw out a wide net and see what gets caught.
Then you go through to the middle of your funnel (MOFU).
This is where the solution-aware and you-aware sections of your audience sit. You’ve done your educating, and now it’s time to throw them a “How you doin’?” by making them aware of just how incredible your product or service is.
Then finally, those lucky few will fall through to the bottom of your funnel (BOFU).
This is your most aware and offer-ready prospects will be sitting, waiting for that last little push to become fully converted customers.
So there we have it. 5 stages of awareness, 3 sections of your funnel.
Done and dusted. Nice and simple. Could that have been any easier?
Houston, we have a problem
At TCC, we are all about the SIX stages of awareness.
Six?! Say whaaaaaaaat?
You may be thinking “What’s missing from the original funnel all of us marketers are so used to working with?”
Well, it all comes down to retention.
Let me throw a stat your way: a staggering 73% of Salesforce’s new customers come from their existing customers.
So if you’re allowing your customers to drop out at the end of your funnel, you’re missing out on increasing their customer lifetime value (CLV).
This means you’re losing revenue.
Plus, not all leads are born equal.
Your content may be attracting fish who will never bite.
Have you ever seen content and thought, “that’s not for me but I know so-and-so was looking for that?” (If you ever find a trilby hat shop, please let me know.)
Even leads that don’t buy can help spread awareness of your product.
So, what’s the point here?
It’s simple. We need copy and content to be involved in the whole funnel, AND after sales.
Six stages of awareness; don’t forget truth-aware!
Customers who have purchased are in the truth-aware stage.
They have signed on the dotted line and have seen the light. In other words, your product has only gone and bloomin’ well solved their problem.
But there’s so much competition out there. What’s stopping them from buying with you only once?
If you’re a SaaS business, subscriptions are essential for future-proofing your business. You’re running a big risk if you think other options won’t come along that could entice your customers away.
So, let’s bring out the fourth stage of the marketing funnel…
AFTER FUNNEL CONTENT
Or AfFu (not the noise you make when you sneeze with your mouth full).
If you keep providing customers with relevant content they will potentially buy more.
Or simply stick with you and refer you to others, which can be hugely impactful on your revenue.
It’s all about reminding them that “I’ll be there for you” (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Looking for more?
In the next blog post in our series, The One With the Flywheel, I share how you go about optimising your copy and content at all stages of the funnel.
Check it out and see how you can build AfFu into your content strategy.