By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Creating a strategic content marketing funnel is important in growing your business, getting leads and closing sales. An important aspect of content marketing is adding value. You can add value by creating content that serves a purpose, not just selling a product. Create content that entices people to spend more time on your website, whether that be reading a blog post or taking a look at your products. In this post, we will go over the content marketing funnel: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.
In this stage of the content marketing funnel, you are trying to get your target audience to become aware about you and your services/products. This is the stage where you are attracting those target audience members that have a problem they need solved or a question they want answered. Typically, in this stage you aren't really getting their sole focus on what you do or what you stand for. In this stage, you are creating brand awareness by sharing content that adds value. You can share content that adds value by making sure it answers a question, helps to solve a problem or helps your potential customers/target audience in a way that adds value. This is the process of value creation. A good way here to get your content out to your target audience is by sharing your content on social media or any other owned media channels. For example, you can share posts on social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can also post articles you've written on LinkedIn or on your company blog. Another way to get your products or services out to more people is to have affiliates. For more information on affiliate marketing for small business, see my linked blog. These are great ways to increase the reach of your content, earn some engagement and shares, and bring awareness to your brand.
This is the second stage in the content marketing funnel. Here you are trying to earn the interest of your target audience. They have now heard about you and maybe have gone as far as researching your company or visiting your website. There is something that they need or want and this is why they have developed an interest in your brand. The key here is that you are trying to build a relationship with your potential customer. You have already added value to them which is why they have gone as far as visiting your website whether that be to view your products or to continue reading your blog post. For example, in this stage, you use your blog posts to spark a deeper interest to guide this lead further down the funnel. You can also use whitepapers, webinars, e-books, guides and email nurturing to continue guiding the lead further down the funnel.
The desire stage consists of your potential customer being aware of you and understanding that you have something that they want. In this stage, your potential customer is really considering purchasing your product or hiring your services. You can continue to attract them here by giving them an offer that they can't refuse. For example, think about free trials and free versions of software. We see companies like Canva all over the place, especially bloggers and content creators. We see reviews about them, people recommend them for our purposes through word-of-mouth and we become aware of the brand. Then, we become interested because we are seeing what others are doing with the platform and we want to try it ourselves. So, Canva offers a Free version which we try. We really like the free version, but we want to have access to the cool features on the Pro (paid) version like the background remover, more stock photos and stickers. Now our awareness and interest has turned into desire, and we have finally moved down the funnel to the final step: Action.
The action stage is where your customer makes that final decision to purchase, subscribe or hire. This is where you have successfully turned your lead into a paying customer, you have closed the sale! Some tips here to get them to take that action step, to hit that call-to-action button, include: Offering a Free guide for their subscription, offering a free social media audit before they hire you for your social media marketing service, offering that free trial that turns into a paid account, or offering a free gift with the purchase of a product on your website.
To conclude, the content marketing funnel is a four stage process. In some cases, you might see a different marketing funnel consisting of three stages. They are essentially the same funnel. The four stages we discussed are Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. The three stages of the marketing funnel are Attract, Engage and Delight. Or, you might see some other depictions of the marketing funnel with different names. They are all essentially the same. The point is that you have to create brand awareness, add value, interest your potential customers and guide them towards the action stage where they purchase, subscribe or hire.
Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, Adobe Affiliate Program, and in the Canva Affiliate Program, these are affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com, Canva.com and affiliated sites.