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Content Marketing Funnel Guide: Converting Leads into Customers

content marketing funnel

Are you using a content marketing funnel to turn your leads into repeat customers? If not, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities.

Content marketing might feel like a flashy new tool, but it actually uses time-tested marketing principles to get the best results. In fact, many people consider John Deere the pioneer of content marketing. The tractor brand started publishing “The Furrow,” an informative agricultural magazine that just happened to contain printed ads, in 1895.

Of course, today’s content marketing strategies are more elaborate and nuanced, thanks to decades of research and strategizing. Today, a content marketing funnel is one of the top ways to convert leads. By showing leads the right content at the right time, you can help push them along their customer journey.

Ready to learn how it works? In this guide, we’ll show you how to use a content marketing funnel to get the results you want. Keep reading to learn how to grow your conversions fast!

What Is a Content Marketing Funnel?

In a content marketing funnel, you show content strategically to leads at different points of the conversion process. Gradually, this flow of content helps turn them into paying customers – hopefully, ones that will come back to your brand again and again.

Like any funnel, the content marketing funnel begins with a wide top, where you want to catch as many leads as you can. At the top of the funnel, people are just becoming aware of your brand.

At this stage, you have a lot of leads. But as the funnel narrows down, you’ll inevitably lose a few.

The number of leads that get all the way through the funnel may not be large, but the key is that they make it. As long as some leads are making it all the way every time, you know your funnel is working.

There are generally four main stages of the content marketing funnel – more on those later. In the first, awareness or attraction, people learn that your brand exists and are drawn to find out more.

Next comes evaluation or consideration. At this stage, people are making up their mind about your brand and becoming true customer prospects.

The third stage is closing or purchase. The customer makes a purchase – but that’s not the end of the funnel.

Finally, you reach the “delight” stage, where the customer is pleased with what they received. This stage is key to keeping them coming back. After all, it’s much less expensive to retain customers than to attract new ones each time.

Your funnel might gain customers who are at various stages, although most of them will start at the top. The better your content and the farther it reaches, the bigger the funnel’s top will become.

Why Does the Content Marketing Funnel Work?

This funnel is a way to represent things that always happen along the customer journey, no matter what. The customer journey starts at the awareness phase every time. The only way to bypass it is with customers who’ve already made it through this phase with your brand.

Next always comes the evaluation phase. Customers have to make up their mind before they can make a purchase. And the next stage is always conversion or purchase.

The “delight” step isn’t a guaranteed part of the customer journey. However, it’s one that you should definitely strive for.

When customers first hit the awareness stage, they might have problems that they don’t even realize they want a solution for. They’re probably just browsing around with no particular goal. At this stage, your content can enlighten them that they can improve their lives with your product or service.

Next, people are evaluating, or doing research. They’re probably comparing different brands and looking for answers. Your content can help give them the answers they want.

At last comes the decision to make a purchase. Again, content can help by improving their trust that the purchase is the right choice.

With this approach, the same content doesn’t fit the customer journey at every stage. Instead, you’ll need to make unique content that fits the flow of the funnel. Let’s take a closer look.

Awareness Stage

Here, you want fun, engaging, informative posts. This can include infographics, visuals, and other types of easily shareable content.

You’ll also need to know your audience well. Are they the type to read a long blog post, or are they more likely to click on a video?

You can only get their awareness by using the mediums that speak to them. And you want to focus on a particular audience at this stage – a general focus is too broad to be productive.

Consideration Stage

Now, it’s the time to release the heavy-hitting education. Your customers want solid information, so consider using case studies, testimonials, and how-tos to help them see that your product is the best for them. This blog offers more about this educational part of the process.

Purchase Stage

At this point, the people still in the funnel are leaning toward a purchase, but they need a nudge in the right direction.

It’s a good idea to make them feel like they’re deciding on their own, rather than being pushed by the brand. Try using reviews, questionnaires and quizzes, and other self-directed or customer-based content. Help them see how well your product will fit into their lives.

Delight Stage

The purchase has been made – but don’t overlook the last part of the funnel! Here, you might offer exclusive content for members, more educational materials, special offers, and more.

Making your customers feel like they’ve joined an exclusive club will help them keep coming back for more.

Ready to Try the Content Marketing Sales Funnel?

If you’ve been using a one-size-fits-all content marketing approach, you probably aren’t seeing the results you want. It’s time to implement the content marketing funnel, in which every piece of content has a specific place and purpose.

To keep things organized along the way, it’s a good idea to implement a content management system. Check out more benefits of content management here.