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4 phases of a winning content marketing funnel

By Laura Greenhalgh | Copywriter

bolt growth marketing


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January 26, 2021 | 6 min read

What is a content marketing funnel?

Customers don’t just purchase a product straight away. If they did we’d all be out of a job. There are several stages of consideration customers go through before making a purchase decision. The content marketing funnel describes the phases in which potential customers are attracted to your product guided by the content you create. Your content must be tailored to the buyer’s journey and how they make decisions. Quality content will move your customers through the funnel so they make a purchase they’re happy with.

marketing funnel

The content marketing funnel is made up of four phases: awareness, evaluation, conversion and delight. Each phase presents its own challenges that the buyer will need your support to move through the funnel. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel at each stage. You can build and adapt your content, offering new information when the customer needs it to make their decision easier and convince them your product or service is the most effective for their needs.

Why do you need to know about the content marketing funnel?

The content marketing funnel is centred on the customer journey which is pivotal for the success of your overall marketing strategy. If you haven’t already, mapping out your customer journey will help you deliver content at the right place and time. Define every interaction and touchpoint your customer has with your brand throughout the customer lifecycle from becoming aware of your brand through to the retention stage. HubSpot has created a useful resource explaining how to create a customer journey map with examples to get you started.

Once you’ve mapped your customer journey, you can understand which content will help you achieve your goals. Your content in the awareness phase will differ to the delight stage as your customer’s need alter. You don’t have to create every piece of content ever. There are many types of content you could create, but choosing the ones most relevant to your audience will deliver the best results.

1. Awareness

Awareness is at the top of the content marketing funnel. At this point, your customers aren’t familiar with your brand and need to be made aware of who you are. Your content should be educational and engaging to make a great first impression. It should get potential customers thinking about your brand and interested in learning more. Content in this phase of the funnel can include videos, blog posts, infographics and social media posts.

You can test which content gains the most engagement by identifying metrics and measuring performance. Look at social engagement and website traffic as a start. These will indicate whether your content is clickable and users are visiting your website to engage further.

2. Evaluation

Evaluation is where the thinking comes in. Potential customers are aware of your brand and what you offer and have engaged with your awareness content in some way. They’re starting to deliberate whether your offer is right for their needs and to do this they need more targeted information. Content in this phase should be less generalised and focus on how you understand their challenges and want to help them. You want to establish trust and show that your brand is the best choice for their needs.

Blog posts, ebooks, webinars and case studies will demonstrate your expertise. Choose topics that your audience wants to learn more about and create content that showcases your knowledge. This phase can go on for a while. It isn’t instant as your brand won’t be the only company potential customers are evaluating. They’ll be comparing your ability to solve their needs so make sure they have enough information to make a well-considered decision.

3. Conversion

Conversions, conversions, conversions. That’s what all marketers want. A conversion doesn’t have to involve a lead becoming a customer, although this is the most desired action. What is regarded as a conversion depends on your goals. If your goal is to gain signups to your weekly newsletter, a user seeing your social media post, visiting your website and completing a signup form can be a conversion.

As your ultimate goal is to convert leads into customers, content at this phase must make the purchase decision as straightforward as possible. Provide clear product descriptions, instructional and how-to videos and customer reviews. This will assure your potential customers that your product is trustworthy and reliable. Provide a clear call to action so your potential customers know exactly how to make the purchase.

4. Delight

Your job isn’t over once the customer has converted. Delighting your customers will ensure you retain them and grow loyal relationships. This phase is arguably one of the most difficult as turning a customer into a brand advocate takes time and dedication. Content at this phase should continue to be engaging and exciting. Show your customers the great things you’re up to with email newsletters and social posts. Show behind the scenes videos of your company and the projects you’ve been working on using case studies.

Gaining feedback is beneficial to understand what your customers want from you and how you can support them further. Ask your customers to leave reviews of your product or service but also spend a bit more time telling you what you can do next. This will help you refine your offering and ensure your customers remain delighted with your customer experience.

A winning content marketing funnel

Mapping your customer journey and planning which content you’re going to implement at which stage of the content marketing funnel will set you on your way to a successful strategy. Identifying your goals and metrics will ensure you can measure the performance of your content and how well your audience is interacting. Always look for ways to improve your content marketing funnel to best engage your audience and build strong customer relationships.

Laura Greenhalgh is a copywriter at Bolt.

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bolt growth marketing

bolt is a global growth agency helping professional clients grow their customer relationships, client acquisition and company profits through inbound sales & marketing. Our ideal clients are B2B and professional services firms with a purpose.

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