As an entrepreneur, you’re probably already familiar with content marketing. You know that it’s one of the biggest components of marketing your business.
But all too often, content marketing gets treated like something “extra.” Some business owners believe that while it facilitates sales, content marketing can’t support an entire sales funnel.
I think they’re wrong.
The content marketing sales funnel can be extremely beneficial to your business. When done correctly, the content has the power to bring potential customers entirely through the sales process to eventually become paying customers.
But what does that sales funnel look like? Let’s take a look at the four stages of the content marketing sales funnel.
Stage 1: The Introduction
The very top of the content marketing funnel is the introduction. This is when your company has a chance to say “Hello, world! We exist.”
It’s also the first opportunity to make a connection with your audience. While the introduction is primarily about exposure and getting new audience members familiar with your brand, you also need to focus on making enough of a splash that they remember you and want to move to the next stage of your content marketing sales funnel.
At this point, some of the content you’re probably thinking of creating is paid ads, guest posts or viral video content — anything that can help you break free of the noise already out there or connect with an already-existing audience.
Stage 2: The Invitation
Once you’ve caught your audience’s attention, you want to invite them to be friends. At the invitation stage, you’re encouraging your new audience to connect with your brand. This might be inviting them to follow you on social media, sign up for a newsletter or subscribe to your blog.
Whatever your invitation is, you want it to show off your best content. Let your new audience members know that you have a lot to offer and you’re ready to share.
Focus on building the relationship, not trying to sell a product. Make it easy for them to connect, and don’t make the barrier to entry too high. If it’s too complicated to accept your invitation, they won’t move down the sales funnel.
Stage 3: The Superhero Sequence
This is the stage where you get to show off your skills. At the superhero sequence, you’re ready to figure out what your customers’ problems are and solve them.
The superhero sequence is where you really get to dive in deep with your content. You get to flex your muscles and point to the products or services that you offer that can really help the customer solve their problem.
Think beyond just blog posts or one-pagers here. E-books, webinars and other in-depth content will be really important at this stage. Make sure you have a lot of high-quality information that can help your prospects really understand how your solutions can solve their problems.
Stage 4: The Decision
The final stage is the decision. This is the bottom of the funnel, where the prospect needs to decide if they’re going to make a purchase or if they’re not ready to commit to your business.
Content at this stage needs to be encouraging without being pushy — and it might involve moving away from strictly content to get the decision made. Encouraging your prospects to get in touch or to pick up the phone for a sales call might be all they need to close the deal.
Focus on making customers feel comfortable with their decision rather than just trying to close the deal. If the customer feels pressured into buying, they might be unhappy with their decision and not stick around for long.
Content marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool for bringing leads and prospects through your sales funnel. When set up correctly and with the right content in place, you can bring new prospects through the buying process easily and efficiently.
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