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Content marketers are familiar with the concept of the marketing funnel, which helps them create targeted content based on a customer’s journey. However, the marketing funnel is often confused with the sales funnel, and the terms used in both funnels can be similar or the same, adding to the confusion.
Understanding both funnels is crucial for creating effective strategies and content that meet customer needs. In this article, we will explain the details of both funnels and how they can be used to serve customers better.
The Marketing Funnel
The marketing funnel, also known as the buyer’s journey, focuses on the customer’s path from brand awareness to loyalty and advocacy. It involves various marketing techniques, such as advertising, PR, and content marketing. The goal of the marketing funnel is to build a long-term relationship with the customer.
The marketing funnel has three main purposes:
Generate Interest: The first purpose of the marketing funnel is to generate interest in your brand. This can be achieved through various methods, such as blog posts, ads, social media posts, and other marketing techniques. According to a survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 88% of marketers believe that content marketing is the most effective way to create brand awareness.
Create Desire: Once the customer is aware of your brand, the next step is to create a desire for your product or service. This can be done through targeted content that highlights the benefits and features of your offerings.
Encourage Action: The final purpose of the marketing funnel is to encourage some kind of action from the customer. This can include sharing personal information, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase. The goal is to move the customer from being aware of your brand to becoming an advocate for it.
The marketing funnel can be divided into several stages, but marketing expert Neil Patel divides it into the following stages:
Also known as Attention, this is the first stage of the marketing funnel where customers become aware of your product or service. This can be achieved through various content marketing techniques, such as blog posts, ads, social media posts, and more. The goal is to grab the customer’s attention and make them aware of your brand.
Also known as Interest, this stage is where potential customers become more interested in your product or service. They want to learn more about it and explore their options. This is the time to provide them with more focused information through infographics, case studies, eBooks, and other types of content. The goal is to keep them engaged and interested in your offerings.
Also known as Intent, this stage is when customers signal their interest in your product or service. They might request more information, watch a demonstration, or even add a product to their online cart. This is a critical stage where you need to provide clear calls-to-action that encourage customers to take the next step towards making a purchase.
At this point, the customer has made a purchase and is now using your product or service. This stage is also known as Loyalty, and it’s crucial to maintain this relationship with content and support. By doing so, you can encourage customers to buy from you again and become advocates for your brand by spreading the word to others.
As a content marketer, your role is to create content that addresses the needs of customers in each stage of the marketing funnel. This can include blog posts, social media content, email campaigns, eBooks, and more. The key is to provide valuable information and engage customers at each stage of their journey.
The Sales Funnel
The sales funnel comes into play at the lower end of the marketing funnel and focuses on converting prospects into customers. It consists of four stages:
This is where the potential customer shows interest in your product or service. At the top of the funnel, your content should be informative and educational to attract prospects to your brand. This can include blog posts, videos, webinars, and other types of content that provide valuable information to your target audience.
At this stage, your content should focus on building trust and establishing your brand as a thought leader in the industry. This is also the stage where you analyze your prospect against sales criteria to determine if they are a viable customer. The goal is to qualify the lead and determine if they are likely to make a purchase.
This is when you determine the qualified lead’s intent, whether they are interested in buying from you. Your content at this stage should include clear and concise calls-to-action that encourage prospects to take the next step towards making a purchase. This can include offering a demo, providing pricing information, or offering a limited-time promotion.
At this point, your lead becomes a customer or walks away. If they have made a purchase, your focus should be on retention. This can include providing ongoing support, sending follow-up emails, and nurturing the customer relationship. If the lead does not convert into a customer, you can consider implementing a nurturing strategy to stay on their radar. This can involve reaching out periodically with emails and blogs of interest to keep them engaged.
Marketing Funnel vs. Sales Funnel
While the marketing and sales funnels share similarities, they have different objectives. As a content marketer, your focus should be on creating content that helps build awareness and interest in your brand. However, your content should also align with the sales team’s efforts to convert prospects into customers.
In some cases, businesses merge their marketing and sales functions, creating an overlap between the two funnels. Regardless of how your company structures its efforts, it’s essential to ensure that your content works in tandem with the sales team’s efforts to create a seamless customer experience.
Examples of Content Creation for Each Funnel Stage
Here are some examples of content creation for each stage of the marketing and sales funnels:
Top of Funnel
- Informative blog posts that establish your brand, values, and benefits
- SEO strategies to increase brand visibility and attract a broad audience
- Social media content that engages and educates your target audience
Middle of Funnel
- Solutions-focused content that addresses customer pain points
- Thought leadership pieces or subject-matter expertise to establish your brand as a trusted authority
- Case studies and testimonials that highlight the benefits and success stories of your offerings
Bottom of Funnel
- Clear calls-to-action that encourage prospects to make a purchase or request a demo
- Retention-focused content that nurtures the customer relationship and encourages repeat purchases
- Customer stories and testimonials that showcase the positive experiences of your customers
By creating content that addresses the needs of customers at each stage of the marketing and sales funnels, you can establish trust and credibility, build ongoing relationships, and drive business revenue. If you need help with your content strategy, Funnelpreneurs.com can provide guidance and support. Talk to a content strategist today to start your content journey.