The Content Marketing Institute recently revealed that - despite more than three quarters (76%) of B2C marketers reporting that they have implemented a content marketing strategy- less than half of marketers (36%) said their content strategy was effective in achieving their goals. Unsurprisingly, the story was no different for B2B marketers.
Considering successful content marketing strategies are the key to securing high levels of customer engagement, increasing brand awareness and ultimately helping grow your business through sales; the statistics above are far from ideal. It’s important to share great content with your audience, but how can you ensure you are sharing the right type of content at the right time?
Business owners can implement a content funnel as part of their content marketing strategy. The content funnel is a five step plan that will help you deliver content to potential customers at the right time and if everything falls into place, they will convert into loyal, returning customers.
Here is how it works:
1. Getting potential customers ‘on your radar’
Step one is the awareness stage.
As a business owner, you need to tap into potential customers that are looking to invest in a product that you can offer them. Once a prospective customer is on your radar, it’s time to create content that feeds the spark and continues to engage the customer without forcing a sale - that should come naturally later. Start to flex your copywriting skill set and send warm welcome emails including lots of calls to actions, or perhaps you could extend special offers across social media.
2. The ‘toying with the idea’ phase
Step two is the consideration stage.
When your customer hits this second stage, it is the perfect time to consider voucher codes and offers to encourage them to invest in your product - but do be aware of ‘spamming’ with this type of content. It’s also a really good time to think about customer reviews and how you can use them – in many cases it’s simply about giving potential customers access to all customer reviews, and making sure you’re responding to them in a manner that’s on brand.
3. ‘The moment of truth’
Step three is the decision.
Although you’ve successfully gained a new customer, your content shouldn’t stop providing value after the purchase is made. Instead, you should put your copywriting skills to the test and share content across your brand platforms. This will help your new customer get the most out of their new product/service through case studies, ‘how-to’ videos, testimonials and best practice guides.
4. ‘Make it or break it’
Step four is known as the post-purchase stage.
Your customer has purchased your product and they are still engaging with your brand on social media and reading your email newsletters which detail other products - this is where you have to turn your customer into a repeat buyer using content and great persuasive copywriting.
The post-purchase stage is a vital opportunity to connect with your audience and keep them interested in your brand. It’s all about becoming a resource in your marketplace through leadership pieces, newsletters, webinars and frequent social media posts, so that consumers stay engaged and in turn make more purchases from your brand.
Step five is when the dreaded dormancy occurs.
Time has passed since your customer purchased your product and they are no longer reading your email newsletters and social media posts - you’re no longer the brand that is at the forefront of your customers' minds. It’s time to get back there with great content!
To rekindle with previous customers, you need to examine your buyers’ preferences and purchasing behaviours to review any changes. It’s then time to reword, restructure or revitalise your content to ensure you’re offering new value.
By Claire Wilson, content strategy director at Stratton Craig
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