Marketing is impractical without great content that supports your business proposition. Content marketing should be part of your marketing process, no matter what technique you use to reach your audience. We explain what content marketing is, why it’s important and the types of content to use throughout the sales funnel to capture prospective clients and engage existing customers.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing approach whereby a business plans, creates and circulates content via numerous channels such as blogs, websites, print, social media and podcasts, to name a few. The ultimate goal is to attract and retain your target audience, increase brand awareness, audience engagement and hopefully also sales. The content should provide insights and value add as well as convey expertise in order to gain a sense of loyalty with prospective and existing customers.
Why is it important?
Content marketing is important as it helps to drive traffic to your website, create a sense of loyalty around your brand as well as educate your audience about your company, products and/or services to help boost conversions. In fact, 72% of business to business (B2B) marketers say content marketing increases engagement and the number of leads they generate. Other benefits include it being a cheaper marketing method than a lot of traditional style marketing meaning even small businesses can execute content that still delivers value without a large budget.
Content marketing & the sales funnel
Let’s look at the 4 stages of the sales funnel and types of content you can produce at each stage to engage and entice customers.
Awareness: this is the first stage of the sales process and you should be focusing on content that addresses what your audience is concerned about. Write about any pain points, challenges or answer questions they may have which will give you the best chance of engaging them right at the beginning. Content should be educational or ‘how to’ based and any sales type copy should be used within the consideration and decision stage, so leave it out. Types of content for this stage include articles, blog posts, e-books, videos and newsletters.
Consideration: Consideration is a crucial part in the customer journey where they have identified their problem and are ready to explore a potential solution. In the consideration stage, you should offer content that is a hybrid of helpful information and marketing. This content should continue to educate your audience about what features or functions can address their needs with a sway to what your business offers. The best type of content for this stage includes how-to articles and videos, webinars, workshops, checklists, worksheets
Decision: At this stage, your content can focus on sales as long as you continue to send the message that you’re the ‘best’ choice rather than just how good you are. People are invested and more willing to spend time on in-depth content. This stage plays an important part as your prospective client is close to buying your product/service and you should be displaying your knowledge, reiterating the differentiating benefits of what you’re selling compared to your competitors as well as your expertise. The best type of content for this stage includes case studies, testimonials, ‘versus’ content, buyer’s guide, product video, research report, free trials or demonstrations.
Delight: Now they have become your customers, you need to create content to keep them as customers and ensure repeat business. This stage is extremely important however often overlooked. A great ‘delight’ stage helps to ensure the consumer has no buyer’s remorse and helps them to maximise the value from your product or service. Types of content include new user FAQs, user guides, troubleshooting guides, welcome to the ‘team’ (or loyalty program) emails, impact reminders content, details to user hub platforms.
There are many types of content marketing however below outlines some popular and inexpensive ways to connect with your audience.
SEO: By implementing best practices and using elements such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you can identify keywords and phrases to assist a consumer when typing them into a search engine, looking for a company, product, or service. Content marketing is a great way to boost your SEO and when you include the right keywords in your content, you’ll specifically attract more traffic to your brand and ensure your website climbs the rankings.
Social Media: Once you have content, it’s time to distribute it and social media platforms – Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube and others, are all great channels to easily promote your content to an audience. A few things to remember are:
- Ensure the channel you use is one which is frequented by your target audience
- Create your content to fit the channel type as every platform is very different, both in audience intent and the way in which content is delivered. For example TikTok and Youtube use video form content and Facebook and LinkedIn are both ‘post’ driven where you can link articles or content from a summary.
- Measuring your interactions and tracking responses will help identify which channels are working best for your business and delivering your content to the right audience. Test your approach, evaluate and don’t be afraid to modify as you go.
Let your business shine through by creating content which attracts, engages, and sells your product or service to your desired audience. There are so many different ways to create content and the type will depend on what stage of the sales funnel your audience is starting to engage.