The sales cycle and marketing funnel should work together seamlessly to pull potential buyers from the awareness phase to conversion. To do so, you have to pay special attention to every part of the marketing funnel and make sure the content you create and provide matches the different phases of the buying cycle. This may sound difficult, and in truth, it’s not a simple process. You have to fully understand your buyers and the average length of the buying cycle. To make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s take a look first at the simplest steps of the buying cycle and how it fits with the marketing funnel:
- Awareness > Top of the Funnel
- Consideration > Middle of the Funnel
- Decision > Bottom of the Funnel
The types of consumers within that funnel should be broken down into smaller chunks, or you’ll never know what type of content to create for them. Let’s look at the various potential buyers that will move through your marketing funnel:
By now, you’re probably starting to work out the stages of the cycle and the funnel for yourself. Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, we’ll break down the cycle, funnel, and consumers like this:
- Awareness > Top of the Funnel > Visitors
- Consideration > Middle of the Funnel > Engaged, Prospects
- Decision > Bottom of the Funnel > Leads, Customers
Content for Every Part of the Funnel
Top of the Funnel
Marketing really is like a relationship. The top of the funnel is your first meeting. Maybe you lock eyes across the room and just have to introduce yourselves. Maybe you were set up by some well-meaning friends. Your goal at this point is to sound as interesting as possible without stretching the truth or getting too in-depth. Because lies and overshares scare people off, right?
The content you provide for those at the top of the funnel usually includes general blogs, fun videos, press releases, and maybe social media posts. You want to hook them without giving too much away. If they’re interested, they’ll stick around to learn more. And then you’ll go on your second date.
Middle of the Funnel
The content for the middle of the funnel is a lot harder to nail down. For that reason, many people either back away at this point or skip this part of the relationship and jump right into commitment. Commitment is great, but without the trust built in the middle of the funnel, loyalty often falters.
To fill that need and built that loyalty during the second or third week of “dating,” you can share white papers, case studies, and webinars. This your chance to really impress potential customers and share the numbers and statistics that set you apart. Don’t let them jump into a commitment without really getting to know you, because this is the content that will bring them back time and again.
Bottom of the Funnel
When you’re both ready to commit to one another, this is the decision phase. Your leads convert to customers, and everyone’s happy! Of course, they still might need a nudge here or there before they make the final decision, so you’ll need some content prepared for this part of the buying cycle, too.
Most of the time, a free trial, a personal demonstration, or a discount is all you need to get the ball rolling. Blogs and social media posts should remind the buyers what a great choice they’ve made.
Now you’re ready to build great relationships with your potential customers. Just don’t neglect the middle of the funnel simply because it’s hard to create that content. The time you take to build trust and rapport with buyers will result in great rewards later.