Building Content Marketing Funnels with Specific Goals

Hand Drawing Content Flow ChartIf you’ve been online for any length of time, you’ve got a marketing funnel in place. “Build a funnel so you can move traffic from introduction to sales and beyond.”

That’s fine advice, as far as it goes. But it’s missing something, and that means your funnels may be a bit…well… leaky.

Where the Funnel Metaphor Gets It Wrong

Here’s the problem: Your visitors are all at a different point in the buying process. The standard funnel image assumes every person is starting from the same place (looking for general information, most likely for free). What about the reader who has already done his homework, though, and has narrowed the choices to two or three options?

This funnel fails him, because it didn’t capture his attention at the beginning of the research process.

How can you make your funnel more attractive to this reader and thousands of others who don’t quite fit in at the top? Easy. With content marketing. Figure out exactly where prospects are in the buying cycle, and lead them step-by-step through the process by creating content that resonates with them.

For example, most marketing people will tell you that the top of your funnel is your blog. The content is free, it’s easy to find, and it tends to be more generic in nature. All that means is it’s perfect for browsers. You probably even have a call to action at the end of each one asking people to join your mailing list, right?

So far, so good. But now what? Even if a prospect is on your mailing list, he’s a long way from making a purchase.

One Small Step in the Right Direction

Now try writing a blog post that addresses a specific problem your reader has. For example, if your visitor is a small business owner, and your new Accountimagic 3000 lets him easily manage his books without a master’s in finance, tell him. Write about the frustration he faces in figuring out the difference between accrual and cash basis accounting, why depreciation versus expense is a losing game, and how reconciliation can bring a grown man to tears.

Then tell him how easy it is with Accountimagic 3000, and offer to demonstrate with a free download. The call to action is to click a link, which takes him to the download page. One step, that’s all you’re asking.

Once he’s downloaded your amazing new software, you have the opportunity to lead him further into your funnel with automated (and highly relevant) messages. Send him links to videos and other tutorials to help him better use your software. Encourage him to contact your customer support department with questions. Offer a coupon just as his trial is about to expire.

The result? A far better conversion rate, because your funnel is now targeted just for him. Rather than expecting him to conform to some generic “customer” specification, you’ve kept his unique needs in mind and helped him find the solution that works for him. And when you can do that, he’s much more likely to buy from you.

Ready to put together a solid content marketing funnel for your site? Think first about the end result you want, and then work backward through each step it takes to get there. Before he makes a purchase, your buyer will need to be sure your software works for him. Before he can know that, he needs to try it. Before he can try it, he must download it. To download, he has to find your landing page. And the path to the landing page is your blog post.

Thinking in reverse makes it easy to see how you can successfully build a content marketing funnel that works.


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About Karon Thackston

For over 25 years, web & SEO copywriter Karon Thackston has created optimized copy and content that has increased conversions & search rankings. Find out more about Karon on Google+.


  1. The marketing funnel for my video product really sucks even though new subscribers enter it every day from my YouTube videos. Your article has got me thinking of redoing my funnel as the 21 day e-course I lead subscribers through has generated very few sales.
    Herman recently posted..Top 10 Ways To Get More Subscribers On YouTube FASTMy Profile

  2. Go get ’em, Herman!
    Karon Thackston recently posted..7 Thank You Pages that Take Post-Conversion to the Next LevelMy Profile

  3. Thanks KarenFor a newcomer setting up funnels can seem rather complicatedIt has taken me many week`s setting everything up however after each step I doubt myself and the quality of what I am offering.I guess I wish only to offer quality Thanks anyway

  4. I started a couple funnels and tested which were effective and which performed badly
    I gather this is a slow process as after 6 onthson my prevous site I only got 7 new prspects and closed the funnel
    Finding quality products to give away was difficult and I ended up purchasing Plr products
    Maybe next time I will get it right
    Greg recently posted..Copywriting Resources to Become a Persuasive WriterMy Profile

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