Question for you … How many ads or freebies do you see during your daily travels around the Worldwide Web?
And how many of those do you click on?
On the other hand, how many times have you followed a link for a blog post that you read? What’s the difference? One is marketing and the other is information.
How Content Marketing Funnels Work Best
Yes, content marketing funnels do involve marketing. However, this form of purchase funnel is a lot more friendly than straight-up advertising. That’s because it allows people the chance to get to know you, trust you, and build a relationship with you by taking advantage of the exceptional blog posts, downloads, videos, interviews, or other material you provide.
If you approach your sales funnel stages the right way, you can lay a foundation that will bring leads closer to you and help convert them into customers.
Strategy #1: Develop Quality Top-of-Funnel Content
Just as with a physical funnel that might be in your kitchen, a purchase funnel has a wide opening where lots of people will enter. What turns a purchase funnel into a content marketing funnel is the use of (you guessed it!) … content.
The top of your funnel should offer something free or very low-priced. Think of it as an introduction, something that is designed to give curious leads a sneak peek at you and what you can do for them.
Have you ever been to a car dealership? Did you take a few minutes to talk with the salesperson? Go on a test drive? If you didn’t like the dealership or the car, you probably left without buying. If you did like one or both, you moved to the next phase.
The last time you were shopping for groceries, did the store have little ladies behind cute stands serving up samples? Did you eat one? Were you handed a coupon? Same thing. If you liked the morsel, you took the coupon and bought the product. If you gagged … both most likely went in the trash.
Your top-of-funnel content is that little nibble and coupon.
To entice folks to use the freebie and/or discount you offer, you’ll want to create a tasty tidbit that leaves them wanting more.
Best Top-of-Funnel Options to Fill Your Content Marketing Funnels
When you know you’re going to meet some new business-related prospect face to face, what do you do? Whether in person or via Zoom or Skype, you spiff yourself up a bit. Even if you’re an online entrepreneur whose usual uniform is shorts and flipflops, you probably take time to at least brush your hair and put on a clean shirt.
What’s that old saying about first impressions?
The same goes for your opt-in freebie. Choose something people crave. Here’s a short list of popular choices:
- Videos not available publicly
- Cheat sheets
Remember, of all the sales funnel stages, this is the most critical. If you can’t provide something of worth to prospects, they’ll walk away and you will have lost your chance.
Strategy #2: Connect People to Your Content Funnel Using Blog Posts
Most folks won’t simply stumble on your free offer. They’ll need to be directed to it in some way. And one of my all-time favorite means of matching prospect to freebie is with blog posts.
The posts on your blog work sort of like having a conversation with readers. With each post they read, these people get to know you a little better. As they absorb your knowledge, it becomes clearly apparent that — hey! — you know what the heck you’re talking about!
Get Monthly Blogging/Content Marketing Ideas by Email
Tired of trying to figure out what to write about all the time? Every month, you’ll receive an entire list of topic ideas complete with title suggestions as your free gift when you request the Marketing Words Newsletter.
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Be careful to choose topics and post styles that give you the opportunity to offer something valuable and timely to your prospects. How-to posts are classic and always in demand. Explaining how to solve a problem, complete a task, or reach a goal will satisfy your readers’ demands for quality content.
Current-event posts are another option that can’t go wrong. Recalls on pet food, changes in social media sites, updated Google algorithms, advancements in your field of expertise, and more will keep engaging leads who love to stay on top of things.
All of this instills a feeling of assurance in your lead and makes him/her comfortable enough to trade their email address for your content upgrade.
Strategy #3: Use Automated Videos Based on Your Blog Posts
With sites such as Lumen5, you can set up a free account and the software will automatically import each blog post and create a video (with images and text overlays). You have the option to edit the video, add a music track, and import your own images if you don’t like the ones Lumen5 uses.
When you’re finished, quickly share to most social sites to put a little zip in your posts. Images and graphics are great, but video really captures attention! What’s more, video looks professional and — when well done — downright impressive.
At the end of the video, or in the text you write for your social post, add a mention and link to your content marketing freebie so viewers can click over and scoop up your gift.
How to Set Up Content Funnels
The issue many marketers have is not understanding the best process for choosing, creating, implementing, and reaping the benefits from content funnels.
To ensure the success of your purchase funnel, begin by doing the proper amount of prep work. While most of us love to dive right in and crank out a blog post, taking the time to create a roadmap for your customers to follow can give you (and them) greater clarity.
Create a title for your post that matches your lead’s intent or problem and then hints at the solution. Here are a couple of examples:
- Who Would Have Thought? The Quickest Way to [Solve This Problem]
- No Way! How I Actually [Solved a Problem] … And You Can, Too!
Then seamlessly merge from the text of your blog post to an invitation for readers to download / receive your freebie. Making the gift part of the solution / answer that your blog post talks about is a surefire way to capture the attention of visitors.
When the writing is finished, that just leaves the technical setup. I am the last person anyone would call a techy, so I always defer to Cindy Bidar. In fact, we teamed up to create a 4-session video training just to walk you through how to use blog posts to drive leads into your content marketing funnels.
How to Fill Your Funnels: A Blogging Game Plan to Grow Your List & Income Fast is a great next step to use when you want to increase the size of your list and your revenue quickly. This 4-session video training program walks you through every step to success.
Have questions about content marketing funnels? Talk to me below!