Small Business Content Marketing Funnel: Why It's Important
Updated: Aug 27, 2022
Building a small business content marketing funnel is essential for your digital marketing strategy. It can help you organize your customers into the various stages of their experience and hone your content to meet them where they are in the process.
Why? The sales cycle for products and services isn't as simple as: Decide to Purchase>Purchase (except for me when I'm impulse shopping for dog hats on Amazon at 3:30 a.m.), it consists of several phases which define the customer experience.
An example, one customer may have previously purchased your product and is ready to do so again. At the same time, another might not know about your product but is about to find out. Defining your content marketing stages can help you define the types of content those customers need and inform your content marketing strategy.
Stages of the Customer Experience
The stages of the customer experience when purchasing your product or service can be generalized to falling into a few specific categories. These categories include awareness, consideration, conversion, and at the very bottom, retention. While there are various versions of marketing funnels, thinking of the funnel as simply attracting, engaging, and converting is helpful when looking at your customer experience.
Stages of the Customer Experience Defined
Awareness – A potential customer is aware of a pain point and ready to seek a solution (Be out there, so they know you exist.)
Consideration – A potential customer has examined the available solutions and is considering which would best suit their requirements (Present yourself as the solution to a customer's problem.)
Conversion – A potential customer has considered their options and is ready to purchase (Make the sale.)
Retention – A prior or current customer has found the solution valuable and wants to remain in the sales cycle to purchase again (Retain that happy customer.)
A Simplified Marketing Funnel to Visualize the Customer Experience
Since the customer experience with
your business exists in stages, it's helpful to think of it as a funnel. There's a broader top to the
funnel that includes awareness, a slightly more concentrated center that provides for consideration, a narrow end that includes conversion, and at the tip, retention.
Why is the Marketing Funnel Important for Content Marketing?
By considering where your customer is in their purchasing experience, you understand that different types of content work at varying points in the journey. You can tailor the information and kind of content they need to exactly when it is required.
When you consider these stages, you understand that each one has its own goal. Furthermore, strategies that work for one section of the funnel may not be as effective in other areas. Creating content to support each funnel phase can help drive your business toward its goal.
Awareness – Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
Goal: Attract your ideal customer, increase your brand's visibility, and position your brand as a solution to a problem.
How: Informative content like blog posts, tip sheets, checklists, and infographics.
Consideration – Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
Goal: Increase the deliberation of purchase from your business, engage with your ideal customer, and position yourself as the best solution to their problem.
How: Content that brings proof and evidence like reviews, testimonials, and case studies, as well as more detailed educational content like guides, worksheets, and data sheets.
Conversion – Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)
Goal: Close the deal.
How: Content that presents your case, including testimonials, success stories, and case studies, as well as freemium offers, demos, and other ways to show them how your product is the best solution.
Retention – Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)
Goal: Retain the customer for future purchasing.
How: Content that supports their purchase and helps them make the most of it, as well as exclusive future offers.
GO DEEPER - For a deeper dive into the best tactics for each stage, check out this article, How to Build an Effective Marketing Funnel from SEMrush.
How To Create Your Own Content Marketing Funnel
Every business is unique, whether in offering or operation. When building your own small business content marketing funnel, it's essential to consider how each section applies to your customer experience journey.
When creating your funnel, consider precisely what content your ideal customer might need in each phase.
Map Out Your Content Funnel
Awareness – if someone didn't know about my product or service, how would I introduce it to them? What questions would they have, and how could I best answer them? Write these down.
Consideration – if someone was aware of my product, how would I convince them that it has value and offers an excellent solution to their problem? What questions would they have now, and how would I best answer them? Write these down.
Conversion - If someone had considered my product or service in comparison with others and was ready to purchase, how would I help them complete the purchase? What evidence can I show them that this is a purchase they can feel confident about making?
Retention -If someone had purchased my product before, what content might they need to do it again? What can I do to get them back in the buying cycle? What content can I provide to remind them of my brand's value?
GO DEEPER - For an excellent workbook that walks you through building your content funnel, check out this fantastic workbook from BuzzSumo, Content Marketing Funnel Sheet.
In Short: Using content marketing to reach your customers isn't easy, but it doesn't have to be too hard. By planning and researching, you can identify the steps you need to take to reach your small business content marketing goals, making the task much more straightforward.