The Hole In The Content Marketing Funnel

February 21, 2017 | by Jeff Mason

The Hole In The Content Marketing Funnel

Users of marketing automation tools like Hubspot, are very familiar with the concept of top, middle, and bottom of the funnel content.  If you’re unfamiliar with these terms, or just need a little clarification, here is how it works:

  • Top of Funnel – this is content that content marketers use to build awareness about your company or a topic.  Typically, this content is not specific to your product or solution.  Instead, this content is more educational and its purpose is more about building awareness, brand, and thought-leadership.  Examples include blog posts, eBooks, white papers, and articles.  Top of the funnel content addresses the needs of an audience that is much broader than content in the middle or bottom of the funnel and is, therefore, more generalized than the content further down the funnel.

 

  • Middle of Funnel – content in the middle of the funnel attempts to lure those who have accessed content at the top – as well as others – with more specific information about your product or service.  Here, your content connects the issues that you draw awareness of at the top of the funnel with the benefits associated with your products and services.  The effectiveness of this content improves if you include 3rd party validation of your claims.  Middle funnel content also assists a potential customer in comparing how your solution stacks up to the competition.  Examples include case studies, data sheets, testimonials, and buying guides.  Content at this level should be more tailored to the needs of the individual than top of the funnel content.  Optimally, you want to associate your value proposition with the specific circumstances of the prospect.

 

  • Bottom of Funnel – content at the bottom of the funnel is meant to identify intent to buy.  Preferably, content here is specific – and best if personalized – and even better if it is interactive.  A prospect’s willingness to take the time to interact with something like an automated ROI calculator or a needs assessment is a great indicator of interest and intent to buy.

The content that most organizations use in their content marketing campaigns is of the top of the funnel variety.  This is fine, and this content is valuable, but to nurture someone from the top – through to the bottom – you need content that can occupy each part of the funnel.  With holes in your funnel, your content marketing and lead nurturing effectiveness will be hampered.  To effectively draw a prospect through the funnel, the content you share with them should become more specific, more tailored, and more interactive as you move from top to bottom.

There are degrees of content specificity that we can reasonably achieve – but the optimal degree is that which is personalized to the needs of the individual.  To create this level of personalization, you will need to interact with the prospect to secure information that will fuel your content personalization.

If you use something like an ROI calculator, or an automated needs assessment, as a middle or bottom funnel content offering, then you will have something that is highly personalized and that requires the prospect to interact.  The willingness to interact is a great sign of high lead quality.

To improve your content marketing effectiveness, and secure better quality lead conversions, consider the use of interactive, highly personalized content in the middle and bottom funnel and plug-up the holes in your content marketing funnel.