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9 Ways Content Marketing Supports the Entire Funnel

by Doug Davidoff | Sep 2, 2014 10:05:56 AM

Busines-Finish-LineWelcome back. With Labor Day behind us, it’s now time to focus on the next 90 days to ensure we sprint across the finish line that is 2014.  To kick off the last third of the year, I thought sharing a primer on the value of content marketing will be useful.

While I realize that most people reading this blog are already believers in content marketing, I’m still surprised by how many organizations resist embracing it. If there’s any doubt, here are three compelling statistics to put content at the forefront of your revenue generation strategy*:

  • 61% of consumers feel better about a company that delivers custom content, they are also more likely to buy from them. (source: Custom Content Council)
  • B2B companies that blog regularly generate 2/3rds more leads per month on average than non-blogging companies.  (source: HubSpot)
  • The average cost to generate a lead with inbound marketing is less than half of outbound marketing – and it generates almost three times the volume. (source: HubSpot)

What’s great about content is that it’s a tactic that serves multiple purposes at one time. Whether you’re creating blogs, white papers, webinars, scorecards, etc., content supports the entire funnel.

Here are nine ways content marketing gives you an advantage:

At the Top of the Funnel (TOFU)

  • Creates Awareness & Drive Traffic:  If people don’t know you they won’t buy from you.  More than 80% of the traffic on the web at any point-in-time are looking for valuable information (content) that can answer questions they have or help them solve a problem.  Great content attracts great prospects.
  • Win the ZMOT:  The very basis of how customers and prospects make decisions and buy things has completely changed.  More and more, the sale is won in the Zero Moment of Truth.  If you’re not effectively competing there, you’re losing sales without even knowing they exist.
  • Uncovers Digital Body Language:  While on the one hand it is more difficult than ever to connect with the right people, online content actually allows you to not only connect, but decode what’s on their mind, and how they’re most likely to behave going forward.

At the Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)

  • Make the Case for Change:  As Doug Kessler says in his great SlideShare, the only way to get someone to make a change is by making the case for change. Content allows you to build the case for “a real, undeniable, significant and relevant change in your [prospect’s] world.”
  • Test Your Message:  Years ago when I was working on messaging with clients, we’d argue opinions. They “liked” the message or they didn’t. I tried to explain that the goal isn’t a likeable message, but rather one that works.  With content, you can quickly and effectively test and measure your message.  Today, you don’t have to debate opinions.  Instead you’ll have facts and data.
  • Nurture: According to the Gleastner Research, less than ¼ of the people who request information about your company are near a buying phase.  The rest have to be nurtured.  Effective nurturing can have a dramatic impact on your sales and profits.

At the Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

  • Reduce Risk:  One of the biggest causes of decision reluctance is the risk of making a decision. Case studies, customer stories and the like provide social proof that reduces the fear of moving forward.
  • Monetize Your Value:  I often ask salespeople and executives if they’re selling plywood or hurricanes. Effective content like ROI calculators, scorecards and assessments allow you and your sales team to determine the cost of not changing, and enable you to enter a “what it’s worth” conversation.
  • Spread Your Message:  Depending upon the size of the prospect you are selling to, 7 to 21 people will touch the decision you’re pursuing (source: Marketo and MarketingSherpa). Content is the only means to enable you to get your message, and your case, in front of everyone’s eyes. What’s more, you get to deliver your message without a “champion” diluting it.

Bottom line, if you haven’t already put content marketing at the top of your new business efforts – what are you waiting for?! There simply are no excuses for not investing in a fully-fledged effort.