You’ve probably heard the term “sales funnel.” This refers to the process by which someone progresses from not knowing anything about your company or brand to becoming a loyal customer. The funnel is divided into phases, often defined as: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action. The content you present at each stage of the funnel should help advance the prospect to the next stage and, ultimately, to a sale.
Creating strong “top-of-funnel” content is particularly important. This stage is critical because success results in a lead that you can nurture in subsequent funnel stages. No lead, no sale.
But what types of content are effective at this critical stage? How do you create content that will capture potential B2B prospects and entice them to take the next step? Consider the following tips:
1. Post your content where people are looking.
The role of digital channels in B2B marketing is growing rapidly, so that’s a good place to be with your top-of-funnel content. This includes blog posts, downloadable assets like white papers, and videos. Search engines are the go-to resource when prospects begin their journey, so creating content that leverages relevant keywords can help boost your organic search success. Social media channels like LinkedIn and Twitter can also be effective in promoting your content and linking prospects to it.
2. Don’t sell; inform.
At the top of the funnel, people usually are looking for a solution to a problem or need. Your top-of-funnel content should focus on providing useful, practical information—not a sales pitch. For example, if your company provides anti-cyberattack software, creating a blog series or white paper on best practices for hardening corporate defenses or tips for defending against phishing attacks may be just the information a potential prospect is looking for. Avoid the temptation to pitch your product—though you should highlight a need that your solution addresses.
3. Create a relationship.
Top-of-funnel content provides an opportunity to begin forging a relationship as a trusted resource. Whatever the topic, write in a voice that is authoritative but approachable. Imagine you are speaking to that single reader as a colleague. Avoid jargon or complex sentences that can be off-putting. This is your chance to show that you know your stuff and that you are generous in sharing that knowledge.
4. Guide them to the next step.
Don’t miss the opportunity to move the reader along the funnel. This could mean linking to another information resource (a white paper, for example) that requires registration or including a call to action for an offer (example: “How solid are your cyber defenses? Find out with a free assessment.”). Again, resist the temptation to pitch your product with a “free demo”; we aren’t there yet in the relationship. But requesting the reader’s contact information for the next resource in the funnel will begin the nurturing process.
5. Keep it going.
Like other marketing initiatives, top-of-funnel content development and delivery is an ongoing process. It’s a good idea to create a year-long content strategy that defines key topics and delivery channels for every month. Be flexible, however, so you can capitalize on timely industry topics or news that may pop up. Keeping the information fresh and relevant is essential for keeping prospects engaged and building your credibility as a trusted knowledge resource.
Done well, top-of-funnel content can transform your company and brand from an unknown to a trusted source of answers—and, ultimately, of products or services. Once they discover you and start to consume your content, prospects may begin to think, “Hey, these people know what they’re talking about. Maybe they can help me solve my problem.” That leads to the next stage, Interest, and the start of a buying decision.
By now, you’ve probably noticed that this blog post is itself an example of top-of-funnel content. Did you find it helpful? Have any thoughts to share? We’d love to hear from you. Contact us today.