How to Create Content for Every Stage of the Sales Funnel

Written by Pontus

You’ve churned out dozens of blog posts, ebooks, and podcasts over the past six months and you’ve got nothing to show for it. No leads, no significant boost in traffic, and no more money in the bank. A lot of us have been there at some point, and it’s defeating to say the least.

But the fact is, content marketing can be incredibly effective — if done right. And if you’re confused, you’re not alone. 65% of marketers claim to be confused about what content works and what doesn’t. It’s not always easy to determine what content will bring your prospects in and what won’t. But it helps if you start looking at the buyer’s journey: Visualize the funnel.

The Sales Funnel

For the sake of simplicity, let’s imagine the sales funnel as basic as we can:

  • Awareness: This is the top of the funnel where people are just gaining knowledge of your brand.
  • Consideration: At this stage, leads are aware that you exist and are considering or comparing your offer.
  • Conversion: This is where they pull the trigger — where they go from thinking about buying your product or service to actually doing it.  

You can certainly make it more complex than this, but it will work to start out with. If you define these steps first and create a functioning funnel, it’s far easier to get more granular later. And remember that the structure of the funnel will change depending on what you’re selling.

If you’re selling coffee beans it will take much less lead nurturing than if you’re selling B2B software development services. A coffee bean funnel might be as simple as a Facebook ad and boom — you’re there. An advanced B2B consulting funnel, however, might require several white papers and a free consultation in order for them to finally take your offer.

The idea behind the funnel is that you want to capture people at the awareness stage, then lead them through the consideration stage, to finally go in for the kill at the conversion point and make them buy whatever it is that you’re selling.

Creating Stage-Specific Content

So where do you start? Awareness, of course.

Awareness:

    • Purpose: To give potential customers knowledge of your brand. At this level, you want to solve problems, educate or meet needs. For example via how-to guides or simply interesting content. Always remember the golden rule of content: Be useful. You want to capture the potential leads where they hang out and show them you exist. Ideally, here’s where you should capture an email address as well.

      For example, if you’re selling coffee, you might look up Facebook groups for coffee lovers and post a blog post about the technology behind good coffee.

 

  • Suggestions of content:
    • How-tos
    • White papers
    • Checklists
    • Infographics
    • Videos
    • Webinars
    • Quizzes

Real-World Example:

Brian Dean of Backlinko offers SEO consulting services and online courses. To access his case study about how he increased his traffic by 110% in 14 days you have to provide your email address.

Consideration:

    • Purpose: At this point, you got their attention. Now you want to show how your solutions work to solve their problem. Here’s where you educate the lead about who you are and how your solution works — show them why your solution is the best fit for them. The latter part is important, because at this stage, you’ll also filter out those leads for whom you’re not a good fit. At the awareness stage you might cast a wide net, but make sure you narrow your focus here to really hold the interests of the leads that truly matter.

 

  • Suggestions for content:
      • FAQ
      • Demo video
      • Case study
      • Webinar
  • Real-World Example:

Salesforce is the world’s largest CRM, but it can be complex. For someone curious about features, they have created a video for how it works for small businesses.

Conversion:

    • Purpose: Here’s where you want them to go from thinking about your solution to making a decision. This is generally where your offer comes in — something that’s appealing enough to nudge someone over the edge.

 

  • Suggestions for content:
    • Free trial
    • Free demo
    • Free consultation
    • Free quote
    • Case study
    • Coupon
  • Real-World Example:

Netflix has gone from a video rental company to an entertainment powerhouse. They’re clearly doing something that works — and a free one month trial is one of those things.

Conclusion

Start simple and identify what your basic stages of the funnel are. Where does your target audience hang out? What are they interested in? What problems do they need help with?

Create content around that, proceed to tell them gracefully about your solution, and then provide them with an irresistible offer. That’s the general recipe, and now it’s up to you to experiment with a solution that works for you.


About the Author: From Sweden to Saigon, Pontus is Digital Marketing Manager at Pangara in Vietnam, a company that connects clients with Vietnam’s top freelance developers. When he’s not obsessing over marketing, he can be seen in any of Saigon’s coffee shops.