Applying content across your sales funnel.

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The sales funnel is a term used to represent the  journey potential customers go through on their way to a sale.

Just like its name indicates, a sales funnel is the widest at the top and the narrowest at its bottom. Each stage of the funnel pushes your most qualified prospects into the next stage and drops those that are not a fit for your offer.

While each organization has it own way of managing the sales process and the customer touch points towards closing. The sales funnel will be structured into three distinct stages. The top, middle and bottom.

We will be looking at how we apply digital content across all three of these stages.

top of the sales funnel

1. Top of the funnel

The first stage of the sales funnel is often known as the “awareness” or “discovery” level. Early in their journey, your potential customers are going through a specific problem and are researching and learning about it.

They may not be able to accurately named the problem itself but they recognize some symptoms. As they begin to make sense of the problem the are looking for a trusted source of information.Therefor your content should be easy to consume. 

While your audience is clearly defined the copy should be general and should avoid using technical terms.

Our main goal during the first stage is to engage potential customers. We will also start to capture some data and now consider them as leads.

The topic of our targeted content will act as a pull technique. Engaging potential customers who may have an interest in a product or service that you offer. In the following example we are targeting business owners and leaders.
The advertisements promote a topics. If interested a prospect will then follow a link to a web page or blog post. With this interaction we collect tracking data through meta tags. We also learn something about this persons interests.
middle of sales funnel

2. Middle of the funnel

The next stage of the funnel is know as the “interest” stage. At this point, your prospects have already showed interest in your content. This is where you start qualifying your leads. 
Lead qualification is the process of deciding if a lead fits your customer profile. To effectively qualify and score your leads, you need to create a persona.
A marketing persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. For content marketing purposes, you need personas to help deliver content that will be both relevant and useful.

In this stage the lead might not be looking for specific companies and products. Instead they are looking for the types of solutions available to them. 

For example, they have yet to decide if they will buy a software solution that they can adopt for in-house support teams or if they want to outsource support altogether.

The content in the middle of the funnel is no longer generic. Also, notice that the call to response is now offering something more valuable, a potential or partial solution– in this example, an E-book. 

By continuing to offer something of value, you can propose trades for more substantial information. Requesting an email address to access a download is an excellent way to gain more data from your lead which you can leverage, further target and push your prospect through the sales pipeline.


3. Bottom of the funnel

Finally, the bottom of your funnel is when your leads now know enough about a problem to make a decision on the best type of solution for them. They are ready to select the provider and complete the purchase.

At this stage you want to encapsulate everything into a check list or a comparison chart, include things like pricing and features. Anything that will help your lead make a decision that suits their exact needs. 

Frequently asked questions pages, video about features, live demos and free trials; will all reinforce their confidence in your offer.

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