Creating a content funnel – that both informs and inspires your target audiences – is a balance between business strategy and marketing strategy.
What is the content funnel?
The funnel moves the audience from introduction to interest, and eventually converts the audience to become a customer. This method allows marketers to develop meaningful impressions of their brand and services, and inspire ongoing loyalty rather than just a one-time sale.
The goal of great copywriting for marketing is to balance the overarching goals of business strategy and marketing strategy and create content that achieves each goal of the content funnel while staying on message and on brand.
Use a content funnel, not a content timeline
Rather than just a flow chart of steps, the image of the narrowing funnel illustrates the way that both the audience and the content they see become more focused over time. The focused messages at each phase accomplish different goals, so each message must say something different. The funnel provides a helpful conceptual framework for developing the goals for your marketing content.
To deliver on business goals, content funnel messaging has to be resonant and relatable, while staying focused on target metrics.
Here is our tried and true advice on how to make the most of marketing content.
1. Cut the jargon and be clear
B2B messaging tends to be written from the perspective of a business, complete with the technical language and assumptions that go along with being an expert in a field. Louise Cobb, Content Strategist, notes that “experts can find it hard to stop thinking like a business and start thinking like their audience.”
Writing for the funnel requires a new perspective on what’s being offered and language that cuts the jargon.
2. Know the audience and keep it simple
Focus on the campaign’s target customer. Obviously in B2B marketing, that target is a business client but, individually, customers are real people, and often a specific customer type or a team with a specific need can be identified.
Put the audience's humanity first and do enough research about their work so you can understand their position and write to them with empathy.
Ask yourself: What are common pain points for the customer, such as lost time or money? What problem can be solved for them?
3. Take time to build trust
It can be tempting to focus on the end goal (making the sale) and end up with “salesy” content. While you’re eventually trying to convert a lead to a sale, longevity will come with establishing a voice as an expert and trusted partner. A B2B audience may have subjective business needs, but decisions are made by individuals based on confidence in the service. Build trust at the human level to make a real connection.
4. Create standalone communications
It's unrealistic to expect your audience to see every piece of communication within a campaign. For this reason, each piece of content you produce should be able to stand alone as a complete and coherent message. “There's no such thing as '...previously on The Content Funnel,'” says Joe Ransom, Director of Content Strategy. “Referring to other past or upcoming communications might cause some frustration.” While the brand voice and overarching goal of the campaign should be consistent, each phase of the funnel should offer unique, actionable information.
The content funnel is ultimately just one tool of many. Brand reputation relies not only on marketing but on the solutions and experiences you offer after the first sale.
Our team of content strategists works with specialists in marketing, design, development, and video to deliver great brand experiences from the first impression through a lifetime of loyalty.