How to Use B2B Content Marketing for Each Stage of the Sales Cycle
B2B content marketing is all about communicating and building trust. Providing your current and potential clients with informative content establishes your firm as an authority in your field.
When clients visit your blog or other online resources, they’re looking for quality information that speaks to their personal situation. By catering your content to each stage of the sales funnel, you can demonstrate a specific understanding of individual client needs.
Let’s take a look at the sales funnel and break down how you can leverage your B2B content marketing for each stage.
Top of the Funnel
WHO: This is the casual prospect who does not (yet!) have a relationship with your firm. What they do have is a problem that needs solving and they’ve likely just begun looking into their solution options. At this stage, the time they’re willing to devote to processing your content is minimal, especially considering they’re probably also reading content from your competitors.
WHAT: You want short, digestible content that targets specific problems and doesn’t involve a significant time investment or information exchange from the reader. Make this content readily available without any strings attached.
HOW: Blogs, videos and infographics are all great examples because they can easily be quick, targeted and informative. You want your top of the funnel prospects to get the highest ROI from reading your content as possible.
Middle of the Funnel
WHO: At this point, your prospect has demonstrated some level of interest in your firm. They’re no longer just casually shopping their options. Instead, they’re interested in making contact and are willing to invest more of their time and personal information into figuring out what your firm has to offer.
WHAT: Since you’ve already caught the attention of your reader and begun to build trust, it’s ok to ask for something in return. Offer more valuable and lengthy content at the exchange of filling out a form. Be careful how much information you ask for, though. Your middle of the funnel readers will probably be more than willing to provide the basics (name and email), but might balk at much more. Depending on how your marketing automation tool is organized, you could also ask for their industry or niche, but keep the process as simple as possible.
HOW: The content at this stage can be considered “premium.” The quality of information is more detailed and specific. Both parties—you as the creator, and your prospect as the reader—have more invested. Think guides and white papers, webinars, e-newsletters or eBooks. Most importantly, make sure this content is not superficial or self-serving. You don’t want to destroy the trust you’ve managed to build.
Bottom of the Funnel
WHO: Once you’ve led your prospects through the funnel and to the bottom, they’re nearly ready to convert. You provided the right type of targeted content for each stage of the funnel and the bottom of the funnel is where it all becomes worth it.
WHAT: While your prospects could easily land at the other stages of the sales funnel entirely on their own, reaching the bottom of the funnel usually requires some leading on your part. Thanks to your targeted content, lead nurturing campaigns and offer strategies, they’ve reached the stage in their sales journey where they’re ready to make a decision.
HOW: This stage brings the most interaction between your firm and your prospect. Providing demos, offering free assessments or making direct contact through a phone conversation are all great bottom of the funnel offers.
Catering your B2B content marketing specifically to each stage of the sales funnel puts your firm in the best position to convert more leads and acquire more clients. By recognizing the different needs of your client, you can help make them feel understood, which makes them more likely to place their trust in the solution you provide.
For more information on using content marketing for different stages of the sales cycle, check out our free Content Marketing Guide for Professional Services.
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