The secrets to successful lead generation are still a mystery for many organizations. While 71% of marketers practice some sort of lead generation, 55% find their results to be only average1. In order to get a better outcome, one can start by avoiding some of the most common lead generation mistakes, and also get a better grasp of the concept of content and how it impacts a lead at different stages of the buying cycle.
Top of the Funnel
The top of the funnel is the largest part of the funnel; it is also where content is the most general. In this stage, the buyer is aware of a need and is looking to become more educated on the subject. Such a lead will typically visit lots of forums, FAQ pages, and view other sources credible information.
At this stage, the prospect is not interested in your products or services. It is not the right time to advertise your company; instead, take on the role of advisor and help your prospect find helpful information.
At the top of the funnel, the content should be easy to consume (free, succinct and available) and purely informative. Content at this level can include:
- White papers
- Blog posts
- Video blog posts
- FAQ pages
- Resource pages
Middle of the Funnel
The middle of the funnel is where you can nurture your lead. In fact, only a small portion of leads will actually be ready to buy when first engaging with your company. You want to develop a solid and lasting relationship with them and stay top-of-mind for when they do decide to go through with the purchase.
The content you deliver to middle-of-the-funnel leads should be more relevant and customized. At this stage, it is okay for you to introduce your company and relate it to your prospect’s problem. However, your message should still be primarily focused on your leads’ issues rather than your products and services.
Remember, although the prospect is showing more and more interest in the products you offer, the prospect is most likely not ready to buy – so be patient!
This time around, consider delivering your higher level content through:
- Case studies
- Blog posts
- Video blog posts
Bottom of the Funnel
At the bottom of the funnel, prospects are fully aware of who you are, what you offer, and how you can help them. They are now committed to solving their issue; and, if you have done everything right up to this point, you should be on their short list. All there is left for you to do is grab their hand and shut down the little resistance they have left.
The content you deliver at the bottom of the funnel should be highly personalized and engaging. As you build this level of dialogue with your prospect, you want to demonstrate that you offer the best solution to their specific needs. In this stage, content can take the form of:
- Product demonstration
- Free consultation
- Email marketing
- High quality, in-depth blog posts
- Genuine, relevant case studies
From a general standpoint, content should become more personalized and relevant to your leads as the funnel narrows. The form through which you deliver it is of secondary importance; the real issue is to understand your prospect’s mindset at all stages of the buying cycle in order to find out how to serve them best and turn them into a lifetime customer.
Want a few tips on how to create impactful content? Check out this blog post: Lead Nurturing How-To: Create Content to Help Generate Leads
Photo by Daniel Oines