How to repurpose content for different stages of the sales funnel
A proper content marketing strategy can target users and drive useful actions at each stage of the sales funnel. From introducing users to your brand for the very first time to convincing them to speak to sales or become a repeat customer.
To maximise your return on investment you’ll need to do two things. Firstly, you’ll need to select the right tactics for the job. Different stages of the sales funnel require different conversion goals and different content. Secondly, you’ll need to find ways to repurpose and reuse your content, because even the biggest budgets have some limitations.
In this post, we’re going to dig into how to select the right tactics and how to repurpose your content for different stages of the sales funnel. Key takeaways are summarised at the end of each section. And we’ve listed some useful tools at the bottom of the post. We’ll start with an introduction to what we mean by the sales funnel.
Introduction to the sales funnel
A sales funnel (or marketing funnel or sales and marketing funnel) is a popular model representing the different stages in a user’s decision-making process. Sales and marketing funnels come in various forms, but the concept is always broadly the same. For this post we’ll use AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action). This is the model we use for our Content Marketing Framework, which underpins the content strategies we build for our clients.
Here is a brief explanation of what happens at each stage.
Awareness: this is the first stage, the top of the funnel. Users are introduced to your brand or product for the first time.
Interest: users know about you and what you sell and are willing to learn more.
Desire: users are now actively considering you and your products and are ready to be convinced to take the final step.
Action: this is the final stage, the bottom of the funnel. Users are ready to act on your primary website goal (speak to sales, make a purchase etc).
As we move down the sales funnel there are fewer users at each stage. This is because there will always be more users who are aware of you than who ultimately buy your product. Your content marketing strategy should be mapped against your sales funnel, so that each stage, and the link between them, is properly supported. This will ensure your content marketing strategy is closely aligned with purpose of your website and how your business makes money.
Repurposing content for the top of the sales funnel
Before you look at the content you need for any stage of the sales funnel you should decide on your Goal. Your Goal is the tangible, measurable action you want users to take. At the top of the funnel this Goal will be low commitment. It could be subscribing to a newsletter, downloading an eBook or following you on social media.
What defines a Goal is that the user gives you some useful information about themselves that allows you to identify them and market to them in the future. By completing a top-of-funnel Goal, users qualify themselves and start to move down the sales funnel.
So, let’s take social media as our example here and look at the type of content you need and how you can repurpose it from content you’ve already created.
If you’re trying to build awareness with your target audience you might want more users following you on Twitter and engaging with your LinkedIn posts. But as it’s the biggest social media site, let’s assume you’re using Facebook. You might start by running a Page Likes ad to reach more of the right users and encourage them to Like and follow your Page. As well as ads, you would also need to post regular, relevant and valuable content on your Page.
This is where repurposing can really help. If you have an active blogging strategy you’ll have a steady stream of new, high quality content to feed other parts of your content marketing strategy. Hopefully, that content includes a mix of editorial, original graphics and video. If so, it will be ideal for sharing and promoting on your Facebook Page.
You can get more eyes on these posts by paying to Boost them or including them in an ad campaign. Depending on how many Likes your Page has already you should also be able to invite users who engage with your posts to go and Like your Page.
Page Likes are often considered little more than an ego boost. But they do have a practical benefit. Along with users who have engaged with your content, users who have Liked your Page are worth segmenting and targeting with different ads.
For example, users who already know you and like your content are more likely to click on an ad for a high-value blog post or a downloadable whitepaper. By promoting your content in this way you can push some of these users further down the sales funnel.
- Users at the top of the funnel are at the beginning of the decision-making process. They are being introduced to your brand or product for the first time;
- Your content marketing Goal at this stage is a low commitment conversion, such as a newsletter subscription, a download or a social media follow;
- Using Facebook as an example, you can run Page Likes ads to get more of the right users following you;
- If you produce regular, high quality blog posts you can repurpose them by sharing and promoting them on your Facebook Page;
- Users who engage with your posts or Like your Page can be segmented and targeted with ads for different content, such as a high value blog post or a gated download
Repurposing content for the middle of the sales funnel
In the middle stages of the sales funnel – Interest and Desire in our preferred version – users are aware of who you are and what you do. Perhaps they’ve been reading your blog, following you on Twitter or receiving your emails.
Your Goal for these users will require a slightly bigger commitment, such as accessing gated content with a stronger sales element. A good example would be downloading a case study or attending a webinar. Let’s explore the webinar option in more detail.
Webinars can be used to create really effective mid-funnel Goals. Firstly, users take the time to sign up and then log on at the scheduled time to watch and maybe even engage with your content. That requires a bigger commitment than subscribing to your emails or adding you on Twitter. This is therefore an indication of their growing interest.
Secondly, users attending a webinar – or even signing up for it and then skipping it – give you their email addresses. This enables you to segment these interested users and target them with ads, follow-up emails and tailored content.
You can often create compelling and engaging webinars by repurposing your existing content. Let’s say for example you have a selection of case studies on your website. Maybe you’ve decided that you don’t want to gate these case studies. Instead, you want as many users to find and read them as possible.
You could take the content of these case studies and use it to build a deck for a webinar. Your webinar would dig into more detail on each case study, perhaps with additional background and insights from the people directly involved.
If you have remarketing tags (Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc) on your website, you would be able to advertise your webinar to users who had read your case studies. You could also expand those remarketing audiences to find similar users who hadn’t yet read them.
After your webinar has gone out, you can use the email addresses you gathered to put users who signed up into a email drip campaign. This gives you a chance to push more related content and promote your primary, bottom-of-funnel Goal.
- Users in the middle of the sales funnel already know you or your products;
- Your content marketing Goal for these users should therefore require a bigger commitment in order to identify the segment that’s ready for to the next stage;
- Webinars can be used to create really effective Goals for the middle of the sales funnel because they require time and effort and an email address;
- Users who attend your webinar can be segmented and added to an email drip campaign that pushes them towards related content and your primary, bottom-of-funnel Goal.
Repurposing content for the bottom of the sales funnel
Users at the bottom of the sales funnel are ready to commit to your primary Goal. Your primary Goal is the most useful, valuable action a user can take. This is what your sales funnel and your content marketing strategy are ultimately there to achieve.
Your primary Goal will depend on the nature of your business and what you use your website for. If your site is there for lead generation, it will be some kind of form fill, such as a request for a call back or a demo. For ecommerce sites it will be opening an account or making a purchase.
Your aim here is to convince users to take that final step in the decision-making process. For that you need landing pages that provide detailed information and build trust. And you need interviews with key people in your business to put a human face on your products and tell the stories behind your USPs. Let’s dig into the landing pages in more detail.
First of all you need a call-to-action to present your primary Goal as a compelling offer. If you want users to get in touch, you can either say “get in touch” or you can say “book free consultation”. You can say “contact us” or your can say “speak to an expert”. The more appealing you can make your Goal sound the more conversions you’ll get.
Secondly, you want to make sure that your primary Goal is displayed prominently above the fold and that it is quick and easy to complete. If users have to hunt around on the page or spend time filling out redundant fields you’ll lose their interest.
If you’ve invested in some original graphics or videos to help explain how your products and services work you’ll have an opportunity to repurpose them here. Graphics and videos communicate information more quickly and more effectively than text. This makes them ideal for the space immediately below your primary Goal.
Under your graphic you should invest in an in-depth, detailed description of what your primary Goal offers. This will give Google more text to crawl, helping your page to rank in search. It will also help users feel better informed and more confident about what they’re committing to.
Finally, your landing page should feature what we call “trust builders”. This is landing page content aimed at users who didn’t convert right away and instead scrolled down the page still needing to be convinced. Your trust builders are another opportunity to repurpose your existing content. If you have case studies, for example, you can pull highlights or quotes from them to give your users “social proof”.
If you’ve blogged about milestones and successes you’ve achieved you can organise them into a bragroll (a series of impressive stats, such as average customer satisfaction rating, deals won, projects completed etc). If you work for or partner with well-known brands, you might add their logos to a slider. Remember to push your primary Goal again as users scroll down the page so they don’t have to go back to top to complete it.
- Users at the bottom of the funnel need to be convinced to complete your primary Goal;
- Your primary Goal is the most valuable or useful action users can take and is the ultimate aim of your content marketing strategy;
- For lead generation websites, this is a form fill. For ecommerce sites, a purchase;
- Primary Goals need dedicated conversion landing pages to support them;
- Conversion landing pages need a number of key ingredients. These include a prominent call-to-action, a graphic or video summarising the most important information, text providing more detail and a selection of “trust-builders”;
- Trust builders might include logos of well-known customers or partners, a bragroll or highlights from your case studies.
Tools to help you repurpose content for different stages of the sales funnel
To wrap up, let’s have a look at some useful content marketing tools that can help you repurpose your content for different stages of the sales funnel:
User Personas: avatars that represent different segments of your target audience will be a vital asset for your content marketing strategy. And a key part of a good set of user personas is identifying which stage of the sales funnel each persona is at. Once you’ve worked through this, it’s much easier to create effective, goal-focussed content and promote it in the right places.
Editorial Calendar: this is a really useful tool for efficient content marketing. If you have an editorial calendar to plan out your content it will be much easier to spot opportunities to reuse and repurpose it at different stages of the sales funnel. Your editorial calendar can use a third party template or it can be a simple document like a spreadsheet or a Trello board.
Social Media Remarketing Tags: adding social media remarketing tags from Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to your site is free and should form part of the set-up phase for your content marketing strategy. Once you’ve installed them you can use them to create audiences for ads. That means once you’ve got users on to your site you can retarget them with different ads or related content and to move them down the sales funnel as part of your lead nurturing strategy.
Marketing Automation: if you want to do content marketing at scale marketing automation is a must-have. While social media remarketing and manual emails can still be effective, marketing automation takes your marketing strategy to a new level. It allows you to identify users and then, based on their activity, segment them and add them to different drip campaigns.
A Blog: a blog is the creative hub of your content marketing strategy. If you’ve got a regularly-updated blog you have a steady stream of content you can repurpose for different stages of the sales funnel and different platforms. Your blog should feature in-depth editorial, graphics and video, supported by a defined and documented content strategy.