What is mid-funnel content marketing? Hint: You’re reading it
Mid-funnel content marketing uses targeted blogs, case studies and whitepapers to nurture users in the interest and desire stages of the sales and marketing funnel. These users will be aware of your brand and may have spent some time interacting with your site and consuming your content. But they won’t yet be ready to take action.
If you’ve been researching content marketing for your business, you’ve probably got a few questions waiting to be answered. You’ve probably come across the so-called ‘funnel’, a semi-magical diagram and methodology that promises to unlock the secrets of content strategy and how to make it work for your business. Fantastic! But, er, what is it?
Great question, and you’ve come to the right place to find the answer. Let’s take a closer look at the funnel, and specifically, at what’s arguably its most important part – the middle.
What is the marketing funnel?
Let’s start with a definition from Kissmetrics:
“A funnel is the set of steps a visitor needs to go through before they can reach the conversion.”
It’s that simple, and it’s that complex. Put plainly, the marketing funnel reflects your audience, with the top representing everybody who is aware of your brand, and the bottom representing your paying customers. The difference in the number of people in these groups is what gives the funnel its shape, and while some businesses prefer to talk about a marketing ‘cylinder,’ the truth of the matter is that no business can realistically expect to convert everybody who’s aware of it into a sale.
Every stage of the funnel is important, but one part of the process that is too often neglected is the middle. There are plenty of businesses out there trying to improve the top of the funnel (by increasing traffic or purchasing social media advertising), and the bottom (by offering trials and demos), but what about the space between? This is known as the ‘consideration’ phase, and the goal here is simple – turning awareness into interest.
What is mid-funnel content marketing, and why does it matter?
The middle of the funnel is where you start making a case for what your organisation offers, and where you can start identifying your product or service as a solution to your audience’s problems. This is arguably the trickiest part of the funnel to master. Making people aware of something is one thing, and so is convincing a potential client to invest in you, but guiding your audience from awareness to the cusp of conversion is a different deal entirely.
This stage is also the part of the process where content marketing can add the most value. For a lot of businesses, the nuts and bolts of conversion is still done face-to-face, while the top of the funnel can be improved simply by investing in paid ads.
Why does content marketing work so well in the middle of the funnel? The answer is simple. Content marketing talks directly to those who are already aware of your organisation. It convinces them that you know what you’re talking about, and that your services would be a valuable investment – all without getting too ‘salesy’ and turning people off.
As Contently puts it, mid-funnel content helps your audience evaluate your brand and develop an affinity for it over your competitors.
Mid-funnel content marketing: An example
Bear with us, this is going to get a little meta. Normally we’d use an example from a famous brand or one of our clients to illustrate mid-funnel content marketing. In this case though, we don’t have to – because you’re reading it.
This isn’t a top-of-the-funnel piece, designed to make people aware of content marketing as a whole. That’s what articles like this are for. This also isn’t a bottom-of-the-funnel piece, so we’re not going to include a list of testimonials from happy clients either. Instead, we’re doing exactly what good middle-of-the-funnel content should do – providing value by answering a question that’s more complex than ‘why content marketing,’ and illustrating how we can help.
Castleford: Our mid-funnel marketing tactics
Here at Castleford, we like to take a tailored approach to each customer, and meet their needs at whichever part of the marketing funnel requires a bit of TLC. In many cases, this is the middle, and it takes experience and expertise to create content that will perform well in this zone. Here are a few examples of our most successful tactics:
- Case studies: As far as mid-funnel content goes, case studies are perhaps the most valuable assets you can produce – as long as they are high quality. Case studies are a way for businesses to showcase their solutions to the audience’s problems, with real-world examples of how these solutions have been successful. Producing a great case study is something of an art – requiring multiple stages including interviews and graphic design – but getting it right is a tremendous way to guide potential customers down the funnel.
- High-value blog content: Blog content often sits at the top of the funnel, but certain types of articles (such as how-to guides and FAQs) are a core part of the consideration phase. These are the assets your audience will look to when thinking about making a purchase, so it’s important that they are high quality.
- Social media: A common misconception is that social media is purely for the top of the funnel, but it can also work further down. For example, using Twitter or Facebook to push high-value blogs or case studies to an audience already aware of your business (your followers) is an essential part of the mid-funnel marketing process.
There are plenty more ways to optimise the middle of your marketing funnel and improve your customers’ experiences. To see how it could benefit your business, get in touch to book a demo.