Content Marketing: How to Turn Ice Cold Prospects into Multiple Buyers

The Big Misconception 

Here’s the big misconception…Content Marketing = blogging.

The truth is that blogs are only one part (albeit a major part) of a content marketing strategy that transforms…

  1. prospects into leads
  2. leads into customers
  3. and customers into high-ticket, multi-buyers

So… here’s the good news:  if you have a blog, you have a major piece of the content marketing puzzle in place.  But that blog has a VERY specific role — and most digital marketers try to force a blog to do things it isn’t suited to do.  So… they fail.

To transform cold prospects into buyers using content marketing you need to go back to the basics…

The Simple Marketing Funnel

I know this is Marketing 101 stuff but stick with me for just a second before I get into the more advanced content marketing concepts we’ll be covering.  For an ice cold prospect to become a customer they will need to travel through three stages…

  1. Awareness – The prospect must first become aware that there is a problem and that YOU or your organization has a solution for it.  (This is where your blog EXCELS)
  2. Evaluation – Those that move through the Awareness Stage must now evaluate the various choices available to them, including your competitor’s solutions and, of course, taking no action at all to solve the problem.
  3. Conversion – Those that move through the Evaluation Stage are now at the moment of truth — purchase.  At Digital Marketer, our goal at this stage is to convert leads into frequent and high-ticket buyers.

A cold prospect cannot evaluate your solution until they are first aware of the problem AND your solution.   And conversion is impossible until the prospect has first evaluated the possible courses of action.

Here’s what this means for content marketing…

TOFU, MOFU, BOFU Content Marketing

To move a prospect through a marketing funnel, they will need content designed to satisfy their needs at each of the three stages.

They need content at the top of the funnel (TOFU) that facilitates awareness.
They need content in the middle of the funnel (MOFU) that facilitates evaluation.
They need content at the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) that facilitates conversion.

Blogs are fantastic facilitators of awareness — but they do a poor job of facilitating evaluation and conversion.  And, at the risk of pointing out the obvious — evaluation and conversion are super critical to your business.

To move prospects through the middle (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU), you need other content types.

Introducing The Content Lifecycle… see each stage of the funnel and the content needed at those stages…

Top Of The Funnel (TOFU) Content Marketing

The prospects entering the top of your funnel are completely unaware of your solution and, often, completely unaware of their problem.  As a result, you need content with a low barrier to entry — because they have little to no motivation to put skin in the game (think giving you contact information or money.)

You need freely available content at the top of the funnel (TOFU) that…

Entertains
Educates
or Inspires

… and you need to make it readily available using content types like

Blog posts
Social Media Updates
Infographics
Photographs
Digital Magazines/Books
Audio/Video Podcasts
Microsites
Print Magazines/Newsletters
Primary Research.

You don’t need all of these content types at the top of the funnel.  Most businesses will post content to a blog and to social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.  Once you’ve mastered these two content types, you’ll want to add more top of funnel content to the mix like a podcast or a print newsletter.

Remember, the big goal at the top of the funnel is to make prospects ‘problem aware’ and ‘solution aware.’

Whole Foods use their Whole Story blog to raise awareness for a sea scallops offer while providing valuable content…
At Digital Marketer, we provide educational content our prospects are interested in — raising awareness of our products and services…
A kitchen remodelling company uses photographs of remodelled kitchens to make prospects ‘problem aware’ and ‘solution aware’ …

Unfortunately, the top of the funnel is where most organizations begin and end their content marketing efforts.  Smart content marketers know that, with a bit more effort, they can move prospects from awareness to evaluation in the middle of the funnel.   Here’s how it gets done…

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) Content Marketing

The big goal in the middle of the funnel is to convert ‘problem aware’ and ‘solution aware’ prospects into LEADS.  We use free content to incentivize prospects to submit their contact information and opt-in to receive future marketing.  We call this type of content a Lead Magnet.

Lead Magnets can be…

Educational Resources (Case Study, White Paper, etc)
Useful Resources (Swipe File, Checklist, etc)
Software Downloads
Discount/Coupon Clubs
Quizzes/Surveys
Webinars/Events.

Lead Magnets generate leads for products by offering valuable FREE content in exchange for the reader’s email address…  By clicking on the Download Now button, the reader is prompted to enter their email address to receive the piece of content.  This piece of content generates ‘solution aware’ leads…

A third content type is required at the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) to convert leads into customers…

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) Content Marketing

Ok, it’s point of sale time.  What types of content will your new lead need to make an informed purchase decision?

Here are a few…

Demos/Free Trials
Customer Stories
Comparison/Spec Sheets
Webinars/Events
Mini-Classes.

Your lead may be reading your blog and downloading Lead Magnets (and it will help convert them) but you’ll need content that helps them decide between you and your competitor to move them through to purchase.

Salesforce.com supplies leads in the bottom of the funnel with plenty of customer stories to prove that their product can handle that lead’s circumstances.  Salesforce.com has dozens of these customer stories — one for every major industry, product offering and size of business.  Customer stories are content that converts — and they are the responsibility of the content marketing team.

Xero uses similar content marketing funnels to market its product to Quickbooks users to assist prospective Xero customers in choosing the right solution.  Xero has built all 3 stages of the marketing funnel to facilitate awareness, evaluation and conversion.

Is creating top of funnel (TOFU) content on a blog important?  Absolutely.

But failing to build a full-funnel content plan will leave you disappointed in your content marketing results.  And if you don’t use Content Marketing at all, you’ll have great difficulty in turning prospects into leads, leads into customers and customers into multiple buyers.

Patterson Digital Marketing, through its US production partner, writes and publishes content for monthly marketing campaigns for its clients to maximise clients’ leads, lead conversion and multi-buyer customers.

CALL US on (09) 449 1005 or (027) 489 5009 or email chris@pattersondigitalmarketing.com for a FREE consultation to assist you to plan your content marketing strategy and design your Content Marketing funnel.

This blog is taken from one by http://www.digitalmarketer.com/content-marketing/ which is worth reading as it shows many images to make its points.

Chris Kirkham