Helping Small Businesses Grow

Content Marketing

Humans have always told stories. Content marketing allows you to tell your own story by disseminating consistent content that provides value for your customer at every stage of their journey. 

If you are here to get an overview over the marketing funnel and customer journey maps, then you have come to the right place. 

 

What is Content Marketing?

 

In my job as a marketing consultant, I see this a lot – Companies get so caught up in producing content regularly that they forget what content marketing is really about: quality, not necessarily quantity. According to the HubSpot 2020 List of Marketing Statistics, content marketing yields three times more leads than paid search advertising campaigns. So if your business goal is lead generation, then it is time to focus on producing personalised content that is adding value to your customer’s journey. 

In order to understand content marketing, you need to first understand the so-called marketing funnel, also known as sales funnel. 

What is the Marketing Funnel?

In a nutshell, the marketing funnel includes five stages: awareness, familiarity, consideration, purchase, and loyalty.  Since marketing is a very broad field, some companies like to break down the funnel into a variety of smaller stages (e.g. they divide the consideration stage into research and evaluation stages). Either way, we believe that understanding the marketing funnel allows for a great way to visualise and categorise your customers’ journey. 

For each one of these stages, specific types of content can be used to nurture and guide the leads through the marketing or sales funnel. Such content pieces have to be personalised for the particular buyer personas that your business wants to target. 

Awareness and Familiarity Stages: 

At the top of your marketing funnel is the awareness stage. This means that people are aware that your business or service exists, but have not yet engaged in any type of interaction with you. Only when they gradually grow more familiar with you, they will start moving down through the different marketing funnel stages. 

Generally speaking, the content you should produce at the awareness stage includes blog posts, infographics, podcasts, and informative videos. This way, future leads can become acquainted with your business and familiar with your content, services and solutions. Only then most people will reach the stage where they may consider engaging with you. 

Consideration Stage: 

 It is at this stage that leads will make the decision to compare your services with competitors. While your prospects are considering whether your business is the right fit for them, you can influence their decision by providing personalised and informative content. 

Especially a focus on video yields promising results: the HubSpot 2020 List of Marketing Statistics found that product videos have the potential to increase purchases by up to 144%. In addition, businesses that prioritised video marketing converted 66% more qualified leads per year than those who fail to include video in their content marketing strategy. Other vital content for the consideration stage includes data-driven reports, e-books, white papers, webinars, case studies as well as templates and tool kits (depending on your services/products). 

Purchase Stage: 

It is a the purchase stage where final decisions will be made: will your leads convert or disappear into the abyss of the world wide web? The final-decision-making process will likely include looking for informative content, which may help with purchase decisions: product guides, demos, customers’ testimonials, detailed reviews, free trials, competitive comparisons and, lastly, free consultations. 

Also, never forget to properly utilise your social media business accounts: Instagram, for example, will be one of the fastest-growing social media platforms for increasing purchases by using video content. 

Loyalty Stage: 

Remember, your goal is most likely not a one-time purchase. Just like leads, you need to nurture your existing customers so that they develop a sense of loyalty to your business. You do not only want them to become repeat-customers, but also to recommend your business to their friends. 

You want to delight your best customers so that they help refill the top of the marketing funnel (the attract/awareness stage). This way, your funnel becomes more of a cycle or cyclical strategy, which can be achieved through asking customers to leave a review or to participate in case studies, testimonials and surveys. This raw content can then be disseminated via social media, YouTube, your website, partner websites, etc. 

What are Customer Journey Maps Though?

If you are trying to stay on top of your stuff regarding recent marketing trends, you may have heard of customer journey maps. Just like the marketing or sales funnel, it is another buzzword marketers really love using. 

While the marketing funnel is a static construct I use for orientation and categorisation purposes, customer journey maps are meant to depict the real buying journeys of your customers. Depending on the duration of your sales cycle, the customer journey may be longer and less linear. This is why it is vital to collect lead generation data, analyse it and tailor the content marketing strategy to your individual sales cycle and customer journey. 

Being a detailed outline of your lead’s decision-making processes, customer journey maps are a great way to visualise where your business processes work well – and where they do not. The marketing funnel, on the other hand, should be informed by your customer journey maps, and be used as a model to target leads at the different funnel stages. 

Only when using these two methods in combination with a data-driven approach, you have found a powerful way to generate leads via content marketing. 

Conclusion

To sum it up real quick: the marketing funnel is the static construct for orientation purposes. It allows you to produce different types of content for each stage (awareness, familiarity, consideration, purchase, and loyalty). 

Customer journey maps are meant to depict the real buyer’s journey. They are based on data you collect in order to capture an outline of your leads’ decision-making process. This way, you can then adjust your content production based on the aggregate data.

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