Have you ever wondered what makes a business transaction an absolute success? Is it what happens at the beginning and the end of that transaction that determines success? A buyer sees the success of a transaction as not what only happens at the beginning and end but what goes on during it. And, what the buyer sees going in the middle of the transaction ends up laying out two things for a company:
· Brand longevity
· Content market strategy success
Here’s the issue though: content marketers tend not to put much stock or investment into the middle process – dismissing its value to the entire transaction. That’s a huge mistake!
For there to be a success, you must realize that the entire transaction process matters – not just the beginning, end, and middle, but as a whole… it matters.
A majority of content marketers have an understanding of what makes an impact on their industry, meaning they know that:
· Inbound marketing method can lead to 54 percent more sales than the traditional marketing method
Inbound marketing can lead to 54% more sales than traditional marketing
· 78 percent of CMOs view custom content as marketing’s future.
· About one-fourth of all businesses will focus more of their budget on content.
The Content Marketing Institute conducted and wrote a B2B content marketing report. It showed that even though there can be a success, it can have only six percent of B2B marketers said that they’ve had any real success with their content marketing plan.
This means that even though the leads were high within successful top-funnel campaigns, the investment return isn’t projecting this success.
Mid-Funnel Content: How To Bring Together The Top and Bottom Funnels To Ensure Success
Between the top funnel (initial interest) and the bottom funnel (final sale) is the mid-funnel content. Think of this part as the meat, cheese and condiments of a sandwich, holding together the two pieces of bread.
For B2B companies, the most important part is the mid-funnel content. This is due in part to the complicated nature of B2B sales cycles and the time that needs to be spent in developing and cultivating relationships with prospects. Compared to the mid-funnel content of B2C companies, the focus is more on customer-relationship management.
How can you know if you’ve developed the right mid-funnel content? The first thing to consider is where these mid-funnel prospects will originate from and what happens to them when they arrive.
Where do mid-funnel people come from? They’re leads that have seeped down from the successful top-funnel content or stay in the system as possible repeat buyers. The premise behind this mid-funnel content is to help prospects throughout the buyer’s journey, giving them material that makes them understand your brand and becomes “attached” to it.
It’s imperative that a deep connection is made at the top of the funnel; to ensure that content is geared toward the various aspects of your target audience. All content approaches are going to differ based on where they fall on the spectrum, but even though that’s the case, the principle stays the same.
There are three things mid-funnel content needs to have:
· Leads that been nurtured, and will lead to sales
· Educate your current and target audience on the various factors that make your brand different
· Always strive to make an emotional connection with your target audience to ensure brand loyalty and advocates
The content within the mid-level range tends to be informative, influential and targeted. It tends to be geared toward the folks in your CRM system already. And, thanks to marketing automation technology, your mid-level content ensures your target audience gets your content at the precise time it’s needed.
Top-level content tends to be broader, helping you to extend your reach to the target audience. The mid-level content, on the other hand, needs to be intentionally constructed in a way that people who want your product will be encouraged to purchase it.
And, segmentation is the surefire way to build your mid-funnel email strategy. Gender, age, and location are important aspects, but it’s the behavior-driven groups that ensure a valuable connection is made with individual users.
When it comes to paths and your mid-level content, it’s important to remember that your newsletter subscribers have a path that differs from your YouTube campaign. In turn, this means they’ll expect different content material. And, long-form readers and podcast subscribers also have their own ways in which they react to your service and product.
What are the effects of the original segmentation patterns?
· Figure out who your target audience is
· Where your target audience is coming from
· What your target audience is looking for
· Delivering targeted material to your audience at the right time to ensure engagement
6 Types Of Forms Your Mid-Level Content Can Take
There are several forms that your mid-level content can take:
This type of mid-funnel design generally takes an action-oriented, emotional slant. For example, CoSchedule is a WordPress editorial calendar plug-in, which keeps an eye on its audience’s behavior and divides people based on their engagement in emails and on-site.
A way to produce top-funnel leads is to generate e-books. These books help to strengthen the relationship between your company and audience by offering a plethora of information on a certain topic. One such expert at this is HubSpot, with persuasive, information-laden e-books that can be embedded in both blog posts and the newsletter.
When used as a mid-funnel tool, the emphasis isn’t about getting leads but helping the buyer through the evaluation process.
One of the easiest way to show your prospects what you do; extremely useful for content marketers so that the information can be reformatted into social media material, blog posts, etc.
A more precise way – no beating around the bush method – to let your prospects know what it is you want to tell them is to use a fact sheet. How can you explain to your buyer why it’s best for you to solve their problem?
This is a long-form fact sheet or e-book that provides important information and how-tos for its entrepreneurial audience.
Integrated Email Campaigns
IEC (integrated email campaigns) must be more strategic than the usual weekly newsletter blast. The premise behind the IEC is to offer another source of information that boosts the connection between your brand and your target audience.
Return On Investment Calculator
ROI calculators permit prospects to type in the company and website information to find out what the necessary investment needs to be to attain goals. Bear in mind that the above list isn’t the end all be all. How your content comes across is dependent upon how each aspect works into your company’s sales goals.
It’s also important to remember that there’s no one size fits all content template for mid-funnel content creation. There are three things that determine the success of your mid-funnel strategy:
· Case-specific information
- · Creativity
- · Specificity
Automation: How You Can Organize and Financially Benefit From Your Mid-Funnel Content Strategy
One of the biggest mistakes marketers make after their attain leads and spiral them to the top-funnel content is provide them with final-sell content – things these leads wouldn’t find useful and leads to a communication and relationship breakdown.
Here’s an example of how a mid-funnel conversation could go:
Brand: You know you have to have this”.
Receiver: You don’t know what I need. Good-bye”.
It’s important to remember that your mid-funnel prospects are people, and they want some form of familiarity before a relationship is initiated. And, this means you must engage with them in a thought-provoking way… geared to just them!
Professional marketers will change their mid-funnel approach to ensure they have dependable, reliable content geared toward certain individuals and groups. Automation, especially email, will streamline the process, personalizing the data during this ever-important time of relationship establishment.
Behind the segmentation patterns is the ability to understand better the motivation and behaviors your customers – what drives these behaviors and motivations. You need to determine why they act/behave the way they do so that you can tailor your content so that they’ll want to purchase your products and become a brand loyalist.
What do you think of when you hear the word “automation”? Most people, perhaps yourself included, think something robotic and unfriendly. However, automation is actually the exact opposite.
With the Act-On program, marketers can do sorting based on company attribute – location, department, title, timeframe and behavior.
Important information will support the role the automation function has in boost your mid-funnel content strategy. Don’t think so? Think of this: automated emails are opened 119 percent more times than broadcast email. This means nurtured leads tend to make 47 percent larger purchases. And, companies are sitting up and taking notice, with 84 percent of well-known organizations saying they will or are going to use marketing automation by year’s end.
How should your automation mid-funnel content strategy work? Well, look at your email inbox to get a better understanding of this strategy. It won’t be difficult to determine what companies have you automated into their system and which companies just blast you with content.
How Does Lead Scoring Work To Determine Campaign Success
Remember, mid-funnel content is the bridge between intrigue and sale, so how can a measurement of its success be attained?
Your goals will outline the metrics to be used for mid-funnel measurement. For instance, if your mid-funnel campaign goal is to provide certification or an upgraded service, the newsletter subscriber that never clicks on links will have a different value from the newsletter subscriber who reads the article on your blog and downloaded an e-book about the topic that correlates with the improved service.
These leads may have come from the same location, but the values assigned to them are different because of the end action.
Act-On, Marketo, Oracle, and Salesforce use their own CRM mechanisms to assist them in assigning a value to prospects, using segmented engagement. The lead-scoring process is set up as a numerical system, which allows you to assign points to your targeted audience based on different variables:
- · Age
- · Behavior
- · Gender
- · Location
This will lead to an evolving number for each person.
This leads to a double effect:
- · You’ll learn how close someone is to making a final decision
- · It lets you keep track of touch points
With this information, you learn what the return on investment is for certain content pieces.
The idea is to give you a better understanding of three things:
- · Segmented lists
- · Groups’ behaviors
- · Personalized emails
From them, you can know what the important metrics are and figure out the attribution.
Recap: 3 Important Things To Remember For Successful Mid-Funnel Marketing
Mid-funnel marketing has no hard and fast rules to it. Yet, there are some important things to remember when developing your content marketing campaign. You can use the information as a guide, printing it out if necessary.
Make sure your mid-funnel goals are aligned with your overall sales targets. You want your sales and marketing always to be in sync. Marketing leads to leads then to sales while sales offer you a plethora of insight.
Use automation tools and email campaigns, making sure not to forget how power personalization, segmentation, and behavior-driven lists can have an impact on your mid-funnel strategy. You want a well-thought out segmentation so that you’ll be exposed to a plethora of valuable leads.
Keep tabs on those mid-funnel folks who actively engage with you, keeping touch with them in real-time. Yes, you’ll be using marketing and sales collaboration to make this happen. Be sure the metrics you use correlate with your goals. You want to make sure that your audience knows what makes your brand different and what leads your audience to become a customer. Never, ever undervalue the content engagement metrics.
In order to make a real impact, consider tying your mid-funnel content strategy in with your social strategy. This will help increase brand recognition and trustworthiness as well as brand authority.
Do you have questions or comments about B2B mid-funnel content strategy? Consider leaving them down below.