Awareness: Content that drives people to your site, and lets them know you exist. Evaluation: Leads that have subscribed to your blog or email list. They might be aware your product or service could fulfill their need, they might be determining whether you are a good fit. Or, they just like your content and are not interested in your product, yet. Purchase: Leads that have become customers, and have the potential to become customers again Most content created, and most that is talked about on social media blogs, is focused on the awareness portion, those at the top of the sales funnel. To make your content work, you need to put just as much focus into developing content for those deeper in the funnel. First step:

Find holes by mapping customer journey

There could be many different ways your leads become customers. As you map it out, however, you’ll find similar patterns and the ideal ways a visitor moves along that path. Here’s a hypothetical situation from a visitor who first comes to your site through your blog:
    Visitor lands on a company blog post and downloads a free eBook >>> Clicks through to site from eBook campaign offer and navigates to Product/Service pages >>> Clicks on a case study, loves it >>> Clicks on a call to action for a free trial of your service >>> After the free trial, receives another nurture email with a coupon, and then becomes a customer.
As you map out these conversion pathways, you’ll notice holes where you should have particular pieces of content, touch points or calls-to-action. Once you know where those holes are, you can start planning content for mid-funnel leads. Here are a few ideas:

7 Content marketing ideas for mid-funnel Leads

The first thing to remember is to continue to give these leads value — content that’s as closely related to what caused them to give you their email in the first place. At the same time, offer something that conveys your expertise, instills trust in you, that helps them in their specific problem. Leads that are still in the nurturing stage typically need more information before they’re ready to convert. The best lead nurturing will come from two things: your thought leadership, which will build trust in you and what you’re selling, and free resources.

1. Free-Tips Email Content

The first type of content you should have? An email or newsletter that is aimed at truly solving customers problems with free education, tips and resources. This could include a newsletter that includes your blog posts, other relevant third-party content, and perhaps a case study, or a feature of your product. A good nurturing email will have significantly better open rates than typical email blasts:  
  • 50% of leads are qualified but not ready to buy
  • Lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate of standalone email blasts
  • 25-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.

Sources: Gleanster Research, SilverPop/DemandGen Report & InsideSales.com

2. Some Promotional Email Content

If someone gives you their email, they expect to be sold to. Resist the temptation to do it often. First, delight them by giving them even more valuable and resourceful free content. If you’re going to go promotional, try to keep it as educational or as helpful as possible. A couple weeks ago, I received the best marketing email I’ve ever had. I started following his Facebook page and ended up signing up for his newsletter to get more fitness tips. The email was just one simple sentence:
Hi Dan, are you interested in building 10-20 lb’s of muscle? Alex
I responded, “Yes.” In a couple minutes I received an email with a pitch to an exercise program. One email solved a couple problems: He was able to answer whether I was a qualified lead, and I knew whether or not he was there to solve my problem. At the same time, I felt like he connected with me. This went from a social follower to having him talk to me personally on email. It’s the kind of connection you want with your customers.

3. Automated emails

Although it can be argued “Automated Email” isn’t a piece of content. I think it is. Acting quickly ensures the lead gets a response quickly and says something about your organization. Content is more than just words written on a page. Plus, 25-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. Automated emails help to pre-qualify people in early stage and keeps you top of mind. Nurtured leads also have a 23% shorter sales cycle.

4. Product-based Webinars/Blogs/Videos/Articles/Podcasts/Social Media Updates

Yep, it’s basically the same thing as content for awareness, with just a slight twist. Let’s pretend for a minute you sell garden tools. To create awareness, you might have written a blog post like “How to Dig the Perfect Hole for Your Garden Plants.” Now that you have an email list, you might send an email with, “7 Ways to Use Our Awesome Square-Headed Shovel to Dig Perfect Holes For Plants.” The difference is in helping people solve their problems by using your product or service. This not only helps convert mid-funnel leads, but can also help former customers return. As the saying goes, it’s much less expensive to retain customers than to get new ones.

5. How-to case studies and testimonials

Trust and confidence in your abilities is perhaps the biggest trait that will move mid-level leads to become customers. This is not new. Case studies with testimonials have long been powerful tools. But to make them better, tweak them a bit so they can also be a resource with solid tips. Back to the gardening example, it could be something like, “How Zach Used The Awesome Square-Headed Shovel to Dig Terrific Holes.” Then tell Zach’s story.

6. Data Sheets

Few things convince people these days more than hard numbers and facts. Customers are getting smarter an don’t respond as well to generic ad copy. They want numbers to back up your claims. Mine data within your industry and your business, then share that info with your customers where it’s relevant. Avoid data dump for data sake by finding how those numbers tell a story or solve problems. Look for patterns in that data, and think of how those numbers can be a resource. This can also give you a lot of ammo for infographics and pitching media.

7. FAQs

I’m not talking about the typical FAQ pages you see on people’s websites. I’m talking about real questions your customers are asking everyday about your business and your industry. Turn each one of those into blog posts. People are typing those same questions into search engines every day to find the answer. Even tackle the tough questions you don’t want to face — like the problems with your products or services. This is all about being transparent, and you may think it’s counter-productive, but it’s a big, big deal. Go here to see how one guy did this with his swimming pool company and made more than $500,000 just from the leads it produced.

Your turn

What other content have you used that has helped you nurture leads?]]>