Are you building a content marketing information funnel? If not, you're leaving money on the table. Not only that, you're missing an opportunity to solidify the relationships your hard-earned content marketing efforts are creating.
It's odd that Wikipedia doesn't have a page written about this key internet marketing strategy. There's a page for purchasing funnel and one for sales funnel. And there are over 3 million results on Google for product funnel. Okay, don't go there now, here's what you need to know:
Content marketing works because you take a reader through the steps of getting to know you, like you, and trust you. This is the KLT factor. Here's how it works:
- Your blog should have cornerstone content pieces to communicate your core values and passion and business mission. These are stand-alone pages to highlight your core information.
- Your blog (or website) should have a well-crafted bio or About page, which tells your back story, who you are, and why you care.
- Your blog or website should have client stories, case studies and testimonials everywhere to tell your clients' experiences with working with you, your products and services.
- And next, you need continual, clear calls to action, so that readers can take the next steps.
Next steps can be to get to know you and your expertise further, or they can already be convinced they want what you've got. You've got to have a way for people to take action by having free products, small fee products, mid-size and larger ticket items. These can be informational items, articles, ebooks, audio files, video files, or high ticket one-on-one coaching and consulting services.
From Free to Fee
And, you have to make this clear and easy for people to find, understand, register for, pay for and get without problems or unnecessary procedures. That's why I recommend giving readers a choice:
• Free download, no registration
• Free download, simple registration
• Small fee ($5, $7)
• Slightly larger fee ($25-$50)
• Larger, mid-size fee ($75-$150)
• Big fee (up to $500)
• High end big ticket programs (depending on what your market will accept)
What you give customers should of course be high perceived value and include follow up marketing to upsell them into other products and services. I always give plenty of bonuses, and excellent follow-up emails with additional information.
The key is to respect the people who give you their email address. They want information and education, maybe even with a little entertainment, not sales pitches.
To use myself as an example, you'll notice up at the top of my blog, a graphic image to download Content Marketing with Blogs, a free ebook. You must register your email address to get this ebook, because it's a substantially significant report, and if you're interested enough, you'll want to get the follow-up information. The “price” for this is your email address, so to speak.
Since readers give me their email addresses, I don't want to bombard them with marketing emails. Au contraire, I use their email address to give them additional information that isn't in the ebook. It's a valuable opportunity to prove to subscribers that you've got their best interests in mind.
The point? Yes, I definitely want them to know, like, and trust me. Am I going to turn around and ask them to buy something or to hire me? Of course I am! But in a nice way. If I've done a good job of showcasing my expertise, they may want to hire me…or perhaps not right now. But when they need some of the expertise I've got, they'll know I can deliver.
Not everybody's willing to fork over an email address, many have been burned by spammers and marketing monsters. Under the image of the ebook Content Marketing with Blogs are 3 free digital downloads that anyone can download for free and without registering. This would be the top level of the funnel, since nothing is required in exchange.
These are lead generators, generous information anyone can have. They are designed to build my reputation as an expert who can be trusted to deliver even when nothing is asked in return. At the end of each digital download is my short bio with links back to my sites, and suggestions on how readers can get more information or my services.
This is the information funnel:
- Some information for free, immediate download, no strings
- Some information for an email address, which will prove you can be trusted to deliver good stuff and not abuse their email
- Some valuable information worth paying for, even if it's only a few dollars (make this high perceived value to show you are generous)
- Excellent products and services that deliver much more than expected, worth the price.
Let's talk about the mental funnel, the one your readers experience each time they read your content.
The Mental Funnel
In 1898, St Elmo Lewis developed a model which mapped a theoretical customer journey from the moment a brand or product attracted consumer attention to the point of action or purchase. St Elmo Lewis’ idea is often referred to as the AIDA model – an acronym which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. This staged process is summarized below:
• AWARENESS – the customer is aware of the existence of a product or service
• INTEREST – actively expressing an interest in a product group
• DESIRE – aspiring to a particular brand or product
• ACTION – taking the next step towards purchasing the chosen product
This is a common guideline copywriters use to craft sales letters and landing pages. It should always guide you when writing a web page, a blog post, or any content designed to get readers to take action.
Bring to their awareness of a problem, get them interested in your solutions, build desire through emotional triggers, and ask them to take action, usually with a sense of urgency and/or an irresistible offer they'd be foolish to refuse.