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How to create a B2B content marketing funnel

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 02 Jan, 2020
Essential Essential topic

A content marketing funnel acts as a guide for your prospects and leads. It shows them the specific steps they need to take before purchasing your product or service

According to Demand Metric, content marketing generates three times more leads than outbound marketing and it’s about 62% less costly. As a B2B brand, if you want to attract more leads to your business and spend less to do so, you should leverage content marketing.

Content marketing lead generation

[Image via Demand Metric]

To do this effectively, you need a content marketing funnel. A content marketing funnel acts as a guide for your prospects and leads. It shows them the specific steps they need to take before purchasing your product or service. It also helps your business get more qualified leads.

In this post, you will learn how to create a B2B content marketing funnel that gets you a high return on investment in the long run.

Let’s dive in.

Why you need to create a B2B content marketing funnel

A report by the Content Marketing Institute shows that about 58% of B2B marketers use content marketing to generate leads, nurture them, and convert them into paying customers.

B2B content marketing methods

[Image via Content Marketing Institute]

This shows that creating content that is useful and valuable to your target audience will help you a lot as a B2B brand. The first step you must take in order to succeed with this is to understand the problems your audience is facing and help them with solutions.

So you should pay attention to what your target audience is saying. Doing this will help you to place them into different stages of the customer journey. After identifying the different stages of your customer, you should create content that genuinely helps them.

When you do, they’ll come to know, like, and trust you. Also, they will prefer your solution to others out there.

When creating a B2B content marketing funnel, you should have an excellent strategy and quality technique in place. This is because an error in one stage can affect the other stages of the customer journey.

Here are some other ways a B2B content marketing funnel helps your company:

1. Less investment in the paid advertisement

When you have a B2B content marketing funnel, you’ll spend less on paid advertisements. This is because you’re constantly creating content to inform and engage your prospects at each level of the customer journey. Hence, you will rank high in the search engines. Doing this alone will introduce your brand to new audiences and help your website to gain more backlinks.

Not only do you spend less on advertisements when you use content marketing, but you also continue to get targeted leads for your website on a continuous basis. Unlike paid ads where your advertising campaign ends as soon as your budget is exhausted.

With a B2B content marketing funnel, you can set it up today, and it continues to generate leads and customers for you in years to come.

2. Increase in brand awareness

Brand awareness is not just about people knowing your brand name. With good brand awareness, your audience should understand the qualities that make your brand stand out. To do this, you must create valuable content that helps your readers see clearly how you’re different from your competitors.

Take for instance, in the digital marketing space today, most people know Neil Patel as a go-to brand. The reason why this is so is simple. Neil Patel has spent years building his brand using content marketing.

Not only does he publishes blog posts on his website every week. He’s also active in YouTube creating useful videos for his followers. Aside from that, he also has the Marketing School Podcast which he co-hosts with Eric Siu.

By implementing a content marketing funnel such as this, Neil Patel has been able to increase his brand awareness.

3. Perceived authority in your niche

The more you create content that addresses your prospect’s needs, the more they perceive you as an authority. Prospects trust those that they see as authorities. So, they prefer to use the recommendation of these influencers before they make decisions. According to Corporate Eye, 84% of consumers make purchases after reading about a product or service online.

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So, if you want to become an authority in your niche, you must utilize a B2B content marketing funnel. The reason is simple. Human psychology works in such a way that people love to buy from those they know, like, and trust.

In order to attain this status, you must be seen as an authority. Content marketing helps to build that authority for your B2B brand. This is because you use the strategy to create useful and valuable content that solves your audience’s problems on a consistent basis.

4. More organic search traffic

Content marketing fuels your organic search traffic. Truth is, if your content marketing is good, your organic search traffic will increase so that when a prospect enters one or several keywords you’re targeting into the search engine, your website pops up.

Say, you offer SEO services for e-commerce businesses. One of the strategies you can use to generate more qualified traffic from Google is through content marketing. In this case, you need to create content of different forms that help your target audience (e-commerce businesses) fix their SEO problems.

When you create content such as this in the form of blog posts, videos, whitepapers, and case studies on your website and other platforms, you’ll drive organic traffic to your website.

Understanding the stage your audience is in

To create a content marketing funnel that works, you must understand the stages that your audience is in. For an ideal B2B content marketing funnel, there are three stages that form the customer journey.

These include:

  1. Awareness stage
  2. Evaluation stage
  3. Purchase stage

Let’s go through what each stage entails, how prospects in each stage behave, and the kind of content that fits in perfectly for each stage.

Awareness stage

This is where you’d define your B2B buyer’s persona. This helps you to know the type of buyers that are relevant for your product and the kind of information they are actively searching for.

Your understanding of your target company, the roles of employers you’re targeting, their pains, priorities, and drive to purchase will help you communicate better to achieve your goals.

Truth is, if people don’t know what problems they are facing, they won’t see the need in finding a solution. That means they won’t make a purchase. You need to help your prospects realize they have a problem that needs a solution.

For instance, if your business is a virtual assistant service, you have to make your clients aware that their pain point is an unorganized workflow. To solve this, they need to focus on the key part of their business and outsource it to you. Persuading leads to reach out to you works perfectly well here.

The content formats that work well at this stage include blog posts, downloadable offers, SEO, whitepapers, online ads, videos, direct email, and social media.

Evaluation stage

Your buyers now understand their challenges and they’re committed to addressing it. They’re researching different approaches to fix the problem and assessing their options to know if it’ll fit into their budget and their company situations.

At this stage, you’ll show your prospects why your product or service is the best solution they can get in the market to solve the problem. You’ll use their pain points to create the unique value that your content will speak.

This stage is critical in your buyer journey. This is because, for most businesses out there, they want to understand your brand better before making a purchase. Not only that, they want to confirm if your product/service is something that will add value to their business.

The best content formats to use at this stage include case studies, guides, webinars, newsletters, retargeting ads, templates, podcasts, emails, checklists, whitepapers, and videos.

With case studies, for example, your prospects can see the buyer’s journey from start to finish. To do this, you can show your prospects the exact steps you use in your business to help clients get excellent results from using your products or services.

Purchase stage

This is the most important stage in your B2B content marketing funnel. At this stage, the prospects decide if they’re buying from you or not. This stage is also delicate because only a fraction of your prospects make it here. But those who do are usually your ideal prospects. Hence, a slight miscommunication and inadequate use of words can make you lose them.

So your prospect is on the verge of negotiating business terms with you. They’re convinced that your offering is just what they want. They’ve examined the pros and cons and are ready to pass it on to the decision-makers—the company’s high-level individual or group that’ll request contract approval and confirm the purchase of your product.

What you’ll do for your prospects at this stage is to eliminate other options that might prevent them from buying. This should include assisting them to scale through the organizational barriers they may have.

For instance, you can explain to your contacts how to introduce your product to the board. Also, you can show them how to make a case for the purchase, and help them develop an accurate implementation plan.

The content types that work well at this stage are trials, demos, professional consultations, case studies, reviews/testimonials, and events/tradeshows.

Conclusion

A B2B content marketing funnel will help your company if practised accurately with a strong B2B persona for each of the customer journey stages. Understanding your customers is the first step to developing content that resonates well with them.

This is also why you should begin your content marketing funnel by understanding the stage your audience belongs to. With the strategies shared in this post, you can create an effective B2B content marketing funnel that helps your company grow.

 

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By Expert commentator

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