How Content Can Accelerate Prospects Through the Sales Funnel
Learn how your content mirrors your sales funnel, with mid and bottom funnel content generating leads and accelerating prospects to become customers in the buyer’s journey.
If there’s anything that gets a website reader’s heart racing and eyes moving down the page in anticipation, it’s marketing-speak. All those high-quality products and services for achieving things in more ways, faster and more cost-effectively than ever before!
It’s riveting stuff, (yawn) pulling the reader into a thicket of abstract nouns as they search for a signpost, a detail, something – anything solid they can use to satisfy the need that brought them to the website in the first place.
What can this business actually do for me? What problems do they solve?
Unfortunately, marketing copy is full of the kind of writing that often obscures such answers under a blanket of clichés, promotional swagger and gratuitous keyword padding. For busy B2B prospects, this is as welcome as a Monday morning cold call.
Give Your Prospects the Answers They Seek
Your prospects want answers. They come to your website to learn what you can do for them.
Some of them are looking for a solution to a specific and immediate challenge. Some are casually searching for what can help them capture more opportunity. In sales speak, they are in different parts of the sales funnel (aka “buyer’s journey”).
Your website content has to appeal to all of them, with the goal of moving as many as possible through the sales funnel to the bottom where they transition from prospects to customers. But no matter where they are in the buying process, your website should include a mix of thoughtful, interesting and original content that is mostly about them: their business, their challenges, their opportunities as well as and how potential solutions work, what they cost, potential ROI, and who may be the best fit to solve their problems.
Providing the right content for prospects at each stage is both an art and a science. The science is built around search engine optimization (SEO): the process of identifying, analyzing and incorporating search terms used by the prospects so you rank higher in the search results and attract more of the people searching.
A Great Story + Great Strategy for B2B Websites that Get Results
Even the most strategic use of SEO will not get you far if your content does not provide answers, or if prospects are forced to wade through a lot of dull, repetitive or overly promotional writing to find them.
That’s where the art comes in. B2B website content should be compelling, easy to find and relevant. Relevance begins with a thorough understanding of your prospects and their problems and understanding that most want to self-educate before talking to anyone.
Research shows that B2B buyers do a lot of research before they ever reach out. Gartner research “reveals that 75% of B2B buyers want a rep-free sales experience.” Your website content should make it easy, interesting and to the point, with plenty of options for going deeper.
Here’s an overview of the type of content that can be effective for each stage of the sales funnel. A mix of voice, style, topics, lengths and formats for each stage makes for a more interesting experience. Put yourself in the perspective of your busy prospect for every piece of content: why should they care?
Top of the funnel content will appeal to an audience that doesn’t know much about what will solve their problems or who would be best suited to solve them. But that doesn’t mean they’re looking for fluff pumped out by ChatGPT or inexperienced “SEO” writers.
Most website visitors will come in through your home page, where top of funnel searchers should find a clear and concise brand story flow of:
- Problems you solve
- Who you solve them for
- How you solve them
- Impact of your solutions
- Links to educational content for learning more throughout your site based on their varying interests and where they are in the buyer’s journey
Other top funnel content includes foundational web pages, blogs, success stories, press releases, and more, covering general subjects like:
- What Is Stainless Steel Electropolishing
- Best Practices for On-Shelf Displays
- How to Capture ROI with Pull-Tab Tickets
- What the Future of Entity Management Looks Like
- Plastixs Becomes an Authorized Distributor for Barb-Tech
Conversion Tip: top funnel content provides light education, indicates your credibility in the subject matter but rarely generates leads unless there is a major sense of urgency. At this stage in the buyer’s journey, it’s good to have links and calls-to-action that lead them to mid funnel content and gated, bottom funnel content.
Middle of the funnel content goes deeper and can encompass a wide range of blogs, case studies and guides that demonstrate specific solutions and services or provide 201-like educational information and tend to be a bit longer than top funnel content. Examples include:
- How to Ensure Profitability as Your Veterinary Practice Grows
- Vertical Inline vs. Base-Mounted Pumps: A Comparison
- Your Guide to Costco Retail Packaging & Display Success
- Case Study: EM Pumps Improve Employee Retention, Safety & Productivity by 180%
- Passivation, Pickling or Electropolishing: Which Is Right for Your Metal Parts?
Inviting your visitors to learn more by signing up for a newsletter or downloading a case study or guide can create mid-funnel leads.
When it comes to promoting what you do, it’s more effective to make a case around your role as a partner in their success than to try to make the case for a sale.
Conversion Tip: mid funnel content educates prospects but usually doesn’t generate leads so, at this stage in the buyer’s journey, it’s good to have links and calls-to-action that lead them to gated, bottom funnel content, ROI calculators, and offers for expert assessments like this one and this one.
For bottom funnel prospects, details matter. Get specific. Quote the experts. Interview your customers and be generous with what you share about your work and the problems you solve – especially for lesser known, complex and custom solutions.
There’s a strong argument to be made for sharing pricing information as well, even if it’s just a range like this.
Other examples include deep-dive blogs, webinars, technical guides, whitepapers, and ebooks that are often gated lead generators:
- How to Create a Data Analytics Center of Excellence in Healthcare
- ROI Calculator: How to Win Friends & Influence People (to Invest in Entity Management Software)
- Multistate Payroll Tax Management Guide
- How to Find the Right Custom Manufacturing Equipment Partner
- Guide to Custom Manifold Assemblies
Conversion Tip: once satisfied with content, bottom funnel prospects are likely to be ready to speak with you so promote your free samples, demos, quotes, speak with an expert, and make it easy for them to take the next step.
Out of Funnel: Beware
To increase traffic, many succumb to the temptation of pumping out content outside the core interests of their target markets, i.e. “fluff.” This has never been easier thanks to ChatGPT. This is done in an attempt to bring as many people to the website as possible, thinking that this will somehow increase lead generation. It doesn’t. While this can help increase rankings and relevant traffic to a small degree, it can result in lots of spammy leads that will waste your time.
One example: a construction project management software vendor published the blog on How to Build a Dam. Not only are civil engineers not their target market but also no self-respecting civil engineer outside of school would conduct such a search, and this company has no credibility publishing this content (it even cites Quora).
Recommendation: write about what you know and leave the rest to the respective experts.
Help for Creating Mid & Bottom Funnel Content
The good news is you already have the foundation for great website content. Your business is a trove of expertise, experience and people who have knowledge, perspective and guidance that your prospects desperately want – and Innovaxis can help you share this expertise. While our team of former journalists and published authors can create top funnel content, clients benefit more from the mid and bottom funnel content they create, like the examples included here.
Contact a member of our team and learn more about our digital content solutions for B2B websites. We’ve been helping tell our clients’ stories for decades, with strategies for reaching the right audience with the right message and results that include double digit growth and a 300% marketing ROI within the first 18 months.