What is a Content Marketing Sales Funnel?
A content marketing sales funnel takes as many leads as possible via a step-by-step content flow, converting those leads into customers who purchase your products or services. When you imagine a funnel, imagine the top of the funnel—the widest part. This part of the funnel is where it begins—where consumers become aware of what your company offers. At this level of the funnel, every single person is potentially a future customer. As consumers move through the widest part of the funnel to the narrower neck, a significant number will drop off, with only a relatively small number of leads making it to the bottom of the funnel (and becoming a customer).

The basic stages of a sales funnel include:

  • Discovery—The top one-third of the sales funnel is all about a lead’s first experience with the brand or product you are selling. The discovery stage could include infographics, podcasts, videos, social media updates, and blog posts. The ultimate goal of discovery is indirect customer acquisition and brand awareness.
  • Consideration—This level is where the leads remaining from the first stage of the funnel determine whether your service or product is right for them. The consideration stage of the sales funnel could include more in-depth content such as e-books, white papers, webinars, email courses, case studies, templates, a list of resources, guides, reports, quizzes, and assessments. During the consideration phase, consumers begin to associate you with the solutions you offer—now is the perfect time to supply them with content to help them evaluate your services or products.
  • Purchase—This is the bottom third of the funnel, where leads remaining from the second stage gather the final bits of information they require before they make the decision to purchase and become a customer. Your content marketing sales funnel—at the purchase level—could include: free trials, promo codes, discounts, consultations, testimonials, customers’ stories, product comparisons, and detailed specs.
  • Retention—Retention is not necessarily a part of the funnel, rather beyond the funnel, while still being a crucial piece of the puzzle. Once you have customers, your goal is certainly to keep them, turning one-time buyers into repeat customers via customer support, help documentation, special offers, insider how-to’s, and email outreach and follow-up.

Retention Can Be Just as Important as the Sales Funnel Itself
It is important that you not think about the sales funnel as a one-and-done for each new customer. When your content marketing sales funnel is solid, your loyal customers will refill the top of the funnel, over and over as your business builds goodwill and trust. It is also important that you not take the top third of the sales funnel for granted. Your business is essentially interacting with others at each stage of the funnel, therefore, you need relevant content to persuade those at the top of the funnel to continue on through.

Keep Your Content Relevant to Get Prospects Past the First Level of the Funnel
Once you have successfully attracted potential customers, you must now keep them engaged with consistent content. To ensure relevancy, think about every question you’ve been asked by current and potential customers. Next, answer those questions in a thorough, concise manner in your top-funnel content. This is a top strategy for building trust and bringing customers closer to your brand.