The Most Effective B2B Content Types for Each Funnel Stage

Content Marketing

The Most Effective B2B Content Types for Each Funnel Stage

If you want to have the right funnel strategy to transform visitors into customers it’s vital that you have the right pieces in place. This doesn’t just mean having the right call-to-action, the correct colored sidebars, or the best headlines. This means having the right content, and not just to draw them in, but to lead them in further and make them take the next step on the way.

In a way, you can compare it to romancing somebody. Yes, small talk will work wonders on the first date, but it won’t get you very far if you want to put a ring on it. For them to do that, you’ve got to try and sell them on your values and how much better you are than the competition. In other words, you need different types of content at different stages in your funneling process. The question that’s been on a lot of people’s minds, however, has been ‘what content goes where?’

Well, it turns out that a company called Regalix has tried to answer this question, which means we now have a tool available to see if we’ve got the right content in the right place. And though the sample – at 285 people – wasn’t huge, the fact that they were nearly all senior executives and business leaders is impressive (40% were managers, 27% were directors, and 17% were VPs).

So what did they have to say about the different content they used at which stage?

Stage one: Awareness

To continue with our analogy, this is where you’re making small talk. Here the cold hard facts about your company aren’t that important yet. Instead, you’re trying to seem interesting, knowledgeable and likable. The goal here isn’t just to pull somebody in closer. Heck, only a tiny percentage of the people you’re meeting at this point are interested or available. And so, you’re also trying to get them to tell their friends about this nice and smart person they met. You can do that by telling interesting facts or witty anecdotes that they might end up repeating to other people, who are in fact interested in something more than a little flirting.

The three tactics chosen most often for this strategy were social media (83%), Blog posts (81%) and Infographics (81%), which all have broad appeal and serve to spread your message and thereby awareness of your company far and wide. Of course, you do want to make certain you have high-quality content as that’s far more likely to get shared around.

Stage two: Consideration

Now we’re getting somewhere. They’re measuring you up. In the relationship parable, I’d say we’re on the first date now. They’re looking into what you’ve actually got in store, by asking questions about your package and who you’ve gotten into bed with before. This is where you do a bit of discreet boasting, or let other people do their boasting for you.

In other words (and without the sexual innuendoes), people are now after information. They’ve narrowed down their consideration to a few vendors and are now weighing up the pros and cons. This means that by this stage they’re looking at actual facts, as well as testimonials by other people that have bought your products. The best ways to get those across, according to the experts, are white papers (78%), Websites (75%) and Web-based events (72%).

Stage three: Purchase

You are standing in front of their place. This is the moment of truth. Do you have what it takes to get invited up? Here you want to use the best lines and have the best facts into place. You also want to allay any fears that might still be lurking (bad choice of words). This can be accomplished by showing off how little other people have regretted inviting you in, as well as a case by case outline of why you’re better than anybody else out there (okay, my metaphor is getting away from me a little here).

This is the moment of truth. If you can get people to purchase then you’re well on your way and therefore it’s important that you’ve got the right content in place to get people to say ‘yes’. The execs go with websites (56%), Case studies (47%), Research Reports (39%) and Videos (39%). If your customer has any doubts they have to be dealt with forcibly and these tools allow you to do exactly that.

Mind you, really by this stage there should also be an opportunity for them to actually reach out and make contact with somebody human. After all, people are a much better position to answer any questions that still might be remaining. People like to feel their special and that’s much more likely to happen if they can actually get another person on the phone.

Stage four: Loyalty

So you’ve had your night together – what you’re after now is to make certain that it’s more than a one night stand. You want to become their partner of choice. Of course, the first night very much matters, but that isn’t enough. You’ve got to keep reminding them that you’re out there and send them an occasional bouquet of flowers. The goal here is to keep them happy and make them feel special, but without being pushy.

How do you do that? Well, the experts agree the best way is the newsletter (50%) after which you’ve got social media (39%), Email (36%), Mobile (36%) and web-based events (36%). These are all ways to continue giving them relevant and interesting information, so that when they are considering buying again, you’re still on their radar. At the same time, you no longer have to push the facts at them. After all, they already have your product and can decide for themselves if it’s any good. It’s more a matter of keeping them content and being there to talk them round if they start experiencing any sort of buyers regret.

Stage five: Advocacy

Here the goal is to get them to gush to their friends about you. This is where you start posting pictures of you two together so that everybody can see what a perfect person you are and they’ll consider taking you for a spin as well.

The ways that the experts consider work best here are social media (47%), Blog posts (33%) and Videos (33%). The goal here is simple, use word-of-mouth to have your most loyal and enthusiastic customers do your talking for you. And from there you can start the whole dance again, with the next visitor who comes to your site.

I do

If you’ve got the right perspective and the right moves (read: content types), you’re in a far better position to turn a coy bit of flirting into a long-term relationship. Hopefully with the material I’ve outlined above, you’ll be able to transfer your content funnel from an ungainly teenager who doesn’t have the right moves, into a suave pickup artist who knows the right moves at the right times to get the deal done.

Disclaimer: All images are provided by author.