How to enter the first stage of your sales funnel with the right content
If you are starting a business or want to build up your online presence, you will have two main goals: to raise brand awareness and to generate traffic to your page. After that, it’s up to you to offer relevant content that turns website visitors into customers, and customers into returning clients.
For this, you need a content strategy that takes the customer through three levels of content as part of the classic buying journey: top-of-the-funnel (ToFu), middle-of-the-funnel (MoFu), and bottom-of-the-funnel (BoFu). In this article, we’ll take a look at how to design a top-of-the-funnel content marketing strategy that strengthens your brand visibility and attracts the traffic you need to drive conversion.
What is BoFu content marketing?
Bottom-of-the-funnel content marketing is the last stage of your sales funnel. This is where leads make the final decision on whether to buy from you. Your sales teams often use BoFu content to highlight products/services more directly and in a more personalised way. This is in opposition to ToFu and MoFu content, which is used to build trust.
BoFu content marketing is all about conversion. This means you want to achieve the following goals:
- Gaining high qualitative leads
- Converting leads and driving conversion
- Retain customer and increase buying frequency
If we successfully fulfil these KPIs throughout the funnel, we will reach the final goal of the marketing sales funnel – the customer purches the product/service. In this way, the last stage of the funnel is also an evaluation stage, where you can look back on your funnel marketing strategy and see where to optimise it. With this in mind, you might also like to follow up on top/mid funnel KPIs, such as traffic and lead generation in the BoFu stage.
How to get started with successful BoFu content marketing
The three stages of the BoFu content marketing journey
In order to achieve your KPIs, you need to be aware of the three stages of the BoFu journey and each one’s goals. You want to convert prospects into customers, but this all hangs on how you execute each stage.
What are the stages within the BoFu funnel?
- Decision stage
In this stage, your content has to convince the prospect to choose your product over the competition. You are closing the gap between consideration and purchase by inspiring them to take the leap.
At this point, it is really important to deliver the right information to the right audience. You will also convert MQLs into SQLs and push them further towards the purchase. With high-quality content, it is also possible to generate leads from the MoFu stage and convert them directly.
The second stage is the prospect purchasing the product or service. This is the “result stage” of BoFu, that feeds into the goals of the sales funnel. However, the KPIs are not fully fulfillied if there is no follow-up after the purchase stage. The prospect could be converted into a client – now this client should turn into a returning customer.
- After purchase
The last stage of the BoFu journey is the after purchase stage. Here, the content has to ensure that the customer sees the real value of the product/service and purchase again. Also, your BoFu content should increase buyer frequency by regularly delivering personalised, promotional content. An optimised customer experience with customer-friendly incentives shows the customer that they are appreciated, which improves the chances of conversion. Customer redemption also saves money. Acquiring new customers means leading them successfully through each stage of the sales funnel. It’s much easier and cheaper to approach and convince existing customers with new BoFu content than to start the process at stage one.
What are the key elements of BoFu content?
BoFu content is logical/practical: the customer knows your brand and your product. Now, they just need convincing through practical demonstrations and examples.
Imagine you’re selling a product in a supermarket. Your BoFu content has to answer the following questions:
- How does the product work?
- Who will be involved in the purchase decision?
- What benefits will come from the purchase?
- Why is this product better than the other products on offer?
How to deliver successful BoFu content with the right format
Your content format needs to be adapted to the needs of your audience and your product/service. Like the other stages of your sales funnel, the format decides eventually about the success of your conversions. Generally you differ between personalised e-mail content, promotional product content, promotional LeadGen content and audio-visual content.
How to target the right audience with the right BoFu content format
Understanding your audience and their needs – delivering the right format to the right target group – will not only help you drive conversion, but also to promote customer loyalty. As in the previous stages of the funnel, you have to differ between B2B and B2C audience and choose the right format according for each one.
B2B audience can be convinced with evidence, while a B2C audience is seeking the best price. Let’s take a look at the most common and effective formats for your chosen target group.
BoFu content and formats for B2B audience
In the B2B sector, your product knowledge and quality convinces the prospect, not just your pricing strategy. In this sense, you don’t have to follow competitive price dumping if your BoFu content marketing strategy is persuading the client on different levels of expertise and trust.
What are the important features of good B2B BoFu content?
- B2B BoFu content has to be qualitative and product-specific. The customer expects profound knowledge in the last stage of the sales funnel.
- B2B BoFu content has to be verified and include reliable and comparable sources.
- B2B BoFu content is data-driven with a special view of the product. The data doesn’t need to be too descriptive, just convincing. The client already knows the basics.
- B2B BoFu content should follow a personalised marketing approach and only deliver relevant information around the purchase.
What is the ideal content format for B2B audience?
1. Promotional B2B product content
Promotional product content for B2B audience should be data-driven, comparative, product-focused and verified by experts. You prospect will consume this content in the decision stage. Every argument that could convince him towards a purchase has to be used in a strategic way.
Practical example: Customer story
A customer story gives the prospect a sneak peek of how the product could change their life. Unlike the case study from the MoFu stage, the customer story should be much more produced-focused – any additional information surrounding research/history about product/service are left out. The prospect is ready to buy and wants to see now how they will get on with the product.
Sucess factors of customer stories:
- The usage of specific data that proves the product/service’s, e.g., “52% of industry experts found this product more effective than its competitor”.
- A detailed explanation of how the product/service is used and what the positive impacts are.
- The author of your customer story is an industry expert who can verify the quality of the product/service. Specific brands from your client portfolio are especially trustworthy.
The virtual care company LetsGetChecked provides a customer success story on how they used Slack as a project management tool. Their title already promises data combined with trust:
“With a YoY growth of over 800%, Slack LetsGetChecked offers a scalable collaboration solution.“
Many experts, like Chief Software Engineers recommend the product and recount their positive experience with the tool in their everyday working life. The customer story includes product details that show how adaptable Slack can be to every industry. Once the prospect associates their work with the benefits of Slack they will be willing to buy. A comparison with other tools is made on the side.
2. Audiovisual content
Audiovisual content appeals to our eyes and ears and is a less time-consuming format. Audiovisual content can be consumed everywhere and is easy to digest. Combining product knowledge with a personalised sales approach is the key to success here.
Practical example: Product demo & consultation
The product demo has to answer any open question the prospect has and show why the product/service is better than the competition. In this stage, it is important to connect directly with the prospect after the product presentation and convince them to make a purchase.
Success factors of product demos:
- A live chat or a CTA with a call back option that can facilitate an easy transition between MQLs and SQL.
- The product demo should be led by an expert or responsible inhouse colleague who can be contacted after the demo if need be.
3. Personalised e-mail content
Email marketing is a good way to get to know your clients and their interests. If you know the client’s preferences you can follow up with them in the after purchase stage and find out about their preferences in the decision stage of the BoFu funnel or the MoFu funnel, where your content would be less product-focused.
Success factors of B2B e-mail content:
- Your promotional element could be a free trial or tool.
- You may include a product demo.
- Your BoFu email campaign should ideally be sent out with the name of an expert who can be contacted directly.
BoFu content and formats for B2C audience
In the B2C sector, your price and competitive position on the market is more convincing than trust or expert knowledge. A competitor analysis helps you to define a unique and catchy content format.
What are the important features of good B2C BoFu content?
- In the B2C sector, BoFu content should be very promotional and product-focused.
- B2C BoFu content often contains reviews or testimonials.
- In the B2C sector, the price and the competitive offers are the main reasons that prospects make purchases. In the decision stage, your target group will be doing some comparison shopping.
- Side-by-side comparisons are common practice as part of BoFu content.
- Promotional offers and incentives are a common part of B2C BoFu content
- BoFu content should be short and solution-driven
- Videos and tutorials can explain products playfully and give the consumer quick, digestible information on a topic.
1. Promotional B2C product content
Promotional B2B content should be very promotional and product-focused whilst showing the client the vaue of the product in comparison with the audience. Here, visual design or appealing assets can foster the purchase decision.
Practical example: Product pages & product reviews
The time of aggresive product pages with loads of pop-ups is over. Nowadays, product pages are often done by content marketers. The prospect expects more than just a price table and a simple product description. They want answers to their questions, to see testimonials, stumble over the convincing incentive that lets him purchase your product or service.
Success factors of product pages:
- Product reviews are a must.
- A product page must contain all the relevant information for a purchase.
- A direct comparison (i.e. comparison sheet of different features) explaining why this product/service is better than competition’s offer supports the decision stage.
You are a consumer electronics merchant, selling a laptop on a product page. The page includes a product description and a favorable position of the price, as well as incentives – such as 10% off if the prospect subscribes to the newsletter. Even if they subscribe without purchasing, you still have a lead. Product reviews help the prospect to get a clear image of the product. You might also include a customer testimonial on the product page. A direct comparison with competitors will help you to position yourself. Show in a table or graph just how your price/service/quality is better than the rest. Provide a FAQ section in a drop-down-menu where your prospect can find answers to any last questions, e.g. with a chatbot or a call CTA for further questions on the product or service.
2. Personalised B2C e-mail content
Just like B2B email campaigns, you want to either seed your product offers in the decision stage or follow up with your client’s special interests in the after-purchase stage.
If your B2C email content doesn’t fit the interests of your prospect, your unsubscribe rate will increase. The prospect will only open emails where the subject line and content solve the problem at hand and will only click on your product CTA if they’re already persuaded that your product/service is worth it.
Success factors of B2C e-mail content:
Success factors of product pages:
- BoFu email content usually contains promotional elements offering incentives or comparisons with competitor prices.
- The subject line should be catchy, maybe referring to a special promotion
- Visually appealing product/service presentation is especially appreciated in the B2C sector. Also in the BoFu stage, a well-designed email template can increase trust which convinces prospects to convert eventually.
Sephora sends out BoFu e-mails about a new make-up product. The recipients are already clients or follow up with the product regularly. The design of the e-mail template is visually appealing with branded colours. The product CTA is at the top of the template. In the middle is a CTA for a “Free Beauty Tutorial” from an influencer using this product. Also, the e-mail offers a CTA offering a discount on the first purchase. The e-mail contains everything the client needs to know to choose this make-up product over the competitor.
BoFu content marketing for B2C and B2B audience
Example: Searchmetrics’ article about data-driven content & content experience tool
Product-focused expert article about data-driven content marketing with LeadGen form and free demo CTAs.
Example: Chanty’s blog article on a competitive comparison with Slack
Competitive, product-focused content with interactive elements and assets and LeadGen form.
Source: 9 Slack Competitors in 2020
How to measure success in BoFu content marketing?
The bottom of the funnel is a great stage to evaluate the whole marketing journey. By measuring where the leads are coming from, you can see how to optimise the whole funnel. If you successfully achieved all KPIs from the ToFu and MoFu stage, you usually deal with a large number of (sales) qualified leads in BoFu which eventually lead to the purchase. You can track conversions on Google Analytics by using a tracking URL for your campaign.
The following metrics give you information about your success in the BoFu stage:
MQLs & SQLs:
- LeadGen forms
- Conversion rate
- Direct conversion (from BoFu funnel) vs indirect conversion (from other funnel)
- Conversion per stage (decision- or after purchase stage)
Successful BoFu content marketing in a nutshell
Let’s wrap up the key features of bottom-of-the-funnel content market and how you can drive conversion with the right strategy.
- BoFu content marketing helps you to close the gap between consideration and purchase.
- BoFu content should be precise, promotional and competitive.
- Free incentives (free trials, samples) can help you accelerate the purchase.
- BoFu content marketing is divided into the decision stage (HQ leads) and after purchase stage (customer redemption). Both stages are important for generating conversions and follow different strategies.
- BoFu content formats differ per target group. The B2B audience has different requirements than the B2C audience.
- Regularly measuring performance will help keep you on track. The BoFu stage helps you to evaluate your whole sales journey and optimise it.