Top-of-funnel content catches attention and sets the stage. Bottom-of-the-funnel content helps to secure the deal. Middle-of-the-funnel content, unfortunately, is not so clear cut.
Content for the middle of the funnel tends to overlap with content for the top or bottom. For example, a whitepaper or blog could be top-of-funnel or middle-of-funnel, depending on the subject matter and depth. Sometimes, content intended for the middle of the funnel ends up being consumed at the top or bottom instead.
It can be hard to get content to stick in the middle of the funnel, which is why so many content marketers end up neglecting it – intentionally or not.
Neglecting middle-of-the-funnel content is a disastrous mistake on their part. Middle-of-the-funnel content plays the crucial role of connecting your high-level topics with your company differentiators. If you leave gaps in the middle of the funnel, far fewer leads will make the jump to the late stages of the funnel.
Poor middle-of-the-funnel content means less deals.
So, what makes good middle-of-the-funnel content?
The Purpose of Middle-of-the-Funnel Content
Middle-of-the-funnel content must do three things:
- Educate those customers at the middle of the funnel about what makes your brand different than others.
- Provide a constant connection with your audiences to establish brand loyalty.
- Nurture leads towards a probable sale.
This is easier said than done, though. How do you create content that accomplishes these things?
Understanding Your Audience
The best place to start with middle-of-the-funnel content is those that consume it: the middle-of-the-funnel leads. They have some knowledge about your industry and are more than just casually interested in what you’re writing about.
Middle-of-the-funnel leads can take a couple of different forms. They’ve either bought from you before or trickled into the middle of your funnel from the top.
Understand where your middle-of-the funnel leads are coming from and how they interact with your content. Are leads coming from the channels you expected? Are they interacting with the content you intended? This step will help you identify the holes in your funnel.
Not looking so solid anymore, right? Here’s what to do.
Split ‘Em Up
It’s called segmentation and its critical to delivering middle-of-the-funnel content to your audience. The problem with these leads is that if you send them a mistargeted message, you could risk losing them after all the effort you put into drawing them through the top of your funnel. Many companies do segmentation by demographic features like, age, geographic location and more, there’s a better way to determine what your audience wants. Use behavioral segmentation and you’ll find that your content is more successful.
What is behavioral segmentation? It’s using behavior (how your customers engaged initially and continue to engage) to determine what sort of content that will best fit them. This is easily done with a tailored automation plan.
Create the Right Type of Content
You can’t nurture leads with content reserved for those at the top of the funnel. Instead, you need to tailor content specifically for this group.
- Long-Form Blog Posts – these blog posts must go beyond intro-level content and delve deep into whatever issue you’re tackling. They are likely long or longer than most intro-level content, simply because they truly dive into the more complex issues in your industry.
- White Papers – Everyone makes white papers, but not many create good whitepapers. I wrote a post about what makes a white paper bad and how to fix it. Whitepapers are a great chance to create content for those in the middle of your funnel. They are typically sent to both those at the top of the funnel and the middle, making it good for those in the upper middle.
- Ebooks – Hubspot does a really nice job with their ebooks, taking what they have learned from creating content and passing along jam-packed, detailed ebooks that are not only well-designed, but also easy to read. Do what Hubspot does and focus your content on something you know well, then write about it extensively to create a piece of content your middle-of-the-funnel leads can’t believe they are getting for free.
- Case Studies – These prove why you’re worth it and move the lead closer to the purchase by sharing another’s experience with your company. You can demonstrate the quality of your work through the experience of one of your customers. There’s no better testimonial than that.
It can be tricky to create middle-of-the-funnel content that works and get it to the right people. But if you don’t try, you’re losing the money you spent on top-of-the-funnel marketing efforts. Keep your leads traveling down the funnel inside of falling out of holes in the side of it.
Do you produce middle-of-the-funnel content? Does it work to keep your leads moving down your funnel? What strategies do you use to make sure they’re not about to bail? Let us know in the comments section.