The key to producing actionable content is to provide value at each stage of the marketing funnel. Whether you’re just starting and need to attract attention or get people to convert, your content needs to be tailored to that specific goal.
The term actionable is derived from the word “action,” and it means that your content ultimately leads to some type of activity on the part of your audience.
Whether signing up for a newsletter, downloading an eBook, or buying something from you, actionable content works to drive conversions and get tangible results.
A marketing funnel, or conversion funnel, is a multi-staged process that guides your audience through the customer journey. Each stage of the funnel represents a different goal.
Just a quick recap:
- The top of the funnel (TOFU) is all about Awareness, where you attract attention and get people interested in what you have to say.
- The middle of the funnel (MOFU) focuses on Interest and Desire and works to get people to consider your product or service over alternative options.
- Finally, the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) is all about action, where you get the sale by closing the deal.
Here’s an article you want to read to learn more about marketing funnels and how to use them for your content marketing strategies.
Marketing Funnels 101: Everything You Need To Know (How To Use Them For Your Content Marketing Plan)
Note that people will enter your marketing funnel at any stage, not just the beginning.
|Blogs||Videos||Case Studies||How-To Guides||White Papers|
|eBooks||Free Trials/Demos||Cheat Sheets/Quick Tips||Infographics||Events|
|UGC||Podcasts||Checklists||Calculators||Top 10 Lists|
In fact, a great deal of your content will be aimed at people who are already well-acquainted with your product or service.
Why Do You Need Actionable Content?
Brands producing different types of B2B content are often shocked to find they’re not driving more consumers into their marketing funnel.
In fact, statistics show that 70% of people say they have to at least view three pieces of content before they even consider buying a product.
According to Andrea Cruz, in her presentation at SMX Next, this discrepancy results from businesses not taking their time to learn and understand the content needs of their customers.
They don’t know where they’re in the marketing funnel. Neither do they know their pain points or where they consume their content.
This is where actionable content comes in – it allows you to actively engage with your target audience at every stage of the funnel and give them useful, valuable information in response to their individual content needs.
How To Create Actionable Content?
Creating actionable content is all about understanding your audience and what they need at each stage of the marketing funnel.
For example, someone at the top of the funnel who’s just becoming aware of your brand will need different content than someone near the bottom who’s considering buying from you.
So how do you create actionable content that hits the right notes at each stage of the funnel? Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Top of the Funnel: Awareness
The top of the funnel (TOFU) is where your prospects learn about your brand and engage with it for the first time.
At this stage, your goal is to attract attention and get people interested in what you have to say.
That can be done by creating educational and informative content, such as blog posts, infographics, or even videos.
The goal is to provide value and build trust with your audience so that they will want to continue engaging with your brand.
So, what type of content should you create?
- Blog Posts: Blog posts can be great for attracting the interest of new prospects.
You can post regularly to an industry blog or even personalize your content by guest posting on other blogs relevant to your target audience.
That will put you in front of potential customers who might not have seen or heard of your brand before.
- Infographics: Infographics are a great way to make complex information more digestible and visually appealing.
They can also be great for getting your brand noticed, as they are often shared across social media and other websites.
- Videos: Videos are another excellent way to get your TOFU content noticed.
People love watching videos, and they can be a great way to introduce your brand and build trust with your audience.
According to Social Media Week, 78% of people watch videos online every week, while 55% watch them every day.
- Calculators: Online calculators can be a great way to engage your audience and provide valuable and actionable information.
For example, if you’re in the financial industry, you could create a mortgage calculator that helps people estimate their monthly payments.
Or, if you’re in the fitness industry, you could create a calorie calculator that helps people track their calorie intake.
- Reports: Reports are a great way to show your audience that you’re an authority in your industry.
They can be used to showcase your research, data, and insights on key issues or trends.
- Quizzes and Surveys: Quizzes and surveys are another great way to engage with your audience.
They can be used to collect data on your target market, or they can just be a fun way for people to interact with your brand.
The idea is to give your target audience something that they will find useful and valuable.
You do not want to give them a video of your product or services or a boring sales pitch. At this point, it’s best to assume your target audience doesn’t even know they have a problem that your product or service can solve.
You’re all about attracting new prospects at this stage, and here are some of the things you can do:
- Create a landing page and an infographic that introduces your brand and what it does.
- Share a post on social media highlighting your unique selling point and why your target audience should care.
- Run a paid ad campaign that drives traffic to your landing page.
2. Middle of the Funnel: Consideration
The middle of the funnel (MOFU) is where prospects start to take a more active interest in your brand and what you have to offer.
They are aware of and have engaged with your brand at some point, so they are looking to learn more.
To move them to the next step of your marketing funnel, you will want to create helpful and engaging content.
That includes eBooks or whitepapers that answer specific questions your target audience has about a particular issue.
It can also include things like webinars or case studies that offer in-depth analysis of a particular topic.
What Type of Content Can You Create at the MOFU Stage?
- eBooks: eBooks are a great way to provide in-depth information on a particular topic.
They can be used to educate your audience on a specific issue or help them decide on a particular product or service.
- Whitepapers: Whitepapers cover more in-depth topics and tend to be more technical than eBooks.
They can also be used to introduce new products or services or just serve as an educational resource that helps your target audience understand complex issues.
- Case Studies: Case studies are another excellent way to engage with your audience at the MOFU stage.
You can use them to show how your products or services have helped other businesses solve a problem or overcome a challenge.
- Webinars: Webinars are an excellent way to engage with and educate your audience about particular issues and topics.
They are typically live presentations that last for several minutes, but the best ones can draw hundreds of attendees.
- Interactive content: Various types of interactive content can also be very effective in the MOFU stage.
That includes quizzes, contests, surveys, and polls that help you learn more about your target audience and what they are looking for.
The MOFU stage is all about educating and engaging your target audience.
You want to give them the information and resources they need to decide whether or not to purchase from you.
Here’s what you can do to achieve this:
- Share blog posts, infographics, and other types of content that introduce your products or services.
- Host webinars and podcasts that provide helpful information on a particular topic.
- Publish case studies and whitepapers that show how you have helped other businesses overcome challenges.
The bottom of the funnel (BOFU) is where prospects are ready to make a purchase.
At this stage, they have engaged with your brand enough to know that you are the right choice for them.
Now, it’s all about making your offer and closing the sale.
It’s where you create sales pages, product demos, and free trials.
What Content Can You Create to Close Sales at The BOFU Stage?
- Sales pages: Sales pages provide information about a particular product or service and include a call to action (CTA) for the reader to purchase.
- Product demos: Product demos are an excellent way to show your products or services in action.
They can be used to highlight the features and benefits of your offer and help prospects see how it can solve their problem.
- Free trials: A free trial is a great way to get prospects to try your product or service for free before making a purchase.
- Contests and giveaways: Offering contests or giveaways is another effective way to get prospects excited about your offer and increase conversions.
As you can see, the BOFU stage requires that you focus your content on closing sales.
- FAQ: Create a FAQ section on your website to help prospects address any concerns they might have about your offer.
- Social Proof: Share social proof (testimonials, customer reviews, etc.) to reassure prospects that your offer is the right choice for them.
- Price Comparison Chart: Create a price comparison chart to show prospects how your offer stacks up against the competition.
4. Post-Purchase: Loyalty/Advocacy
The post-purchase stage is when customers have already purchased from you and are now using your products or services.
The idea is to create content that helps them get the most out of your products or services.
That includes user guides, how-to videos, troubleshooting articles, etc.
It’s also important to stay in touch with your customers after they purchase and ensure they are satisfied.
You can send them follow-up emails, conduct customer surveys, and, most importantly, offer customer support.
To do this, you should:
- Create content that helps customers get the most out of your products or services.
- Send follow-up emails after a purchase is made to check in and see how the customer is doing.
- Conduct customer surveys to get feedback on your products or services and identify any areas for improvement.
- Offer customer support to resolve any issues customers have with your products or services.
- Create a loyalty program that rewards customers for continued purchases or promotion of your brand.
New Messaging Formats to Ad Platforms
Actionable content for your marketing funnel doesn’t just stop at the written word or your website. You can also repurpose your content into new formats and use ads to reach a wider audience.
You can adapt this content to fit each channel and use it to reach your target audience at each stage of the marketing funnel.
Let’s take a step back and look at the different sales funnel stages and the types of content you might use to reach them.
- Awareness Stage: Google ads, search ads, YouTube, Discovery, Google Display, LinkedIn Ads, Text Ads, Video ads, Facebook ads, Collection, Carousel
- Content to Use: videos, blogs, infographics, reports, quizzes, calculator, reports
- Consideration Stage: Google Ads, Search ads, Shopping ads, Sponsored content, LinkedIn ads, email, conversation ads, Facebook ads, remarketing ads, basically everything
- Content to Use: eBooks, interactive demos, case studies, whitepapers, webinars, case studies
- Decision Stage: Google Ads, Search ads, Carousel ads, single image, Shopping ads, YouTube, LinkedIn Ads, Text Ads, Video Ads, Facebook Ads
Content to use: Actual product demos, product webinars, user-generated content (UGC), product sheets, comparison guides
- Post-Purchase Stage: Email marketing, loyalty programs, customer support
As you can see from this list, there are a variety of content formats that you can use to reach your target audience at each stage of the marketing funnel.
The key is to identify the best format for each stage and use it to deliver your marketing message in a way most likely to resonate with your audience.
Not every marketer’s content funnel will look the same. But by using a mix of content formats and advertising platforms, you can reach your target audience at every stage of the sales funnel.
Measuring the Success of Your Content Funnel
The final step in creating an effective content marketing funnel is to measure its success.
After all, the only way to know if your content strategy is working is to track its results.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to do this.
Here are a few metrics you can use to measure the success of your content marketing funnel:
- Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): These measures how much it costs you to acquire a new customer.
To calculate your CPA, divide your total marketing costs by the number of new customers you acquired.
This metric will analyse your paid advertising, social media, email marketing, and other paid content promotion efforts.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): CLV measures the total value of your customers throughout their relationship with your company.
This number is used to measure the overall ROI of your customers. It can also help pinpoint which customers are worth pursuing.
To calculate CLV, you need to look at each funnel stage. For example, if customers convert from your site but never buy again, they may have a low CLV. On the other hand, if a customer converts and becomes a loyalty program member, they likely have a higher CLV.
Many factors go into calculating CLV, but the basic idea is to look at the value of each customer and compare it to the cost of acquiring them.
- Conversion Rates: Conversion rates measure the frequency with which customers make a purchase.
It’s one of the key metrics companies look at when creating or optimizing their marketing funnels. Teams use conversion rates to understand how well each stage of their marketing funnel works and which areas need improvement.
To calculate your conversion, divide the total number of conversions by the total number of website visits. For example, if you had 1,000 people visit your website and 100 of them made a purchase, your conversion rate would be 10%.
(100/1000) *100 = 10%
Note that conversion may mean different things for each marketing stage. For example, a conversion might simply be a website visit in the awareness stage. In the decision stage, a conversion might mean a purchase.
- TOFU Conversion: How many people who came to your site in the awareness stage took some kind of action?
How many of them became marketing qualified leads (MQL).
- MOFU Conversion: How many MQLs converted to subscribers or sign-ups?
- BOFU Conversion: How many of those subscribers or sign-ups made a purchase?
How many became customers.
Now that you know how to create an effective content marketing funnel, it’s time to get out there and start creating.
- Conversion rate Per Channel: Each marketing channel serves a different goal and thus, has a different conversion rate. To get this metric, you will need to look at each channel separately and track how many people convert on that particular platform.
These channels include:
- Organic reach
- Referrals and influencers
- Paid ads (SEM, display, podcasts)
- Social media
- Content syndication and partnerships
Tacking each of these metrics allows you to better understand which areas perform well (and which ones could use some little improvement).
It bears repeating that conversion rates will vary based on the type of content you’re creating and the audience you’re targeting.
For this, you want to ask yourself:
- Is clicking on your ad or article the only thing you want your reader to do?
- Or are you ultimately trying to get them to make a purchase?
Your answer will help determine what kind of conversion rates you should be aiming for with each channel.
Remember, the goal is to continuously optimize your funnel so that more prospects become customers.
Optimizing your conversion rates involves a lot of testing and experimentation.
Try adopting an iterative approach: first, create content that resonates with your target audience. Then, test different channels to see what works best. From there, tweak your content so that it gets even more conversions. Finally, keep optimizing until you reach your desired results.
How to Map Content for Each Stage of Your Marketing Funnel
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of content marketing funnels, it’s time to map out your content strategy.
TOFU — Awareness Stage
As we mentioned earlier, the goal of the awareness stage is to attract strangers and turn them into website visitors.
Your target audience is anyone who has not heard of your product or brand.
Some have even yet to realize they have a problem that needs solving.
Your goal is to educate them on their challenges and show them how your product or service is the best solution.
The kind of content you produce in this stage should be educational and informative. It should cast a wide net and attract as many people as possible.
Some of the most commonly used content formats in this stage include:
- Blog posts
- eBooks and white papers
- Interactive content
- How-to Guides
For this stage, you should focus your content on solving specific problems your target audience faces.
Your goal is to be as helpful as possible so that when they’re ready to make a purchase, they’ll think of you first.
You can begin by thinking about their pain points and opportunities. At this point, you’re to take your focus away from your products or services and, instead, start thinking about how you can help people solve their problems.
MOFU — Consideration Stage
Once your target audience has learned more about their problem and seen the benefits of your product or service, they enter the consideration stage.
At this point, they’re starting to compare you to your competitors.
Your goal in this stage is to show them that you’re the best option out there.
To do this, you need to produce content that showcases your product or service’s unique value proposition.
Some of the most popular content formats for this stage include:
- Product demonstrations
- Customer testimonials and reviews
- Comparison charts
- How-to guides
- Free trials
Your target audience is starting to narrow down their options. They’re looking for more information, so you have to be ready with the right content.
BOFU — Decision Stage
Finally, you reach the decision stage, where your target audience makes a choice and finally converts on one of your channels.
The kind of content you produce in this stage should be focused on getting the reader to take action.
It should be clear, concise, and persuasive.
Some of the most popular content formats for this stage include:
- Coupons and discounts
- Free shipping offers
- Product bundles
In this stage, your target audience is ready to buy. They just need a little push in the right direction.
Your goal is to provide them with the information they need to make a purchase.
You can do this by offering deals, discounts, and other incentives that make it hard for them to say no.
Once your target audience has made a purchase, they enter the delight stage.
The goal in this stage is to keep them happy enough so they can come back for more.
Some of the most popular content formats for this stage include:
- Product support and after-sales services
- Customer success stories and testimonials
- Access to exclusive content or discounts on future purchases
In this stage, your target audience is no longer a stranger. They’re now loyal customers who love your products and services.
Your goal is to show them that you appreciate their business and keep them engaged by providing top-notch customer service, perks, and other incentives.
Robert Robles manages an SEO agency and the SEO tool Katlinks.
On December 22nd, 2021, he posted a simple tweet offering personalized SEO suggestions for free to his followers.
The tweet read, “reply below with your website link, and I’ll give you one SEO suggestion.”
The post attracted more than 230 responses within hours.
Roberto went through the comments, replying to each with a short, personalized screen share video showing one quick SEO tip.
Here’s an example.
In the videos, Roberto used his SEO tool, Katlink, to show his followers where they could improve their website’s SEO.
He also embedded each video on a landing page on his site, adding a link to his SEO agency and tool.
It was a simple strategy that resulted in Roberto generating dozens of leads and tons of social media buzz.
He found 230 marketers and founders who needed SEO help and essentially got them to watch his sales pitch for free.
And that’s just one example of how you can use content to attract leads at every stage of the marketing funnel.
Of course, the funnel requires ongoing work and constant optimization. If you focus on providing valuable content at every stage, you’ll attract new leads while keeping your current customers happy.
For example, let’s say you’re selling a cooking book course instead.
You could produce content like recipe videos, cooking tips, tricks, or product reviews to help your target audience at each funnel stage.
Your marketing funnel could look something like this:
- Awareness: Instagram stories with cooking tips, with a swipe-up link for accessing the recipe
- Interest: Facebook live cooking demos, with a link to sign up for the course
- Consideration: YouTube videos showing how to make different dishes from the book, with a link to buy the book
- Decision: A blog post comparing different cookbooks, with a link to buy your course
- Delight: Exclusive access to recipes not found in the book or a discount on your next book launch.
With a well-designed content marketing funnel like this, you can reach your target audience at every stage of their buyer’s journey, thus, driving more sales and conversions.
SEO Content Marketing Funnel Example and Guide
Let’s guide you through a more in-depth example of an effective content marketing funnel.
This example focuses on organic SEO traffic, but we suggest you read it all even if SEO isn’t part of your current marketing strategy.
Also, with a few tweaks, this strategy can also work with non-SEO channels like paid ads, social media, or email marketing.
Step 1: Perform Intent-Based Keyword Research
The first step is to understand what your target audience is searching for online and create content that meets their needs.
To do this, you need to perform intent-based keyword research.
Your content might bring in a lot of traffic, but you will not get a single conversion if it doesn’t fit the searcher’s intent.
Make sure you know what the person searching is looking to do, and then craft content that helps them do it.
- Are they looking to buy?
- Are they looking to compare prices?
- Are they looking for reviews?
- Are they looking for coupon codes or discounts?
Your content must be valuable and relevant to what the searcher is looking for, or you’ll lose them.
So, how can you find good topics or keywords and figure out the intent behind each search?
Let’s look at a few keyword examples that would fit at each level of the marketing funnel:
- Awareness Stage Keywords:
Keywords at this level are usually more generic
SEO tips, how to improve SEO, what is SEO
- Interest Stage Keywords:
Keywords at the middle-level stage are usually more specific or focused.
SEO tools, best SEO software, paid vs. free SEO tools
- Consideration Stage Keywords:
At this point, users are tons between your brand and a few other competitors.
SEO agency, monthly SEO cost, compare SEO services
- Decision Stage Keywords:
Now that users have narrowed down their options. They have settled on you but could still use some more information before making their final decision.
Free trial, how to cancel SEO service, best SEO pricing
- Delight Stage Keywords:
At this stage, users are already customers and are looking for more information about your product or service.
How to use <product>, <product> features, <product> tutorial
Your customers are now happy and satisfied. But you don’t want them to forget about you. It helps to keep them engaged, so they come back for more.
Step 2: Create Content Outline
Once you’ve done your keyword research, it’s time to start creating content. This is where the real work begins and where most marketers struggle.
The idea is to write down a few basics about the content you want to create, including its topic, purpose, tone of voice, and target audience.
This will help you stay on track as you start creating your content.
You’ll need to think about these things:
- The topic or keyword targeting
- Purpose (what the reader will get out of reading it)
- The tone of voice (formal, casual, etc.)
- Target audience (who you’re writing it for)
If you want to make your content purely SEO-focused, you can create an SEO-focused content outline. Then your outline needs to focus on three keywords from your list:
- Top of Funnel (Tofu), Awareness: how-to-article targeting your primary keywords (e.g., “How to Improve SEO”).
- Middle of Funnel (Mofu), Interest: comparison listicle targeting your primary keyword as well as your secondary keywords (e.g., “7 Best SEO Tools Compared”).
- Bottom of Funnel (Bofu), Desire: Case studies/reviews targeting your primary keyword and a handful of long-tail keywords. (e.g., “10 High-Converting SEO Tools Case Studies”).
As you can see, the outline for each type of content will be slightly different, but they all follow a general pattern that helps to keep them focused on the user and their needs.
Now that you know how to produce actionable content for each stage of your marketing funnel, it’s time to put this knowledge into practice.
Start by mapping out your content strategy and identifying the kind of content you need to produce for each stage.
Once you have a plan in place, start creating and publishing high-quality content that will help you attract, engage, and convert your target audience.
If you need help getting started, contact us today. We’re always happy to lend a helping hand.