Why is Middle of the Marketing Funnel So Important?
Think of the marketing funnel as your audience. The top of the funnel represents everyone that is aware of your brand. Marketers use a variety of tactics and channels to grab a potential customer’s attention. They cast their fishing lines in the water, hoping for a few nibbles. The bottom of the funnel involves the closing of a sale when a fish has been hooked and reeled in.
After you cast a line but before you catch a fish, there’s the middle of the marketing sales funnel. The middle of the funnel is where you’re trying to get the fish to bite. You entice them with different kinds of bait, jostle the rod, try different depths, and convince them that your hook is one worth biting.
The middle of the funnel can be the most complicated aspect of the marketing. It’s not about your flashing banners or advertising savvy; it’s about your content. The middle of the marketing sales funnel is where you identify your product or service as the solution to whatever problem your customer is having. It’s where leads are nurtured and turned into customers, and where most of the action really happens.
A Virtual Sales Pitch
Mid-funnel marketing is where a salesperson would say “this is why you should buy this product.” Brick-and-mortar businesses have salespeople there to convince you why you should buy those pants or lease that car. Digital businesses rely on content marketing to pitch for them. Their content speaks directly to the customers, convincing them that you are an SME (subject matter expert) in your field and that you feel confident enough in the product to sell it.
Middle of the funnel content is where customers who are drawn in by one or more of your marketing channels evaluates your brand and decides if your offer is better than that of your competitors. It’s where you convince them to go to Gap, not Old Navy, or which movie to see at 7:30.
Types of Mid-Funnel Content
Middle of the funnel content comes in many forms, but a few can make you stand out:
Comparison Articles: Mid-funnel content isn’t about solving a customer’s problem for them. It’s about helping them sort out their options and persuading them that yours is the best one. Content that shows the advantages and disadvantages of your product versus your competitors can help your customer determine why yours is the better choice. However, when doing this, be honest about your product’s strengths and weaknesses. If what you’re selling isn’t everything it says it is, you will lose trust in that customer, which could lead to damaging results.
Helpful Blogs: While some blogs float along the top of the funnel, how-to guides and FAQs can offer a wealth of useful information. Running one of these make you appear as an SME. The knowledge a customer can gain from these will assist them along their buyer’s journey and, if the blog is helpful enough, they could develop an affinity for your brand and may even share some of your useful tips and tricks.
Social Media: Like blogs, social media usually resides at the top of the funnel, but also has mid-funnel potential. Your followers can be potential customers. If you’re savvy enough, you can inject quality information about your product via case studies, landing pages, and blogs to your social media audience every now and then. Keywords: every now and then. You don’t want to overload your social media platforms with “reasons you should buy my product.” Doing this could turn potential customers away, so be sure to use social media with caution.
Mid-Funnel Marketing: B2B vs. B2C
As your developing your middle of the funnel content, it’s also important to know to whom you are pitching. B2B and B2C can approach buying in very different ways.
Often, B2C consumers will journey through the funnel alone without ever turning to a company representative. Depending on the quality of the purchase, they will make a buying decision without asking for advice. If they do, they may only turn to a friend or a family member. Given how much information is available, this the age of the buyer. Today anywhere from 66-90% of a customer’s journey is self-directed.
B2B consumers also self-direct themselves. However, after making a few decisions, they tend to interact with a company representative. Since purchases by B2B are usually much more significant than those of B2C, their buying groups are also much larger. According to HubSpot, as of August 2017, the average number of customer stakeholders involved in a B2B purchasing decision is 6.8 people—that’s up from 5.4 in 2014!
When you’re creating your online content, don’t just think about what you’re pitching. Also think about who you’re pitching to, and why they need a solution to their problem. The result will have more leads at the bottom of your funnel.
Potential Problems in the Mid-Funnel
The marketing funnel is ripe with activity, and thus, it’s prone to mishaps. The transition from marketing to sales occurs in the mid-funnel, and without proper communication, you lose it there. If marketing hands off too many leads, the sales team may be overwhelmed and unable to devote the attention necessary to nurture them. If given too few leads, sales risk missing their quotas.
Marketing could also hand off leads with inadequate instructions making it difficult for the sales to contact them. Sales could also learn that marketing didn’t convey information about the product accurately, leaving the potential customer to discover that they might not want what you’re selling at all.
With so many variables to keep track of, it’s crucial that every member in the funnel relay race is well-informed so that they can continue forward and assist customers on their buyer’s journey.
The middle of the marketing funnel is the road customers use to get from Point A to Point B. With resources and excellent content; you can get them to where they’re going: the purchase button on your product’s site.
What content have you discovered has helped a customer make a buying decision? Tell us about it below.