Content needs to be slightly different at every stage of the buyer journey to accommodate content marketing goals during that stage. Middle of the funnel content aims to build trust and confidence with high-value content.
Read more about other parts of the funnel here.
Middle-of-funnel content reaches a targeted range of potential customers and appeals to those already engaging with the brand. Middle-of-funnel content is persuasive and educational, aiming to provide sufficient information.
If you’ve ever subscribed to an email newsletter, thought about purchasing a product, or become a loyal and returning customer to a business, you’ve passed through the buyers funnel. The buyers funnel is also known as a marketing funnel and represents the different stages someone needs to go through before they become a customer.
The buyers funnel is referred to as a funnel due to its distinct cone shape. A potential customer enters at the widest point and then goes down the different stages, with the funnel narrowing as they pass through.
During the middle of the funnel, the cone shape is neither wide nor particularly narrow. This is known as the ‘consideration’ stage, and during this stage, a business will often reach a smaller but more targeted audience than the top-of-funnel stage.
The content funnel (source)
Middle-of-funnel content is more specific than top-of-funnel content. If the potential customer has passed through the top of the funnel, they have now become aware of the brand or business and what they have to offer.
While the prospect might understand a business exists, they won’t convert and continue down the funnel unless they have evaluated whether or not the product or service benefits them. This is where middle-of-funnel content comes in. The goals of middle-of-funnel content often include:
Many businesses find that their leads exit the funnel during the middle-of-funnel stage. Therefore, it’s crucial to create content that successfully nurtures leads during the evaluation stage and beyond. While it’s great to build brand awareness and attract engagement near the top of the funnel, prospects still need to pass through the entire funnel to ensure a return on investment (ROI).
Businesses can achieve their goals by creating personalized and informative content that directly benefits individuals passing through the middle of the funnel.
Case studies prove to potential customers that what you are offering works. A successful case study is easily found on a business website (usually under a separate section on the home page) and highlights what’s important about your business and its solution.
A case study is effective as prospects can ‘see’ themselves in the stories of past and current customers. Because of this, it’s important to aim to produce case studies across various industries and business types or structures to increase relatability.
While the topics within a case study can vary, case studies often use a similar approach. The ‘challenges’ discusses key problems a customer was facing, the ‘solution’ is a basic overview of the product or service used, the ‘benefits’ details the advantages of the solution, and the ‘results’ explains the positive business outcome as a result of the solution.
Offering free guides and resources that are easy to navigate, follow along, and understand, can set you apart from the competition. Mailchimp is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that allows businesses to utilize their client base to build a relationship with emails and targeted newsletters.
The more in-depth the guides and resources are, the better it is for the credibility of a business. If a potential customer weighs up between two similar CRM companies, they’ll most likely choose the one that looks the easiest to navigate, operate, and get help from.
Free resources and guides are especially useful if you’re a business that provides a relatively complex service. For example, it would make more sense for an appliance manufacturer or software development firm to have a resource section compared to a business that sells shoes or other clothes.
With so much competition in the digital space, how do you set your business apart in a legitimate way? Whether you like it or not, social proof can mean everything — especially since we’re all on our devices and connections are only a push of a button away!
It’s very common to check out what others are saying before purchasing a product or service. Think about the times you’ve browsed google reviews before trying a restaurant or weighed up two similar products before choosing the one with a better reputation.
While you might want to have a dedicated reviews page on your website, don’t be shy in utilizing top reviews for business collateral, within email campaigns, and on ads. Putting your great customer feedback directly in front of your prospects means they’ll have no choice but to acknowledge what you’re offering.
While middle-of-funnel content can greatly vary, some characteristics set it apart from top-of-funnel or bottom-of-funnel content. At this stage, a brand or business needs to set itself apart from the competitors and re-engage with prospects on various platforms. Middle-of-funnel content includes:
The primary purpose of middle-of-funnel content is not to build awareness. At this stage, prospects will be curious about specific product and service offerings and usually compare businesses against each other.
Because of this, free educational resources, personalized email campaigns, and special offers will often make an appearance as brands attempt to set themselves apart from the rest of the competition.
While middle-of-funnel content is more targeted compared to top-of-funnel content, it’s important that the content is still helpful enough for competitor evaluation without being overly persuasive or pushy.
Before brainstorming ideas for middle-of-funnel content, think about your ideal customer and what they might be feeling during the middle of the buyers journey. While those joining the top of the funnel might not be as relevant to a business, middle-of-funnel prospects are also not quite ready to make a purchase.
How does your content and marketing strategy support their research and evaluation? Are there specific offerings that tend to repel or attract leads? What is your unique business proposition, and how can it be positioned to best answer their questions?
After you’ve formed a rough idea of how your business fits into the research and evaluation stage, you can now start brainstorming middle-of-funnel content ideas. Here are some prompts that can help get you started.
It’s a fine balance between pitching your business and remaining neutral to allow for proper evaluation. While you might be the biggest advocate for your brand, it’s easy for prospects to consider your view as biased. A great way to achieve neutrality while still showcasing what you have to offer is with customer validation.
Do you have customers who love your product or service? Middle-of-funnel content often includes educational material like ebooks and email newsletters, so an effective way to boost your credibility is with reviews and testimonials. Let your loyal and returning customers do the talking — this helps validate interest in your business.
Middle-of-funnel content often takes more time to produce compared to top-of-funnel content. A how-to article works to pull in as much awareness as possible, but for those prospects in the middle stage of the funnel, personalized and information-rich content is key.
Compared to top-of-funnel content, middle-of-funnel content usually details various internal subjects and processes within the business. Information-rich content usually requires the input of several team members and customers, especially if you’re utilizing testimonials. Preparing the type of content ahead of time and what you’re going to include is essential to keep the content production smooth.
Now is not the time to skip any information! When your content is ambiguous or missing key pieces of information, this signals to potential buyers that your business has something to hide. For middle-of-funnel content, transparency is what you should be aiming for.
However, there is such a thing as unnecessary information. Prospects stuck in the middle-of-funnel stage are looking for content that answers any questions they might have, not just a description of their existing problem. Think about the top features of your business, relevant industry research, and how you can apply it.
Middle-of-funnel content facilitates evaluation and consideration with personalized, educational, and valuable content.
Understanding what middle-of-funnel content is can help you achieve your content marketing goals and enable more prospects to successfully continue down the buyers funnel.
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