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How Your Content Marketing Focus Must Change in the Mid-Funnel
Content marketing is your friend. Your blogs, social posts, and other forms of information help illustrate your knowledge of the printing business, while offering tips and best practices to inform your potential customers.
The top of the sales funnel is the time to introduce yourself to prospects by offering resources, answers, and insights. But those folks who’ve responded positively to your initial content — perhaps they’ve commented on a blog, visited your website, or downloaded a piece of content — can now be considered “mid-funnel” prospects. They’re evaluating their print options, and doing additional research on whether you’re the right company for them.
Your own content should reflect this new reality, to increase their engagement with you and your company, and lead them further toward becoming a paying customer.
Why are the mid-funnel considerations of prospects so important, and why customize your content marketing outreach accordingly? Because it works!
According to marketing technology company HubSpot, companies that craft part of their marketing outreach specifically to mid-funnel prospects enjoy a response rate from 4 to 10 times greater than generic messaging. In addition, those companies that nurture leads at this stage experience a 20 percent lift in sales opportunities.
Customizing Content Based on Interest
So, how does your content shift in the mid-funnel? It should move from blogs and social posts that let prospects know you exist, and instead communicate with interested prospects with more specific, detailed solutions and examples of your company’s merits. Consider the following options:
• Develop case studies about several of your most successful projects. Make sure to detail the printing needs of the client (sales sheets, direct mail campaigns, signage, etc.), the challenges you were able to overcome on their behalf (quick turnaround, price sensitivity, design insights, etc.), and the precise results of the project (25 percent increase in response rates, design awards, improved customer satisfaction, etc.).
• Create expert guides on inkjet printing best practices and options, including choices of colors, papers, fonts, and formats. Perhaps offer one that details bulk-making discounts available from the U.S. Postal Service, and how you can assist in providing these savings to clients. Develop a piece on the wonders of variable inkjet printing, the effectiveness of personalization, and how changing text, images, and colors on the fly can improve results and reduce costs.
• Offer webcasts, in particular aimed at those industries and companies you’ve already targeted, such as financial services, healthcare organizations, retailers, marketing departments, or agencies. The leading magazines that serve these companies often offer webcast services, where you can broadcast the details of your expertise not only to their subscribers but also to your invited mid-funnel prospects.
• Write white papers that illustrate your thought leadership on cutting-edge printing topics and customer needs. Highlight statistics that demonstrate your knowledge about marketing, retailing, and improving the customer experience, all though the medium of print. Conduct your own best-practices research, using a free or inexpensive tool like SurveyMonkey, and highlight the results as coming uniquely from you and your company.
• Investigate live interactions such as those offered by Facebook’s live broadcasting. Possibly using the material you’ve developed for other mid-funnel uses, conduct your live interactions as “Did You Know” features. Consider inviting on some of your best customers (see case studies, above), and have a live interview on how you solved their toughest challenges.
Middle-of-funnel content like these provide to your now-interested prospects specific solutions to specific needs. It will round out and deepen the budding relationships you have with them, and prepare them for more direct contact from you and your sales team.
Christopher Hosford is editor at large for Target Marketing. Former editor-in-chief of Nielsen’s Sales & Marketing Management magazine, he’s covered all aspects of sales, marketing, and cutting-edge marketing technologies.