By Gillian Arthur, Consultant and Strategic Writer, Mainstay
So far, in parts one and two of our Content Fit for Purpose series, we’ve given you an introduction to aligning content to your buyer journey and an in-depth look at using top of funnel content to increase brand awareness. But since we’re looking at the bigger picture, these topics are just the tip of the iceberg.
Thinking back to our previous blog, “Using Top of Funnel Content to Increase Brand Awareness,” you might remember this statement: gaining attention is difficult. Keeping it on the other hand, can be even more difficult if you aren’t using the right content and formats in this middle of the funnel phase.
If the top of the funnel is the equivalent of getting the party started (e.g., setting up the decorations, prepping the food, and cleaning the house), then middle of the funnel is keeping the party moving (e.g., making sure guests have what they need and of course, that they’re having fun).
Now that you’ve caught the attention of your B2B buyers, it’s important to note that because they are aware of you, this is the right time to drive a deeper connection with your audience by creating content to nurture them deeper into the buyer journey. For this reason, we call the middle of funnel the ‘consideration and intention’ phase. Here, touchpoints are about the long game, namely creating and delivering content that informs your audience and keeps them engaged, rather than strictly grabbing their attention. In this stage you’ll ideally want a.) visitors submitting forms on your landing page, b.) regular referrals for your business, and c.) an expanding email list.
In short, the middle of the funnel is where you focus on how your product or services will solve your buyers’ problems. An excellent way of doing this is a simple one: show buyers what success looks like with personalized content such as eBooks and white papers, paid advertising campaigns, and webinars.
- Digital advertising campaigns
Paid advertising campaigns help you guide visitors directly to content that’s related to your services or products. By using audience targeting, you can send your ideal prospects relevant content and offers to help move them through the consideration phase (or middle of the funnel). Paid advertising is strong in the mid-funnel when part of a multichannel effort, ensuring that your brand and services are seen across search, display, and video. The goal with this is that eventually, you drive prospects to your website as an important industry resource – to research your offerings, and earn their trust, something the mid-funnel is all about.
Depending on your goals and budget, your digital advertising campaigns can include:
- Paid search campaigns: Google Adwords are ads that appear at the top of search queries. As prospects are looking for services or products you provide via keywords, your ads appear at the top of the search page.
- Social Media campaigns: Paid advertising on channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Using audience targeting, you can make sure that your top prospects see your ads in their feeds
- Video ads: your ads can appear on YouTube videos, again based on targeting of your audience
There’s no single silver bullet, but through a multichannel approach, you can make sure that your ads and content are seen by your prospects. To ensure success, you can monitor and track your results through digital attribution.
Webinars differ from any other format we’ve discussed so far because webinars are a shared experience good for establishing trust based on your expertise. Rather than an asset consumed on an individual level, webinars are much more personal, giving your audience a space where they can collaborate and engage in Q&A. Hosting online events like this is a valuable opportunity to repurpose high-performing articles, roll out research and even collaborate with important individuals such as business leaders and industry experts.
Thanks to their intimate nature, webinars have a handful of key benefits for those who choose to reap them:
- Accessibility: The first, and most obvious benefit is accessibility. Companies can host webinars anywhere which means they can be attended anywhere, reaching a larger scale of people regardless of location
- Engagement: Another key benefit is that webinars are engaging. Unlike other content types, webinars have an audience interaction component (e.g., Q&A) as well as dialog. This is an excellent listening and networking opportunity for attendees.
- Community building: Lastly, because webinars provide a space for attendees to engage with a cross-section of people, they are also a fantastic community-building opportunity for both the host(s) and the attendees, creating loyalty, relevance, and exponential value for everyone involved.
In fact, in CMI’s 2022 B2B Content Marketing report, 51% of respondents said webinars (and virtual events) produced the best content marketing results in the last 12 months.
- eBooks and white papers
To keep buyers engaged with your marketing, you’ll need engaging content that establishes expertise and provides value to your prospects. So, for B2B orgs interested in providing value with in-depth content, including solutions to common buyer or industry challenges, eBooks and white papers are the format for you. eBooks and white papers can provide valuable knowledge and relevant information regarding topics like their market, trends, and insights. They are multilayered and help your target audience by answering a particular question or solving a problem. eBooks and white papers can establish your expertise and authority, demonstrating how the solutions and services you offer can help buyers overcome industry challenges – something very appealing to prospects.
One of the biggest benefits to both formats is that they direct users to your website and help generate leads. According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2022 B2B Content Marketing Report, “56% of respondents used eBooks/white papers for content marketing purposes in the last 12 months.”
As you look to move prospects further along the buyer journey through the consideration phase, make sure your content is aligned with your goals. The tactics listed above are a great way to achieve this. Over the years, Mainstay partnered with leading organizations like Oracle, AWS, Cisco, Salesforce, and their partners to help create middle of funnel content to nurture leads. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help your lead nurturing efforts.