The Simple Marketing Funnel That Could Transform Your Bottom Line

Marketing in the digital world has never been more complex…

There are so many different methods you can use to find prospects, nurture them, and try to turn them into paying customers. If you have one hitch in your marketing funnel, the whole thing falls apart.

Having a simple, effective and complete marketing funnel is all you really need to succeed as a business in the digital world.

But it’s easy to get bogged down by all the different strategies you can use to attract the attention of your audience. If you want to skip the complexity and use a strategy that really works, then follow this simple, 3-step marketing funnel.

The 3-Step Marketing Funnel

You don’t need tens or hundreds of touch points in order to convince a prospect that your product or service is right for them. Thanks to content marketing, you can drive conversion rates by creating a marketing message that speaks directly to audiences according to their interests and needs.

And it really works. When you compare businesses that use content marketing to those who don’t, adopters’ conversion rates are nearly six times higher.

Here is the model for the 3-step marketing funnel I’m going to teach you below:

  • Top-of-the-funnel: Offer free content to attract interest to your platform
  • Middle-of-the-funnel: Offer premium content to turn prospects into leads
  • Bottom-of-the-funnel: Promote your paid product or service

All you have to do is create the right kind of content and deliver it to your audience at the right points in your sales cycle. Let’s go into more detail below.

Top-of-the-funnel

Content marketing at its core is about offering valuable content to your target audience. It should be freely available, and you need to promote it across your social profiles and other platforms.

This content doesn’t promote your products and services, but instead addresses common industry-related issues by providing helpful tips, guides, and solutions.

Here are some examples of top-of-the-funnel content from the Advertise World blog:

None of the content on our blog focuses on overtly promoting our service. Instead, much of it focuses on helpful tips to improve your paid traffic strategies in general.

For most marketers, the blog will be the core of their content marketing program, but it’s far from the end of it. There are many other top-of-the-funnel marketing materials you can create to attract interest, such as:

  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Video content
  • Infographics
  • And more

Creating great content is only the first step. Next, you need to make sure people actually have access to it by promoting it across the web. Here are some popular strategies:

  • SEO – Target industry-related keywords with your content to attract people using search engines.
  • Social media marketing – Develop a social following on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms your target audience uses. Then promote your own content to attract traffic back to your site.
  • Forum posting – Join industry-related conversations on forums or blog comments. Where relevant, offer your own content as a helpful resource.
  • Influencer marketing – Find big players in your industry and ask them to promote your content to their audience on social media, on their blog, etc.

You can also opt for paid promotion to get the most out of your marketing content, such as:

  • Facebook Ads – Facebook advertising allows you to display targeted ads and content promotional messages to a very tailored audience. You’ll use Facebook Audience Insights to identify what kind of people see your ads, based on demographic information and interests.
  • Outbrain – Outbrain is a content promotion tool that will help you display your articles as “suggested content” on other popular sites around the web. You can choose which kinds of sites your content appears on.
  • Advertise World – Our platform offers unrivalled service and a low cost image advertising option through a network of participating sites. Advertise World is a great option if you’re just getting started with paid advertising – there’s a $1 minimum budget so you can try it out without much risk.

These are just a few of the paid advertising options you can use to promote your content to new potential customers.

Middle-of-the-funnel

Once leads are fully engaged with your free, top-of-the-funnel marketing content, it’s time to convert them into prospects. To do this, you’ll need to capture their contact information to market to them more personally and directly.

You can do this with the help of lead magnets. These are premium content pieces that are gated – they’re still free, but can’t be accessed unless someone signs up.

Here’s an example of a lead magnet we use at Advertise World:

This one appears as a popup on our main page. Instead of using it to promote our advertising service, we instead attract people with a resource that would be of value to them. This compels them to sign up, then we can start moving them further down the sales funnel.

Here are some other lead magnet ideas you can use:

  • A free ebook or report
  • A free checklist or template
  • Free software download – Create a free tool that people can use if they sign up.
  • A free trial – Allow people to start using your product for free, then encourage them to purchase it long-term.
  • A webinar or video course
  • A case study
  • A free consultation
  • A coupon or exclusive deal
  • A swipe file or cheat sheet
  • An assessment or test – Offer a free evaluation in exchange for contact information (For example, a free SEO site analysis)

Here’s an assessment WordStream offers to promote their Premier Keyword Insights tool:

It’s easy to include popups and other calls-to-action around your site to download lead magnets and convert. You can also encourage more lead magnet downloads with targeted remarketing campaigns.

Bottom-of-the-funnel

Once you’ve successfully converted your prospects into leads, it’s time to encourage them to become customers. You’ve already built a strong relationship with them through the content marketing process, making this a whole lot easier than other strategies.

Now that you have your prospect’s email address, you can start sending out a series of targeted marketing messages to help them convert.

Email marketing

As part of your email autoresponder series, you’ll want to promote a mix of top-of-the-funnel content and marketing messages encouraging people to try your products or service. Sending out too many marketing emails without offering extra value will cause many to ignore them or unsubscribe.

Here’s an example of a marketing email from Bitly encouraging subscribers to download their app:

The great thing about email marketing is that you can segment your audience to offer them more relevant marketing material.

Capture extra information as part of your lead magnet signup (e.g. their name, gender, or other demographic information) then send out personalized messages automatically through your email marketing automation software.

Remarketing ads

Remarketing ads are another option at this stage of the funnel as well. Remarketing allows you to show ads to people who have already visited your site. It’s one of the most effective display advertising strategies – the average clickthrough rate for retargeted ads is 10x higher than regular display ads.

For remarketing you use a special code to tag visitors through browser cookies. Then when they visit other sites around the web, they’ll see advertisements encouraging them to try your product or service.

You can target prospects who have accessed gated content on your site – this shows they’re highly interested in your brand and are easier to convert.

Use a combination of email, remarketing ads, and on-site calls-to-action to move prospects to the end of your sales funnel. In your marketing message, include attractive offers that prospects can’t resist.

This is an example from Advertise World of a low barrier-to-entry offer to encourage prospects to convert into customers:

By making the financial commitment so low, it encourages people to sign up and become customers. Then they can spend more once they’ve tried out the service. You can also offer a special discount, a signup bonus, or other irresistible offers to encourage people to convert into customers.

Conclusion

Content marketing can seem like an overwhelming strategy if you focus on all the different pieces of content you’ll need to make it work. But if you take a step back and think of it in terms of this simple sales funnel, the task becomes a lot less daunting:

  • Top-of-the-funnel: Offer free content to attract interest to your platform
  • Middle-of-the-funnel: Offer premium content to turn prospects into leads
  • Bottom-of-the-funnel: Promote your paid product or service

Don’t make the mistake of marketing all of your content to everyone. Identify your prospects, leads, and current customers, and target them with the right material to encourage conversions and retention.