Like middle children and middle seats on an airplane, it’s easy to gloss over middle-of-the-funnel marketing. We get it. Top-of-the-funnel content is all about bringing in leads, and the bottom is about closing the deal. But the middle is just as crucial.
For part two of our three-part series, we’re diving into middle-funnel content with a look at why it’s so important and how to make sure it successfully moves your leads along to the next stage. Sure it might not be quite so immediately satisfying as lead generation or sales, but the work you put into the middle has the potential to pay off in big ways and is necessary for a successful buyer’s journey. So let’s get to it.
Marketing in the Middle
The middle of the funnel is where you bridge the gap between the top-of-the-funnel (awareness) and the bottom (decision). Leads at this stage are in the consideration phase of their customer journey, contemplating solutions to their problem and viewing your product or service as a potential fit. And while the bottom of the funnel might be where you finally make your sale, the middle is where much of the magic happens.
Your middle-funnel audience is of two varieties: new leads picked up from top-of-the-funnel marketing and current customers you’re trying to urge toward a repeat or additional purchase. With both groups, the content you create and serve at this stage can be the deciding factor in whether or not a sale happens, which speaks to the importance of why you need to get it right.
The defining feature of middle-funnel content is that it’s driven toward lead nurturing. Just like top-of-the-funnel content, it needs to educate and help strengthen the brand-consumer connection. Unlike top-of-the-funnel content, however, you’ve already got a leg to stand on — after all, you’ve already gotten your leads this far, haven’t you?
Marketing automation is a major part of successful content marketing at this stage. Your middle-of-the-funnel leads vary in terms of quality, behaviors, and preferences, and you need to ensure that you’re distributing the right content to the right group. By segmenting your middle funnel audience through an automated platform, you can make sure that you’re delivering content that’s more likely to convert, and that actually speaks to the needs of its audience.
Middle of the Funnel Content Ideas
In all stages of the funnel, how you say something is just as important as what you say. You’ll want to diversify your content formats in order to vary your message and outreach, as well as keep your middle funnel leads interested and engaged.
Remember, list segmentation is key here. Within your scope of the middle-of-the-funnel content will be pieces that appeal to one segment of your middle funnel audience more than others, and it’s up to you (and your marketing automation platform) to get it in front of them. With that in mind, here are some types of content that can be quite useful at this stage.
Don’t underestimate the power of a great blog post in furthering your leads down the funnel. For topic inspiration, host a brainstorming session with your sales team to learn what questions and informational gaps tend to stand in the way of a sale, then create content that closes the gap.
A thorough case study elevates the authority of your brand and provides a clear-cut example of success for mid-funnel leads. Link to them on your site, or use them in your email drip campaigns to help move middle-funnel leads to the next stage.
If you’re not already, send a regular email newsletter to your middle funnel audience. This helps keep your brand top of mind, which is an important place to be in the consideration phase.
Like case studies, webinars enhance brand authority and provide an additional opportunity to gather information. Host alone or pair up with another brand to get double duty out of your webinar as both a lead nurturing and lead generating content format.
Make it as easy as possible for mid-funnel leads to get their questions answered by producing detailed pages regarding your product or service. This can (and should) include guides and resources that show how they can get the most out of it and that highlight its most valuable features — link to this content in blog posts and guest posts to create an easy pathway for finding information.
There’s always something to be gained from middle-of-the-funnel content. Whether it’s inching a lead one step closer to a sale or enrolling them in additional nurturing campaigns, the content you produce at this stage is integral to your marketing ROI and worth putting in plenty of time and effort. Meet your leads in the middle, with content that’s optimized for productive conversions.