“So, how can your sales and marketing teams ensure that they’re catering to the preferences of their consumers? The answer is stage-based marketing,” says Jenna Hanington of Pardot.
It seems a study conducted by Jenna’s colleague Matthew Sweezey revealed that 96% of B2B consumers start their research on Google (no big surprise there). But then 76% indicated that they return to Google two to three times to continue their research, each time searching for more specific information. “As consumers progress through the sales funnel, they seek out different types of content.” The lesson that’s so important for us blog content writers to glean here: Consumers want different content at each stage of their research.
Offering different content at each stage of the sales cycle is the foundation of stage-based marketing, concludes Hanington.
Top of the funnel: For prospects at this beginning stage, content should be light, educational, and product-neutral. Blog posts can focus on industry-relevant topics rather than on product. “Often, prospects in this stage don’t even know that they have a fixable problem.”
To appeal to those online blog readers who are in “first-stage”, we can include statistics that demonstrate how widespread and significant a particular problem is, then going on in the blog content writing to allude to your (or your client’s) experience in handling this precise problem.
Middle of the funnel: As prospects move through the funnel, the content can get a little more specific. “You want to get your prospects thinking about the advantages of having your product, as well as the disadvantages of not having it,” explains Hannington.
Marketing blogs will succeed, I teach, only if it’s clear you (the business owner or professional practitioner) understand online searchers’ concerns and needs, and that you and your staff have the experience, the information, the products, and the latest technology to solve exactly those problems and meet precisely those needs.
Bottom of the funnel: Once the prospect has made it all the way to the bottom of the funnel, you should be focused on selling them your product or service. They’re sold on your industry and are deciding among vendors, Hannington points out.
A reader who has reached the final decision-making stages will be looking for unique value propositions, asking him/herself: “What’s in it for me?” If your content answers that question, the reader’s next step will be to follow one of your Calls to Action.