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Effective content marketing leverages the sales funnel

All B2B businesses look for ways to leverage their current marketing tactics to help their sales funnels. The sales funnel typically consists of seven phases: Awareness, interest, evaluation, decision, purchase, reevaluation and repurchase, according to RingDNA (1). All B2B marketing efforts can benefit from effective content marketing because  it aids the sales funnel in every stage of consumer purchase. Here are seven ways content marketing will increase brand awareness and aid the sales funnel in each phase:

1. Awareness
The awareness phase is when a consumer becomes aware of a solution or product. According to B2B Marketing, content marketing and digital advertising aids with this stage because it gives consumers a view of a product without them feeling forced into purchasing (2). For example, a B2B brand may post a free tutorial on how to use its software. The tutorial video does not convince the audience to purchase the software, but it does remind them that the brand and its offerings exist. During this stage, video and social media content works well.

2. Interest
After being made aware of the product, a consumer will show interest by conducting product research. For example, Wacom sells professional grade arts and graphics tablets en masse to businesses. If a business is curious about the specifications of a product, product demo videos and interactive websites help make the research process easier. These content marketing tactics help attract the interest of a consumer by showing what a product or service can do. During this phase, ask potential clients to sign up for a newsletter. This form of email marketing provides updates about products and more knowledge of your services.

3. Evaluation
This stage is when the consumer compares prices and services among competitors. Content marketing can help a brand stay on top of the competition by establishing itself as an authority, according to Inc. Magazine (3). For example, your brand can differentiate itself from competitors by providing unique tips and tricks that are valuable to customers in the form of blogging and targeted mobile marketing. These content marketing tactics will help establish your company as a source of thought leadership.

4. Decision
This stage comes right before purchase behavior. It is important to target your audience at this stage because the consumer may choose a competitor over your brand. Content marketing tactics during this time should include clever copywriting and a gentle push toward a purchase decision, such as a “Try today” call-to-action button. These buttons tie in well to responsive Web design.

5. Purchase
Content marketing remains relevant even after a product or service has been purchased. This is because the consumer will want to know more about your brand as they use the product or service. By including written and video content, such as a “Frequently Asked Questions” section, your brand can help with inbound marketing efforts and retain consumers.

6. Reevaluation
This is the phase where customers may need to renew a contract or return the product if unsatisfied. During this phase, it is important to use content marketing as a tool to reel B2B clients back in. According to the Content Marketing Institute, using techniques such as white papers and ROI calculators can be valuable (4).

7. Repurchase
After reevaluation, a consumer will often choose to purchase a product or service again. Congratulate and thank them for their loyalty with short thank-you animations and images. These tactics will give B2B clients a hospitable image of your brand and company.

(1). What is the sales funnel?
(2). 5 Benefits of B2B Content Marketing for your business
(3). The Top 10 Benefits of Content Marketing
(4). How Your B2B Content Marketing and Sales Can Work Hand-in-Hand

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.