Wouldn’t it be great if every problem came with a set of instructions on how to solve it? Unfortunately, it doesn’t, so your content has to be that set of instructions for your customers. But when do you provide content to your customers, and what type?
That depends on where your customers and potential customers are in your sales funnel.
There are three main sections to a typical sales funnel: the top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and the bottom of the funnel. Leads enter at the top of the funnel and numbers gradually decrease through the middle and bottom of the funnel.
As you can probably guess, as leads move through the sales funnel, their understanding of their problem and available solutions changes. This means that the information they need to make a decision also changes.
In this article, we’ll be covering the middle of the funnel or evaluation stage of the buyer’s journey.
At this stage, your sales team and marketing should be working together towards demand generation. While leads are almost ready to buy, they are doing heavy research and are likely deciding between you and your competitors to find the better fit and value.
Before we go any further, let’s talk a little bit about demand generation and how it differs from lead generation.
Demand Generation Defined
Demand gen and lead gen are used interchangeably a lot, but they don’t really mean the same thing.
Lead gen is the active collecting of info about potential clients, turning them into sales leads. Demand gen is a marketing operation used to create demand or interest for your product.
Both should make people want to buy from you; they just use different ways to get there.
You can use both lead gen and demand gen at the same time, so don’t feel like you have to pick one over the other.
Now that you understand the difference between these two key marketing operations, are you ready to learn how to nurture leads with 8 mid funnel tactics?
Let’s do it.
Mid Funnel Marketing Tactics
The middle of the funnel is where marketing and sales meet and where funnel leads can be refined.
For example, the teams could agree to expand lead quality which means that a larger number of leads would be passed on to the sales team for follow up. Or, they could decide to tighten up the lead definitions and pass on fewer leads.
Content works to support sales. Marketing provides sales with pieces of content like case studies and white papers that sales then uses to engage with leads. Let’s take a look at some of the mid funnel marketing content that works best.
1. Mid Funnel Advertising
No matter which section of the sales funnel they’re for, all online display ads and popups should have:
- An attention-grabbing design or visual
- A strong headline
- Concise copy
- A clear call to action
- Your logo (if not on your own site)
You also need to A/B test and optimize.
But, did you know that there are also best practices specific to mid funnel ads and popups?
For mid funnel advertising you’ll want to make sure that your call to action is the focus and that the offer is featured in the ad. The ad should include a white paper or other low friction mid funnel content offer.
The landing page for the ad should have a mix of gated (requiring free registration or signup) and ungated (no signup) content.
Photowebo used content-specific inline optins for gated content as well as exit-intent popups to build a targeted email list when launching their new website. By adding inline, content-locking optins they were able to increase conversions up to 3806%.
Middle of the Funnel Content
Content creation for the middle of the content marketing funnel is all about education. By educating potential customers, you’ll also be building trust and nurturing the lead.
There are a few types of middle of the funnel offers that are particularly great for getting a lot of information out without being overly technical or overwhelming. Remember, you want to have the customer first in your mind in everything that you do.
2. Case Studies
Case studies show your best and brightest results. These are ideal use-cases for your products and services that show potential customers how well your product performs.
Bonus points if the case study highlights a specific pain point that the lead is experiencing.
3. Blog Posts
Blog posts are always a great content idea for every step of the sales funnel. You can literally do anything with them, make them short or long form, open or close comments… Your options with blog posts are endless.
Plus, they’re easy to consume and very low friction for the visitor.
4. White Papers
White papers are great sources of middle of the funnel content since they are in-depth and packed with information about your product’s features. They explain how your product can solve a specific problem and go into more detail than a case study might, as you can see in the small white paper example below.
Competitor comparisons can be a powerful tool, but be careful on this one. These can be a great way to highlight your unique value proposition and show that your solution best fits the needs of potential clients. Just make sure it really does.
Below is just one example of what a competitor comparison could look like.
6. Lead Magnets and Gated Content
Lead magnets are usually digital, downloadable content like free PDF checklists, reports, ebooks, white papers, videos, etc. that visitors can download in exchange for signing up for your email list. Gated content is similar to this, and can be used to block off sections of blog posts to be accessed only after a visitor signs up.
You can use OptinMonster to create an eye-catching popup for gated content like this one:
7. Social Media
Don’t ignore social media. Most platforms are great places to engage with customers and leads and share all of the amazing content that you’ve created!
But social media is so much more than just a place to share content. You can also use social media to grow your email list. Which really means you’re using social media for lead generation. And that’s pretty cool.
If Snapchat or Instagram are more your speed, take a cue from Chalene Johnson and treat your viewers like your best friends:
Chalene has developed a borderline cult following because of her willingness to share nearly every aspect of her daily life. Keep in mind, though, that this works well for her because Chalene Johnson’s brand IS Chalene Johnson.
8. Middle of Funnel Metrics
So, now that you have several great ways to engage your middle of the funnel leads, you need to know what metrics to track to make sure that you’re seeing a return on your marketing investment.
There are quite a few metrics out there, but take a deep breath and don’t get overwhelmed. It’s easy to figure out what metrics you should track for your middle of the funnel content when you consider what your goals are.
For starters, you want potential customers to keep coming back, so you’ll definitely want to pay attention to engagement metrics like new vs. returning visitors, referral traffic, and social engagements.
Second, you want to make sure that visitors are spending time with your content so they’re getting to know your brand, products, and services. This means that tracking consumption metrics like average read percentage, completion rate, and click-through rate is important.
Finally, it’s important that your visitors are becoming quality leads. You can keep an eye on this through lead metrics such as email sign-ups, white paper downloads, and webinar participation.
Keeping a close watch on your metrics will let you know when things are working, or when it’s time to make some changes.
With a tool like MonsterInsights you can use the power of Google Analytics from right inside of your WordPress dashboard and get access to the reports that are going to keep you on the right track.
That’s it! Now you have 8 smart tactics to help you nurture leads with mid funnel marketing. If you want a comprehensive look at content marketing, check out our ultimate beginner’s guide to content marketing.
Interested in creating your own gated content or finding out firsthand why OptinMonster is the best WordPress lead generation plugin? Try us FREE for 7 days!