79% of marketing leads never convert into sales (MarketingSherpa).
Could poor bottom of the funnel content be holding you back? Maybe. Using content to transform leads into customers is a tricky process.
The aim of bottom of the funnel content is to inspire confidence to buy the product. It typically addresses questions like how your product works, the benefits customers can expect to receive and how your product is superior to competitors.
But your bottom of the funnel content should not just be informative. It also needs to be interesting. After all, if your content is boring, people won’t bother to read it.
So, how can you create bottom of the funnel content your prospects want to read? And moves them closer to purchase?
The content needs to be relevant to them. It needs to be useful to them. And it needs to show how you can add value to them.
In this article, you’ll discover ways to make your bottom of the funnel content interesting and interactive whilst still being focused on conversion. We’ll explore real-life examples of brands using content to engage customers and move them closer to purchase.
Personalize your content through in depth understanding
“94% of senior executives believe delivering personalization is critical or important to reaching customers.” – PWC’s Digital Services group
Personalization is about targeting content that is tailored to individuals based on their needs and interests.
So, you need to create content that is relevant to them. But you also need to use the appropriate medium, format and distribution channels to motivate them to consume it. While some people prefer an in-depth article, others prefer a short explanatory video.
It comes down to acquiring an in depth understanding of who you are trying to reach. Answer these questions to help you create bottom of the funnel content that your target audience will appreciate:
- What do they need to know before buying? Discover what information to include
- Do they like to do detailed research before buying a product like yours? Find out whether to produce a shorter or longer piece of content
- How do they like to consume content? Discover whether to produce text, video, or visual content
- Where do they like to consume it? Uncover the best distribution channels
How to do it: First, know who you are trying to reach: identify your key target customer groups. Develop buyer personas for each group by asking key questions around demographics, interests, challenges, and content preferences. Speak to customers and analyze existing data to find out this information. Use these rich insights to create content highly tailored to the needs and preferences of the different personas you are trying to reach (Inspiratti).
Example: Barneys New York uses behavioral segmentation to present personalized offers to shoppers. Their app informs users what’s in stock from their wish list and makes recommendations based on content they have opened from the company’s in-house publication, as well as ideas for dining and sightseeing (Beaconstac).
Empathize with the needs of your target audience
“People don’t care about your business. They care about their problems. Be the solution that they’re looking for.” – Melonie Dodaro
To engage your ideal customer, you first need to show that you understand the challenges they are facing. To do that, you need to emphasize.
Empathy involves putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and seeing things from their perspective (Sales Pro blog). Understanding the fears, hopes, desires of your prospects will help you get to grips with the root cause of their problem and why they are seeking a solution.
Once you know what your prospect is looking for, you can create content that addresses those specific needs. For example, if you sell a fitness program, you could start by empathizing with the difficulty of losing weight then go on to explain how you can help.
How to do it: Producing buyer personas will help you to incorporate empathy into your content. Creating an empathy map will enable you to get an even deeper understanding of your prospect’s feelings, thoughts and actions. This article offers step-by-step guidance to create your own. When creating the content, draw upon your own experiences to show the challenges you faced and how you reached a solution. This helps to boost credibility.
Example: Lush knows their customers want fresh, organic, and ethically sourced ingredients in their beauty products. They empathize with their target audience by producing content that addresses these concerns. In the How It’s Made video series, employees go behind the scenes to show how the products are manufactured. They passionately speak about the fresh ingredients and processes they use to make their products (Hubspot).
Evoke emotions to stimulate action
“90 percent of all purchasing decisions are made subconsciously.” – ISPO
Numerous studies demonstrate that consumers are driven by emotions rather than logic when making purchasing decisions (Lerner et al.)
You can draw upon a huge range of “emotional motivators”, including a desire to feel a sense of belonging, to succeed in life, or to feel secure (Harvard Business Review).
But how do you know which emotions to include in your bottom of the funnel content?
You need to identify the emotional state of your ideal customer at the conversion stage of the buyer journey. As this will depend upon the type of customer you are trying to reach and product you want to sell, you need to consider how your customer is feeling at this stage.
SMITH identified 8 emotional modes of customers. They found different content appeals to different modes. For example, whilst customers who “want some fun” when shopping favor experiential content, customers who “need validation” appreciate hearing the opinions of others.
How to do it: Consider how your customer is feeling at this stage of the customer journey. Tap into these insights to identify a suitable emotional trigger e.g. fear, guilt, belonging. In your content, use sensory words that engages this emotion. Support your words with bold images that show the transformation your ideal customer aspires to.
Example: Four Seasons Serengeti Safari Tours engages the senses of sight, smell and touch in their description of Africa. Supported by impressive photography, the evocative description helps website visitors visualize themselves in Africa and gives them a real feel for the place: “He opens the plane doors, letting in the hot scent of desert sage. The smell is intoxicating—one that sparks excitement for travellers new to Africa and recalls for veterans the reasons they continue to return.” Once visitors have imagined themselves on the trip, they are inspired to purchase for fear of missing out on an unforgettable experience.
Answer questions, address objections
“There’s no better way to understand customer needs than to ask them, ‘What do you need?” – Scott McCorkle
What is stopping your prospect from moving forward with the purchase?
They may have questions about how the product works, concerns that it may not offer the level of support they need, worries over reliability. And many more unanswered questions.
Answering these queries head on in your bottom of the funnel content will help people overcome their reluctance to purchase.
But where and how should you answer these questions? Consider live video.
Live video enables you to answer specific questions about the product in real time. Whilst these can be formal product-focused webinars, Facebook Live provides an opportunity to talk about your product in a more entertaining and laid-back manner.
How to do it: Identify common questions that your prospects have related to your product, then set up a live video session to address those questions. Focus on addressing one topic in your presentation, then open it up to Q&A at the end. You could also offer a live demo of your product and answer questions at relevant points throughout the demonstration.
Example: Benefit uses Facebook Live to demo their products. Their 30-minute Tipsy Tricks offers makeup tips and invites viewers to ask questions. The show also provides product recommendations and tells viewers where they can buy them. Whilst the show is light-hearted and offers plenty of value, it provides useful information to make better informed purchases (Digital Commerce).
Let people try it for themselves
“What samples do is they give you a particular desire for something. If I gave you a tiny bit of chocolate, all of a sudden it would remind you about the exact taste of chocolate and would increase your craving.” – Dan Ariely, Duke University
Why do supermarkets offer free samples in store for people to try? So, people can see if they like it and choose to buy more.
Until a consumer tries your product, they don’t know if they like the way it tastes, smells or makes them feel. Free samples provide the bridge to get people to try your product. This direct experience with the product helps prospects understand how the product works and visualize how the product could fit into their everyday lives (Tone).
How can you use content to boost the usefulness of your samples?
Think of content as an opportunity to exceed customer expectations. When preparing your free samples, consider what additional information you could provide to enhance the experience or achieve better results. This could be advice on when and how to use the product or how-to guidance on complementary techniques that can be used alongside it.
Once you have exceeded expectations in your free sample, prospects will be open to learning how to purchase more. So be sure to invite users to make a purchase and provide an incentive to do so. You could do this by including an insert with a limited time discount offer inside the sample package.
How to do it: Invite website visitors to request free samples of your product through the post. (Offer a free trial if you have a SAAS product). Consider how to package your sample to create a memorable experience that motivates people to return. To do this, you could use supporting content that offers usage guidance, tips and a purchase incentive.
Example: Users can sign up to Drip email for free with up to 100 contacts. This enables users to learn how it works and see if it is suitable for their needs. Users get access to a free 11-part video course that offers guidance on how to increase leads and step-by-step instructions on how to get started with the system. Educating prospects on list building boosts confidence to move forward with the free plan and helps them move onto the paid payment plan earlier.
Provide honest reviews to inform purchase decisions
“Honest & transparent content is the best sales tool…in the world. Period.” – Marcus Sheridan
Before making a purchase, customers often look at reviews to help inform their decision. By evaluating the pros and cons of the different alternatives, product reviews help customers to make better informed decisions.
Taking the time to create reviews can be very good for your business. Reviews help prospects understand what sets your products apart from others.
Furthermore, creating reviews will help you build customer trust and loyalty (WooCommerce). By producing an honest review of different solutions, your target audience will see you are interested in helping them find the right solution and are not just interested in making a sale. Offering high value content also demonstrates your expertise in the area and makes you the ‘go-to’ person for questions on the topic.
To be effective, your reviews must offer an honest evaluation of different alternatives. Whilst you should be sure to openly present the benefits of your product, you should also highlight areas where competing products fare better. The aim of the review is to get the right customer, not every customer.
How to do it: Use reviews to address common questions prospects have before making a purchase (The Sales Lion). You could do an objective review of different service providers, or the most important deciding factors when choosing between different products. Present your review in an informative long-form article, supported by data and comparison tables of features to highlight the benefits of different solutions.
Example: Thrive Themes use content to answer essential questions customers need to know before purchasing a theme for their website. They have produced numerous comparison articles to help prospects decide which theme provider would best meet their needs. For example, they produced a detailed review to help prospects understand the key differences between Thrive Architect and Divi Builder. Their honest reviews compare the pros and cons of each provider supported by helpful comparison tables so customers could make better informed decisions (even if that decision was not to go with Thrive Themes).
“You have to understand whether or not your content is driving the kind of customer behavior and engagements that you need.” – Chris Clark, Global Head of Marketing, HSBC
The most frequently cited measure of return on content is sales effectiveness (PWC’s Digital Services group). But to convert leads, you first need to engage their attention.
The trick to producing effective bottom of the funnel content is therefore creating content that both engages and converts.
So how can you get the right balance between these two competing elements in your bottom of the funnel content?
It starts with knowing your ideal customer extremely well: understanding their needs, their content preferences and where they are in the buying process. This will enable you to deliver content that is relevant and interesting to them and adds value to their life.
To convert, your content also needs to show how you can help. The focus is helping customers to make the right decision rather than just getting any customers to convert. This involves offering honest, useful advice that will help them reach the right decision (even if that is to purchase from another brand). After all, convert the wrong people and you’ll regret it after the returns flow through.