Creating a successful content marketing sales funnel.

Published by Sarah Warren

In this article you will find out:

  • What a content marketing sales funnel is
  • Core features that make the funnel effective
  • Critical elements to developing a successful sales funnel
  • How to successfully map content to the funnel stages
  • How marketers use content throughout the funnel
  • What channels work best
  • What metrics to use to measure results


What is a Content Marketing Sales Funnel?

A content marketing sales funnel is simply a visual representation of the process and subsequent marketing activities that businesses adopt to attract customers and take them through their journey from first interaction through to purchase.  There are 3 stages to the funnel as follows:

  1. Top of the Funnel (TOFU) attracts attention
  2. Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) generates leads
  3. Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) drives payments

The early stages of any marketing strategy involves understanding and optimising the customer journey to identify all the opportunities to reach and engage with existing and potential customers at various touchpoints. Content can then be created for each of the different stages in the customer journey.  A strong content marketing strategy gives consideration to the format that is most relevant at each stage to ensure optimum value for each target audience sector. Using a content marketing matrix can be useful as part of the strategic decision making process.

The content strategy for each stage of the funnel should be aligned with the different customer user intent at each stage, providing relevant content to match the different informational needs at each step.


How to build a successful content marketing sales funnel.

The objective of any content marketing strategy is to attract and engage with your target audience to ultimately, drive purchase.  Understanding which content is best used at each stage of the funnel will help to push prospects down the funnel for greater chance of purchase.


Top of the Funnel – Creating Interest.

The top of the sales funnel is where customers start their journey.  At this stage, customers will have little or no knowledge about your company and will not be ready to purchase. The opportunity at this stage is to attract attention and provide information about your company and products/services.

Examples of effective content at this stage include (but of course depend on the nature of your business)

  • Landing pages with infographics which give an overview of your products/services.
  • ‘How-to’ guides, which offer problem solving and expert advice, enticing prospects to want to find out more.
  • Educational content, such knowledge-based videos, tips and hints
  • Thought leadership material where subject and topic experts should be leveraged
  • Teaser offers which provides value to prospects and will encourage them to research your company further (e.g. visit your website).

If your primary shopfront is your website then driving traffic to it will be your initial goal at the top of the funnel and therefore content should provide information that educates prospects early on.

Channels and activities to invest in to distribute the above content could include content for organic search which is effective for driving traffic and can be measured by number of visitors.  Social media and email marketing at this stage will also further enhance effectiveness, making use of additional touchpoints.


Middle of the Funnel – Guidance, brand affirmation and education.

Once you’ve attracted prospects through the top end of the funnel, the middle is a natural progression and needs to work hard to retain them and generate leads. It is at this point that you’ll notice that content interaction will drop as prospects become more familiar with your brand.

In order to retain this interest, it’s time to move into the next stage: Educating prospects and giving them more insight into what’s on offer from your brand.  Therefore, it’s fair to say that in-depth guides work at both levels of the funnel, driving leads through organic traffic.

There’s a range of ways that you can up offerings in the middle funnel through content all of which are proven to continue building brand trust and thus becoming an effective way to generate leads.. Examples include;

  • Product landing pages
  • Case studies
  • A CRM strategy
  • Reviews or testimonials

At this stage, you should be measuring  success by the number of leads and, ultimately, conversions.


Bottom of the Funnel – Driving Conversions with content.

The final stage of the sales funnel is where your content needs to work to position you above your competitors, build trust and convince enough to drive purchase. Your content needs to provide all the information that your prospects need to know to encourage purchase.

  • Product overviews
  • Reviews
  • Ratings
  • Case studies
  • Accreditations & Certifications
  • Testimonials

Success at this stage of the sales funnel is often measured by conversion rate, number of payments and return on investment.


Strategies to move people through your sales funnel.

Aside from the content types created to support a successful sales funnel (as discussed above) there are key activities that can push a potential customer down through the funnel including;

  • Conversion rate optimisation – is your website optimised in the right way to encourage a visitor to take the action you desire?
  • Email marketing to remind your potential customers who you are, what they are missing and gives them an incentive to purchase and drive them back to your website.
    • Further follow ups with other incentives, cement this idea
  • Paid advertising
  • Retargeting
  • Being visible on social media channels and sharing content your audience is after!
  • Being active on social media including; engaging with questions on social media, from your pages, and your competitors as this will also ensure that you’re hitting all the right content and answering questions.
  • Being visible on google (and other search engines) for what your audience is searching for



Understanding the different stages of the sales funnel give you all the tools needed to allow you to create content for each funnel stage to support your strategy.  However, when developing your content strategy, it’s important to put your customer journey, right the way through from brand awareness to purchase at the forefront of any content creation.  You may find our blog post about how on optimise customer journey useful.

OnBrand Content Marketing.

We live and breathe all things marketing.  We define ourselves as a full-service marketing agency and that means we are also a content marketing agency, a ppc agency and so on.  Please do get in touch for a free consultation or drop by our Hertfordshire based office in the lovely city of St.Albans for a chat.

Sarah Warren

Digital Account Director