Raise your hand if you’ve ever defined a problem or opportunity but then struggle to work out quickly and easily what the options are and how they compare?
I imagine a few hands went up there, or you imagined you raised your hand so you didn’t look like a weirdo in the office.
I ask this question because this is exactly what people are trying to do when they are in the middle of the funnel.
In this blog post, my aim is to show you why this stage is so important, and give you some ideas for creating content at this stage so that you can help your buyers along their journey.
A Quick Recap
In my previous post, Six Steps to Successful Sales Funnel Content Creation I outlined the process for creating content that attracts website traffic, generates leads and supports sales. I also covered the kind of content you need to the Top-of-the-funnel stage in the buyers’ journey.
I recommend that you read my previous post before this one so that this post makes more sense.
In most cases, you can base your content strategy around a three-stage funnel:
- Top of the Funnel: The “awareness” stage, where people looking for answers, resources, education, research data, opinions, and insight.
- Middle of the Funnel: The “evaluation” stage, where people are doing heavy research on whether or not your product or service is a good fit for them.
- Bottom of the Funnel: The “purchase” stage, where people are figuring out exactly what it would take to become a customer.
In this post, we’re focusing on the middle of the funnel – the EVALUATION phase.
Why is MOFU Content Important?
The evaluation stage of the buyer’s journey is probably the most important.
This is because buyers are looking for solutions, and when they find them they use some relevant set of criteria to determine if the solutions they find are a good fit or a bad fit.
There is a tremendous opportunity here for capturing potential buyers, especially for B2B organisations where a reported 68% of B2B organisations haven’t even defined the stages in their sales funnels!
There is probably a similar situation for B2C and not for profit (NFP) organisations, and based on my experience, I suspect it is much higher for NFPs.
So if your organisation has followed the Six Steps to Successful Sales Funnel Content Creation and used it to define its sales funnel stages along with the content that will be created for each stage, it will have a massive competitive advantage over most of its competitors.
When organisations create and publish strategically targeted content at their MOFU target audience, they typically see a 4–10 times higher response rate in comparison to generic email blasts and outreach.
So it’s time to ditch those generic one-size-fits-all e-newsletters and send your emails using middle of the funnel content as part of a targeted lead nurturing contact sequence in order to see an average 20% lift in sales opportunities.
What would MOFU content look like?
The middle of the funnel is often a time when you’ll be nurturing a lead, building a relationship, and establishing trust between your target audience and your organisation/brand.
Therefore we need content that helps you to do this.
It’s likely that we’ve attracted the attention of our target audience with our TOFU content like blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, kits, tips sheets, checklists, how-to’s, etc. and we’ve helped them to identify their problem or opportunity and put a name to it.
Now we want to start to personally engage with the buyer and show that we are experts in our industry. Great pieces of content at this stage tend to be things like:
- Product webinars
- Case Studies
- Data Sheets
- Demo Videos
- Expert Guides
- Live Interactions
- Comparison Whitepapers
Remember, the buyer is trying to work out if your organisation is a good fit for their needs and we’re helping them make that decision.
Note that your content and engagement with them through this stage also helps your organisation to determine if they are a good fit client/customer. Once your sales team gets involved, a lot of resources could be used to convert them, onboard them and maintain them as a client. If they’re not a good fit, then the resources can end up outweighing the benefits.
Part of our buyers’ evaluation criteria will involve researching potential vendors/suppliers/partners and compare the features and benefits of their offering.
Because of that, content that includes comparisons with competitors can be super-helpful for the buyer as you will be saving them a lot of time and effort. In doing so, you are putting a positive spin on your offering as part of this, which helps your organisation to look like the best option.
Middle of the Funnel Content Examples
As per my previous post, I’d like to try and bring this to life with some examples of how this might look in the same three different contexts I used as examples in Part #1 of this guide:
B2C MOFU Content
As a reminder, let’s imagine that I overindulged at Christmas and put on a few pounds… (it happens every year) and my clothing gets a bit tight (I like fitted clothing so this is a nightmare).
I’ve decided that I want to lose the flab and get hunky with some bigger muscles but I haven’t got the time, money or interest to go to a gym. Ultimately, I’m going to sort myself out with a home gym. The kind that clutters up my home and gathers dust while I burn calories just looking at it.
I’m new to this and I don’t know what I need and how much to spend (I don’t want to spend much).
A retailer of home-gym equipment has attracted me to their website with some great TOFU content that I’ve found through Google and Pinterest searches.
I now think I know roughly what equipment I need to buy and how much I might need to spend.
I’m now searching online for stockists of these items of equipment so that I can make comparisons.
My three main evaluation criteria (probably not written down at the start of this stage) are as follows:
- Delivery Options
To help with my evaluation, the home-gym equipment retailer could target (help) me with the following:
- [Excel spreadsheet] Gym Equipment Budget Template
- [PowerPoint worksheet] Purchasing Timeline for Gym Equipment: What Should You Buy First?
- [YouTube / Wistia Videos] Demo videos for each of the pieces of equipment showing how to set them up, use them and possibly break them down and store them
B2B MOFU Content
As before, a quick recap, let’s say that my agency has just won some great new clients and we now need to expand our team and get bigger office space.
I’m going to sort this out but let’s say that I haven’t had much experience of finding new office space. I want a great location for clients and employees and obviously, I want to keep the costs down.
Commercial property estate/letting agents have already helped me with their TOFU content which I’ve found through Google searches and I now know what equipment I need to buy what kind of office will be suitable to meet my needs.
Now I’m going to start evaluation my options using the following main criteria:
- Floor space
- Broadband connection speeds
- Travel links
- Desirability of the location area
- Managed services
Commercial property estate/letting agents could help me with:
- [Comparison Excel / Google Spreadsheet] Managed office space evaluation worksheet (pre-populated with information)
- [Data Sheets] Hermit Commercial’s managed office space in Moontown – Full Specs and Pricing Options
- [Case Study] XYZ Ltd boosts profits by 200% after moving to Hermit Commercial’s managed office space in Moontown
Charity MOFU Content
And finally, our third recap, CSR is important to me and I want my agency to not just be about making a profit, I want to support the wider community.
Let’s say that I hadn’t yet decided about how to do this but I wanted to support charities that matched my agency’s brand values of delivering high-impact measurable solutions.
Charities have already helped me to decide the kinds of charities that I want to support and the impact that our donations could have.
Charities could now help me to evaluate my options with:
- [Case Study] How XYZ Ltd helped save 10,000 lives in 2016 with Help4All
- [FAQs] Corporate Donations – How to make donations? How do we report our results? How can we save more lives with Gift Aid?
- [Live Webinar] Live webinar/chat with the Smith family in Haiti who were rescued by the Help4All team after the recent earthquake
I hope that this post has helped you to understand what kinds of content you could create for buyers in the middle of the funnel.
If you’ve got any great examples of middle of the funnel content please share it with us on social media or in the comments below.
Look out for part #3 of this guide soon where I’ll cover content for the bottom of the funnel (BOFU).
Alex Hutson is one of Oxford College of Marketing’s lecturers, teaching at our centres in London and Brighton, and online through our extensive webinar programme for distance learners. Like many of our assignment tutors and lecturers, Alex is also a marketing consultant. He is also a certified HubSpot Partner and Inbound Marketing specialist.
If you are interested in learning more about content marketing, the Oxford College of Marketing Diploma in Digital Marketing may be for you. Find out more about this qualification and our range of digital marketing courses by getting in touch with our team today. You can call us on 01865 515 255 or email email@example.com