Converting Leads Through the Marketing Funnel – Middle Funnel Best Practices
The middle of the marketing funnel is the most challenging part to convert leads through. Why? Well, as we stated in a previous blog; you’re catching your buyers in an information heavy stage, often times riddled with viable options they can choose from. When there’s too many options…well, you can fill in the rest. We’ve all been there. So, the question stands, how in the world can you convert leads through the funnel if they’re always getting stuck in the middle? At the same time, what can you do with the leads that you’ve generated that fall in the middle of the funnel?
Overview of the Lead Generation Marketing Funnel
You’re more than likely familiar with the marketing funnel and how it relates to your specific buyer’s journey. However, what about the lead generation marketing funnel? Is there really a difference? Well, kind of. It’s more about the idea of enhancing your buyer’s journeys through enabling their research, education, and decision making regarding your solutions. Most of the time, this process is called thought leadership. At the same time, you’re not only pushing out ideas, but also pulling in potential customers through strong CTAs. Let’s explore.
Top of the Funnel
At this point, most buyers aren’t aware of who you are, or really even what their challenge is. They’re mostly researching content on how to fix a problem that arises. How does this relate to lead generation? At these crucial moments, this is where your content will stick out the most. The biggest reason why is because you’re providing a solution for a frustrating occurrence. These interactions can come through organic search, paid advertisements, email, content syndication, and so much more. This is all fairly straight forward. Now layer on a strong CTA of how the reader/buyer can learn more about their problem, and you’ve enabled a lead conversion.
Middle of the Funnel
This is the marketing stage that gives demand generation folks nightmares. Like we mentioned in the beginning, the middle of the funnel is the most complicated part because of how hard it is to stand out amongst the noise each prospect makes at the top. If you’re interested in learning more, check out this episode of our podcast where we talk about this specific idea.
So, what does middle of funnel lead generation look like? We talked about how at the top of the funnel, you’re engaging around ideas and frustrating moments that your buyers have. Now, at the middle, those ideas have manifested into actual challenges that the buyer wants to officially solve for. From your perspective, this means fighting through the competition with content that creates sticky interactions. The best way to do this it to understand how your buyer’s make decisions – or, as some might call it, intent data. With a scalable intent solution, you can work towards expediting the middle of the funnel leads and pushing them towards making a decision. On top of that, if you know when and how those leads will decide on a solution, you can create unique content pieces guiding them towards the bottom of the funnel.
Bottom of the Marketing Funnel and Beyond
Marketers, especially demand generation managers, dream about leads converting to the bottom of the funnel. We all live and breathe SQL conversion rates, right? Needless to say, you probably have a structured marketing strategy to engage and generate bottom of funnel leads. Most of the time this surrounds targeted re-marketing, inbound lead campaigns, and display ads. However, a part of the bottom of the funnel that’s often ignored, is how you’re setting your leads up to convert to reoccurring revenue and advocates, rather than one time “challenge purchases”. If you sell a software that forces monthly reoccurring revenue, then you probably don’t have to worry about this so much. However, it’s worth noting that strong copy and content about the user experience and various use cases around your solutions can create opportunities for the customer to expand with purchases with you. This also sets up the sales team to pitch a product that fits the customer’s needs while also upselling additional solutions.
Actionable Next Steps
What is the big takeaway? Lead generation isn’t a one-time thing, and the more effort you put towards the middle of the funnel, the better you’ll set yourself up for growing conversions. On top of that, creating lasting engagements with your leads throughout the marketing funnel should be your number one priority. Is this the extent of what you can do? Of course not. In fact, there are hundreds of other options that are available to you to enable fast conversions.
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