The ubiquitous funnel. That's the funnel that in business you want to fill and keep topped up. It's the funnel that sits at the top of your buyer's journey and causes your prospective buyers to slide down into your business arms where you'll look after them.
It's such a strong metaphor for the buying process that I haven't seen any other expression used in its place. I got to thinking about this funnel because I was thinking about the buyer's journey and the process a buyer goes through to become a client. The various stages being awareness, consideration, decision and purchase. Or to make it simpler, awareness, evaluation and purchase. There are also longer documented buyer journeys too.
What interests me is the relationship the buyer journey has to content. How at various stages of the journey there is a need for different types of content to satisfy or answer the unique questions that the buyer has at that time. The better you address these questions using the support of content, the better the process for the buyer. It can mean the difference between a smooth slide down the funnel or a jerky transition between stages. Of course, if you're like me, you'll want the process to be as smooth as possible. No pain means lots of gain for you and for them.
When I've looked up what sort of content is recommended at each stage the results are similar and yet different. There seems to be a fairly good consensus for these items at these stages:
Awareness - website, brochure, social media, blog, media
Consideration - case studies, white papers, webinars, industry reports, reviews, podcasts, guides, newsletters
Decision - trial downloads, demonstrations, ROI business cases, benchmarketing reports, calculators
Purchase - testimonials, customised estimates, proposals, tailored offers, loyalty programs, FAQs, surveys
I don't believe the above list is definitive however it's a good guide. Consider what you're doing and whether you have any holes in your content production that could be plugged by looking at the list above. Good news if there's something you could be doing that you're not given you know about it now. It's likely your competition is doing/producing it even if you aren't.
I don't think content production needs to be onerous. You'll appreciate the process so much more if you produce content that's meaningful to your target customer as you know someone values it. Remember, content should be produced not for its own sake but for the benefit it provides your potential buyer and the ease it gives them moving closer to becoming your customer. It's your job to make the slide down the funnel as fun and painless as possible. Like a great theme park ride.