Educating Your Prospects: The Importance of Top-of-Funnel Content

Posted by Kevin Brady on 5/31/20 9:58 PM

You’ve probably heard by now that B2B buyers are two-thirds of the way through the buying process before they decide to meet with suppliers.  This enlightening research by Gartner turns the sales process on its head, and has huge implications for sales reps and the marketing teams that support them. 

Your marketing department has the responsibility for getting your brand in front of prospects when they realize that they have a problem.  This first stage of the buyer’s journey, called the Awareness Stage is when they are searching the web, looking for educational and informative content.    

Companies that do a good job developing content that helps buyers identify the problem they are trying to solve have a better chance of being a part of the decision process when time to make a purchase. 

Sales Funnels: The Basics

Think of the three stages of the buyer’s journey as a part of a funnel – from Awareness to Consideration to Decision.  A buyer progresses through each of these stages on the way to making a purchase.   As part of the B2B purchase process, the funnel might start with someone visiting your website and reading a white paper or watching a video.  Once they have identified the problem they are trying to solve, they may sign up for a free download, at which point they become a sales lead.

What Is Top of Funnel Content?

Now that you have a clearer idea of the stages in the buyer’s journey, it's time to learn more about top of funnel content.  This is awareness stage content that someone encounters when they're first learning about your business.

Top of funnel content is not meant to sell your products or services directly. Instead, it's meant to educate and inform prospects while positioning your company as a valuable information source. Providing guidance to help prospects understand their problem builds credibility for your company and increases brand value. 

Why does it matter?

If you take the time to provide people with helpful information while you build awareness, they will develop a greater sense of trust in your business. This, in turn, helps you establish a strong relationship and increases the likelihood that they'll continue on their journey to becoming a lead and eventually a customer.

Focusing on creating good top of funnel content can help with lead generation and increase your conversions. It can boost your business’ search engine rankings and overall credibility, too. 

Creating Great Top of Funnel Content

Effective top of funnel content Takes on many forms.  Posting blogs on a regular cadence is a good place to start.  Blogs are typically informative (not salesy) and are easily optimized for search.  White papers and videos are good, too.  White papers provide an opportunity for your company to promote new ideas and theories, take a position on an important topic, and be seen as a thought leader in your industry.  Educational and “how to” videos help build trust and can be used at each stage of the buyer’s journey,  Research shows that companies that use video content on their websites enjoy a 157% increase in organic traffic from search.

If you're not sure how to make your top of funnel content interesting and engaging, here are some tips you can try today:

1: Understand Your Buyers

Creating great material for the top of your funnel is all about knowing the buyer’s you are targeting with each piece of content you publish. Developing buyer personas helps you ensure you're writing and speaking in a way that resonates with them and gets them interested in continuing on with their journey. 

Think about your target customer and get specific about who they are and what they need. What problems are they facing and how can you help to solve them? Who might be other influencers into the buying process and how can you reach them?

2: Focus on Education

When you're creating top of funnel content for your buyers, focus on education instead of selling. The opportunity to sell comes later after you've established trust and shown them that your company is a credible supplier worth investing in. 

Providing educational content is about creating relationships and building meaningful connections. Think about ways that you can have an impact on your audience while providing them with something valuable that can help them do their job better.

What questions might they have? Can you answer them while also making your brand authoritative and relevant? 

3: Provide Sufficient Detail

It's important to make your top of funnel content detailed and thorough. If your content is short or feels overly simplistic, people will be less inclined to continue engaging because they won't feel as though you are providing value. When answering questions or addressing pain points, make sure you're providing real solutions and giving people something actionable that they can take away when they're finished.  

4: Optimize for Search

It is critical that top of funnel content is optimized for search engines. Conduct research into search terms and phrases prior to writing and be sure to include them in your content.  Your content needs to drive strangers to your website (prospects that you have never heard of) and must perform well in search for this to happen.

Your written content should be easy to read and broken up with heading tags, short paragraphs, and bullet points, too. This also increases the likelihood that people will actually stick around and read it from start to finish.

5: Update Your Content Regularly

Finally, be sure to update your content often. Google's Freshness update prioritizes newer content.  If you have blog posts or videos on your site that have not been updated recently, they are not going perform as well in search.   Make sure you have a plan to review published content at regular intervals.  Edit your content to include updated sources, refreshed statistics, current quotes or improvements in search queries.

Start Generating Brand Awareness Today

Top of funnel content should be a priority if you want to improve your lead generation efforts.  Keep these tips in mind and you'll have a much easier time creating content that helps build brand awareness and gets people interested in what your business has to offer.

Do you want to learn more about developing content that builds authority for your business and generates qualified leads for sales?  Contact Highway 9 today to learn more about our team and how we can help.

Topics: Content