How to Build a Content Marketing Funnel that Converts Social Media Followers into Leads

April 30, 2024

Around 73% of B2B marketers and 70% of B2C marketers have a mainstay in their overall marketing strategy - content marketing. Transforming those social media scrollers into genuine leads comes down to the quality of your content and its ability to shape your audience's journey toward becoming loyal customers.

The maze of content marketing funnels becomes less daunting when you break down the basics, craft an effective strategy, and understand why content reigns supreme in the marketing kingdom.  

Understanding the Content Marketing Funnel

Whether you are looking to start a social media marketing agency or run the social strategy for your own business, effectively capturing the interest of well-defined target audiences is key. Keeping audiences engaged is all about having a strategic content funnel. This funnel is like a conveyor belt of valuable content—blogs, social media updates, videos—aimed at existing and potential customers. It's not about hard-selling your product or endlessly promoting your business. Instead, the focus is on becoming an authority in your industry, the go-to source for all things relevant. By raising brand awareness and offering helpful content, you gradually steer customers towards choosing your service or product.

This is what a journey through the social media marketing funnel should look like:

Stage 1: Awareness

Goal: Attracting and engaging prospects

The journey starts at the top of the funnel, where potential customers become aware of your product. By sharing eye-catching content on social media, businesses can capture attention and draw new followers and potential customers into the fold. 

Since these potential customers are not yet aware of your company or the solutions you provide, the top-of-funnel content must educate them. This can include shareable blog posts, infographics, YouTube videos, e-books, and podcasts.

Key metrics to measure success: Time on page, followers gained, number of shares, bounce rate.

Stage #2: Evaluation

Goal: Building trust and authority

As prospects journey through the middle of the funnel, they're considering your product, but crave more information. This is where your content needs to build trust and authority. Repetitively drawing people’s attention to the benefits they can get from your product or service is crucial, or they’ll likely lose interest and drift away. Target them with ads that contain middle-of-funnel content.

Middle-of-the-funnel content showcases why they should choose your offering. You can use case studies, white papers, useful resources/downloads, or events and webinars here.

Key metrics to measure success: Downloads, registrations, engagements, demo request forms… whatever indicates a new lead to your business.

Stage #3: Conversion

Goal: Guiding prospects toward the sale

At the bottom of the funnel, leads are primed and ready to purchase. Here, targeted paid social ads addressing their specific needs can nudge prospects toward the finish line. With proper tracking in place, you'll have tracked the prospect's journey through the funnel and gained an understanding of what elements of your product appeal to them most. Double down on those value ads with targeting messaging.

Boost prospects' confidence with content like customer reviews, demos, competitor comparisons, and, of course, free trials! Ensure you have a clear call to action, a simplified purchase process, and personalized content here.

Key metrics: Sales!

Crafting Compelling Content for Social Media

If your your organic and paid social content isn't engaging or relevant, your audience won't hesitate to scroll past it in search of something more captivating.

But it's not just about what you say—it's also about how you say it. Each post is a new lead magnet. Text posts can deliver concise, informative messages, while images can capture attention in an instant. And then there's video—the undisputed heavyweight champion—which allows you to tell compelling stories, demonstrate products, and provide in-depth tutorials.

Live streams are a great way to deliver marketing content, especially for companies with a substantial following on TikTok or Instagram. One of the key benefits of live streaming is the capacity for live selling. You can use it to promote your eBook, podcast, YouTube channel, blog, products, or services, directing potential customers into your funnel.

When live streaming, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Have a clear plan and goal for your live stream to ensure it's purposeful
  • Be authentic and avoid over-rehearsing or reading from scripts
  • Control your environment to minimize distractions and disruptions
  • Boldly communicate the topic of your live stream to attract and retain viewers
  • Schedule and promote your streams in advance to maximize audience attendance
  • Save and share your livestreams to extend their reach
  • Provide valuable content that encourages audience engagement and discussion
  • Remember to enjoy the interaction with your viewers and have fun hosting the livestream

There's one often-overlooked aspect of content creation that can make or break your social media game: audio quality. Poor audio quality can quickly turn off your audience and undermine your message, whether recording a podcast, filming a live stream, or adding background music to your Instagram story. So, invest in good microphones, the best audio editing software, and soundproofing equipment to ensure your content sounds as polished as it looks.

Converting Followers into Leads

Once you've crafted your lead magnet, it's time to create an irresistible opt-in offer that encourages your audience to take action. This opt-in offer takes them from social media followers to real leads, often by getting them to join your email list. By running contests, initiating interesting conversations, and interacting with followers in meaningful ways, you can create a sense of community that goes beyond transactional relationships. For example, you could try giving away small prizes via email campaigns, not as bribes to join your email list, but as tokens of appreciation for your audience’s active participation and engagement. Or, you could try creating a newsletter that contains valuable industry updates and is delivered weekly via email. All your social media followers have to do to access these great opportunities is join your email list!

Whether it's a compelling call-to-action (CTA), a visually appealing landing page, or an exclusive bonus offer delivered via a personalized email, make sure that your opt-in entices your audience and communicates the value they'll receive by subscribing.

Don't overlook the importance of segmentation and personalizing the user experience. Segment your leads using categories like interests, behaviors, or demographics, and tailor your follow-up communication accordingly. Targeted content that speaks to each segment of your audience enhances engagement, builds rapport, and drives conversions.

The Role of Paid Ads in the Funnel

Paid ads are critical if you want to deliver mid and bottom funnel targeted content on social media due to their retargeting abilities. Additionally, they help you collect data you can use to map and measure every stage of the customer's journey, identifying potential bottlenecks or shortcomings in your marketing strategy. This level of insight is invaluable for refining your approach and maximizing effectiveness, particularly in the upper stages of the funnel, where the primary objective is to boost brand visibility and attract new customers. If your top-of-funnel ads aren't engaging, you won't build an audience to retarget with mid-and-bottom-funnel content.

By leveraging a paid media advertising funnel, you gain insights into your audience's actual purchasing intent, especially during the consideration stage. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as click-through rates, bounce rates, and engagement metrics can help you gauge the effectiveness of your sales strategy and tailor your messaging accordingly. 

Implementing a Tracking System

To effectively navigate the intricacies of a multi-stage marketing funnel, you need a solution that enables you to track multiple events seamlessly. From clicks on social posts to email signups to sales, every micro-conversion in the funnel needs to be tracked across all your different organic and paid marketing channels. Aim for something equipped with built-in optimization tools designed to illuminate the critical stages of your buying cycle. When you unify your campaign data with sales outcomes, you glean actionable insights and make informed, data-driven marketing decisions. 

Building a Company Culture for Nurturing Leads for Conversion

Getting your whole team on board with nurturing leads for conversion is crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of personalized communication strategies. With a group coaching approach, ensure everyone on your team understands the importance of consistent messaging across all touch points. 

Consistent messaging and communication are essential for building trust and credibility and must be a collaborative effort across departments. You never want your marketing team to be promoting something that your sales team can't actually deliver. Involving sales, customer service, and marketing in the lead nurturing process will ensure that leads receive a unified customer experience, which increases the likelihood of conversion.

Always remember the ultimate goal of your marketing campaign

It's easy to get caught up in metrics like likes, shares, and comments. While engagement is undeniably important for building brand awareness and fostering relationships with your audience, sales are typically the main goal of marketing campaigns.

After all, they directly impact your bottom line and drive tangible results for your business. So, concentrate on strategies that prompt your audience to take action. Plan your marketing strategies to go beyond simply generating likes or shares and ultimately inspire followers to move down the sales funnel and make a purchase. If you can do this, you'll watch your social media campaigns drive real business growth.

Luke Carlino

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