Inbound marketing has a funnel of its own, and while it can vary in features or characteristics from industry to industry, it can generally be divided into three stages buyers go through before becoming a customer. First comes the educational or researching phase, followed by evaluation and finally conversion.
These stages define how buyers go through their purchasing journey. Initially, decision makers will identify their needs and research solutions (education); afterwards, they begin investigating different alternative options (evaluation); and, finally, they choose a company to buy from (conversion).
Below you can find content marketing ideas targeted towards prospects that are in the second stage — the evaluation phase.
Middle Funnel Content
If the top of the funnel (the first stage of the buying process) is always the widest, the middle of the funnel should focus on depth. That’s because the evaluation phase will usually take longer for the buyer to get through, especially for B2B industries.
However, this is an opportunity to connect with buyer and start building a relationship. You can showcase your product’s features, the benefits it provides and the competitive advantage it has over other alternatives. It is worth noting that content specific to this phase should not feel like advertisements to prospects — the buyer is still looking for valuable information to make his decision.
Comparison guides: At this stage, buyer will have several product alternatives to choose from and they might not know which one will fully comply with their requirements. Create a comparison guide that will help users understand the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches they might have at their disposal.
Explore each method’s impact on costs, lead times and quality in order to help buyers choose the right approach for their specific applications.
Case studies: A great way to win new customers is to highlight past successful implementations of your product. Cases studies are also a great tool to showcase how your product has helped your customers in the past. A robust case study library underlining your track record of success can be tremendously helpful in this regard.
Buyer’s Guides: In the second stage of the journey, buyers are already in a position to through a selection process from alternatives they have at their disposal. Help them identify and optimize their process, by guiding them in the right direction with a step-by-step buying guide.
These guides should not only contain information on your product line, but also on best practices and standards established within the industry.