- 14 categories of content, i.e. eBooks, Case Studies, Podcasts, Trial Software, etc.
- 154 individual pieces of content
- Content distribution by buying process stage:
- Attention (A)- 50%
- Interest (I)- 25%
- Desire (D)- 5%
- Action (A)- 20%
- Note- client used the classic AIDA funnel
- Conversion rates :
- Attention- 2
- Interest- 1
- Desire- 3
- Action- 1
- Note: conversion percentages are converted to a key, whereby 1= below average, 2= average, 3= above average.
The most effective content in moving a prospect towards becoming a customer was the client’s middle of the funnel content. “Desire” content scored above average when compared to content conversion rates found in similar companies. Yet, they only had 8 pieces of content in this bucket. The demand gen team freaked out and began frantically altering their editorial calendars to produce more middle of the funnel content. The fear was that eventually these 8 assets would grow stale and if so, the funnel would start leaking. A leaky funnel = missed revenue targets. U-G-L-Y.
The VP of Marketing was in a real pickle. She did not have the resources to crank out the volume of content she needed. She also had no faith in the abilities of outsourced content production companies to understand their business well enough to produce high quality content. Lastly, who was going to pay for this?
She asked us, “What now?”
Our sales consultants are hired to solve tricky problems and this client had one. We decided to dig deeper. The SBI team set off to determine why the middle of the funnel content converted better than the top and bottom of the funnel content. The causality analysis generated 9 hypothesis and we tested each. The team found a smoking gun.
It turned out that the reason the middle of the funnel content performed the best was the communication vehicles used to distribute it were different. What is a communication vehicle? A communication vehicle is the activity used to place the content in the hands of the prospect. Examples of communication vehicles are newsletters, blogs, emails, etc. How a piece of content makes it from you to a prospect matters. It can alter the conversion rates quite a bit.
This client distributed its 8 middle of the funnel content assets via a monthly webinar series exclusively. These were invitation-only events targeted at highly segmented databases of prospects whose attributes suggested they had a high propensity to convert in the future. You might call it a “gold list”. In contrast, the top of the funnel content was distributed via mass marketing vehicles such as a newsletter, email blasts, and pay-per-click advertising. The bottom of the funnel content used trade show booth materials, the company blog, and direct mail. You might call this list “everyone else”.
The client has since altered the communication vehicles it is using to distribute top and bottom of the funnel content. The conversion rates are trending up nicely. This has not eliminated the need to produce more middle of the funnel content entirely, however. With only 5% of its 154 marketing assets targeted at the middle of the funnel, there is a balance issue in the content portfolio. But, the client prevented themselves the headache of having to re-write the content that was underperforming. The study showed it was not the quality of the content causing the conversion rate problem but the way the content was being distributed. Much pain avoided!
- Benchmark your content to see which is converting prospects to customers and at what rate.
- Perform a content audit to determine if you have enough pieces, up and down the funnel, to make the number.
- Pay attention to the communication vehicle used to get the content in the hands of the prospects.
Here is the tool we developed for this client, called a Content Marketing Activity Selection Tool. It is pretty simple but if you need help using it, give me a call at 888-556-7338 x 703. Download it here.