Developing a Content Marketing Strategy: Aligning Personas to Your Sales Funnel – Part Two

Content Marketing
By Guest BloggerFeb 22, 2013

by Dave Crader

Welcome to the second part of my Content Marketing Strategy Development blog series. I recommend reading the previous post, How To Develop a Customer Persona, before diving into this one.

In this post, I’ll show you how to create a Sales Funnel, align your personas to your Sales Funnel and identify gaps in your current content marketing strategy using a Content Opportunity Chart. This process helps you deliver the right content to the right people at the right time.

Creating a Sales Funnel

If you don’t have a Sales Funnel mapped out already, you’ll need to make one to get started. The B2B Sales Funnel is usually more structured than the B2C Sales Funnel, but in general, your funnel will most likely look something like this:

Content Marketing

Let’s revisit the Big Taste doughnut example from How To Develop a Customer Persona. In case you missed part-1 of this series, Big Taste is our fictional flavor development company that develops recipes marketed towards large fast-food franchises, and your job was to effectively market a delicious bacon doughnut recipe. Keep in mind that we’re marketing to two different personas – the head chef in charge of new product development and the CEO. Now, let’s take a look at what the Big Taste Sales Funnel for that delicious bacon doughnut probably looks like:

Big Taste Sales Funnel

Aligning Personas to Your Sales Funnel

Now that you have your Sales Funnel, it’s time to align your personas and content to it. This will help you figure out where there are gaps in your current content marketing strategy and where you need to improve.

Use the chart below as a guide:

Content Opportunity Chart

Prospects Contacts Leads Finalists Clients
Chef Persona • Company Overview White Paper
• White Paper about Big Taste’s organic ingredients
• Product Sample
• Bacon Doughnut Brochure
• Case Study of a previous success  
CEO Persona   • Product Sample
• Bacon Doughnut Brochure

Just fill in the boxes where you already have content. Now ask yourself, “Where do I need to create content to push my personas to the next stage of my Sales Funnel?” To clarify, let’s look at our Big Taste example again.

The Content Opportunity Chart shows us Big Taste is lacking content made specifically for its CEO persona. It also shows us the company is lacking content in the final stage of its Sales Funnel. Both observations give us direction for our content marketing strategy.

I’ll be going over how to create engaging content for our personas in part three of this series, but as a quick tease, I’ll say Big Taste might want to consider creating some sort of ROI projection tool for its CEO persona and some sort of follow-up, cross-sell white paper for the final stage of its Sales Funnel.

Still Struggling?

If you’re struggling with this process, consider setting up Google Analytic goals and looking at the “Goal Flow” (Conversions -> Goals -> Goal Flow) section within your Google Analytics account. You may also want to look at the “Visitor Flow” section (Audience -> Visitor Flow) as well. This will give insight into how visitors are finding your website, whether or not those visitors completed your goal and what interested them before they converted.

By looking at Evolve’s Visitor Flow in Google Analytics, we can see returning visitors (visitors who came to our site, left and came back later) like to view our Why Choose Us, About Evolve and Website Design pages before contacting us.

Google Analytics Visitor Flow

This gives us great insight into the minds of the “Interested Prospects” within our Sales Funnel (our Sales Funnel differs slightly from Big Taste’s Sales Funnel, as will yours). From this report, I was able to gather that Evolve, like most businesses, has a good amount of content in the beginning stages of its Sales Funnel, but lacks in the final stage - similar to Big Taste. If I was putting this information into a Content Opportunity Chart, I’d put the Why Choose Us, About Evolve and Website Design pages in the “Interested Prospect” column for a mid-level Marketing Manager persona.

Shout out to Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose over at the Content Marketing Institute for some of these insights and ideas.

Next Up:  Developing a Content Marketing Strategy: Choosing a Content Format – Part Three

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