The education and consideration stage, known in the Inbound Marketing world as the Middle of the Funnel (MoFU) is where the lead is looking to find solutions to their business problems. Often marketers neglect the importance of this stage and skip straight to trying to convert people into customers.
Let us start by understanding the buyers journey through the Smarketing Funnel:
Top of the funnel (ToFU) refers to the first stage of the buying process, also known as the awareness stage. At this stage, leads are identifying a problem that they have and are looking for more information. An Inbound marketer will want to create helpful content that helps leads identify this problem and provide next steps toward a solution.
Middle of the Funnel (MoFU) is the consideration stage that a lead enters after identifying a problem. Here they’re looking to conduct further research to find a solution to a problem. It also refers to the ability to take ToFU leads and nurture them to be sales-accepted.
Bottom of the Funnel (BoFU) leads have been nurtured by marketing teams down the funnel and are at the decision stage of their buying cycle. To optimise your BoFU conversions, sales and marketing teams need to work together sharing the data about the content and conversations the lead has engaged in, so that they can tailor it to the lead, helping convert them into a customer.
Here's how to never lose a lead in the middle again:
How do I get the ball rolling?
ToFU is often set up early on in the Inbound Campaign as you are optimising your website and social media channels to attract traffic to your site. The content is also often easier to write as it is more generic and needs less in depth knowledge about the subject.
MoFU needs to be continuously monitored and developed to make sure that it is really providing generic solutions and attracting leads.
Action: Divide your leads into ToFU, Marketing Qualified Leads and Sales Qualified leads, so you have specific targets to generate more MoFU ready to nurtured into customers. Also create a content plan and make sure that you categorise all your content into ToFU, MoFU and BoFU.
What content do I put in?
Speaking on a general topic is easy, you don't have to be an industry expert to give a brief overview of your various products and services.
Action: Create content that really helps convince your lead that your services have the solution to their problem but don't market your specific company's product or service. So if you use case studies here to promote your company, you've missed the mark. For example:
Your Service: Inbound Marketing
Business Problem of the Lead: Need to generate more revenue
ToFU Content: 5 Easy Steps to Maximising Revenue
MoFU Content: How to use Lead Generation to Maximise Revenue
Here the MoFU content explains why lead generation (a vital component of Inbound Marketing) is a great solution for maximising revenue and hopefully the lead will choose lead generation as the generic solution to their problem.
But Social Media is used for ToFU?
Social Media is often neglected for MoFU leads as people think it's most effective for attracting traffic to the site and spreading content.Action: This is where analysing your data is really important. Find out what content your prospects and leads are interested in and make sure that you are publishing that. Secondly, engage in conversations to answer specific questions and provide tailored advice. Buyers will appreciate a personal touch and being able to find out more in depth information and advice about your company.
How can I Optimise Email Lead Nurturing?
Email is an effective tool as it gives you direct access to leads inboxes. So it's important that you only send relevant and tailored emails to your contacts or it is likely they will unsubscribe.
Action: Knowing your audience is absolutely vital here. Using marketing automation platforms to create lists and segment your contacts into different workflows so you can tailor your emails to different contacts. This can be in their stage of the buyer funnel, their industry or their job role.
Before you send your email, read your content carefully and identify who will benefit from this content the most. This form of targeted email automation is very effective for nurturing leads.
So make the most of the middle, start nurturing more leads and moving them closer to converting into customers.