3 Content Hacks to Move Prospects Down the Funnel Faster
September 12, 2019 | Kirsten Lyons
Content is an essential tool in every B2B marketer’s arsenal. But in a world where buyers spend 48% of their journey researching solutions independently, content has to work double time to take over the role that, in the past, was filled by a skilled salesperson.
Successful marketers know that content should be a catalyst to move prospects further down the marketing funnel. But when prospects are waiting longer and longer to engage with sales in the buying process, your content needs to act as a qualification engine to be effective today.
See how modern marketers can adapt their content to meet the needs of today’s buyers, and move prospects down the funnel faster.
Ungate your content
As today’s B2B buyers engage in increasingly independent and complex buying processes, marketers have adapted by trying to glean as much information as possible from each engagement. Many marketers have resorted to raising their lead gates.
Unfortunately, working to find out everything from role to the name of your prospects’ first-born child before allowing them to download content hasn’t done anything to move the needle on MQL to SQL conversion rates.
This issue exists because marketers conflate content downloads with messaging resonance. We’re all guilty of downloading PDFs with the hopes of reading them later, only to trash them in our quarterly desktop cleanse—and your prospects are no different.
Now this doesn’t mean that using your content to collect qualifying information on prospects is a thing of the past: marketers still need to engage with prospects to learn more about them (and whether they are a good fit to be sent to sales).
But instead of hiding content behind a lead gate and treating every download the same, marketers can ungate their content and leverage opportunities for engagement within content. Asking your prospects qualifying questions within your content means you can learn more about your prospects to uncover buying intent and determine the next right steps for your lead, whether it’s a nurture program or a conversation with sales.
Make your content conversational
For content to effectively move prospects down your funnel quickly, it can’t be a one-way information dump from marketers to prospects. Making your content conversational improves your prospects’ experience, and helps marketers surface and prioritize the highest quality leads for their business. When marketers can focus on high quality leads, we can seamlessly fast-track the leads that a great fit for our businesses, and move prospects through the funnel faster.
Marketers often think of chat bots when they imagine conversational marketing. Chat bots can be a highly effective conversion engine when used in tandem with website content, creating opportunities for specialized playbooks for different visitors and content.
However, your conversations with prospects shouldn’t be limited to live chat. PDF content can also be an important opportunity to engage and learn more about your prospects.
Layering qualifying questions into your content helps you learn more about prospects to better qualify leads, as well as put that information to work to improve your prospects’ experience. Marketers can use prospect responses within content to customize nurture streams to their unique challenges. This information can also be shared with sales teams to improve conversations down the line.
Offer multiple CTAs and dynamic next steps
In previous eras of B2B marketing, marketers might have been able to predict with reasonable success where a prospect is in their buying journey by the depth of content they engage with. However, today’s buying practices mean that marketers making those judgements are likely working off of faulty assumptions.
Buyer journey’s are nonlinear. Today’s B2B buyers engage in complex buying journeys that include many stakeholders, and extensive independent research.
This shift means that marketers can’t assume that a prospect reading a blog post is at the beginning of their journey, and engagement with gated “BOFU content” indicates a prospect is ready to talk to sales. So how do marketers adapt? Put prospects back in the driver’s seat.
By offering content with multiple CTAs that cater to different stages of the buying process, marketers can allow prospects to self-select into the right next step for them. This self-determination for prospects improves marketers’ efficiency and allows them to focus on the leads that are ready to move forward, and continue to nurture those who aren’t ready.
When marketers adapt their content to the changing needs of today’s buyers they can move prospects through the funnel faster. By ungating content, creating opportunities for dialogue with prospects, and offering multiple CTAs, marketers can turn static content into qualification engines to surface the best leads that will convert to customers quickly.
Learn more about adapting your content for today’s buyers in our guide to conversational content.