Over the last few posts, I've looked at how creating content and getting found are the most important components of any start-up marketing plan. In the last post, I added how you also need to nurture the leads through the sales funnel. In this post, I wanted to tie these concepts together by bringing in the sales funnel.
Producing compelling content on a regular basis is the key ingredient that you need to nurture leads and mapping the content to the sales funnel will help you know what to create and when to move your prospects along.
For example, you don't want to send detailed technical specs to the prospect nor do you want to send an introductory eBook when you are in the call-to-close phase. Equally important is that you don't want to send all of your content to the prospects at the same time. Delivering the right content at the right stage is abolutely cricital to nurturing leads.
There are many variations of the sales funnel and the one illustrated here is just a sample to illustrate how you can map content to the sales funnel. Your sales funnel may be different as the most important part of any sales funnel is that the stages are agreed upon by sales and marketing in your company. This sales funnel can be used as a template to map the content you are creating against the stages in your funnel.
Generally speaking, you will want to send more educational content at the earlier stages of the funnel and not send the more detailed product information until the much later stages. I've placed social media, like blogging, Twitter and Facebook, at the top of the funnel as they are also key content vehicles for getting found but social networking could be used throughout.
In some cases, it's the scope of the content that would dictate where it is placed. For example, I mapped webinars and white papers at the prospect stage as they are also good for getting found and can help you determine the more qualified leads through a registration process. However, if the webinar and white papers are more detailed and technical then they could just as easily be used at the qualified lead or opportunities stage.
You may not produce all of the content outlined here and certain pieces of content may be at different or multiple stages. I don't believe that this mapping can and should be set in stone. What is important is that you have different pieces of content at each stage and that you continue to deliver new and compelling content regularly to nurture the leads through the funnel.