Most marketers are trained to work the top of the funnel (ToFu) which involves attracting and generating prospective leads through ‘awareness’. But when it comes to the middle of the funnel (MoFu) that is the ‘consideration’ phase for prospects and the bottom of the funnel (BoFu) or the ‘purchase/conversion’ phase, most marketers fall short. Approximately 97% of a company’s marketing budget is spent at the top of the funnel. Further, only 36% of marketers create content for consumers in the mid and late-funnel stages. Why the grave neglect? In today’s digital world, marketers have little time to engage customers before they skip the ads/content or close the window and go away. So in the few seconds that marketers have, everyone’s trying to outdo the other in putting forward their best sales pitch. And this is a big mistake.
Why the forgotten stage of the marketing funnel could prove to be your magic wand
Digest this - despite being the aspect that marketers are most focused on, 61% of marketers say the ToFu accounts for their biggest challenges. Moreover, 80% of new leads are either lost, ignored or discarded by the sales department. This means the leads that are already in the funnel matter more than the new ones we marketers generate. However, the disconnect between the sales and marketing functions is often responsible for MoFu being ignored. But what is it that the MoFu prospects actually need? Meaningful conversations. MoFu prospects need to be nurtured with thoughtful, direct engagement that is specific and relevant to them. But what’s even more important than this is the right timing. MoFu prospects must be nurtured before they lose interest in your brand and move elsewhere as this is the stage where prospects begin evaluating brands against their competitors.
So how can marketers ace the mid-funnel marketing game to generate warmer leads for the sales team who typically work at the BoFu? Here are three ways:
Leverage person-to-person influence: It’s not new that in the consideration phase of any decision, people often seek opinion from friends and family. In digital marketing, this job is done by the influencers who consumers treat as subject matter experts and trust for advice on what to buy. A brand needn’t engage in full-fledged influencer marketing (which can be super expensive today) to ace the person-to-person influence. It can be done by paying attention to product reviews, creating feedback loops for consumers and leveraging user generated content (UGC) smartly across the marketing channels – in social media posts, emails, website, etc.
Use your marketing automation (MA) platform wisely: Lead segmentation is essential to send targeted content to MoFu prospects and your MA platform can help create tightly segmented lists for lead nurturing. It should also help in lead scoring to help you direct time and effort to those leads that matter most. The topics that MoFu prospects engage with provide context for their level of purchasing intent as well as help identify what additional content would be appropriate for your nurturing campaign.
Demonstrate value: Case studies (in text or video format) are an excellent way to show MoFu prospects what value you’ve delivered to existing clients and how. Creating impactful case studies requires marketers to collaborate effectively with sales teams in order to get the right data points. Working closely with sales also helps marketers gain insights on common questions and objections prospective customers have, aspects that often slow down the process of persuading customers to buy, etc. Marketers can then generate content that addresses these common objections, optimize it for the right keywords, and adopt a problem-solving approach in their MoFu strategy.
It’s time you shower some love on the middle-child of marketing!
MoFu or the ‘middle-child of marketing’ as it is sometimes called can prove to the game changer in your marketing strategy. With brand comparisons, peer-to-peer reviews, and social influencers available for every need, traditional marketing channels are already generating fewer leads nowadays. Nearly two-thirds of the buyer’s journey happens before customers ever interact with your sales team and when they do, they are well-informed and expect the right answers. According to Marketo, companies that nurture prospects effectively have 50% higher sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. When leads are nurtured in the middle of funnel stage they spend, on average, 47% more than non-nurtured leads. Clearly, MoFu is the next competitive battleground for brands and it’s where the most interesting action will be seen.
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