Middle Funnel Content Will Get You More Leads Than You Can Handle
Not often, but some weeks I get more meetings than I can handle.
As problems go, that’s the good sort to have, I guess.
The process I use to get fully booked has been replicated by our clients, again and again. There’s no ‘secret’ involved, and it can be easily applied by any B2B company.
In this article I’ll walk you through exactly how to use middle funnel content to generate B2B leads. So you can fill your sales pipeline, too.
Let’s get started!
What’s Middle Of The Funnel Content?
Middle of the funnel content (MOFU) refers to content in your marketing funnel that educates your audience. You can think of it as a bridge that helps prospects get from vaguely curious to becoming an informed buyer.
If that’s not a helpful definition then think of MOFU as content that positions you as an expert in your profession.
Here are some common content types frequently used to create MOFU content:
- Case Studies
- Ebooks & White Papers
- The Ultimate Guide To ‘X’
- Webinars & Seminars
- Educational Video
- Some Blog Posts
- Survey Results & Proprietary Data
- Expert Interviews
- Fact Sheets
- Free Tools & Calculators
- Templates & Checklists
- Free Courses
Why Create Middle of the Funnel Content?
Mid-funnel content is created to generate awareness of a problem. And give your company opportunities to interact with potential clients.
A typical example is when you’re asked for your email address in exchange for marketing collateral like a template or guide. You’ve probably experienced this lots of times!
MOFU is also used to nurture leads through the sales funnel. Your marketing team can prepare content to educate potential customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
It’s pretty much what you’d expect. Create great content and everyone will love you and eventually some of your leads will convert to become paying clients.
What About MOFU For Small Businesses?
“The cake is a lie” – Portal, 2007
At this point you might be screaming a bit. Try doing it in your head. Loud shrieks will upset your neighbours.
If you’re a small business then the use-case described above has little relevance to your business.
You might not have a marketing team. And the model described above doesn’t work for small businesses.
Content Marketing Requires Traffic
It’s all well and good to talk about capturing email addresses and then nurturing them. But it completely ignores the reality that the VAST majority of B2B service providers experience.
On any given day, how many people are searching for a service solution like, “ERP implementation provider in Toronto“? Probably not many!
And there may not be many people near you searching for your solution, either.
Also, how many search clicks do you think the 15th result in Google receives? Probably zero.
So unless you’re at the top of the search results for a pretty common search term, you’re not getting much search traffic. Which is the reality of what most local B2B service providers experience.
And makes lead capture using middle funnel content a bit pointless.
There Aren’t Enough Leads To Nurture
If you don’t have enough website traffic to generate a meaningful number of leads then it follows that you won’t have enough leads to nurture, either.
Lead nurturing is largely a numbers game. As prospective clients engage with your content they move themselves further through the stages of the buyer’s process.
But it takes volume to make this approach viable for small businesses. Without a minimum level of traffic, it’s not a practical approach.
Finally, it’s very possible to nurture the wrong person. Just because someone filled out a form on your website doesn’t make them a stakeholder or decision maker.
A lot of nurturing effort is allocated to people who aren’t able to buy your solution. And for small businesses not selling to the right people is an unacceptable waste of limited resources.
Should Small Businesses Create Mid-Funnel Content?
MOFU should be a huge part of your lead generation process. You just can’t use it the same way as large businesses.
Remember, the whole point of mid-funnel content is to showcase your expertise. And there’s never a downside to doing that.
Content types that are digestible and use specific data are especially popular. For example an infographic that summarizes conclusions from a data-heavy study. Or a video that provides actionable lessons the viewer can use.
Make sure the information is actionable for your ideal client. You want them to be able to apply the knowledge you provide to their business. And think of you as a resource they can draw upon for solutions.
How to Generate Leads With Middle Funnel Content
You already know who your ideal clients are. So why not reach out to them and offer your content directly?
It’s not hard – just send them an email and ask if they’d like to see it.
Setting up email campaigns takes a bit of work. But it’s well worth the effort. If you need some help with email outreach, we can do it for you.
You already know your content is relevant to their business interests. And it was built with value creation in mind.
So take a chance and contact them.
You’ll discover that sharing great content is an amazing way to build new relationships, get noticed, and find new clients.
Why Content-Driven Outreach Works
OK, so why is this approach so effective?
Well first, you’re not asking for anything. You’re not asking for a meeting. Nor are you suggesting a ‘quick’ 30 minute demo.
Instead, you’re reaching out to provide something of value. And you’re not asking for anything in return.
This creates a High Value / Low Friction dynamic. And it’s very effective.
Clients who use this approach frequently see positive response rates above 3%. In the campaign image below this video offer got a positive response rate above 6% – incredible!
But What About The Meetings?
Yeah, yeah, positive responses are great. But how does that translate into meetings?
Just because a prospect requests marketing collateral it doesn’t make them interested in your services.
That’s true. So here’s why content creation works for lead generation.
Sales guru Chet Holmes advanced the theory that at any given time only 3% of your target market are actively looking for your solutions. And another 7% are open to the idea.
So if you contact 100 people and ask them for a meeting 90% will have no interest.
Which is fine if the 3% of active buyers agree to meet with you.
But getting that meeting using traditional cold email is tricky. You don’t have a pre-existing relationship, and you’re asking for their valuable time. So your message could be ignored.
That doesn’t happen when you use education-based marketing.
People who weren’t seriously considering a solution like yours are now educated. So they move down the buying funnel into the consideration phase. Some of them will become ‘open’ to your solutions.
And your 3% of active buyers are thrilled to hear from you. They’re actively buying and you’re obviously an expert in your field. So they automatically shortlist you as a potential provider.
Interestingly, we’ve found that the majority of active buyers request a meeting WITHOUT ever looking at the offered collateral. They’re in the market for a solution, and they want to talk to an expert.
High Engagement Email Campaigns
It really doesn’t matter how you contact people if they don’t receive your message. So part of building an effective cold email campaign is getting strong email delivery.
The easiest way to stay out of the spam box is to get lots of engagement. The stronger your cold email response rate is, the easier it is to get your future emails delivered.
Education-based marketing is a fantastic way to get replies. You’re contacting prospects to offer them something you think they might find useful.
And even if they aren’t interested they’ll frequently take a moment to thank you for the offer.
This high level of engagement tells ISPs that your emails are generally welcome and shouldn’t be flagged as spam. Which is awesome!
Mid-Funnel Content Works For Lead Generation
These days decision makers are getting more and more external demands on their time. So they have limited time for cold approaches.
So try approaching them with a spirit of giving instead. You’re not asking them for anything. Instead you’re actively looking for ways to help out.
The results are incredible. You’ll generate lots of goodwill. And your potential customers who are active buyers will immediately identify you as a good fit for their needs.
What would you add about using middle funnel content to generate leads? I’d love to hear about your experiences. You can contact me on Linkedin or send a note on our contact page.
Matthew Murray is the Managing Director of Sales Higher. He knows any company can THRIVE with enough qualified sales leads. So he’s spent the last decade helping companies meet engaged prospects and win new deals.