Life is a journey, and so is marketing. It’s a journey of your potential clients from being a target audience to awareness, consideration and decision-making stages. And like every journey it has to end – in a final conversion. But before you get to that final conversion, your target audience first needs to be converted from one stage to another.
There are three main stages:
- Awareness Stage – when a person discovers your company, product or service
- Consideration Stage – when a person takes interest in your product or service
- Decision-Making Stage – the final stage, when a person makes a decision to buy from you
Each of these stages can be applied to any marketing funnel, no matter what the source or the channel is. We will discuss these three stages through the lense of email marketing and drip campaigns. We will show you what content and approaches can be used at each stage to convert more people into the next one.
Awareness stage is the first stage of the customer journey, when a person first hears about your company, product or service. At this point it’s important to provide the targeted person with more information about your company or products in a calm and educational way. The less salesy and promotional it feels the better, because at this stage the person is not yet loyal to you or your brand, so it’s easy to scare your potential client away if you seem too pushy.
Let’s see what types of content we can use in our email sequences to convert more people from Awareness to Consideration stage:
- Free whitepaper
Works well for enterprise-level businesses or projects that have complex structures or mechanisms behind them. Whitepaper is a serious piece of educational content that contains a bigger research, explains methodology or describes company’s approaches. It can contain both market and product data.
- Free guide
Works for any type of business, as such content is purely educational and relates to your product or service. It should educate first, promote second. It’s best to write your guide in a how-to style so it’s not just educational, but also practical.
- Free e-books
Same as the guide, but with even more useful content. People love e-books, because you can save it as a pdf, read it later, share it with friends or colleagues and more. E-books are perfect for evergreen or viral content. Once you’ve created an interesting and useful e-book that is related to your niche, you can use it again and again months and even years later.
- Free checklist
A practical piece of content that works great for any type of business. Checklists can be used as a questionnaire that helps identify problems that need to be solved, or as an action list that pushes your target audience to act now and use your product or service.
- Free videos
An easy-to-digest content that can tell in depth about the problems you can solve in just a few minutes. Videos can also be used as viral or evergreen content. Just remember to keep it educational first.
- Free articles
Probably the most common type of content that is used at the Awareness stage. You can use articles that have already been published on your blog, or create new ones specific to your current email marketing and drip campaigns. When creating an article make sure it will be useful and educational, and your call-to-actions look organic and casual.
Consideration stage is the second stage of the marketing funnel. At this step a person already knows their problems, and is a little familiar with your product or service. At this stage your targeted person evaluates the problem, its urgency, how it can be solved, and whether it really needs to be solved here and now. Your goal is to show them all the ways their problem can be solved, how beneficial it will be for them and how you and your product can help.
Let’s see what type of content can help convert more people from Consideration to Decision-Making stage:
- Free webinars
One of the best content types to convert your audience from consideration to decision stage. Webinars allow you to speak to a bigger audience and create a dialogue between you and your potential customers. It’s a good idea to make your webinar half-educational/half-promotional: start with some useful tips and tricks, and then show how your product or service works to help with the problems they are facing. It’s important to create an a-ha! moment in your webinar and showcase all the benefits of your product or service. Invitation to a webinar is a good call-to-action for your email marketing and drip campaigns on the consideration stage of the funnel.
- Case studies
A piece of content that cannot be overrated. Case studies is what many potential clients at the consideration stage are looking for, as these are the best demonstration of how your product or service helped other businesses. Case studies help convert like crazy, just make sure they are detailed enough about the niche, the business, the problems, the solutions and the results. The more elaborate and number-rich your case study is the better. If you have some case studies developed, don’t hesitate to include them into your email marketing or drip campaigns.
- Free samples
An oldie but a goodie! People love freebies, and if your business type allows you to send some free samples of your product, don’t hesitate to use them in your campaigns. This doesn’t just work for physical products, for digital products it could be free reports, free analysis or anything similar. It’s important to always remind people of the value of your free samples – it should be considered a generous offering, not a random default giveaway of whatever you couldn’t sell. If possible make your free sample personalized – a report or an analysis work great.
- Specification sheets
Works best when you need to provide you target persona with more details on your product or service. This type of content is widely used by businesses that sell software, tools, technical services, platforms, automation tools and the like. Make sure to include features, benefits and even some case studies in your spec sheets, not just technical data. A call-to-action to request a specification sheet can be easily incorporated into your email marketing or drip campaigns.
Catalogs is a must-have piece of content if you offer multiple products or services. Make it more educational by including use-cases and tips to specifications and descriptions. You can easily put a call-to-action to download or request a catalog into an email.
Decision-making stage is the last stage of the marketing funnel. At this step a target person will make a decision to buy your product/service or not. At this point your potential client already knows their pains, problems and desires, is familiar with your product, and sees it as a solution. Your goal is to help them make a positive decision and finally become your client. That’s when the final conversion happens.
By this stage a target person has become more loyal to you and you should use this to educate less and promote more.
The best promotion is the product/service itself. Let’s see how you can use your company’s product or service to make this final conversion from decision-making stage to an actual client happen.
- Free trial
Works great for digital products. If you sell software, digital services or tools, allow your potential clients to try it for a week, two or even a month. Once your target person sees the benefits and results you can be sure they won’t leave and will eventually become your client. Put a call-to-action to try your product or service for free into your email copy.
Similar to a free trial, but instead of letting your potential client test it on their own, you show them how your product or service works yourself. Demos are usually held by sales reps or account managers, and they can convert a person to a client right at the demo. Demo is a good chance to offer a coupon or a discount that works for a limited time (we will discuss this later in the article). Make sure to offer your target audience to schedule a demo by putting a relevant CTA in your emails.
You can offer your potential clients a free consultation before they make their final decision. It can be an educational consultation or one focused on why and how to use your product/service. Your consultation should be rewarding and helpful for your target audience, and you should look like an authority and a professional. Just like at demo, you can offer a coupon or a discount during the consultation, thus pushing your potential client to make a decision there and then. Convert more by offering a free consultation to your email recipients.
- Expert opinion
Similar to a consultation, but usually more focused on assessing the potential client’s problem by an expert and providing them with expert advice on how to solve it. An expert opinion is more personalized and private than a consultation, which can be script-based. You can use a CTA in your email marketing or drip campaigns that offers to schedule a meeting with your in-house expert.
- Estimates and quotes
A piece of a personalized content that is very close to the actual conversion. When a person requests a quote or you’ve successfully marketed your quote, it means that the potential client is really “hot”. Make sure to add more info with your quote and mention the benefits – for example, a one-off payment instead of a recurring fee, or a volume discount that was applied to the price. Include a CTA for a quote request in your emails to see how many of your potential clients are truly interested and willing to become your clients!
- Coupons and discount codes
Probably the most well-known method of converting people that are going through the decision-making stage. Just a few advice for better conversion: if you send out coupons to all of your leads on the decision stage, make sure to use a randomized code that looks like AF984WTB – this way it feels personal, as it’s been created for a specific client only. Also, a good practice is to use a CTA to request a coupon or a discount, thus you can evaluate and score a person before providing them with a discount. Try this kind of CTA in your next email marketing or drip campaign.
Different stages of the marketing funnel require different types of content to convert a person from one stage to another and a final conversion to a client.
For the awareness stage use content that is at least 90% educational and just 10% promotional. Remember that a potential client has just stumbled upon your business and they can easily be scared away by content that’s too promotional or pushy. Make your content feel and look useful, interesting and shareable.
For the consideration stage use content that helps understand the problem, the value of your solution and the results your client can get. The more value-showing your content is the better. Keep it 30% educational and 70% promotional. Remember, focus on the problem, your solution and positive results.
For the decision-making stage use content that helps you actually sell your product or service. Personal contact in a way of demo, consultation or an expert opinion is a great chance to showcase your expertise, your product and win the deal. Your content should be 90% promotional and maybe just 10% educational – your goal is to sell now, at this stage your potential client is already “hot”.
Now, go get them!