Marketing Funnel Lexicon: Mid-Funnel Programs
In our previous columns, we outlined the need to deploy a balanced portfolio of programs across the marketing funnel and explored some specific top-funnel strategies. In this column, we examine what may be the most
nebulous stage in a prospect’s journey: the mid-funnel.
The mid-funnel is all about the important nurturing work that needs to be done to more deeply orient, educate, and influence a prospect after they are aware of your brand, but before they are necessarily ready to engage with a sales rep -- or before they are even ready to share their personal information (e.g., via a Web form).
The mid-funnel offers a range of different programs you can employ to increase brand awareness.
Mid-funnel programs are truly the glue that help you begin to tap the value of the initial branding you have secured in the marketplace, and ensure you are keeping your lower funnel filled and growing.
There are many different tactics that you can implement at the mid-funnel, including:
- Corporate blog. Your blog gives you an opportunity to talk about and start a conversation about the key issues that your target audiences care about (thought leadership/upper funnel-like content) as well as to begin tying your company’s perspective, suggested best practices, and solutions to the big picture. Your blog should stop short of being a vehicle for your standard product info -- leave that to your corporate Web site, the ultimate lower-funnel weapon. Instead, your executive team and other internal experts can communicate on broader vision with big and small ideas. The blog is also a great vehicle for communicating important news to current customers -- and by default becomes a rich repository of content that prospects can use in order to understand the kind of partner you can be, how you’re solving problems, etc.
- Webinars. Webinars can be designed as a mid-funnel or lower-funnel tool. In the lower funnel, they make a great sales tool. For example, they provide a light-touch way for prospects to learn about your products or view demos when they are not yet ready to invest time with your sales reps. But in the mid funnel, well-thought-out and executed thought leadership webinars provide the perfect bridge between your upper and lower funnels. You draw prospects in that are specifically interested in topics that you are in a position to meaningfully address -- and by association your brand, company, and products begin to develop credibility in the eye of the prospect.
- Display ads. Given the versatility of display advertising, campaigns can be designed to impact across the funnel, including the mid-funnel. The goal of mid-funnel display campaigns is primarily content engagement -- getting your target audience to download your white papers or spend more time on your Web site. Specific mid-funnel display strategies include business demographic-targeted campaigns where you can put your ads in front of specific audiences you are looking to target by their role and seniority in an organization, wherever they travel across the Web; and placing social-targeted ads and content in front of specific audiences while they are on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Mid-funnel measurement is about gauging content engagement -- whether it’s downloads, page views, or leads. Here are a few of the most prevalent metrics for mid-funnel programs:
- Page view lift: As your branding effort begins to drive more people to your Web site, mid-funnel programs take the baton. If executed effectively, your target prospects should be spending more time engaging on your Web site.
- Web form lift %: Mid-funnel is where all that investment in developing quality downloadable content (i.e., white papers and case studies) begins to pay off. You can use Web site form lift as a key metric to gauge the success of mid-funnel programs.
- Search lift: As people begin to recall and connect more to your brand, you’re likely to see a lift in search metrics against both branded and keyword search terms.
- Leads: As your target audience gets drawn into your content, they will be more willing to share their personal info (fill out your Web forms) to get at it. Look for more leads from your effective mid-funnel programs.
Remember: the goal of mid-funnel programs is to increase the velocity by which prospects move through the funnel. Creating programs that nurture and further your prospects’ engagement with your brand will prime the pump for lower-funnel tactics such as search and email marketing to get their jobs done, and accelerate conversations in the field.