TLDR: Master the mid-funnel game. From engaging webinars to insightful case studies, diverse content at this stage of the funnel guides leads toward purchase decisions.
So what? Effective mid-funnel content strategy isn’t just about lead generation; it’s the key to building meaningful connections, nurturing prospects, and driving conversions.
Once you’ve mastered best practices for top-of-funnel marketing, it’s time to delve into the next stage: middle-funnel content. Positioned strategically between the awareness and decision phases of the buyer journey, middle-of-the-funnel content – sometimes called consideration stage content – is foundational to successful marketing and sales.
In this guide, we explain the significance of middle-of-the-funnel content, exploring its position as a cornerstone for building lasting connections and steering potential customers toward conversion.
Your Middle-Funnel Audience
The primary purpose of middle-funnel content (MOFU) is to take customers from the awareness phase and into a nurturing path toward a sales touchpoint.
This means a few things in terms of how you engage with your audience:
- Building Trust: Your audience knows who you are, and they have a general understanding of a product or service that you offer. Now, it’s time to show that you are trustworthy. This can include providing target information, answers to specific questions, and education where necessary.
- Speaking to Specifics: The top-of-funnel (TOFU) content is all about broad engagement… that is, throwing out information and messaging to get attention. Now that you have that attention, it’s time to see who responds to your call, then speak to their specific needs.
- Nurturing: At the top of the funnel, you provided information and an invitation to learn more. In the middle of the funnel, we’re more interested in getting them where they want to be.
Given the vast array of materials that can constitute middle funnel content (from pricing pages to case studies and customer testimonials), there’s a lot of room to tailor your company’s message to specific audience groups.
That’s where lead capturing comes in. Here, your content is not just an informational resource but also a relationship-building tool. It’s one of your company’s best chances to guide potential customers toward an informed purchase decision.
Marketer’s Takeaway: According to Semrush, 86% of marketers report creating MOFU content… compared to 95% creating TOFU content. It’s imperative to understand that activating the engagement gained with TOFU content requires that the middle layer bring customers into your sales efforts. Also, do not ignore the reality that customers will dive into content in several ways, and mid-funnel information might be what a customer needs rather than top-funnel thought leadership.
Middle-of-Funnel Content That Increases Customer Actions
In many ways, MOFU content isn’t entirely distinct from TOFU content. Here, we share some of our best middle-of-funnel strategies for turning your leads into customers.
- Landing Pages: Creating compelling, visually engaging landing pages is an instrumental part of the mid-funnel strategy. Using concise messaging, relevant imagery, and understandable, relatable value propositions will help potential buyers move smoothly from consideration to action.
- Targeted Calls to Action: Strategically placed, persuasive CTAs in your mid-funnel content can drive customer actions. Tailoring your CTAs to align with the specific content (such as inviting people to participate in product trials or attend webinars) ups your engagement. It urges leads to go further down the conversion path.
- Forms Fills: Create short forms to gather valuable lead information. Make these forms short enough to be convenient but comprehensive enough to garner your needed details.
- Gated/Ungated Content: It’s important to balance gated content (the type you need to fill out a form to access) and ungated content (the kind anyone can access freely). While the former can be used for deeper engagement and lead qualification, offering a mix of both will increase your chances of audience engagement.
- Email Nurture Sequences: Use email campaigns to stay top-of-mind with your audience during the consideration phase. Unlike top-funnel newsletters, mid-funnel sequences feed great information to a targeted audience in a way that speaks to their interests and needs.
Marketer’s Takeaway: Your MOFU strategy of choice should always focus on getting a customer to take action–specifically, an action that’s just a little more investment in time or information than at the top of the funnel. This can include filling out a form, emailing a sales contact for further communication, or agreeing to receive emails from your company (in this case, nurture email campaigns).
Examples of MOFU Content Strategies
Example: NexaPoint Tech
The strategy is designed to nurture the different personas by providing tailored content that aligns with their entry point into the funnel and their specific interests.
The first path is for high-value CTO prospects. The aim is to deepen their knowledge and position NexaPoint as an industry thought leader.
The second path uses LinkedIn’s professional context to offer proof points through case studies, directly addressing the pain points and showcasing NexaPoint’s tangible benefits. The third path targets a broader audience with educational content to increase engagement, using interactive elements to capture leads and encourage them to consider NexaPoint for their network management needs.
Each path converges towards sales enablement by increasingly highlighting the practical applications of NexaPoint’s offerings, culminating in direct calls to action for product demos or consultations, thereby moving leads closer to a purchasing decision.
Persona Path 1: CTOs entering the funnel via a long-form eBook
Title: “Advanced Network Management: A CTO’s Guide to Enhancing Security & Efficiency”
Type: Email Nurture and Webinar
Description: A series of targeted emails build on the eBook’s content, providing deeper insights into network management challenges and NexaPoint’s solutions. Follow up with an invitation to an exclusive webinar that addresses complex network security concerns, illustrating NexaPoint’s advanced features with a live demo.
Webinar: Mastering Network Security and Efficiency
Description: A live presentation showcasing NexaPoint’s ease of integration and proactive security measures, featuring a Q&A session with NexaPoint experts. This will target advanced decision-makers and those ready to understand more in-depth discussions with these experts, with the chance to engage deeper.
Email: Understanding Your Network’s Hidden Challenges
Description: An email that discusses the less apparent challenges in network management and segues into how NexaPoint can provide clarity and control. This will drive to the webinar registration page and a sales contact.
Persona Path 2: CTOs entering the funnel via broad-touch LinkedIn Paid Advertising
Title: “Transform Your Enterprise Network with NexaPoint”
Type: LinkedIn Articles and Case Studies
Description: A sequence of LinkedIn articles that provide value through thought leadership on topics relevant to CTOs, paired with real-world case studies highlighting NexaPoint’s impact.
LinkedIn Article: “The Future of Network Management”
Description: An article focusing on future trends in network management and how NexaPoint stays ahead, emphasizing its white-glove support. This article will focus more specifically on industry metrics and trends, written by a prominent NexaPoint expert who can also serve as a point of contact for the reader.
Case Study: “Revolutionizing Network Efficiency”
Type: Downloadable PDF
Description: A detailed account of how a large enterprise benefitted from switching to NexaPoint, focusing on tangible results. This will be more product-focused and invested in addressing customer pain points and solutions. It will also link to the LinkedIn Article and provide a place for sales contact.
Persona Path 3: Mid-Level Technical Decision Makers via LinkedIn Paid Advertising
Title: “Simplifying Network Administration: A Technical Guide”
Type: Blog Posts and Interactive Content
Description: Engaging blog posts that address common network administration pain points, paired with interactive assessments or quizzes on NexaPoint’s website to gauge the reader’s network health and potential improvements with NexaPoint.
Blog Post: “The Top 5 Network Security Myths Debunked”
Description: A post that dispels common misconceptions, subtly aligning NexaPoint as the solution to common misunderstandings. This will be much more product-focused and geared towards answering actual questions derived from questions that the sales and marketing teams have encountered.
Interactive Quiz: “Is Your Network at Risk?”
Description: An interactive quiz that scores the network’s security and provides personalized reports, offering a soft pitch of NexaPoint’s capabilities at the end. Will drive to the blog and/or a sales contact.
Scoring and Qualifying Your Leads
Scoring and qualifying your leads will help you prioritize them. Assigning numerical values based on potential customers’ interactions with mid-funnel content—whether engagement with case studies or participation in a webinar you’ve offered—gives you a solid understanding of lead readiness.
Generally, we can divide this practice into three categories:
- Lead Scoring: Depending on your goals, you can score leads using metrics like demographic data, behavioral statistics, engagement statistics, or a lead scoring matrix. This typically includes deriving metrics around these categories that speak to the needs of your organization.
- Lead Qualification: There are several approaches to lead qualification, including Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline (BANT) criteria, comparing explicit data and implicit tracking data, and using customer persona fit vs. interest metrics.
- Segmentation: Based on scores and qualifying metrics, you sort users into different paths through the mid-funnel content experience.
Marketer’s Takeaway: One of the major differentiators of TOFU and MOFU are these practices. The top of the funnel can rely on a wide net and sweeping engagement, but you must sort and rate these customers as they move through the middle section. Note, however, that while there are some tried-and-true approaches, it’s going to be critical that you have the criteria and metrics in mind to tailor scoring, qualification, and segmentation to your specific needs.
Here is a sample scoring metric, based on the MOFU strategy example provided:
Is it Working? How to Measure the Success of Your Mid-Funnel Content
Use key performance indicators to gauge potential customer engagement and the impact of your mid-funnel content.
- Click-through rates, an immediate indicator of audience interest, will show you how your content is resonating.
- Engagement metrics, which cover time spent and interactions made, will tell you how involved your audience is.
- Tracking lead advancement rates – from initial interaction to conversion-ready status – will give you a panoramic view of your content’s effectiveness.
- Once your scoring and optimization processes are in place, lead scores and volumes are critical for assessment. The former helps determine who should get your best content, while the latter helps you measure how many leads enter and leave your mid-funnel sequence.
Using analytics tools and/or marketing automation platforms will get you a granular look at these KPIs so you can make informed, as-needed adjustments to optimize your mid-funnel content.
Crafting Effective Mid-Funnel Content
Creating effective mid-funnel content requires a good understanding of your audience’s journey and their needs at this particular stage. The mid-funnel stage is where prospects are considering their options before making a purchase decision. Here are several steps and tips to guide you in creating effective mid-funnel content:
- Deliver Comprehensive Information: Mid-funnel content should provide information beyond surface-level details. In creating yours, delve into the intricacies of your products or solutions, addressing potential customer concerns or questions.
- Keep a Focus on Challenges and Solutions: Frame content around known problems being experienced by your audience and offer implementable solutions. When you align your fixes with the challenges your audience is facing, your mid-funnel content acts as a valuable guide.
- Provide Educational Material: Position your mid-funnel content as an educational resource. Create and offer guide and how-to content that puts your brand front and center as a leader in your industry.
- Offer Comparisons: Offering product comparisons and price breakdowns helps potential buyers make informed decisions. By transparently showing the strengths and distinctions of your offerings, you can guide customers toward offerings that best suit their needs.
- Always Include Personalization: Tailoring your content to people’s preferences will increase its value. Personalization, such as addressing your leads by name or recommending content based on previous interactions, will better engage your audience and increase the chances of conversion.
- Use Customer Segmentation: Recognizing the diversity in the mid-funnel audience is important. Use segmentation to categorize your leads based on preferences, behavior, or demographics, so they receive more targeted content that resonates.
- Include Special Offers: Entice potential customers with valuable content offers, such as white papers, in-depth case studies, or access to webinars. Incentives can encourage engagement and help move your leads toward sales.
- Use Lead Scoring: Implement a scoring system to prioritize mid-funnel leads based on engagement level and interaction with your content. This approach will help ensure that your sales efforts are put toward potential buyers with the highest interest levels and purchase readiness.
Marketer’s Takeaway: The most important part of MOFU content is providing value. Personalization, segmentation, scoring… these metrics help you target customers by understanding what is valuable to them at the moment of engagement. While TOFU content can be broader and generalized, the value delivered in the mid-funnel is all about preparing for decisions–how does the customer solve a problem, get more productive, stay within budget, keep up with industry trends, and so on.
To Gate or Not to Gate: That Is the Question
Should you require users to give their name and email address to access your mid-funnel content (i.e., “gating” the content)?
A big part of MOFU content is moving someone towards a contact. One of the most tried-and-true methods is gating content behind a landing page form.
Gated content allows you to get contact information from readers, primarily emails, and use them to continue nurturing those customers further down the funnel into a sales engagement. It allows for a target email campaign, more chances to deliver bottom-funnel content and new ways to track behavior and key performance indicators.
It also provides a big speed bump for customers uninterested in revealing their information. Consider these pieces of information.
- According to Semrush, only 17% of marketers claim that gated content was their top-performing asset.
- Conversely, reports show that nearly 80% of all B2B content is gated.
- According to LinkedIn, about 39% of registrants for gated content will use fake credentials.
- Another LinkedIn research article notes that only 25% of B2B buyers want to share personal details to get exciting content.
- As of 2020, Martech reported that B2B buyers consumed an average of 13 pieces of content before deciding.
Keep ‘Em Moving Down the Funnel with Media Shower
Mastering the art of mid-funnel content is a crucial part of turning your potential customers into loyal clientele. From product comparisons to educational resources, middle-of-the-funnel material guides your leads toward purchase decisions.
As you navigate the many content offerings available at this phase of the sales journey – including case studies, webinars, and white papers – remember that effective lead nurturing underpins conversion success.
Done right, lead scoring, analytics tools, and a tailored approach to content creation will help your brand nurture leads and propel them further down the funnel.
Need some marketing help? Let us de-mystify the funnel for you. Take Media Shower for a test drive.