Don’t Overlook the Middle of Your Marketing Funnel
By Chris Rack, CRO of Demand Science
The middle of the funnel is the marketing stage that gives demand generation folks nightmares. An overabundance of information available has made the middle of the funnel the most complicated part of the buyer’s journey. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By taking the right actions, businesses can enhance that journey. With unique content that creates sticky interactions and intent data that expedites the middle of the funnel, marketers can guide leads out of the congested middle toward their final decision.
Great content starts with intent data
When prospective customers begin their journey at the top of the funnel, they’re engaging around ideas and frustrating moments that have caused issues for their business. By the time they get to the middle of the funnel, those ideas have grown into actual challenges that need to be resolved. These businesses have become very concerned about their problem(s) and are actively searching for a solution. Providers that offer content that create sticky interactions will position themselves better to fight through the competition than those that merely put up a generic, one-size-fits-all blog aimed at every potential buyer.
To attract and retain prospects’ interest, marketers must first learn more about whom they’re targeting. This is a critical part in which intent data comes into play, and it is essential to understanding how buyers make decisions. Buyer intent data is a collection of aggregated behavioral signals that enable companies to identify buyers during their buying cycle. With this knowledge in hand, marketers are better equipped to create unique content pieces that attract buyers and guide them toward the bottom of the funnel.
Content delivers when it’s developed creatively and intelligently
Intent data is one fundamental part of the puzzle, but it is not the only factor to consider. Marketers must also make a good impression by paying attention to even the most minor aspects, including the titles, headings, paragraphs, and graphics used for their content. Most importantly, they need to deliver compelling content that stands out and speaks to the prospect’s needs and aspirations.
No one wants to get lost as they click around, looking for something specific, nor do they expect or appreciate a website that appears vastly different across devices. A Pew Research survey shows that mobile device ownership now exceeds that of personal computers, increasing the likelihood that prospects will first view content on mobile. By ensuring that their content is well optimized for smartphones and tablets, marketers can provide the best experience possible to all potential customers.
Put the middle of the funnel in the fast lane
Intent data is not only vital to guiding buyers toward the bottom of the funnel – it is essential for marketers that wish to expedite the process. This is more pressing than some may realize. According to a report by PwC, the need to accelerate the funnel is one of the top external market pressures at the center of disruption for marketers.
But marketers may struggle to get the most out of their intent data if they feel overwhelmed by how much is collected. Our research shows that two-thirds (66%) of marketers use three or more sources of intent data, which often originate from one of two places. There’s no shortage of data sources from first-party interactions to third-party collections gathered and aggregated from the cooperation of multiple B2B websites and media publishers. But our research also shows that more than half (58%) of sales and marketing executives would prefer to have a single source for all intent data. Most (60%) also believe that intent data improves lead conversion by at least half, and nearly as many (58%) agree that intent data helps qualify leads.
That’s because, when used effectively, intent data provides businesses with a fit-first approach to B2B marketing. Intent data can be used to rank prospects, uncover who will likely search for their solutions and classify leads based on buying intent, and then build targeted ICPs (ideal customer profiles).
Don’t be afraid of the middle any longer
The middle of the funnel can be quite daunting, but it’s nothing to lose sleep over. By developing content that’s informed by intent data, marketers can hit the right target every time. With an excellent, user-friendly website – that works well on all devices and screen sizes – buyers will stay focused on what’s being sold instead of being distracted by poor web design. And by guiding prospects to the bottom of the funnel, marketers can expedite the process and secure sales in a timelier manner.