A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. That means you can't ignore any single stage in your sales funnel. One weak link will snap that chain.
Let's imagine that all other parts of your sales funnel are in place and perfectly optimized to rake in new customers. You have email autoresponders waiting for new subscribers, ebooks and definitive guides ready for downloads, and even live salespeople just waiting around, ready to nurture any new leads into becoming full-fledged customers.
But, the truth is, all of that is for naught if the discovery stage of your sales funnel is not in place and equally optimized. In such a case, your entire marketing strategy would be much like a hot and roaring pizza oven, but with no one working the dough and sliding pizzas and to be cooked.
The wide opening to your funnel is of utmost importance. Your funnel's mouth feeds all the other parts of your funnel. Without it, your entire marketing strategy, and your company in general, will starve to death.
In this article, we will talk about how to improve the discovery stage of your sales funnel, how to improve your discoverability, and how to attract new potential customers by the hundreds, if not thousands.
Of course, we understand the point of the funnel shape of your sales funnel. We know that not everyone who discovers your company will end up becoming customers. However, even if only a tiny percentage of everyone discovering your content becomes a paying customer, it stands to reason that, the higher the original number of people discovering your brand and company, the higher the resulting "tiny percentage" will be, and the more profit your business will make.
Here are three steps to improve the discoverability of your content.
There are always naysayers against content marketing, claiming that the millions of dollars companies are pouring into content creation is just flooding the Internet with more confusing noise, making marketing harder rather than easier.
We can't blame people for thinking that way. After all, in the old days, too much of a good thing really was a bad thing. Too many marketers targeting a specific area of the country, for example, would end up with mailboxes stuffed with advertising, frustrating homeowners, causing them to throw away all the ads they receive because of the sheer number of them. On top of that, the cost of commercial spots for radio and local television would skyrocket, as with the cost of roadside billboards and newspaper ads, since demand would far outweigh supply.
Fortunately for us, however, the Internet does not have such finite restraints, since it literally grows with the amount of content it contains. On top of that, people have a greater ability to choose than ever before, meaning they are almost never forced to view content they do not want to see.
Instead, modern advertising systems online, such as those found in Google and Facebook, adapt the limited selection of advertisements you see to your specific interests, maximizing the possibility that you will find something among those advertisements that you like.
So even though there are more pieces of content being added to the Internet every single day, you should not allow that to prevent you from being ever more generous in the amount of content you produce on behalf of your brand.
During the discovery stage (and without highly focused AIs designed to do this), it’s hard to know content asset will catch potential customer's attention, or how many content assets they will need to be exposed to before they are ready to move on to the next stage in the sales funnel. The more information you give at this stage, the more questions you answer, the more free education and thought leadership you give, the more noticeable your brand will become, the more you will stand out, and the more likely it is that someone will remember you as a potentially trustworthy brand, a source of authority.
So, just as you can imagine being able to stuff more wads of tissue paper in the wide opening of a literal funnel than in any other part of this basic shape, you can absolutely produce more content assets for the discovery stage of your sales funnel than for any other stage in the process.
In other words, don't be afraid to be generous with the amount of content you produce.
Answer the Tough Questions
There is certainly "safe" content and there is "risky" content.
"Safe" content would be a bland repetition of the exact same content every other company in your niche is already putting out. A beautiful thing about the English language is that there is virtually an infinite number of ways to say the exact same thing. Therefore, you could parrot out the exact same information that other companies are producing, all the while saying it in a unique and creative way.
Of course, there is a need for "safe" content in just about any content marketing strategy, and your goal, in that case, would be to say the same things in such unique and interesting ways to gain the support and trust central customers.
However, can you really consider "safe" content to be anything resembling thought leadership? Absolutely not! A leader, by definition, does not simply do the exact same thing everyone else is doing, just in a slightly different way.
Your brand will never manage to stand out, an absolute must during the discovery stage, if you are producing nothing but "safe" content. You must include "risky" content into the mix.
"Risky" content is something new and fresh, something that your competition has not thought to address yet, or something that your competition is simply too afraid to address.
As you study the content of other companies in your niche, and activity that is necessary for a content marketer in just about any niche, you may start to hone in on certain questions that are being overlooked, questions that potential customers may have on their minds.
If a potential customer has a question that is not being addressed by your competition, and if you address that question in your content, producing something new and unique, you will instantly stand out as being a superior authority, and original voice, someone worthwhile to listen to.
We all see thousands of images a day, be them advertisements on our computers or mobile devices, images displayed on the side of buildings and buses, or even the art on the front of people's T-shirts, on people's bumper stickers, or tattooed on people's arms, legs, and, occasionally and regrettably, faces.
With so many images swimming around us at all times, and with so many of those images including words and names and company logos, it can all start to bleed together after a while.
For that reason, being more discoverable also means being more recognizable. It means you must stand out in a clear and memorable way so that your potential customers will recognize your brand the next time they run across your content.
This can be done through several different ways:
- By having a memorable company logo.
- By having a unique and positive design concept attributed to all of your online content, such as company colors or a company font.
- By using a memorable company motto.
- By having a unique and original voice behind all of your brand's content.
Even if you, a content marketer as part of a single marketing team in a single branch of a large corporation, are unable to personally coordinate all aspects of the brands recognizability, if you are able to do just your part in promoting a single, unique company voice, you will be improving the effectiveness of the discovery stage of your sales funnel, boosting discoverability and strengthening this first link in the long chain that is a buyer's journey from discovery to loyal repeat customer.