The middle funnel conundrum

mother and daughter shopping
This is part two of a two-part blog series about how to engage buyers in the middle of their journey.

A buyer—or potential customer—has different needs at different stages of their journey. Customers that move from upper to lower part of the funnel quickly are easy to target, but what about those customers that meander around the middle?

Custom content can help move a buyer out of the middle funnel, but this can’t happen unless you understand who your buyers are. Learn more about buyer personas and targeted marketing by reading the first post in this series.

In all stages of marketing, it is important to understand your audience, what are they looking for, and how can you help them find it. When companies don’t understand their buyers, they tend to have a lot of people who engage with their sales funnel but don’t commit to—and become—a customer. When customers get stuck in the Phantom Zone of being interested, companies without buyer personas don’t have enough information to engage them (and convince them to make a purchase).

The middle funnel is about evaluating 

If the upper funnel is about awareness and the lower funnel is about the purchase, then the middle funnel is about assessment.

Have you ever been shopping with someone who doesn’t like to make purchases? My wife’s sister is amazing. She is a true-blue shopper. She can enter a store with real needs, find all the items she is looking for, walk around for 50 minutes, and then leave the store with nothing. She always has a hope that she can find a better deal elsewhere, so she doesn’t make a purchase unless it meets all of her needs. It is an artform. It probably should be an Olympic sport.

Here is where it gets interesting: when a store associate engages her while she is shopping, she is more likely to follow-through and buy something. That’s the magic of the middle funnel. It’s when your future customer is beginning to narrow down her options, and you must find thoughtful ways to engage her.

And, your potential customer is looking for far more than a “hello” and general call-to-action email. They are looking to be engaged in a way that aligns your product with their story and needs. They want a relationship. When you know your customer’s story, it’s easier to engage her effectively and move her down the sales funnel. Companies with a clear middle funnel engagement strategy are more likely to turn a lead into sale.

But, how do they do it?

Become an expert in their eyes

What makes the most sense in the middle funnel? At this point, your potential customer already knows your product exists and they know what you do. Most of the time they’ve been to your website. The middle funnel is the time to meet your buyer where they are. In the end, what they are looking for is to know that choosing your product is the right decision to make.

At this point, provide them with more detailed content to show—and prove—you are an expert using:
  • case studies,
  • focused advanced-content blog posts,
  • client stories,
  • targeted email marketing,
  • robust content offers, and
  • pillar pages.
Each of these strategies are all effective ways to engage a potential buyer in the middle funnel and help them through the evaluation process quickly. But, don’t gate this information. Give it to them and trust the buyer will see the knowledge level and expertise.

A lot of companies focus on building awareness and closing sales. For the best results, make it your goal to build a relationship that doesn’t just lead to one purchase, but a lifetime of purchases.
The interesting thing about the middle funnel is that once a buyer advances to the purchase stage, they revert to the evaluation stage for upkeep and future purchases.
The same middle funnel content that helps move to a sale keeps them coming back.

If you keep meeting their needs, nurturing, and maintaining the relationship then you can count on them returning to the purchase stage with you again and again.

Perhaps you don’t have the bandwidth to create this content. Or maybe you have the content, and you need to reorganize it into a pillar page and content cluster.
If you need help with your digital marketing strategy, talk to us

You might also like:

Brian

About the author | Brian Keith

Brian is a writer at TBH Creative, specializing in pillar pages and content offers. He enjoys the targeted creation of materials for a variety of clients. He likes to blog about content creation, connecting people with content, and how to target content in more effective ways.

View more posts by Brian

Receive articles in your inbox