Create a Marketing Funnel By Writing These 3 Blog Posts
If you’re building a website for the first time, then this article is for you. And if you’ve already got a blog, then these are the next 3 blog articles you need to write.
But these aren't just any 3 blog articles. No, these will work together to form a powerful content marketing funnel.
“A marketing funnel made from Blog posts?
Is that really a thing?”
Yes it is, and if that idea intrigues you, then you're in the right place.
Creating Your 3-Blog Marketing Funnel
To figure out what these 3 blog articles should be we need to start with your product or service and work backwards.
“But I don’t have a product! I’m just blogging about life”.
I’m sure you've heard about people who make money blogging by displaying adverts on their blog or by selling affiliate products.
We’ll be honest: it’s very difficult to sustain. You need huge traffic to make even a small profit.
Instead, we advocate creating a Value Based business. If you want to get ahead and run a successful blogging business, then it’s important to have your own product that you can sell to your audience.
Throughout this article, let’s use 3 hypothetical niche websites each with their own product:
- PHYSICAL PRODUCT: Hand-made 3-finned surfboards
- SERVICE: 1-on-1 coaching for stand-up comedians.
- DIGITAL PRODUCT: DIY Furniture Construction Plans
The end goal is pretty clear. The surfboard company wants to sell more surfboards, the comedy coach wants to sell more coaching sessions, and the DIY Furniture maker wants to sell digital downloads of their furniture plans.
Now let’s work backwards from there.
The Customer Journey Model
Each visitor that buys your product, service or concept has been through a journey, whether they know it or not. There are a number of different models to break down what that journey could be, but here is a popular 3-stage journey:
The first stage in the customer journey is ‘Problem Aware’. This is when someone knows that they have a problem, but they do not yet know what solutions are available to them. Their current goal is to understand their problem better and to discover what solutions exist.
The best word to capture this stage of the funnel is ‘looking’. Someone in the problem aware stage is looking for answers to their problem.
Once a potential customer is ‘Solution Aware’, their thinking begins to shift. Rather than concerning themselves with the problem, they are now seeking to understand why the solutions work... but they are not yet ready to take action.
This is the ‘learning’ stage of the funnel. They are seeking to gather more information and educate themselves on the different solutions available.
After educating themselves on the solutions, the potential customer then has a new agenda. They want to choose which solution is right for them. They are aware of their problem and the potential solutions, but now they want to pick one that will suit their circumstances.
Finally they are ‘Comparing’. A potential customer at this point begins to Compare the Solutions to each other. In the previous stage, they were simply looking at what is available. Now they are looking at which one is right, and which offer they will act upon.
Once a customer has purchased or invested, their focus changes once again. They now need to make the most of their investment. They will take whatever steps necessary to use their solution to eradicate their problem and move on.
What The Customer Journey Funnel Means For Your Blog:
We’re going to use the 3-Stage Customer Journey model to come up with 3 different blog articles, one per each stage in the journey. This means that each blog post has a purpose: to move the visitor from one stage into the next.
Let’s look at our example websites and how you might design blog articles around this funnel.
Become a Better Blogger
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Join Thrive University (for free) and take our online course From Internet Rubbish to Content Gold: How to Write Better Blog Posts. Writing skills are the backbone of good content marketing, so it's time for a level up!
BLOG ARTICLE 1: “Problem Aware”
Your first blog article targets people who are not yet aware of your product or service. Frankly, they don’t care. Yet. They are too tangled up in their own concerns.
But there is one thing that they do know: their problem.
For the surfer, their problem is that they are struggling to cut through big, rough waves. For the comedian, they are terrified of their jokes bombing during their first stand up comedy gig. For the furniture enthusiast, they want interesting furniture in their home and aren’t satisfied with the options on the market.
What is the initial problem that your product, service or website is solving?
The more you can understand the problem, the better your marketing. Great copywriting centers on the customer. You want to understand their problem better than they do so that customers will fist-pump the air and say “Yes, that’s exactly the problem I have!”
START WITH SEO:
Now for these visitors who are problem aware, how do they describe that problem? What search terms would they punch into google?
Your first blog post needs to address that exact problem, and expand upon it. Bonus points for using the keywords they’ll be whacking into Google (read our latest post on Keyword Research to get some great ideas).
For our examples, perhaps these are some search terms we might find from our keyword research:
- “How to stay on surfboard in rough waves”
- “Stand up comedy tips”
- “Unique furniture designs”
The goal of this first blog article is simply to attract readers with that one specific concern and provide the value they are seeking. That’s all!
With Thrive Themes, we call this “going deep rather than wide”. You don’t need to go and sell your entire business to them, you just need to provide extraordinary value centered on that one problem they are preoccupied with.
Remember, at this point the customer is not searching for the solution in Google, because they do not yet know that solutions exist. The Stand-Up Comedian is only trying to get tips to improve their jokes. They aren’t looking for classes or coaching yet, since they aren’t aware it's even an option yet.
All they know is their problem. So this blog article needs to meet them where their mind is at.
BLOG ARTICLE 2: “Solution Aware”
Now imagine someone has already discovered some solutions to their problem. This is a person who is ‘solution aware’. There might be a magnitude of solutions, but at this point they just started to understand that their problem is solvable.
Once someone knows this, their interests have changed... and so have their search terms. What is this person searching for in Google now?
- “Are 3-finned surfboards better in rough waves?”
- “Stand Up Comedy Classes”
- “DIY Furniture Making”
Once again, go deep, rather than wide. This second blog post should educate the visitor about solutions that they have and how they can fix their problem.
To complete this stage, the blog article should attract a visitor who is solution aware and then put them into a mindset where they are ready to choose from the available solutions.
Using the surfboard example, this second article might explain the value of 3-finned surfboards. You could mention that 3-finned boards have better traction in the water, that they make a difference to speed on larger waves, and that they are preferred by World Champion surfers.
By the end of the article, your goal is to convince a surfer that a 3-finned surfboard will help them solve their problem of riding on rougher waves.
They are no longer just aware of the solution. They now have a desire for the solution.
BLOG ARTICLE 3: “Comparing Solutions”
Then finally, your third article needs to address why your product or service is the right solution for them. As before, think about what they might be searching for in Google if they want to compare options:
- “Best 3-Finned Surfboards”
- “Stand Up Comedy Classes in New York”
- “How to make DIY furniture”
Each of the above search terms has a specific intention in mind. The visitor is near the point of making a decision and the corresponding blog article needs to match that intention.
Since the visitor is already solution aware, they know most of the benefits to products similar to yours. But this is your moment to give extra details on your unique selling point.
But avoid letting this third article turn into a sales pitch. Save that for your sales page itself. Blog content is an opportunity for you to explore the values of your service without necessarily screaming "Buy! Buy! Buy!". It still must give value to the visitor by helping them make a decision.
After all, the visitor is still educating themselves on their options whilst getting ready to purchase.
Hopefully, throughout your 3rd blog post you have talked about the specifics of your product over competitors and put the visitor into a frame of mind where they are interested in your offer.
Let’s use the Comedy Coach example:
The visitor searched “Stand Up Comedy Classes in New York”. The inclusion of a location is unique to people in the Comparing Solutions stage. They want to sort through the options and pick the best Comedy Class that suits their circumstances. That means a class in their city.
But our hypothetical business isn’t teaching classes. Instead, they are providing 1-on-1 coaching for aspiring comedians. So this 3rd blog article could be titled “Why you don’t need Stand Up Comedy classes: You need a Coach”.
The Blog article could address the flaws of generic comedy teaching and then position their 1-on-1 coaching sessions as a superior solution. The article helps the visitors compare solutions and make a choice.
Most importantly, this article needs to be insightful and valuable, regardless of what decision the visitor chooses.
Comparing Solutions with Thrive Themes
A great example of 'Comparing Solutions' content is a piece Shane wrote which compares Thrive Ultimatum to Deadline Funnel.
For visitors who want to add scarcity marketing to their business, this article is a valuable comparison piece that thoroughly explores the differences and similarities in these products.
Your 3rd blog post should do the same for your niche.
Putting It All Together
Now let’s take a look at the 3-post content marketing funnel we can chain together for each of our hypothetical businesses.
Here are some blog titles they might use. If you’re stuck for headline ideas, you can use our free Headline Swipe File on Thrive University to help you write amazing headlines that attract readers to your blog.
- Looking: “How to Stay on Your Surfboard When the Waves Get Rough”
- Learning: “3-Fins Are Better Than 2: The Physics of Your Surfboard Fins”
- Comparing: “The Ultimate Buyers Guide to 3-Finned Surfboards”
- Looking: “20 Tips to Writing Stand-Up Comedy That Gets a Laugh”
- Learning: “Comedy Classes: Can You Really Learn to Be Funny?”
- Comparing: “You Don’t Need Classes for Comedy: You Need a Coach”
DIY Furniture Hobbyist:
- Looking: “Top 10 Unique Furniture Designs You Won’t Find in Stores”
- Learning: “How I Made a Coffee Table That Made Pinterest Go Bananas”
- Comparing: “How to Build Your Own Beautiful Furniture with Just 3 Common Tools!”
When you read each of those 3 blog post titles in a row, can you see the journey it provides your visitors? They begin with one thought and advance to a logical conclusion… which just so happens to be where your product or service is waiting for them.
Real World Examples:
So, let’s have a gander at some businesses that have 3 blog funnels. Many of these aren’t optimized and I can see ways they can be improved (we’ll get to that later), but the core concept is there.
Family & Cosmetic Dentistry:
There’s a dentist in Charlottesville, Virginia who has a blog filled with articles on a range of topics relevant to dental health. Although they help with any type of dentistry, they also have Smile Whitening services. Their end goal is getting website visitors to book an appointment with the dentist.
Within their blog, I found these 3 articles that work like a funnel:
"How to Get a Whiter Smile"
For a visitor who is concerned that their teeth are yellowing, they would find value in the article “How to Get a Whiter Smile”. The search term they enter into google is literally the title of the blog post and meets them exactly where their mind is at.
"Does Charcoal Toothpaste Really Whiten Teeth?"
This next article targets visitors who are aware of one of the solutions for teeth whitening, but are still researching and self-educating: “Does Charcoal Toothpaste Really Whiten Teeth?”
They aren't ready to buy... yet... but they have become aware of Charcoal Toothpaste as a potential solution to their problem. For someone researching this topic, this article provides great value!
"What to Look For in a Toothpaste"
Finally the visitor is getting ready to take action, to do something about their teeth and try to whiten them. They are aware of whitening toothpaste, but they want to choose the right one that's recommended by a dentist.
And to help them make that decision, this is the article they find: “What to Look For In a Toothpaste”
The Charlottesville Dentist offers smile whitening treatment, and each article either links to the sales page or has a Call to Action to book an initial consultation. You can see how they are targeting visitors at multiple stages of interest.
Another example of these 3 articles in action is with the automation and API connection software, Zapier. Their blog is full of great content, but look at these 3 specific posts:
"16 of the Best Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder"
For the entrepreneur or freelancer that is finding it hard to manage their weekly tasks, this first article would meet their Problem: “16 of the Best Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder”
The visitor would love to find ways to halve their workload and cleverly cut corners, but they mightn't be aware of any solutions yet. If this article popped up in their social media feed, it might attract their click.
"How to Automate 10 Tedious Tasks and Get More Time Back"
After being introduced to Automation as a means to save time, the visitor might want to know how they could use Automation for their workflow.
Conveniently, this article is waiting for them: “How to Automate 10 Tedious Tasks and Get More Time Back”. In this article, the value of Automation is thoroughly explored, but with specific focus on the visitor's problem — getting more time back.
"Marketing Automation Secrets: 50 Ways Experts Use Zapier"
After understanding the value of Automation, the visitor may want to consider investing in something to speed up their workflow.
There are a few ways to incorporate automation, but this next blog article will show them specifically how Zapier is a great choice: “Marketing Automation Secrets: 50 Ways Experts Use Zapier”.
Although this article doesn't mention their competition, it's focussed on all the benefits their solution can offer to the visitor. It's a perfect piece for helping them choose Zapier and includes links showing them where to go to get started.
The royalty-free stock music website Premium Beat has a huge blog appealing primarily to filmmakers. Amidst those blog posts, you’ll find these 3 articles:
"6 Tricks to Finding the Perfect Soundtrack For Your Video"
Video editors, directors and producers know that music makes a huge impact on the perception of your videos. Countless hours have been lost trying to find the right music, or hiring composers that don't really understand the vision.
For visitors who are aware of this problem, Premium Beat conveniently has this article waiting for them: “6 Tricks to Finding the Perfect Soundtrack For Your Video”
"What is Royalty Free Music? What does it mean exactly?"
Hiring a composer or purchasing a license from musicians can be very costly and slow. So for the video or film producer that has heard of 'Royalty Free Music', they might be intrigued and seeking to understand how it can benefit them.
Premium Beat has an article designed around educating someone in this Solution Aware stage: “What is Royalty Free Music? What does it mean exactly?” Once again, the blog title includes a common search-term these visitors often search for in Google.
"Your Guide to Buying Stock Music: Royalty-Free vs. Other Options"
As a video editor, producer or filmmaker is nearing the point of committing to music, they need to evaluate the best choice for their project.
Perhaps overwhelmed with options, an elaborate Guide that helps them make the right choice would be very valuable. And here it is: “Your Guide to Buying Stock Music: Royalty-Free vs. Other Options”
The header of Premium Beat's website keeps their royalty free music library just one click away from any visitor in any stage of this funnel.
How To Optimize Your Blog Funnel
There are a few additional things to do to make the most of your hard work building your 3-post content funnel.
Of course, Thrive Architect can be used to create visually appealing blog content that converts. If you want to upgrade your blogging game, check out our video showing you how to design beautiful Blog Articles with Thrive Architect.
But apart from making your content look more interesting, here’s some other important points you need to keep in mind.
LINK YOUR POSTS:
Why It’s Important:
In an ideal world, a problem aware visitor will land on your first post, read it and click through to the second post, then the third, and then finally arrive on your sales page. By this point, they have been fully educated and are now ready to take a purchase action.
Although that smooth and unbroken chain of events is unlikely, you should make it possible.
But by linking the articles, you can also welcome and help visitors at any stage of the funnel.
Perhaps a surfer already knows that 3-finned boards are better in rough waves, so they enter your funnel on the second or the third article. They can still continue through to the Sales Page.
ASK FOR LEADS:
Why It’s Important:
The internet already provides enough distractions. Did you know that around 75% of Blog Visitors never come back? If they don’t come back, they don’t buy. So do whatever you can to keep your visitors returning for your content.
Starting a mailing list is one of the most effective ways to capture your blog visitors and keep them interested in your content. By building a mailing list, you'll have an audience you can easily reach whenever you publish new content.
Convert More Readers into Subscribers
If you want to increase the visitor to subscriber conversion rate on your blog, then you absolutely need to take our free course on how to write persuasive opt-in forms at Thrive University.
Sign up today to get an edge over your competitors by writing opt-in forms that cater specifically to your blog visitors.
SHARE YOUR ARTICLES:
Why It’s Important:
It’s a common mistake to think that the quality of your blog articles should be enough to attract an audience. It’s not. With millions and millions of blogs online, it’s easy to get lost in the noise.
The good news is that most bloggers are lazy and aren’t willing to spend time marketing. This is an opportunity for you to get a competitive advantage by doing what others don’t.
Once you have these 3 blog posts, spend ample time sharing and promoting your content online. If you’re looking for a great plugin to help you add high-power Social Sharing buttons on your blog, then visit our Social Sharing Button Review on Active Growth.
And if you don’t have a sizeable audience on Facebook yet, but you want to jumpstart your marketing, have a look at our recent Guide to Launching your first Facebook Advertising Campaign.
Speaking of Social Sharing...
We always recommend you have a Call to Action at the end of your blog posts, and since we practice what we preach, here is ours!
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Show your appreciation by hitting that social share icon below this paragraph and get it out to the people you know that need it!