What is a Content Marketing Funnel?

Table of Contents

What made Bilbo Baggins, a humble hobbit from Hobbiton, set out on his epic journey across the Middle Earth?

One fine day, a wizard named Gandalf and a group of rowdy dwarves dropped in on Bilbo unexpectedly. They ate all his food, created a fuss, and ridiculed Bilbo by calling him a coward who could never go on an adventure with them. 


Nope. That’s not going to work out for you. 

Your customer is not going to set out on his epic journey to purchase your product or service if that’s how you intend to convince him. Not many people do, except Bilbo. 

People don’t wake up one fine day and decide to pay $49 to get a monthly subscription of you talking about stock market trends. 

People can wake up one day with a sudden craving for biriyani but if you aren’t selling biriyani, the “let the customers stumble across my product” approach is not going to work for you. 

But your customers do have something in common with Bilbo. In the beginning, they neither know nor care about your product. In the end, if all goes well, they are in possession of your product. This journey is truly an epic one. 

This, my friend, is the legendary tale of the Customer’s Journey. 

So, let’s strap in. 

The first thing you need to familiarize yourself with is the concept of a sales funnel.

What is a sales funnel? 

Think of this scenario. 

There are 1000 people walking by a shopping mall. Does everyone enter it? No. 

Only a 100 do. Do all of those 100 people enter your clothing store in that shopping mall? No.

Only 20 do. Do all of those 20 people buy something from you? No. 

Only 10 do. 

So, as you see, at every stage you are losing out on potential customers. This is essentially why you have the funnel structure. 

Had everyone bought your products, as they would in a perfect world, you would have had a sales cylinder instead of a sales funnel. 

However, the aim is to make the funnel as cylindrical as possible. The aim is to get 200 people inside the shopping mall instead of 100, to get 50 people into your store instead of 20. Only then, 30 people would buy your products instead of 10. 

So let’s try to understand…

What is a Content Marketing Funnel?

A content marketing funnel is a system that you employ to first attract strangers and then engage them until they get converted into customers. This is a rather long process and you have to keep the potential customer’s attention on yourself till they’re ready to make the purchase. 

People remain pretty much unaware of your content till they face a certain problem. This is when they start Googling for solutions and start reading blogs and articles. 

But obviously, as is true for the shopping mall example before, not everyone who reads your blogs feels the need to read more about your services specifically. And those who read about your services specifically, don’t always decide to pay for your services. 

Ergo, the content marketing funnel. 

We all know B2B content marketing is way harder than B2C content marketing. You’re not selling a Spotify Premium account to someone for $9.99 per month. You’re trying to sell someone a piece of software for $100,000. 

Obviously, your sales pitch needs to be much, much better than that of a B2C content marketer. This is why you need to read this if you want to improve the content of your B2B content marketing funnel. 

So, how do you widen the neck of the sales funnel to get maximum output i.e. maximum customers? 

You need to create the right kind of content. 

But will creating the same kind of content for every stage of the digital marketing funnel work? 

Of course not. What use is a discount to you when you don’t even know what problem of yours the discounted product even solves?

This is why you need to create the right kind of content for each stage of your sales funnel. 

In this article, I’ll talk about:

i. what the sales funnel stages are

ii. what kind of content you need to create for each stage of the sales funnel

iii. some examples of the right kind of content for each stage of the sales funnel

Stage 1: Awareness Stage 

(Or, Top of the Funnel- TOFU)

As I’ve said before, no customer is inherently aware of your website/business unless you are as big as Amazon or Flipkart. 

This is why customers cannot start searching for your products directly. What they actually search for are solutions to problems that they are facing. 

For example, one might type in a question like “Is social media marketing better than email marketing?”

Assume you sell an email-marketing software. What should be your right course of action at this very moment?

Educate the customer. Create quality blogs or videos to let the customer know that email marketing works way better than social media marketing. Give him the stats, show him how it has worked out for others. 

Don’t keep plugging in your own software at this stage of the sales funnel. It’s annoying and it’s going to make the reader feel like you’re manipulating information to hoodwink him into buying your product. 

That is your end goal but that should not be your goal at this particular stage. At this particular stage, your goal is to successfully carry him over to the next stage of the sales funnel- the Consideration Stage. 

How to do that? 

Educational content is your best bet. At this stage of the sales funnel, people are mostly relying on organic searches. So, blogs, videos, ebooks, infographics work well at this stage. 

This is the stage where you must attract strangers and hence, this is one of the most difficult stages of the sales funnel. Unless you have a sizable input at the top of the sales funnel, there’s no other way to magnify the output at the bottom. 

Make sure you know what your target audience is searching for. You can use a variety of tools for this purpose like the Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Google Alerts, etc. You also need to ensure that your blogs are showing up on the Search Engine Results Page. After all, the whole sales funnel is useless if you don’t show up on the first page of Google when people type in a question. 

You can read about loads of free Google tools that you can use to upgrade your SEO strategy here

Email and social media marketing are both good ways to dispense with information at this stage. 

Educate, don’t convince. That’s the gist of the Awareness Stage. 

Perfect Content for the Awareness Stage

  1. Blog Post

This is obviously the first thing everyone thinks of when one thinks of educational content. In fact, it often works in a roundabout way as well. 

People often check the blog section of a certain website to see if the website owners really know what they’re talking about. Good blog posts add credibility to the content that you are selling. 

But as we’ve said before, make sure your blogs are focused on relevant topics that people are actually searching for. If your blog satisfies the audience, they’ll keep coming back for more. 

  1. Social Media Post

We spend an unearthly amount of time scrolling away on social media. This is exactly why social media marketing is all the rage now. 

But you don’t need to directly start selling your products on Facebook. You can start with a more subtle approach. 

Say you’re selling millet noodles. Sure, you can post about how great your millet noodles are but at this point, no one even knows what is wrong with their regular refined flour noodles. So why would they abruptly make a shift?

Enter: Infographics. 

Just design an eye-catching infographic that shows the side-by-side comparison of the calories in normal flour noodles and the calories in millet noodles. Or point out the health problems that eating regular instant noodles can cause. 

Remember, at this stage of the sales funnel your aim is to make the customer aware that there is indeed a problem that needs solving. Once they realize this, they’re going to start looking for solutions, and here’s where you’ll swoop in. 

Social media posts must obviously be shorter than blog posts. This is why you’re better off with a snazzy infographic with a link below it that leads people to much more detailed blog posts. 

  1. Ebook

Yes, this might not work for people who want their information to be bite-sized and easily swallowable. But people are much more likely to believe statistical figures that they read about in a book than in a blog post. 

Why? Because statistics come from surveys. What is the most important part of surveys? The sampling method. 

You need to know that the survey results you’re reading about were not manipulated. You need a proper explanation of the sampling method. And since a blog post cannot possibly have all the intricate details of how a survey was conducted, you need a longer form of content i.e. ebooks. 

Whatever I just said is also valid for scientific studies. The thing is, people might suspect blog posts or social media posts of presenting warped information to sneak in some covert advertising. But no one ever expects an ebook to be an ad. 

Therefore, you shouldn’t attempt to make your ebook into an advertisement either. Just focus on providing the reader legitimately well-researched content to build their trust. 

  1. Checklists 

These are meant for the people who do want their information to come in easily swallowable forms. 

Checklists aren’t unlike blog posts, it’s just that the format is different. Dividing your article into points that your readers can check off, makes it a faster read than a regular deep-dive blog post. 

Plus, people like being reassured that they have covered all bases. Hence, checklists don’t even need to have new information. They just need to make the person feel like they have done all that they possibly could before starting out on a project. 

If you’re traveling to a foreign country for the first time, you most probably have already done your research. But that is exactly why you’ll click on an article called “The Essential International Travel Checklist for Newbies.

You already know most of this information. But just in case you stumble across something that you cannot check off the list: there’s your problem. Now GoAbroad can strut in to help you solve that problem. 

  1. How-To Videos

If you have a problem that you need step-by-step instructions to, for example, if you want to figure out how to upload a video to YouTube, what do you do?

You go to YouTube itself and ask “How to upload a video to Youtube”.

That’s what we all do. 

Now the thing is, if you ask Google a question that is answered both in video format and in written format, Google puts the video results at the top. Google, after all, owns YouTube, and so YouTube results with its attractive thumbnails are displayed on the forefront of the Google Search Results page. 

Sure, the written results are there down below, but the video results attract your attention first. 

This is exactly why having video content helps at this stage of the sales funnel especially when it answers the “How to” questions. 

Again, to figure out which questions to answer, head on over to the Google Tools list that I mentioned before. You can use a variety of those tools to figure out exactly what people are asking Google or YouTube regarding your field. 

Awareness Stage Content Examples 

(Or, Top of the Funnel Content Examples)

Take a look at Moz for this. 

They have an extensive blog section filled with articles that answer questions like “How to Make Newsworthy Content” or “Does Fixing Old Broken Links Still Matter to SEO.” 

And sure, they might mention their own SEO toolset at times, but they definitely don’t try to keep selling you their products. 

Their aim is to deliver valuable information to you so that you see them as a credible source and come back to read more articles. Their intention is not to hound you for your money immediately. 

Creating good content brings in a variety of potential customers to your website. All of your articles don’t necessarily have to be about your products. 

You just have to figure out the most frequently asked questions that are related to your field and provide the readers with much-needed answers so that they’re hooked. 

Stage 2: Consideration Stage

(Or, Middle of the Funnel- MOFU)

At this point of the sales funnel, you’ve already shown the audience that they have a problem that needs solving. Now the aim is to convince the customer that your solution is the best one.  

This is when you can start talking about your product in particular. However, you must keep some things in mind before you start engaging the customers. 

Your product is not the best fit for everyone and you know it. Hoodwinking an unsuspecting customer who doesn’t fit into your target audience might help you sell a product, but you’re doing yourself more harm than good. I’ll explain why.

You not only need to attain customers, but you also need to retain them. And I’m not just saying this for the repeat-purchase potential. Nope. 

You’ll see exactly how important user-generated content and reviews are at this stage of the sales funnel. You’re going to get neither of these if a customer realizes that you’ve deceived them with false promises. 

Moreover, Google and Facebook make it a point to advertise your product to people who have similar tastes as your customers. Now, if you sell to customers who don’t fit into your ideal audience base at all, all you’re doing is confusing Google into advertising your product to the wrong set of people. Result: You’re losing out on a whole pool of customers. 

This is the stage of the sales funnel when you build a relationship with the customer. Unless the customer is sure that they can trust you, they’ll easily move on to your competitor. So yes, establish yourself as the best fit but don’t make claims that you can’t back up. 

Perfect Content for the Consideration Stage

  1. Product Comparison 

This is the middle of the sales funnel hence your potential customer already knows that they have a problem that can be solved with a product like yours. 

But just because you educated them on the issue, doesn’t mean that they are duty-bound to choose your product in particular. They’re most likely to compare your product with that of the others. You can make this easier for them by providing product comparison guides. 

The first step is to figure out which of your competitors the customer is most likely to compare you with. Using Answer the Public is a great idea because it points out the best Vs. keywords. What are “versus keywords”? You know how people search for “brown rice vs white rice” etc. to see comparisons, right? Those are exactly the kind of keywords that you should be targeting. 

Once you figure out which rival company people are comparing you to, you can start pointing out how you are better. But this does not mean that you can escape the golden rule of “No false claims.” You still have to stick to the truth but through product comparison guides you can highlight your strengths and elaborate upon them. 

It’s not necessary that you win on every single count. That’s not even realistic. If you accept your shortcomings, the readers will be more inclined to believe that you are not hiding anything. 

You can also have product comparisons for your own products. 

We’ve all seen this “Choose a plan” chart on Netflix, right? It shows you a very simplistic side-by-side comparison of its own plans so that you can choose the one which fits you the best. 

This sort of comparison guide for your own products works better at the very end of the Consideration Stage when your audience is almost sure that they want to convert into a customer. 

  1. User-Generated Content

This one is the guaranteed crowd-puller if you do it right. But first, let me explain what user-generated content (or UGC) is. 

Reviews are definitely a part of user-generated content but that’s not all that UGC is. Texts, images, videos, blogs created by users can all fall under the bracket of UGC. 

Why is User-Generated Content so important at the Consideration Stage? It’s because, unlike your own promotional content, UGC is made by common people, like the customer himself, who have no reason to lie about your product. 

GoPro’s entire marketing campaign depends on User-Generated Content. 

GoPro did not pay photographers or influencers to take these photos for them. Had they actually tried to pay for this quality of content, they would have had to spend at least a few million more. 

All GoPro did is ask users to tag their photos and videos with #GoPro so that the marketing team could find these and choose the best to display on the GoPro website, YouTube channel, and Instagram page. 

The fact that this quality and variety of content originates from sheer talent and the quality of the device itself, is enough to convince future customers that they can trust GoPro with their eyes closed. 

What customers love most about GoPro is that GoPro does not feel the need to advertise itself at all. Other customers do it for them. 

Now you might not want to base your entire marketing campaign on Use-Generated Content but this is a kind of content that not many tend to use in the Consideration Stage of their sales funnel. So it definitely gives you an edge over others. 

Don’t be scared of bad reviews. As long as you have a collection of genuine reviews, your customers will know that you are a credible seller. 

  1. Case Study

Case Studies are detailed accounts of how you helped your customers solve a problem that they were facing. 

Potential customers trust peer recommendations a lot. But what if no one in their own circle has used a particular product? This is when the customers start looking for cases where a problem similar to theirs was solved. 

Since you’ve already assured the customer that your website offers quality content in the Awareness Stage, you can now redirect the customer towards case studies where you handled a problem like their own. 

The important thing to remember is that the focus should not be on your product, but rather on the customer’s problem. 

For example, if you are presenting a case study on how your SEO toolkit doubled the traffic to a customer’s website, don’t title the case study as “Here’s how our SEO toolkit doubled XYZ’s website traffic.”

You’re better off with a title like “XYZ’s traffic boom case study” or “How XYZ doubled their website traffic”. 

And it’s not just about the title, your entire approach has to be user-oriented, not product-oriented. 

Remember, you’re still not making a hard sell at the Consideration Stage. That’s what the Decision Stage of the sales funnel is for. 

Consideration Stage Content Examples

(Or, Middle of the Funnel Content Examples)

Let’s look at an example of a case study. 

This is gShift’s case study of how Budweiser took their help to engage in influencer marketing in Philadelphia.

This is the perfect example to illustrate that not all case studies need to be overly detailed or super long. Pay close attention to the language used in this case study. 

“Budweiser was looking to make a splash…”

“Budweiser wanted Philadelphia to know…”

The primary focus is on Budweiser and their marketing agency, Anomaly. Not gShift itself. 

How does this approach help? You might not have heard of gShift before, but there’s a 100% guarantee that you knew about Budweiser. 

If you have a famous client, you can leverage their name for your own benefit. You can basically ride their coattails to success. 

The aim is to make your customer feel- “If that huge company could have trusted these guys, so can I.”

Stage 3: Decision Stage

(Or, Bottom of the Funnel- BOFU)

We’ve almost reached the end of our journey. This is the bottom of the tunnel where the ultimate decision is made. 

To buy, or not to buy, that is the question. 

The Consideration Stage is over and now the customer needs the final nudge to tip them over to the other side of conversion. Since this is the stage of the sales funnel where interested site visitors get converted into customers, this is also called the Conversion Stage.

This is when you can make a hard sell but I’ll recommend something better. 

Your customer already knows how good your product is. Why not add in an incentive to convince him to take the final leap?

What do car salesmen do when they are around 90% sure that they’ve convinced a customer? They hand over the car keys and let the customer take the car out for a test drive. 

This is way better than handing out freebies indiscriminately. Freebies are crowd-pullers but they do cost you money. So, it’s way more economical for you to offer them only to the people who have reached the very bottom of the sales funnel.

Also, be sure to reassure the client that the Customer Service that you offer is reliable. You might want to sprinkle in a few user reviews that attest to this claim. 

Perfect Content for the Decision Stage

  1. Free Trials & Free Consultations

No better time to offer Free Trials and Free Consultations. These are great ways to remove any remaining doubt in the minds of the potential customer. 

If you allow them to try out your product for free, they’ll be able to see exactly how great your product is. Now there are absolutely no obstacles in the way of making a purchase. 

However, if they use your product and decide not to buy it- let them go. It was just not meant to happen. 

This, after all, is a sales funnel. Losing out on potential customers is the rule. 

However, there’s an added benefit associated with Free Trials and Free Consultations. Free Trials are often habit-forming. People get so addicted to using a tool/service that they figure that it’s a small and justified price to pay to keep using it after the Free Trial period is over. 

Free Consultations are great as well. Potential customers can check whether you know what you’re doing and whether the professional relationship between the both of you is going to work out. They also get first-hand experience of dealing with your Customer Service. 

You’re basically baring your soul to customers through these invitations to come and test your products/services. But what better place to do this than at the very bottom of the sales funnel? 

  1. Coupons

I don’t have to explain to you why coupons are super convincing. Couple coupons with urgency and see how quickly your products fly off the shelves. 

“Hurry! 30% off only till midnight!” or “Beware! Only 2 left in stock!”

We have all seen and fallen for these discount massages at least once. And since at this stage of the sales funnel customers have almost made up their minds to buy your product, the added discount is going to make them feel like they’re saving money. 

How can you make coupons even more fun? Put them on a spinning wheel and turn it into a game. 

What’s in it for you? You don’t have to offer a sizable discount to everyone. Just some. But at the same time, you can keep all the others hoping for that big discount.

See how they ask you for your email address before you can participate? A great technique to build up email lists for remarketing as well. 

  1. Estimates and Quotes

You must be clear about how much your products or plans cost at this stage of the sales funnel. 

You know what makes people super suspicious? When the seller refuses to give them a clear figure of how much they’re going to be spending before they cut a deal. 

Don’t do that. Your discounts and coupons are not going to matter if the customer is not aware of the base price. 

Also, don’t make the pricing super complicated. For example, sites which offer customizable products and plans often make it impossible for the customer to comprehend exactly how much they’ll have to pay after the customizations. 

Do they have to make a one-time payment or can they make a recurring payment? Is the discount valid as a whole or only on the first month’s cost? 

Make these aspects clear from the start and make sure your customer understands. Nothing worse than a misunderstanding regarding the payment to sour the entire relationship that you built for this long. 

Also, being clear about your estimates and quotes are going to help you understand if the customer is truly interested in buying your product or service. Stallers are easy to spot while having the money conversation. Once you spot the stallers, you can engage them some more before they make the final decision. 

Decision Stage Content Examples

(Or, Bottom of the Funnel Content Examples)

You must have seen these on Amazon, right?

The lightning deals of Amazon are extremely convincing. 

People opt for them because of two reasons: FOMO (i.e. Fear Of Missing Out) and also peer pressure. They not only see time running out, they are also made aware of how many people have availed the offer already. This leads them to the realization that the stocks are emptying out fast. 


You must have also seen this:

Talk about habit-forming free trials. 

We all started with the month-long free trial but then got so addicted that now we’re binging on the 15th season of Supernatural

Learn from the greats. Audible, Spotify Premium, YouTube Red and literally any of the biggies that you can think of: all of them follow the freebie policy during this stage of the sales funnel. 


Congratulations! You have successfully sold a product. But is that the end of the sales funnel? 

Nope. Because the buyer-customer relationship doesn’t end the moment they walk out of your shop. 

Let’s talk about what you must do beyond the funnel. This is crucial so listen carefully. 

Targeting strangers is way harder than convincing your old customers to repurchase from you. Why? Because your old customers already know the quality of service you offer. 

Best part about repeat customers? You don’t have to channelize them through the sales funnel all over again. You just need to retain them. But how? 

  1. Create an Account

Ever seen how a lot of companies ask you to create an account before you can make the purchase? It doesn’t really affect the purchase which is being made at the moment, but it is incredibly useful in the long run. 

Of course, you can also incentivize it by offering customers a discount if they create an account or download your app, like Myntra or Nykaa does. 

Creating an account might slow down the checkout process, which is why Shopify asks its customers to create an account AFTER they have placed the order. 

However you choose to convince your customer to create an account, remember that it is a necessary process. How else can you keep the customer aware of your latest sales or new products? 

Moreover, asking your customer to create an account is also going to help you build a much more detailed customer preference profile. 

  1. Send Add-On Offers Through Email

People tend to check emails from companies that they have bought from much more frequently than from companies they haven’t even heard of. 

I’m not trashing email marketing at the Awareness Stage of the sales funnel. Do send out whitepapers and ebooks at that stage. But obviously, the takers at that stage will be significantly lesser than the takers who have already bought from you at least once. 

People want to see if any new upgrades are available since they’re already using your product. Even if they’ve stopped using your services, you can draw them back in by offering discounts. 

Sending out regular newsletters also helps in keeping your customer engaged. The key is to not let the relationship fade away. 

  1. Offer Quality Customer Service 

Great customer service is the key to customer retention especially if you’re offering a service that needs training or guidance. 

Selling someone a product and then not helping them out when they have issues with your product is no different from having a one night stand and then never picking up her calls again. 

Make sure your customer feels like you are still listening to them after money has exchanged hands. 

Why is this necessary? Because if you’re offering a monthly service, they can cancel their subscription at any point of time. And even if it is a one-time-purchase product, you surely don’t want it to be a one-time-purchase, do you? 

Also, what’s stopping your dissatisfied customers from trash-talking your company in front of their peers and leaving terrible reviews? 

As we’ve said before, User-Generated Content is incredibly valuable. And you need to maintain a really good relationship with your customer to get those. 


Speaking of relationships, you know the good old advice of- never pursue someone who has refused your offer once, right? 

Retargeting is similar but it’s perfectly ethical as long as you’re not being a creep about it. 

Building a relationship with a customer is easy but how do you build a relationship with a stranger who has only visited your site once? 

Take a look at this:

You must have experienced retargeting yourself. 

Say you do some window shopping for running shoes at Amazon. After you leave, you see those very shoes that you were interested in, popping up everywhere else- Facebook, Google, Twitter. 

I’m not here to tell you how that happens (that opens the door for a long discussion about ad profiles) but I’ll tell you why it works brilliantly. 

Getting reminded of that one item you wanted to buy, will most likely get you back to that site again. 

According to these retargeting statistics, 3 out of 4 customers pay close attention to retargeted ads. Which is exactly why retargeted ads are 76% more likely to get clicked on than other display ads. 

The most important thing that you must keep in mind is the very first thing we mentioned- Don’t Be A Creep. 

People are justifiably concerned about their digital privacy now. Which is why you must make it clear that your page is collecting cookies. Since the customer always has the option to not accept cookies, if they do end up accepting them- you no longer have to feel like a creep. 

Retargeting works at every level of the sales funnel which is why I did not try to insert it within any one stage. This is a technique through which you can bring back the exiting visitors who stray away from the sales funnel at any stage.

In Conclusion 

We’ve finally reached the end, my friend. 

But hopefully, the epic journey that we undertook together made you a bit more aware of how to tailor your content to fit each stage of the sales funnel. 

Remember, the buyer is intelligent and hence you must never take his interest for granted. You must keep on delighting them long after the business transaction is done. Only then can you have a loyal customer base who keep coming back for more. 

Now that you know all about how to create a sales funnel, we must part. 

But I’ll be here for any leftover queries that you might still have. So, do leave a comment below!

Ready for friendly, professional help?

Madhurima Sen Wrytx

Thank You

Let us answer all your questions

Rated 5/5 based on Google reviews
Skip to content