Mid Funnel Marketing For SMBs – Tactics, Channels, Content

The concept of Mid Funnel Marketing is probably the most overlooked part of funnel marketing. Mid funnel marketing is a tactic that focuses on building awareness, consideration, and engagement at the midpoint of the buyer journey.

However, what is the tactics to use when you as a business should start focusing on what’s in the middle of the funnel? This is where the problem arises because it’s one of the most important marketing phases in order to achieve success. To help you, we’re going to dig deeper into the topic in the later sections. We will also walk you through the essentials, such as the tactics, channels, and content that even small businesses can follow.

What is mid funnel marketing?

The concept of funnel marketing is designed to follow a specific path and guide leads in making a sale. This is a repetitive process, which consists of three parts, namely the top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and the bottom of the funnel.

The top of the funnel is where you start to build relevance around your brand. It’s the first step in making your business recognized. The middle of the funnel is when the need for building lead relationships comes in. Lastly, the bottom of the funnel involves the purchasing behavior of the market.

In mid-funnel marketing, we will be focusing on the middle of the funnel. Like what is said, this revolves around market building and nurturing.

However, because this is not always noticed, you may not yet be aware of how important it is in growing a business. Inefficient execution of this will affect the success of the conversion at the bottom of the funnel.

Google itself calls this interesting stage in the buying process, the messy middle and they put it as: “the ‘messy middle’ (is) a space of abundant information and unlimited choice that shoppers have learned to manage using a range of cognitive shortcuts.”

messy middle google
The messy middle customer journey, source: Google

Main goals of mid funnel marketing

The goals of mid-funnel marketing are mostly market-related. These will mainly include two areas, which are:

Lead nurturing

This involves starting a relationship with your leads through various promotions and marketing messages. You need to make proper use of all the leads acquired at the top of the funnel stage. Here marketing automation and/or lead nurturing workflows are being used often.

Piquing purchasing interest

Purchasing intent directly affects your possible sales. This is your market’s current desire to avail of your products or services. Simply, as a marketer and/or a business owner, you should mainly strive to start and maintain a relationship with your target market. Consequently, this will contribute to the constant building of purchasing interest over time. It will affect the conversion rate that you can achieve later on.

Making leads sales ready

In a well-organized and environment, marketing is kind of the service department for sales (I know, lots of hardcore marketers will hate me now). Marketing generates the leads, nurtures them as long as they become SQLs (or whatever your terminology is), and hands them over to sales for them to close the hot leads. Sales then get all the merits and earn 50% more than their marketing colleagues – such is live…

The majority of the above-mentioned action of transforming the leads to sales-readiness happens in the mid-funnel.

Importance of mid funnel marketing

Previously, we said that mid-funnel marketing is one of the most important parts of the funnel marketing process. Here are some specific reasons why:

  • Your performance and progress in the middle of the funnel will have an impact on your sales, conversion-, and engagement-rates (and of course then alos on cost-related factors, like cost per sale etc.)
  • Mid funnel marketing can serve as a good portion of your total content marketing activities (think: lead nurturing, email newsletter, etc.). With the constantly improving targeting options of the paid social/search platforms its easy the get the leads coming in! Even, from Linkedin, with all the precious business information/data. But what then? What if none of these leads achieves a good enough lead score or does not pick up the phone/answers the emails, when sales tries to contact them? That’s where the secret weapon of mid-funnel marketing comes into play!
  • Efficient execution of the concept will open more opportunities for positive purchasing decisions.
  • Mid funnel marketing is essential in convincing undecided leads to buy your offers.
  • The buyer journey isn’t linear: customers can engage in loops across the typical B2B purchase, revisiting each of those stages (top, middle, button) at least once before moving onto another phase or project for their company with your product/service offerings, Often the middle phase is where the linger the longest time though.

Without effective practices/activities directed to mid-funnel marketing, it’s safe to say that you may not get any sales or a stable market base for a long time.

Image source: Gartner

Tactics on how to grow mid funnel as a small business

Tactics refer to a set of marketing strategies that can aid with your goals. There are different tactics for different needs. Hence, below are some types that you can look into:

Digital advertising / retargeting

Advertising comes in various forms. You can avail of digital advertising, which is usually seen on blogs’ ad spaces, online sites, and even Youtube videos. These can also come in white paper or any other physical form of endorsements.

The main point is to stay on the radar of the leads; the prospect might have turned already into a marketing qualified lead (based on lead scoring, buyer person/ICP match, or behavioral attributes) but is it ready to be contacted by the sales? Most of the time not yet, but only when it had reached the SQL state.

So to stay on the radar one needs to remind the prospect: look it’s me – you downloaded my white paper on Linkedin (or somewhere else). The reminder comes often in the form of a retargeted banner on Facebook, Google, or Linkedin (many marketers prefer the cheaper option of Facebook/Instagram for retargeting only). Remarketing or retargeting ads are shown to people who have already visited your site but did not convert. This is a great way to bring back potential customers and introduce them to additional products or services in order to drive conversions along the funnel.

To do this, focus on increasing awareness both for your brand and your products/services. You can relate to the initial piece of content you offered (in case you’re following a content marketing strategy) or offer something new which makes sense for that particular buyer persona. Just remember, the purpose of the marketing tactics here is to push the lead further down the funnel.

CRM integration

Integrating customer relationship management (CRM) software is the practice of linking multiple sales/customer records together. Mid funnel marketing can utilize CRM integration to improve efficiency, communication, and mid-funnel conversion rates by matching up customers across channels.

That means you need to use software to just identify the prospect’s persona, ICP, needs, behavior, etc. Without software, you will have a hard time succeeding in the MOF (=middle of the funnel). Also, think about applying AI for your (small business) marketing right from the start.

Image source: SugarCRM

Content collaboration

Mid Funnel Marketing for SMBs should focus on creating engaging content that organically brings awareness to your brand or product, while at the same time generating leads through performance marketing or organic approaches.

We recommend here to make use of a well-aligned marketing/sales collaboration. Sales often know a bit better the specific needs or questions of prospects in that stage and can feed that information back to marketing for better converting content in the middle of the funnel.

Another way for creating content for the “middle” is by collaborating with influencers in relevant fields. This enables you to create high-quality content that will help grow traffic towards your website while also building trust between both parties involved. Influencer content collaboration helps businesses find new audiences outside their existing networks as well as extend their reach into an authentic user base that has more value than a typical ad. Influencer content collaboration helps businesses to obtain that extra part of trust-building weight – we all know how valuable and convincing a third-party recommendation can be.

Organic social media

Social Media Marketing will revolve around the use of social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the likes. Here, you’ll mostly be aiming for a wide market reach and gathering engagements in the long run. This is also beneficial for raising brand awareness but mostly it helps to have your mid-funnel prospects engaged and informed about your company’s activities.

Note that you can still look into other marketing tactics depending on what you think will be best for you. For beginners and SMBs, I recommend starting out with only one kind of tactic. Gradually, you can grow into using two or more for greater results.

How to know if the tactics are working

One of the most effective ways to know if your tactics are working is through the use of analytics and reports. Usually, these features are already included in your marketing tools, so they won’t add to your total expenses.

What makes them better is you won’t need a professional to know if you’re doing well or not. This is because modern reports are straightforward when it comes to displaying data.

Mid funnel metrics include

  • Number of MQLs
  • Email open rates
  • Funnel conversion rates: lead to MQL, MQL to SQL
  • Conversion-rates by source (social, search, paid social, etc.)
  • etc.
Funnel conversion rates, image source: Hubspot

Channels that you can use

While tactics point to strategies, channels refer to the medium that you can use to connect with your leads. Here are some channels and content types that you can utilize:

  • Webinars
  • Email
  • Social messaging platforms
  • Live chats
  • Offline-/Face-to-Face Events
  • Blog posts
  • Reviews, testimonials and referrals from other customers

Mid-funnel prospects are more likely to trust third-party endorsements rather than your own brand’s self-promotion through ads or content on social media channels like Facebook or Twitter.

Basically, anything that you can use for connections falls under the channel category. Note, though, that their effectiveness will still vary. You have to consider factors like your niche, demographic and behavioral attributes.

Types of content to publish

Content is the main building block of the CRM system, one of the tactics commonly used in mid-funnel marketing. You should mainly consider publishing content about both your brand and service to constantly gather an audience base.

In today’s digital world, it can be difficult to reach those who are interested in your product. In fact, research shows that on average customers interact with 3-5 pieces of content before talking directly with sales reps – meaning you need some great content if want them as a customer! 87% now start their searches online so getting noticed right off the bat will help get more interest from potential clients and perhaps turn them into loyal patrons too.

To remind you once more, the user is in the consideration phase, which means he/she is aware of his problem and is seeking to solve it. She does not, however, have a strong buying intent yet! This needs to be awakened by lots of contact points that provide plenty of useful information about the issue-solving solution you can offer. That is the content marketing strategy idea behind the mid-funnel marketing idea.

Hence are the types of content that you can provide:

Blog Posts

Blog posts are the ones that you usually see on search engines like Google. If you have a website, then having a bespoke page for your blogs is recommended. You can talk about all sorts of topics as long as they are relevant to what your business is about. Often these posts are used in nurturing workflows for specific buying personas. Read here for the top 22 b2b blogging best practices

Case Studies

If you’re working with a more complex field that requires extensive claims and pieces of evidence, then you should consider writing case studies about your niche. In our experience case studies is one of the best performing content pieces in the mid-funnel.

E-books (and other long forms like: reports, white papers, etc.)

E-books are slightly longer, but these provide more detailed explanations about niche-related topics. This is, however, often offered only as lead magnets in the top-funnel stage. Just as posts, there are also used in lead nurturing.

Well-made content requires both textual and visual elements. This is a good way to show off that you’re skilled, and thus, you’re reputable enough to offer your services. If you want to start off light, then engaging social media posts will also be enough.

Webinars

Webinars are some of the most impactful mid-funnel tools you have at your disposal. They tend to be a lot of effort regarding preparation (content, invitation management) and actually giving the presentation. Once you managed to get hold of a prospect and he was engaged for 30-60 minutes in a webinar of yours he knows your company and products so much better than before. In our experience for SMBs in B2B marketing, webinar attendees can be considered almost all the time as a sales-ready SQL (that means sales can take over and call them).

Marketing funnel with types of content, image source: Hubspot

Qualities That a Mid Funnel Content Should Have

Using content to connect with your leads and go through an efficient mid-funnel marketing process won’t be of use if it has poor quality. You should ensure that this stands out, especially when compared to your competitors.

To be specific, you should establish the following qualities in your present and future content:

  • Engaging (Should have CTA)
  • Persuasive
  • Educational
  • Easy to Understand

Your main priority when creating any kind of content should be to share knowledge. You should strongly avoid directly aiming for sales since it will have a high chance of looking spammy and unappealing.

Can You Succeed Without Mid Funnel Marketing?

It’s unlikely that you’ll have success if you don’t have well-executed mid-funnel marketing. Without this, your top and bottom-funnel processes won’t be able to meet one purpose. Not only that, but you’ll also have poor lead relations, which is one of the biggest cons in a business.

Summary

All in all, mid-funnel marketing, from the name itself, revolves around the middle part of funnel marketing. This is where the business starts to grow its market base and gain its trust. Doing so will assure an efficient transition to the last part of the funnel, which involves lead conversion.

There are three things that you need to have throughout the mid-funnel period. These are tactics, channels, and content. Effective use of these will make it easier and faster for your business to move on to the funnel marketing process.

Of course, it’s a given that you will need to invest money for mid-funnel marketing. Still, you can do a number of tips if you want to cut down on costs.

Nevertheless, it’s just right that you pay a lot of attention to the middle of the funnel, especially if you’re a small to medium-sized business.

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