SaaS customers are rarely ready to buy a product from the moment they first see it.
Most B2B buyers need to make very careful, informed and logical decisions about their purchases. Around 50% of qualified leads just aren’t ready to make a purchase when they click on a link or visit your website. They need to be convinced they’re making the right choice first.
The “marketing funnel” is a concept today’s companies use to outline the journey customers take from “awareness” to “purchase” in the consumer cycle. At the top of the funnel, you’re focused on raising awareness for your products and services. At the bottom of the funnel, it’s all about sealing the deal.
But what happens in between?
Middle of the funnel SaaS content represents a lucrative opportunity for organizations to nurture their relationships with leads and push them closer to a purchase. Of course, like any part of your sales strategy, developing effective “MOFU” content isn’t easy.
Here’s what you need to know about mastering the middle of the funnel.
What is Middle of the Funnel Content (MOFU)?
Most businesses are familiar with the typical sales funnel.
Unfortunately, according to Salesforce, 68% of companies don’t use the funnel correctly in their marketing efforts, and because of this, 79% of leads never convert into sales.
Leads begin their interaction with a SaaS company at the top of the funnel, and the people you interact with gradually become more qualified (more likely to buy) as they move toward the bottom. Additionally, as leads progress through the sales funnel, their understanding of their problem and the solutions available to them evolve too.
The middle of the funnel is otherwise known as the “evaluation stage” of the buyer journey. At this time, your teams should be working on providing leads with the information they need to choose you over your competition. Though all businesses benefit from middle of the funnel content, it’s essential to B2B companies like SaaS brands, because the B2B sales cycle is typically more complicated.
So, how do you know if you’re producing the best middle of the funnel content? First, you need to know what MOFU aims to achieve.
The Aim of Middle of the Funnel SaaS Content
As mentioned above, top of the funnel content aims to generate awareness for your brand or product. However, when people get to the middle of your funnel, they already know about your company. Accordingly, the aim of middle of the funnel SaaS content is to nurture these potential prospects, providing them with material to help them to prioritize your business over your competitors. Often this means simply repeating the same benefits via multiple forms of content. 63% of customers say they need to hear a company’s benefits 3-5 times before they believe what they say.
Think of your middle of the funnel content as an opportunity to deepen the relationship you started at the top of the funnel. The end goals are:
- Nurture your leads to increase their chances of making a purchase
- Educating current and potential customers on factors differentiating your brand
- Inspiring emotional connections to improve brand loyalty
Types of Middle of the Funnel Content
The distinct aims of mid-funnel content means whatever you produce has to be educational, persuasive, and highly targeted. It’s about delivering the right messages to people at the correct time, to push them over the edge into that final stage before conversion.
Here are some examples of the types of mid-funnel content you can explore, and why they’re so beneficial.
1. The Targeted Email Newsletter
59% of B2B marketers believe email is their most effective channel for revenue generation purposes. A great example of the power of the targeted email newsletter comes from marketing SaaS team Denamico. This company was continually struggling with sending irrelevant emails to the wrong customers. However, when they segmented their strategy into four different email funnels, including a mid-funnel solution that invited audiences to a webinar, workshop or event, their ROI improved.
The simple act of giving customers the information they needed during the mid-funnel journey improved CTR by 89% for Denamico. At the same time, email provides companies with a way to continue nurturing their audiences reminding them of the benefits they offer which may eventually lead to a sale.
2. Detailed eBooks and Blog Posts
According to a survey by SmartBrief and the Content Marketing Institute, today’s customers want content that speaks directly to their needs and pain points, provides useful product information and is more “educational” than promotional. This is particularly true in the middle of the funnel when your buyers are trying to determine why you’re the best company to buy from.
eBooks and detailed blog posts give you a long-form way to serve useful information to your audience. This kind of content marketing is ideal for speaking to people who are already aware of your SaaS organization, and it gives you a chance to improve your credibility by developing “thought leadership.”
For instance, HubSpot, a marketing SaaS company, regularly publishes extensive articles and eBooks to prove they’re pros in the digital ad space.
3. Video Content
According to Google, around 70% of B2B buyers use videos throughout the entire path to purchase. When creating middle of the funnel content for customers who need large amounts of information fast, video content gives businesses an immersive avenue to share complex information.
For instance, Zendesk uses video content throughout their sales funnel. Their top-of-the-funnel content often includes funny and engaging videos about lousy customer service and animations that explain the nature of the company. However, their mid-level content goes a step further by providing insights into exactly how the software works.
Video is a great way to provide people with detailed information in the middle of the funnel, without asking them to read through endless pages of content.
4. Case Studies
B2B buyers in the SaaS world need evidence that they’re making the right investments before they spend their money. Case studies are an easy way to show your prospects, instead of telling them, what you do. Take a look at NuSpark – a lead generation tool company that uses on-site case studies to demonstrate how they’ve tackled other clients problems.
With case studies, NuSpark can prove with real insights and statistics that their software delivers the results that their customers are looking for. You can even repurpose your case studies into additional content formats in the future, by using them to write blog posts, highlighting them in newsletters or posting snippets on social media.
5. Fact Sheets and Whitepapers
Want to show your audience you know what you’re talking about?
Convince them you understand their problems and pain points with a fact sheet or whitepaper. For instance, HP uses a fact sheet to highlight the issues facing the “state of the industry” before covering insights on how their solution is more effective than the products offered by competitors.
A whitepaper is essentially a long-form fact sheet that plays a similar part in enhancing your reputation. A while ago, an anti-spam software company called Vircom created a whitepaper called “Why Spammers Spam,” it generated around $96,500 for the business, even though the paper only cost $1,700 to produce.
The critical thing to remember with whitepapers is they need to be original, well-researched and genuine. Give your customers the information they’re looking for – nothing more and nothing less.
6. Social Media
Finally, forward-thinking SaaS companies are beginning to turn to social media in their middle of the funnel content creation strategies. Remember, during mid-funnel conversations, the aim is to nurture your audience and deepen connections with prospects. Social media is a fantastic place to build on your relationships, grow your email list and share useful information about your business.
To succeed with social media, you’ll need to determine what kind of content your audience responds best to, and which platforms they visit when they’re looking for information. For instance, if you’re a B2B company, there’s a good chance your customers are looking for details on LinkedIn, rather than Snapchat or Instagram.
Metrics to Track with Middle of the Funnel Content
There’s no one-size-fits-all set of guidelines when it comes to succeeding at middle of the funnel SaaS content. However, it’s important to remember that, like with any other advertising effort, you need to track and optimize your results.
There are quite a few metrics you can examine with MOFU content, but don’t get overwhelmed. Your aim should be to connect your middle-of-the-content ambitions to your business goals overall. For instance, you’ll want to move people along the sales funnel, but you’ll also need to ensure your audiences feel engaged and educated when they’re reading your content.
Start by looking at:
- New vs. returning visitors: How many of your leads are new, and how many of them are coming back to your page for more details?
- Referral traffic: Is your content inspiring enough that it’s encouraging other people to act as ambassadors for your brand?
- Social engagement: Is the content you’re sharing online leading to connections on social media, new followers, or even private messages?
As well as tracking engagement, you’ll also need to ensure your visitors are spending enough time on your content so they understand your products, services, and brand. This means looking at consumption metrics like average read percentage, click through rate on your emails, and competition rate on your videos.
Once you have engagement and consumption down, ensure you’re attracting the right, high-quality leads with your middle of the funnel content by looking at things like email sign-ups, how many people download your eBooks and whitepapers, and what kind of numbers appear in your webinar presentations.
Making the Most of Your MOFU Strategy
Ultimately, no matter what kind of content you create for your middle of the funnel content strategy, the aim should be to deepen your connections with people who are already interested in and aware of your SaaS. Once you’ve got people to the middle of the funnel, you can start forming the connections and loyalty that will convince them to click on your buy buttons, purchase your software, and even sign up for long-term contracts. Here are some best practices for your MOFU strategy.
Focus on providing value: Importantly, remember that middle of the funnel content isn’t about pushing people to make a purchase there and then. Instead, this is where you can inform, educate and inspire the people who are intrigued by your proposition, but not yet ready to make a purchase. If you go too promotional too fast, then you could end up losing your prospects.
Take advantage of automation tools and campaigns: As mentioned above, the best middle of the funnel content strategies often focus on providing your customers with repetitive insights into the values and benefits you can offer. With that in mind, you may have to send out multiple emails and pieces of content before your customer is ready to move to the next stage in the buyer journey. Automation tools allow you to ensure that you can consistently and effectively nurture your leads. According to studies, high-growth teams use up to 5 different applications in their marketing stack, including analytics and automation tools.
Segment your campaigns: Finally, remember there are different people in the middle of the funnel at any given time. You might be talking to new customers who understand SaaS but don’t know what they need or customers that know your brand, but don’t understand their SaaS requirements. Your middle of the funnel content can also connect with new customers and repeat buyers alike. A great way to ensure that your messages resonate is to create targeted campaigns for each buyer persona that may come your way.
Don’t Get Stuck in the Middle
Many marketing initiatives focus almost exclusively on the top and bottom of the funnel, believing that these sections are the most crucial in influencing conversions. However, the truth is that the middle of your funnel is essential too.
With the right middle of the funnel SaaS content strategy, you create the missing link that speaks to the people you captured at the top of the funnel and guides them towards their next all-important purchase.