Balancing Top & Bottom Funnel Content for Better Business Results

Content is an integral part of any marketing strategy or program. Content brings awareness to your products or services, enables research and consideration, and ultimately, compels audiences to convert. But, too often, marketers take an unbalanced approach to content creation – either focusing too much on content for the top of the funnel or bottom of the funnel.

The reality is that each type of content plays a very important role in the consumer journey. Several Catalyst SEO Directors joined forces to weigh in the importance of each type of content, key differences, and specific examples of what type of content works well for each type of the funnel. Let’s see what they had to say…

Why Top & Bottom Funnel Content Matters

Top of the funnel content can be summed up by one word: awareness. At the top of the funnel, it is incredibly important to create and increase brand or product/service awareness that can become a sale down the road. Consumers need to know who you are and what you are offering. As William Álvarez, Director of Organic Search at Catalyst puts it, “Top of the funnel content can bring an enormous amount of visibility from digital channels like organic search (SEO), because the search queries at the top of the funnel usually have higher search volume.”

When a customer reaches the bottom of the funnel, they should have full awareness of who you are as a brand or product/service. Given that, content at this stage should help close the sale cycle of a product or service by answering a question, showcasing unique features, or demonstrating value in other ways. Bottom funnel content should be compel the consumers to click the buy button without hesitation.

Balancing Top & Bottom Funnel Content

Content for these stages is a balancing act. If there is too much focus on bottom funnel content, you might find yourself missing out on potential new customers. Focus too much on top of the funnel content, and potential customers might not convert. There’s no magic ratio, of course. Every company, product, and industry is different. It is important to invest adequate energy resources towards both stages of the funnel to maximize results.

What Works Well for Top of the Funnel Content?

Top of the funnel content primarily targets those unfamiliar with your brand. Good top of the funnel content has wide appeal, but still specifically targets audiences likely to purchase your products and services. It should be designed to be sharable, with the potential to go viral.

Some examples might include:

  1. Recipes for brands that sell food products or kitchen appliances
  2. How-to guides for hobbies related to your product or service – i.e. a photography guide if you’re a camera manufacturer
  3. Lifestyle articles showcasing your products in the wild – i.e. a hiking photoblog featuring real life adventures of actual hikers
  4. Industry podcasts and video series talking about brand-neutral ideas and trends

Brad McCourt, Manager of Organic Search at Catalyst says, “For the best results, publish content consistently, grow an audience, and don’t be overly self-promotional. Top of the funnel content isn’t about your brand. It is about empowering and enriching your audience.”

What Works Well for Bottom of the Funnel Content?

In order to convince consumers at the bottom of the funnel to convert, offer information, tutorials, and other tools that let them compare, estimate, and see how product meets their expectations.

Strong bottom funnel content should answer the following questions:

  1. Why is this product better suited for customer needs than the alternatives? Are there any game changing or unique features?
  2. What are actual customers and critics saying about this product or service?
  3. Is the purchase worth the cost?
  4. What additional value do you offer? Why buy directly from you when customers can find the same product for cheaper on Amazon or other retailers?

Free trials also work well at this stage too. Education is appreciated at the bottom of the funnel, so webinars, white papers, case studies, and testimonials are great ways to deliver bottom of the funnel content. As Jenn Kenyon, Partner, Director of Organic Search at Catalyst puts it, “This is the type of content that will help your customer or prospect make a purchase decision. If that decision comes down to you and someone else, it’s important to think about what’s going to convince them to choose you.”

Brad McCourt sums it up by saying that “It’s imperative that bottom funnel content reinforce why consumers should buy from you and not someone else – be that unique features, higher quality, customer service, or price point.”

More Resources

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