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Nick Berry

Revolutionizing the Content Marketing Funnel: Beyond the Traditional Approach

Revolutionizing the Content Marketing Funnel Beyond the Traditional Approach

I absolutely despise the “funnel” analogy, stop thinking about the physical funnel, what most businesses have is a leaky bucket, but you’ve got some duct tape around the bottom of the bucket keeping some of the water in. You probably don’t have a true content marketing funnel.

Why do I not like the funnel analogy for marketing? Because it defines the marketing and sales process as this linear thing, that just isn’t marketing or sales. Think about the last major purchase decision you went through, was it logical and everything worked in a straight line? 

I think we should adopt the gold wash plant as the appropriate physical analogy to what marketing should be doing. Now maybe I’ve just been binge watching too much Gold Rush this winter, but I think this is the right analogy for the entire marketing process.

But think about it, a funnel is for pouring ALL of the contents into a smaller thing, not removing the crap. Below is a picture of an industrial gold wash plant and sluice box. And this is what a proper marketing campaign should look like. Now because the industry loves the term marketing funnel, when I say the word funnel this is what I want you thinking about. Not a paper funnel from the gas station for topping off the oil in your leaky BMW.

Turn your content marketing funnel into a content marketing sluice

Content marketing is the paydirt you dig up from the mining area. Your mining research map is your content marketing plan. This is identifying who you want to attract, what lines of business you want to sell more of, and what kind of content you’re going to create to attract those people. And just like in the Klondike it’s a ton of work just to get to the paydirt. And there’s no guarantee of success. But if you’re smart, find the right area to mine, you might strike it rich.

How a gold wash plant works is you take all your paydirt and gravel(content) you dug out of the earth and you dump it into the top of the plant. When you dump it in the top of the wash plant, the first thing that gets removed is the big rocks, the stuff that will break things as it passes through. So you’re removing the people that don’t need or want insurance or at least don’t want to buy it from you. For most agencies that’s the non-standard and excess market stuff. 

Now the next step is washing the gravel, this washes all the gold rich dirt off the larger stones and moves them out of the machine to the tailings pile. So imagine someone clicks on your site, and immediately clicks out, nope not interested, they’re tailings. Move them along. Now we’re getting into my favorite part, the sluice box.

The sluice box is an engineering marvel, using all kinds of magical (science) stuff like riffles which use gravity, iron bars and water current to trap big juice gold nuggets. These are your leads that dial into the agency and referrals. Those are awesome, but there’s a lot of gold still running down the box that we need to trap. And that’s where the extruded metal and carpet come in. This next stage is where the big money really is, but where most people really screw it up. If your water flow is too fast or slow, the angle of the sluice is wrong, you’re literally washing gold back into the river! This is your lead magnets, social media distribution, follow-up campaigns, newsletter emails, and even re-targeted advertising. 

Then once you clean out the sluice box and take it to the cleaning room, this is your sales processes in action. Your sales team is the final step in all of this, they’re the ones separating the fine gold from the sand. 

By the time we get through this newsletter you’re going to have the concepts to build a marketing sluice I mean content marketing funnel to filter out the tire kickers, screen out the “insurance is a scam” prospects, and have intentional mechanisms in place to close more leads, have better and happier customers, and just as important a happy team!

What is a content marketing funnel and how can it benefit my insurance agency?

Ah, the content marketing funnel – or should we say, the content marketing sluice box! Think of it like a gold rush for your insurance agency, minus the dirt and heavy equipment. Essentially, it’s a process where you sift through the vast wilderness of potential clients and filter out the real golden opportunities. 

It starts with a heap of ‘paydirt’ (your content) dumped into this grand machine. The big rocks? They’re the tire-kickers and “insurance is a scam” folks – you definitely want to screen those out early. As you move down the sluice, you use various tactics – think lead magnets, social media posts, and charming newsletters – to wash away the less promising leads, leaving you with the shiny, valuable prospects. 

It’s like matchmaking, but instead of finding love, you’re pairing people with the right insurance. And let’s not forget the final step: your sales team. They’re the ones delicately picking out the finest gold flakes from the sand. In short, a well-oiled content marketing funnel means more glittering leads, happier customers, and a sales team that feels like they just hit the jackpot.

How do I determine the right content to include at each stage of the funnel?

Deciding on the right content for each stage of your marketing sluice box is a bit like planning a menu for a picky eater; you’ve got to get just the right mix. At the start, you need something broad and appealing – like a buffet of informational blogs, engaging social media posts, or insurance tips like don’t burn down your house with a turkey fryer. This is your bait to attract a wide range of prospects. 

As you progress, the content needs to get more refined and specific, like serving a well-paired wine with the main course. Think downloads, lead magnets, video content, or detailed guides that demonstrate your expertise in insurance. Finally, at the narrow end of your sluice, where the serious prospects linger, it’s time for the personalized content – the dessert of your menu. 

Personalized emails, tailored recommendations, or one-on-one consultations can really seal the deal. It’s like guiding your prospect through a fine dining experience; each course (or content piece) should whet their appetite for the next, leading to a satisfying conclusion – a new policyholder!

Can you explain the role of customer personas in developing an effective content marketing funnel?

Customer personas in your content marketing strategy? They’re the map to your gold mine! Imagine trying to find gold without knowing where to dig – you’d just be shoveling dirt around. Similarly, without understanding who you’re marketing to, you might as well be throwing your content into a black hole. 

Customer personas are like your trusty map, showing you where to find the ‘gold nuggets’ (your ideal clients). Each persona represents a different type of client. By tailoring your content to each persona, you’re ensuring that every piece of information is like a perfectly set trap in your sluice box, ready to catch the right kind of prospect. It’s like knowing exactly where to test the dirt in the mountain of potential clients. So, before you start creating content willy-nilly, take a moment to work out those personas – they’re your secret weapon to striking gold!

What metrics should I track to evaluate the success of my content marketing funnel?

Tracking the success of your content marketing funnel is a bit like being a gold prospector weighing their haul at the end of the day. You need to know if you’ve struck it rich or if you’re just sifting through fool’s gold. Key metrics? Start with traffic and engagement rates on your top-of-the-funnel content. It’s like checking how many prospectors are showing up at your mine. 

Then, as you move down the funnel, monitor the conversion rates – how many of these visitors are turning into genuine leads, or better yet, customers? It’s like tracking how many of those prospectors are actually finding gold. 

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the retention rates and customer lifetime value too – that’s your indicator of whether you’re mining a rich vein or just hitting a lucky streak. So, grab your scales and start measuring – the numbers will tell you if you’re sitting on a gold mine or just a pile of dirt!

How often should I update or revise my content marketing funnel strategy?

Updating your content marketing funnel is like maintaining your gold wash plant. You can’t just set it up and forget about it – that’s a surefire way to end up with a pile of rubble instead of a pile of gold. The market changes, your audience evolves, and what worked yesterday might be as outdated as a prospector’s mule. 

So, when should you give your strategy a tune-up? Think of it as a seasonal thing. Every few months, take a step back and look at the big picture. Are you catching as much gold (customers) as you should be? Is there a new audience you haven’t tapped into yet? Maybe it’s time to introduce some shiny new content or adjust your targeting. It’s like checking your sluice box for wear and tear and making sure your riffles are set just right. Don’t wait for the whole thing to fall apart before you fix it. A little tweaking here and there can keep your content marketing machine running smooth as silk.

What are common mistakes to avoid when setting up a content marketing funnel for an insurance agency?

Setting up a content marketing funnel can be fraught with pitfalls, sort of like a novice prospector heading to the Klondike without a map. One common blunder? Thinking all traffic is good traffic. It’s like dumping a truckload of dirt into your wash plant and hoping for the best – you’ll just end up with a mess. Quality over quantity, folks. Another misstep is neglecting the middle of the funnel. It’s easy to focus on attracting new leads and closing sales, but what about the nurturing part? That’s like ignoring the riffles in your sluice box – you’re letting all the small gold nuggets wash away! 

And let’s not forget about the follow-up. Ignoring customers after the sale is like finding a gold nugget and then tossing it back into the river. Keep those communication channels open – your existing customers can be your biggest advocates. So, avoid these traps, and you’ll be well on your way to striking gold with your content marketing strategy.

Normally this is where I’d talk about booking a call to work with me as a Fractional CMO client, Content Catalyst or signing up for Marketing Secrets Club. But I have a HUGE favor to ask of you, I’d like you to fill out the survey about your current tech stack at the button below.

And when you fill out the survey you’ll get an opportunity to book a 30 minute call with me to ask me anything you want about marketing.

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