Where Content Upgrades Fit in Your Marketing Funnel

by Brian

Last week I wrote about using Content Upgrades as a way to dramatically increase the number of casual readers who subscribe to your email list.

In that article, I laid out exactly what a Content Upgrade is and why it consistently performs better than other types of email lead magnets. To recap:

  • A Content Upgrade is an piece of bonus content offered along with a blog post on that topic.
  • Since it’s highly relevant to the topic of the article, it offers a compelling reason for the reader to subscribe to your email list to get the bonus.
  • Examples of a Content Upgrade would be a bonus worksheet, checklist, template, or even a video.

By the way, if you’re looking for an easy way to implement Content Upgrades on your blog, check out our WordPress plugin designed exclusively for this purpose.

Your Marketing Funnel

Now, the Content Upgrades you place on your blog posts are just one key piece of the puzzle. What happens next? How exactly does a Content Upgrade help you convert a reader into a subscriber and ultimately a customer of your product?

That’s what this article is all about.

I’m going to teach you exactly how the Content Upgrades strategy should fit within your larger sales funnel. Afterall, when you’re investing in content marketing, you have to have a strategy for ROI.  This article should help you get there.

Bonus: Download our Content Upgrades sales funnel flow chart to help you craft yours.

The goal of your marketing funnel is, of course, to convert website visitors into paying customers. Every step in your marketing funnel leads them closer to a buying decision. The more qualified your customers are to begin with, and the more effective you are at nurturing them throughout their buying cycle, the more likely they are to ultimately make a purchase.

In its most basic form, your marketing funnel looks something like this:

marketing-funnel

Of course, a simple diagram like the one above only scratches the surface. There’s a lot more that goes into building systems that work together to drive readers to your product.

When building your sales and marketing funnel, you’ll want to continuously tweak and optimize for the following aspects:

  • Traffic generation
  • Lead magnets
  • Lead nurturing
  • Converting leads to customers
  • Ongoing engagement

We can go on and on about various tactics and strategies that relate to all of these (that’s why we have this blog!), but today I’m going to focus on two aspects of your funnel where Content Upgrades can really move the needle: Lead magnets and Lead nurturing.

Content Upgrades Drive More Top-of-Funnel Leads

Let’s start with lead magnets.

If you want your marketing funnel to actually drive revenue your business, then you have to continuously drive more and more ideal customers into the top of your funnel.

Implementing Content Upgrades on your blog posts actually has not one, but two key benefits when it comes to driving leads into your funnel.

First is quantity. Remember that Content Upgrades are unique to the blog posts they’re offered on. That means you’re creating more entry points for readers to join your list and enter your funnel. As you work Content Upgrades into your routine content publishing process, you’re continuously adding more and more of these entry-points. That means more and more leads over time.

The second (and in my opinion, more important) benefit of using Content Upgrades, is you’re dramatically increasing the quality of the leads you’re driving into the top of your funnel.

Since a Content Upgrade offers bonus content that is highly specific and relevant to the article it came with, it attracts subscribers who are already highly interested in that topic, which should be perfectly in line with other content you publish, and the product/service you offer.

drive-more-traffic

So Content Upgrades help you drive more and better leads into your funnel. But that’s not the only way Content Upgrades help you optimize your sales funnel.

Prevent a Leaky Funnel With Better Nurturing

Since you’re publishing new Content Upgrades on a consistent, recurring basis, you’re giving existing subscribers more stuff!

You’re going one step beyond just sending newsletters or the occasional promotion. By giving existing subscribers new things to download, tools to use, bonus content that non-subscribers don’t see, you’re giving them more of a reason to stay subscribed and actually anticipate your next email!

Think about it. Most subscribers tend to tune out after a little while. And many won’t be in a “buying mode” quite yet. This is what typically causes subscribers to stop opening your emails, or unsubscribe and drop out of your funnel.

But if you’re consistently delivering something new and useful to their inbox, they’re much more likely to remain engaged, and therefore far more likely to trust and remember you when it comes time to make a buying decision (you should be sending follow up offers to prompt those buying decisions, but more on that another day).

leaky-funnel

Optimizing After Leads Join Your List

So Content Upgrades help you drive more leads into your email list. But how do you optimize the flow of messages they receive once they’re subscribed? How exactly do you move an email subscriber toward an offer for your product (without coming off as too salesy?)

Well this is a deeper topic for another day, but let me outline our recommendation for setting up a smart post-subscription workflow.

First, leads come into your list, mostly through your various Content Upgrades placed throughout your blog. You might have an evergreen email lead magnet, like an email course (a great idea), which brings some new subscribers. But typically, new subscribers may come from a variety of sources (Content Upgrades, your email course, free trials of your software, etc.).

After the initial opt-in for a Content Upgrade, you should obviously deliver the bonus content that they requested. This email should arrive in their inbox immediately (our Content Upgrades plugin handles this automatically, or you can set up the response email each time in your email marketing tool).

A few days later they should receive another email to prompt the subscriber to join some longer nurturing sequence, such as an educational email course. When they click the link inside the email that pitches this course, that should automatically trigger the start of this course (This type of thing can be done using most email marketing tools. The one we use and recommend is Drip).

Your longer nurturing sequence should accomplish two things:

  • Educate and build trust over a number of days/weeks
  • Conclude with a logical and compelling pitch for your product (after you’ve established trust by educating them).

The idea is to attract more and more subscribers into your audience using Content Upgrades, then automatically point them toward your main nurturing sequence designed to lead them toward making a buying decision.

Bonus: I have illustrated this funnel workflow in a diagram, which you can download and adapt to your needs.
  • Thanks for all of the incredible content you and your team are putting out! I have learned so much from only reading 4-5 of your blog posts. I will be sharing this information with my team tomorrow at our weekly marketing mastery meeting. Thanks again!