As a catering and events business owner, you have professional experience serving an industry defined by its dynamism and competition. From hosting corporate gatherings to cooking for intimate weddings, the work performed in this sector leaves it valued at over $75 billion—and, it’s expected to expand even more over the next five years. Engaging in such a healthy market means you have access to an exciting wealth of potential customers, but it also means you need to be strategic when encouraging those individuals to feel drawn to your brand in particular.
To ensure you see the most possible success in lead conversion, you’ll want to ensure you’re constantly referring back to, and following the steps of, your marketing funnel. The middle of the funnel, at which point marketing connects with selling, is particularly important for inspiring your ideal customer to connect with your brand.
What is a Marketing Funnel?
Your relationship with potential clients develops from the moment they first gain awareness of your brand. From initial interaction to final (and, hopefully, recurring) sale, your goal is to encourage potential customers through a number of steps, with each one leaving them more certain about your prospective partnership than the last.
This process of leading your dream clients to the point of purchase is known as the “marketing funnel.” The funnel has three primary stages, or sections—top, middle and bottom. Much like its inanimate namesake, the marketing funnel is the widest at the top. It is here where prospective leads, or individuals who are aware of and interacting with your brand’s marketing efforts, can be found.
As one descends into the middle of the funnel, the pool of remaining leads has grown smaller, and the interaction with your brand more intentional. Finally, those stakeholders found at the bottom of your funnel are the ones who have purchased (and in an even more refined group, repurchased) your service.
What Are Buyers Doing in the Middle of the Funnel?
As mentioned above, the middle of the funnel is the point at which prospective clients begin to get serious about the possibility of working with your brand. Thus, at this point, they are delving further into the details of what your company offers, and comparing your services to those offered by your competitors.
The middle of the funnel, for this reason, can be the most difficult stage to navigate as a business owner. Sure, it might initially be easy enough to draw people in with Instagram ads of aesthetic table settings and five-star catering reviews. Once they’ve delved beneath the surface, however, remaining leads are searching for information they can critically evaluate.
As potential buyers, these individuals are paying attention to details such as analytics, specificities found in reviews from past clients and pricing information. They’re scouting out evidence of your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, through photos, videos, Tweets, or a plethora of other media sources. It’s at this moment when people are making an effort to get to know your brand—and, to know whether your brand is the one for them.
Types of Content to Create in the Middle of the Funnel
The middle of the funnel calls upon you to engage both your marketing and selling expertise. This means continuing to supplement top-of-the-funnel information, including addressing questions that may not have been fully fleshed out, while simultaneously demonstrating to potential clients why your brand is the one for them.
The material people are seeing from your brand at this point should address both their concerns and your top selling points. Here are a few things to include:
Case studies: These accounts of real-world transactions provide concise examples of your brand in action. They tell the story of a real customer, with a real need that your brand helped fill. Case studies can be a bit more laborious to construct, as they require evidentiary bases such as client interviews and chronological information, but their marketing power makes the work worthwhile. A particularly complicated, extravagant or high-profile catering event you hosted would make fantastic material for a case study.
Quality blog content: Blogs are frequently placed at the top of the funnel, but they can also be a great mid-level tactic. The key is to cater your blog posts to the more detailed information for which people are now looking. Castleford suggests posting FAQs, how-to’s and other articles that respond to specific concerns or questions. Make sure that your responses are well-thought-out, and that readers walk away knowing where to go for further information. The more refined your blog content, the more credible your brand will appear.
Social media posts: Like blog posts, social media content is overwhelmingly assumed to be a top-of-the-funnel technique. They can also work great in the middle however, specifically as a way to publicize your other mid-level content. Use Twitter and Pinterest to promote a new article or blog, for example, or post an Instagram photo from a successful event about which you’ve published a case study. Because so much of your brand’s interaction occurs via social media, these platforms can be fantastic ways to draw more attention to content—and, in doing so, inspire more client action.
You can also publish targeted, ads and pop-ups, presenting your content in a concise way. The focus of these ads is your call-to-action and making sure whatever service you’re offering is explicitly stated.
How to Make the Middle of the Funnel Work for You
While approaching the middle of the funnel can seem daunting, doing so offers an exciting opportunity to place the finer details about your brand at center stage. This is where you can really get explicit about event successes, your brand’s history and everything that goes on behind the scenes. This is information that’s naturally often excluded from content at the top of your marketing funnel, which tends to encourage further exploration of your brand via more general information.
There are also a number of ways you can make your middle-of-the-funnel content a little easier to tackle. Maintain a well-organized collection of information regarding particularly successful events catered or hosted by your company. Collect reviews, interviews, and data to underline why the event was such a success. As your grow your middle-of-the-funnel content, you’ll be able to refer back to this list for material.
You can also make use of marketing automation software to increase the efficiency with which you distribute content. An example of such is using triggered emails and email campaigns to communicate content with middle-of-the-funnel contacts. Such software will also allow you to send out personal content (addressed with a particular recipient’s name, for example), which can be very useful in establishing the one-on-one connection required to encourage a person toward the bottom of your sales funnel.
How to Know If Your Content Is Working
Because the marketing funnel is designed with a clear progression from top-to-bottom, you’ll be able to gauge mid-level success by the number of customer conversions, be they first-time or recurring. To get a clearer picture of these conversions, observe analytics regarding interaction with your content from top to bottom. For mid-level content in particular, this might include data such as click-through rates of corresponding ads, or response to relevant email campaigns.
Other metrics to look at include engagement with your middle-of-the-funnel social media posts, and the number of first-time vs. returning visitors to your website. You can also find information on what percentage of a piece of content people are actually scrolling through. Platforms such as Google Analytics are a great place to start.
This post has hopefully provided you with some more insight as to how to best navigate the core of your marketing funnel. It’s an area that can be at first be tricky to approach as a business owner; but once you’ve familiarized yourself with the middle of the funnel, you’ll be ready to take your lead conversions to new heights. Good luck!