HOW TO CREATE AMAZING CONTENT THAT FUELS THE SALES FUNNEL
You know content works when you find yourself smiling, sharing and responding with an “I love this”. It’s engaging. It’s inspiring. It’s infectious.
It makes you want to share it within your community. All while positioning the brand deeper into your head and potentially inspiring you into a purchase. It’s quite smart really!
There’s been a few good examples of this recently from Wimbledon being the Official Tennis of Sipsmith Gin, to the latest Dubai tourism promotion campaign featuring Zac Efron and Jessica Alba, and adidas’s “Meet Len” campaign for the launch of the 2021/22 Arsenal third kit.
But how can you create content and campaigns, like this, that fuel each stage of the marketing and sales funnel and directly appeal to fans across sport, entertainment and gaming?
FIRST THINGS FIRST… WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ACHIEVE?
At AND THE NEW, all our content strategies and campaigns start with a series of questions. What are your objectives? Who are you targeting? What do you want this target audience to do? How creative and game-changing are you willing to go to get the results you want? Why is this important for you? What does success look like for you?
It’s not ground-breaking, but it’s often overlooked.
The very best content campaigns are not a coincidental concoction of seemingly random ideas that somehow strike the right chord with fans and audiences almost by accident. No. They’ve been meticulously planned, developed, researched and coordinated to drive the results you see.
Starting with your objectives and a deeper understanding of your target audience will allow you to really flex your creative muscles in all the right places, creating content output that is more likely to succeed at every stage of the funnel.
TRULY UNDERSTANDING YOUR AUDIENCE
If your end goal is to drive the sale of a product or service, anything from official team merchandise through to luxury goods, the latest video game, tickets to the newest Hollywood movie release, or B2B software, then it’s not enough to just know the basic demographics of your audience.
To build effective campaigns, you need to understand how your audience thinks, what appeals to them the most, what they’re most likely to interact with, and the reason why they interact.
Doing this will allow you to create content that directly appeals to your fans and customers.
“Okay, cool. But how do we do this?”. Good question! Here at AND THE NEW, we leverage our data intelligence suite that connects consumer and fan survey reports, social listening and real-time social engagement data to understand what your audience truly care about and how they respond to certain messages. From here, we segment your customer-base into distinct tribes of like-minded individuals based on the insights we draw.
This approach means you can map your content campaigns directly against your audiences’ purchase journey, develop personalisation at scale to drive deeper engagement and be much more effective with any media buying spend for when you distribute your content.
TOP OF FUNNEL (AWARENESS)
When it comes to top of funnel activity, there are generally two core goals that we’re setting to achieve: to increase brand awareness or to drive traffic (often both, simultaneously). After all, when was the last time you purchased something that you genuinely didn’t know existed? You didn’t. And you couldn’t.
Yet the age-old question remains; where do you start?
Once you’ve got a clear plan on what you’re trying to achieve and you know who you’re targeting, then the fun can really begin.
Whilst not everything needs to be “funny”, driving engagement and entertainment, especially when targeting sports fans, festival-goers, or gaming addicts, is crucial. KFC’s bucket-shaped gaming console is a great example of this, as the campaign was designed to appeal to gamers, drive top of mind awareness and position KFC as the go-to snack for gamers everywhere. I mean, who doesn’t like fried chicken!
It all comes down to pushing boundaries with your creative, not being held back and afraid to try something new. So run, be free, and let those creative juices flow!
But content is only as successful as its distribution. Is the world’s-best movie really the world’s best movie if nobody sees it? Does a falling tree make noise if there is no one to hear it? Does… you get the point. Distribution at the awareness stage is all about reach. But not reach at all cost. It needs to be reach amongst your target audience, otherwise you risk producing vanity metrics that are filled with people who will never have any intention of buying your product.
MIDDLE OF FUNNEL (CONSIDERATION)
Congrats; you’ve moved up (or down, as it may be) a level in the funnel and know you find yourself tasked with driving consideration. For starters, you’re in the fortunate position that if you’ve created content that explodes (in a good way) at the awareness stage, then you’ll still be reaping the rewards at the consideration, or even conversion, phase.
But that doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels and sit back with your feet up.
The overarching goal with middle-of-funnel content is educate your target audience on how your product or service can help either solve their problem or overcome a challenge. These “problems” can be physical and tangible, such as to find a car with enough space for the kids, dog, and golf clubs. Or they can be softer and more psychological, such as the desire to look good, or to want to have a memorable experience with family and friends. The Rugby League World Cup 2021 knew this, as they developed their “Squad Assemble” campaign to drive purchase intent in line with the opening of the public ticket ballot and pushed a call to action that focused on sharing an experience with friends and family.
Once again, creativity needs to be driven by data. What is important to your audience? What benefits or values do they prioritise over others? Are they actively looking in the market for similar products? This data, from search trends to real-time social engagement insights, enables you to develop content with the right message that is most likely to appeal to your target audience.
Fiat ran a personalised ad campaign across Facebook and Instagram Stories to promote the new Fiat 500x and its various specs and benefits. The campaign utilised consumer data to segment the audience and deliver personalised content based on their interests and activities, showcasing that the 500x is the right car for them as it allows them to do all the things they love to do from skiing to dog walking.
It’s all about turning “I love this” into “I think I need this”. That’s achieved through a combination of awesome ideas, out-the-box thinking, and a deep understanding of your target audience.
END OF FUNNEL (CONVERSION)
Your audience or fans have enjoyed everything you’ve created so far. They’ve watched several branded content pieces and have engaged with your message. From discovering your content, they’ve realised, maybe unconsciously, that this is a product or experience they could use in their life.
Now it’s time to flick that spark in their mind, overcome any objections or challenges, show the vision of what their life will be like with your product or experience, and guide them to purchase. We want them to scream “I want this, and I want it now”.
Importantly, even at this stage you don’t need to sacrifice creativity for straight shooting functionality (although a clear and concise CTA is crucial). A great example of this is ‘How To Buy A Mountain Bike’. While this video isn’t aligned directly to a brand, you can imagine how easy it would be to integrate mountain bike brands such as Canondale, Raleigh, or Giant and how, through this engaging content, they can go through the entire purchasing process and lead their customers to checkout.
TRACK, LEARN, OPTIMIZE
It’s not just video-based branded content, but all forms of digital content from how-to guides, augmented reality experiences, display and search advertising, immersive playable games and more.
Tracking key metrics from this content, such as CTR, CPM, bounce rate, reach, engagement, dwell time, conversion rate and customer lifetime value are crucial to make sure you’re constantly learning and understanding how certain content performs, on which channels they perform best, and which CTA is proving the most effective. Doing so allows you to optimize your campaigns by doubling-down on media spend in the right areas, cutting loose underperforming content, and resharing best performing pieces.
By doing all of this, you’re on the path to driving some pretty hardcore ROI numbers and being the talk of the office. Go you!
AND THE NEW is a creative digital marketing agency built to help brands in sports, entertainment, and gaming grow, monetize, convert, engage or inspire their target audience all while building brand and cultural equity for long-term growth.