How consultants, coaches and service-based professionals can acquire clients on autopilot using effective content funnel as a marketing strategy


Are you using effective content funnel as a marketing strategy, as a coach, consultant or service based professional?

If you’re finding it difficult to acquire customers using your content, you need to pay attention to this post.

In it, I share the right content strategy that will help you turn consumers of your content to happy and paying customers.


As a coach, consultant or overall business owner, acquiring clients is one of your core mission. Doing that in today’s content overload world can be daunting.

This is why over my years in the digital marketing industry, I pretty much have found two divides when it comes to content marketing or content as a marketing tool.

On one side of the divide are those who do a lot of it. Those who create a ton of content that adds nothing to the bottom line. They’ve only succeeded to create a platform that “massages the intellect” of their fans and followers and create a hungry audience seeking freebies and invariably free services.

And on the opposite end of the divide are those who don’t engage one bit with content as a marketing tool or do it completely haphazardly.


So many of these coaches, service-based professionals and consultants are yet to understand how the internet works to favour the visible, the consistent and the available.


Whether you sell directly or indirectly online, it all starts with one thing.


Let me say it again,


And again…


Content is the currency of exchange online. However, the production, distribution and consumption will determine whether your content will become an asset that drives sales and become a channel to generate leads.


This is because, with the growth of the smartphone, so many people today start their research online months and weeks before they decide to make a purchase.

So, it’s kind of become the norm, that as a business owner you should use content to capture the attention of the research seekers.

However, when you do that you need to know how the statistics work out and recognize the reasons people seek to devour content.

This may shock you but from the latest 2014/2015 Consumer barometer survey conducted by Google for Nigeria, (Yes, this is research results for Naija!)

To paraphrase, the research question was what motivated you to consume online content:
As you can see from the image below, the results are striking:

consumer-barometer- reasons people watch online videoA case to note though, this research shows consumption of video content, but I can tell you with authority that the same applies to all online content, whether a text like this one, audio or other forms of content.

So with that said, let’s break down the result.
It shows that a lot more people consume content just to be entertained, inspired, stay on top of trends, relax and a lot more.

The numbers that matter to me in this statistics are relatively low in comparison and that’s people who consume content because they want some transformation.

This is where a lot of consultant, service-based professionals and coaching content fall into. Providing transformation to their clients.

You’re not about to share how a celebrity broke up with their EX like a Linda Ikeji. You mean business and your business is about transformation. However, from data, we see that only about 24% consume content because they seek to make progress with their task. That means they seek some level of transformation.

And then again, only about 25% consume content to find information on products and services.

For those wondering why business content doesn’t have the same virality as entertaining content, here’s your answer right here.

The takeaway here is, so many have built a habit of content consumption just to feed their curiosity, you want to reach that 24- 25% that are truly in it because they desire to solve a problem, fix a pain and need a transformation.

Now that we’ve already established that not everyone who consumes your content is really in it for a transformation, the question then is, how do you make sure that you maximize that 24-25%?

You do it with something I call the content funnel.


Content funnel as marketing strategy (2)

After all, this post is about how consultants, coaches and service-based professionals can acquire clients on autopilot using effective content funnel as a marketing strategy.

Using content funnels empower your content marketing strategy so that your content won’t just be an educational tool that massages the intellect of your audience and potential customers. Content funnel does more. It makes it a performance tool that aligns with your customer journey so you can turn strangers to customers, conversations to conversions and your audience to loyal paying advocates.

What’s a content funnel and what makes it performance driven when it comes to acquiring clients and sales on autopilot?

A content funnel is a series of content connected to one another to create a whole transformation experience for your audience and aligns with your unique customer journey.

I’ve talked a lot about the modern customer journey. But in a nutshell, it means, that your audience, leads and prospects are in different buying mindset when they first get to find you.

Some are in the beginning phase where they have no idea about who you are. All they know is their pain. They may not even be aware that there’s a solution out there that could help with their pain.

And others are in the solution phase – They know the solution is out there, but they don’t know enough about your solution and if it will solve it primarily.

And again there are those who know they have a problem. They also understand that there is a solution and even know you well enough to solve the pain. However, they are yet to be sold on how you solve it “uniquely.”

So you see there must be different kinds of contents for these different journey phases as it were.

For example, you don’t expect me who knows nothing about cars and is in the market for a great car to buy to be seeking technical information on the different specs and such.

I’m good with checking for Honda vs Toyota or which cars are better for Nigerian roads.
Do you get it?

It's important to understand your market sophistication but also equally important to understand your customer journey content hunger. Click To Tweet

So you can move your audience across the ladder of ignorance to informed, and from strangers to leads. Then, from leads to committed prospects and from committed prospects to paying customers and even over that to loyal advocates and repeat customers.


Content funnel as marketing strategy (1)

This is the goal of a service-based modern business.

So, let’s jump right into the elements that make up a content funnel so we can wrap this up.

This is the sequence of an effective content funnel and using this for all or most of your content will help you gain attention, turn attention to interest, interest to demand and demand to sales.

Free content >>> Opt-in content or lead magnet >>> Nurture sequence >>> Conversion & Decision
All the while ensuring that you’re qualifying each lead and linking them to the right content that matches their customer journey.

Let’s take a look at the elements of the content sequence.

If you’re reading this article you’re reading my free content. Free content is what your audience could find all over the internet on blogs, podcasts, social videos, live stream videos etc.

They have access to this kind of content with no strings attached. This content helps shape the understanding of your target market towards their pain, need and want.

At this point, it’s imperative to move them forward on the journey map.

Offering a different content this time pre-qualifies content feeders from action takers. That means it sifts the wheat from the chaff.
The content you put together at this phase should require some pay to play. This is where the lead magnet comes into play.

This is content packaged as a free PDF, video, or Guide, webinars or as I often called them, online workshops. The difference between this kind of content and the next is that it’s only accessible behind a landing page that requires some form of commitment.This could be either an opt-in or registration with their name and email and other details you may need.

In today’s world of Messenger, re-targeting and email automation, you basically have three options. The currency for exchange doesn’t necessarily have to be an email address. So many people give out fake email address by the way.

You could also ask for a messenger connection or still offer it for free so you can follow up via re-targeting. Most videos help with this if it’s consumed on the web page and not downloadable. You’re able to remove your bounce traffic and only re-target those who’s spent the right amount of time on your web page engaging with said content.

There are tools by the way that can help you retarget only a subset of your audience who’s spent a specific amount of time on your site. That’s what one of the many tools of connectio does well enough.

And the next element is your nurturing phase.
I say this with a lot of caution. I see so many onboarding and nurturing emails bombarding people’s emails all in the name of nurturing.

If a user or visitor signs up for more of your content or your tool but finds that you’re not the right fix, a million nurture emails will not fix it.

You can nurture till the cows come home. It would only be white noise to that fellow and would do nothing to move them to the next phase on the conversion path but rather flood their email or messenger with junk.

As you may have guessed, your nurture sequence can happen using an email automation tool or Facebook messenger.

At this point, the lead should have enough information to make an informed decision either to go with or not to go with your product or service. Making sure that you’ve tackled their objections and concerns through out the nurture sequence.

This is not to say that some would not jump over hoops and want to work with you directly and immediately, even without going through the entire process. But that is just a measly percentage.

The reason you do this is so you can maximize the interest and attention of your larger audience in order to convert more to customers.

Finally, speaking about tools. the tools that will help you with email automation include Active Campaign, Autopilot, Infusionsoft and even Salesforce. Chose one that meets your need, the size of your team and your budget.

Before I call it a day with this post, I must iterate that your content funnel should be structured to what works now in your business while you experiment with different methods of marketing and using content as a marketing tool.

For your content funnel to effectively help you acquire more clients and sales, you must ensure that your first top of the funnel content is distributed, promoted massively. Then have the whole sequence tested. This will enable you measure engagement and traffic as against the percentage of those moving on to the next steps.

Mind you, every step of the content funnel sequence can be measured and tested for drop off rate and if it can be measured, it can be optimized.

My last word:

If you’re finding it difficult to turn people who consume your content to customers, take a look at your content structure. Are you using the right content funnel to reach more people and convert them to paying customers all the while respecting the differences in their customer journey?

Ifeoma Illoh is a data driven digital marketer focused on revenue growth and customer retention. As a senior digital marketing and PR consultant she works with businesses to activate and grow consistent revenue using digital channels and online media platforms so they can attract leads, maximize sales and grow exponentially. This is ultimately so that business owners can make impact, have influence and build the legacy they desire. She's the Founder of WiredInn Digital agency which she built from ground zero . She's actively the Chief Content Officer here at OMI.

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