High-quality content is high-quality content, but some resources work better at various points in the buyer's journey than others.

The sales funnel has become something of a confusing maze for marketers, which is why optimizing content marketing techniques is so important for turning qualified leads into sales. It’s intuitive to think high-quality content will draw in readers no matter what, but it’s still important to understand how users interact with resources throughout the entire buyer’s journey.

Eccolo Media recently published a report about the performance of content types at differing stages of awareness. It’s valuable information for constructing pathways that turn web traffic into conversions:

 Blogs and newsletters: Most effective in the pre-sales phase when people aren’t aware of a problem, or are just beginning to explore the pain points a brand’s services can address.
 White papers: Use during the initial sales phase to give readers a deeper dive into the subject.
 Videos, webinars and detailed guides: Share with leads who are identifying solutions to their pain points and considering different vendors.

Eccolo’s findings can be used as a general framework for most companies, but some industries will see different usage patterns than others.

Distribute content at the right time in YOUR sales funnel

Here’s a good demonstration of how content formats can be used across the sales funnel: A Brafton client in the document management space had plenty of blog posts, news stories and white papers addressing the most common needs among its own customers. However, people weren’t converting further down the sales funnel in numbers our client would have preferred.

Our solution was to begin producing three video blog per week that gave detailed answers and tips on topics covered in written content. These resources were intended to grab the attention interested visitors and make an in-depth value proposition. We were rewarded with a sharp spike in video engagement metrics and a significantly decreased bounce rate. People were intrigued by the videos, and many went on to visit other pages, fill out contact forms and eventually convert.

Videos aren’t just useful for the end of the sales funnel – they can also provide a first point of entry in SERPs. However, in-depth videos that go beyond the basics are just the sort of attention-grabbing resources aimed at leads just coming to the end of the buyer’s journey.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.