Part 3 of our series on ways that marketing a CPA firm becomes more effective using an online sales funnel.
In the past few blog posts, we’ve tackled the idea of how an online sales funnel applies to CPA firm marketing, as well as for other professional service firms. In Part 1, we introduced the concept of the sales funnel, in Part 2 we discussed TOFU – the Top of the Funnel; and today in Part 3, we’re going to add another term to your growing marketing lexicon: MOFU, or Middle of the funnel marketing.
The concept behind using a sales funnel to build your digital marketing strategy is fairly simple: you start by using educational, non-advertorial offers for thought leadership to fill the top of the sales pipeline.
Then over time using lead nurturing strategies and tactics delivered though marketing automation, you deliver increasingly advertorial content to strengthen the relationship until the point in time when the prospect is not so much thinking about how to solve a problem as they thinking about whether or not you’re the right firm to solve that problem.
While it would be lovely to turn each lead that comes to your website onto an engagement, the chances of that happening are zero. Nada. Nilch.
Today, digital marketing is all about delivering the right message to the right prospect at the right time in their relationship with your firm.
Middle of the Funnel Marketing
Once of the best definitions for middle of the funnel marketing comes from HubSpot:
Prospects in the middle of the funnel know that they have a problem or a need that must be solved and have moved on to determining the best solution. Whereas top of the funnel content is aimed at educating buyers and showing them how they can solve their problems, middle of the funnel offers show why your products or services are the best choice.
In effect, the middle of the funnel is the point where you want to establish the relationship between your firm’s brand, experience and expertise to the problem or issue the prospect has. Remember: the prospect is the one who identified the issue by virtue of the offer they requested at the top of the funnel. So, at the middle of the funnel, we want to keep our content – whether gated or gated – consistent with that first request.
In other words, if the prospect raised their hand and requested a white paper on fraud, the middle of the funnel content related to that prospect should also be about fraud, not tax planning.
Makes sense, right?
The Tools of MOFU for CPA and Other Professional Service
Using the MOZ graphic we presented in Part 1, let’s take a closer look at MOFU. At this point our strategic thinking needs to be driven by the fact that the prospect may be viewing your firm as a possible solution for their "problem", and while they're interested in your product or service, they may not be necessarily interested in you.
Our job then becomes to get them interested in us by showcasing more of our thought leadership with content that is 50% advertorial and 50% non-advertorial.
Here are 9 content ideas for your MOFU strategy:
- Advanced eBooks
- Case studies
- FAQ sheets
- Sales collateral
Note that not all of this content deserves to be tucked behind a form. For example, asking someone to complete a form in order to get your testimonials is a sure path to making marketing that people hate.
On the other hand, seminars, webinars and advanced eBooks are perfectly suited to tuck behind a form, and a pretty good indication of how serious a prospect is about your firm is to keep track of how has converted on TOFU and MOFU offers that require a form.
Regardless of gated/ungated, you’ll nurture these prospects with emails that drive them to the content. For example, even though your case studies may be ungated, it’s a really good idea to have prospects read about your experience and the results you’ve attained for other facing the same problems or issues related to the TOFU’s offer for a thought leadership piece. The difference: case studies are a 50/50 mix of non-advertorial/advertorial content whereas the TOFU was a 90/10 mix.
OK, You Got Us: BOFU Leads are Still the Best Kind of Leads but ....
...not everyone you encounter is sales ready.
Adopting a TOFU/MOFU/BOFU digital marketing strategy is of the more difficult transitions for professional service firm marketers and firm shareholders. It not only requires a new way of thinking; it requires new tools, technologies and resources.
Next up: let’s talk a little BOFU!!