What Is Bottom of the Funnel Content?

bottom of funnel content

“One of the myths of SaaS is that the products are so good, so easy to use, so quick to deploy … that the product sells itself. But as many startups discover to their horror … this is far from the truth.” — Mark Cranney


Content marketing is most often used to drive top of funnel traffic. The content creates awareness, then calls to action, pop-ups and drip campaigns are supposed to take care of the rest.

But it’s never that simple—and it’s not because content marketing is ineffective.

Readers that come in via top of funnel content have a long way to go before they can realistically become paying customers. Awareness is just one small step—and content marketing can be used to support users in many other parts of the acquisition cycle.

Here’s how we think about this: SaaS companies have all kinds of constraints on growth. In some cases, creating awareness is the primary constraint. But imagine a marketplace with more buyers than sellers, or a freemium product with tons of free users but few conversions to paid, or an enterprise product with a 6-month sales cycle. These are all constraints that content can help alleviate when applied correctly. And this is where bottom of the funnel content comes into play.

What Is Bottom of the Funnel Content?

Bottom of the funnel content is optimized for buyers, not search engines, email, social or any other channel. It’s created for prospects who have passed the “awareness” phase and have moved onto interest, desire and action.

bottom of funnel content

Bottom of the funnel content may take the form of blog posts, but it may also be packaged and delivered on other mediums like video, audio, PDFs and email. It’s a blend of product marketing and good old-fashioned sales—it should be created in partnership with the product and sales teams to ensure its efficacy.

Bottom of the funnel has to be measured differently than top of funnel content. Measuring traffic alone, for example, will lead you to believe that bottom of the funnel content isn’t useful. Tying bottom of funnel content to conversions is useful if you can factor it into an attribution model. But perhaps the best way to measure it is to ask the sales team whether or not it’s useful. They’ll be able to tell you whether or not the content is helping them keep leads engaged during the sales cycle.

bottom of funnel dropoff rate

Modeling the impact of bottom of the funnel looks a lot like retention analysis—it’s basically measuring dropoff. If bottom of the funnel content helps prevent dropoff, it’s working. Creating a before/after model will be a useful way to measure just how effective your bottom of the funnel content is.

The Different Types of Bottom of Funnel Content

As we discussed earlier, bottom of the funnel content takes several forms. It can take the shape of a blog post, but other mediums can make it easier to distribute. Here are a few ways to package and deliver it.

Case Studies

This is the classic bottom of funnel content example. Done well, case studies provide critical social proof to prospects who are very close to converting.

Make case studies available on your site, but don’t force them on leads. A good case study can be summed up quickly (“Another customer increased productivity by 10% after switching to us”) so that salespeople can cite them on calls and in emails.

Examples:

How to Distribute:

  • Make the content easily accessible on your site. The right users will navigate to it.
  • Make sure sales team is aware of key metrics that they can cite on calls and emails.

Whitepapers/Ebooks/reports

Not all PDFs are used for lead generation. In fact, guides, whitepapers, ebooks, reports, etc. make for great bottom of the funnel content. Longform content paired with great design increases credibility. This style of content also lends itself to direct product mentions. You can freely talk about how to implement your own product.

Examples:

How to Distribute:

  • Promote via paid ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
  • Reference in other content.
  • Optimize landing pages for search.
  • Encourage sales team to send PDFs directly to interested prospects.

Product Updates

Product updates provide handy fodder for email newsletters and provide a contextual reason for salespeople to reach out to disengaged leads. The actual content of these articles should focus on the feedback that salespeople get during the sales cycle. If, for example, several leads have lapsed because the product lacked an API or a certain integration, the product update should highlight that in the title and discuss the specific benefits the new feature offers.

Examples:

How to Distribute:

  • Email newsletter.
  • Contextual outreach from sales team.
  • Social media, especially when updates include integrations with other companies.

Branded Search Queries

As marketing consultant Mike Sonders pointed out to me recently, branded search terms are an indicator that a prospect could be in the final stages of the buying process. “Bottom of funnel content is huge for search,” he writes. “Hence so many search terms for [brand]+pricing, [brand]+testimonials, [brand]+reviews, etc.”

Creating content specifically for branded terms is a way to ensure that prospects find the information they need. In the examples below, Clearbit created content for people comparing their product to another (targets the query “Data.com vs. Clearbit”) and Reforge collected reviews of its course on a single page (targets the query “Reforge reviews”). Branded search terms—for their own brand and others—is a key part of Zapier’s growth strategy. They create pages for people looking to connect two apps together (Google Sheets and QuickBooks, Google Sheets and Airtable, Google Sheets and Slack, etc.)

Examples:

How to Distribute:

  • Optimize for search.
  • Include in drip campaigns sent to prospects.

Target/Inspire Use Cases

You can use bottom of funnel content to target search queries that your product solves for, or you can create a library of use cases to inspire people who are intrigued by the product but not sure how they would implement it.

This style of content can drive “bottom of funnel awareness”—i.e. target people who need a solution now. This works really well for short sales cycles. It’s a key element of Airtable’s strategy. Because the product is so flexible, they write content about common use cases. When a content marketer searches “how to build a content pipeline,” they find an article about using Airtable to build a content pipeline.

It can support the sales cycle. Imagine, for example, that a product manager wants to adopt Asana. Content that shows all the ways Asana can be used helps that PM make the case to their colleagues in marketing, sales, etc. that using Asana will benefit them as well.

Examples:

How to Distribute:

  • Optimize for search.
  • Include in drip campaigns sent to prospects.
  • Encourage sales team to send to prospects who need help getting buy-in from their teams.

Webinars

Webinars are a tried-and-true lead generation tactic, but they can be repurposed to support the bottom of the funnel as well. We’re fans of making past webinars freely available so that prospects can explore them while research your business and product. If you’re going to bother creating them in the first place, you might as well make them accessible to people who’d be interested.

Examples:

How to Distribute:

  • Make webinars accessible on your site.
  • Include in drip campaigns sent to prospects.

Think Beyond Traffic

Content marketing isn’t all about traffic. Before you start writing, consider what growth constraint content can alleviate. You’ll save time and money—and you’ll support sales, which is the business objective content marketing was originally designed to boost.

Jimmy is the marketing director at Animalz, an agency that provides high-end content marketing solutions to SaaS and tech companies.