The Juice is excited to be kicking off our guest feature series with, "The Complete Flywheel Marketing Guide for Beginners" from ContentBacon. We will continue to share some of our favorite pieces of content from modern day brands. Stay tuned! 🧃
Is your content working enough for you? This flywheel marketing guide will teach you how to harness momentum and overcome content inertia.
- The flywheel is a self-sustaining marketing model that generates a steady stream of leads and prospects for your brand.
- Buyers can fall out of the journey when they hit friction while consuming your content.
- Eliminating that friction allows your flywheel to spin freely.
- Put the friction-free framework into action by defining your flywheel, creating delight-filled experiences, and making your buyer’s journey a no-fly zone for friction.
- Content should focus on each step of the flywheel, since the wrong content at the wrong time is a friction point.
Consumers deal with a lot of friction in their buying journeys. They have to overcome lots of other content before finding you and your messages, so your goal should make that process as simple as possible for them. It should be smooth and natural for people to find and consume your content. Any bump in the road could send a frustrated buyer backward on their journey.
If you’re struggling to get results out of your content marketing strategy, you could be operating on the wrong framework. The traditional sales funnel limits itself by failing to consider the buyer’s experience, instead only focusing on the outcome. It doesn’t matter how great the content is if there are too many obstacles in the way of getting to it.
HubSpot adapted the flywheel model after realizing that the typical sales funnel wasn’t focused on customer experiences, for example. The inbound marketing flywheel model advances prospects to promoters using friction-free content that delivers value without any fuss.
And customer experience matters. Brands that are truly customer-centric are 60% more profitable compared to those that aren’t. Customers will pay more for the same services or products for a better customer experience.
To deliver truly great experiences, you have to focus on what the buyer wants to take away from your content and eliminate the obstacles in the way. The flywheel model is the only one that considers both factors.
What is the flywheel?
Let’s break down what the flywheel really looks like.
The flywheel is a cyclical model that self-sustains its momentum to generate a steady stream of unqualified leads or strangers, as well as qualified leads or prospects.
All leads start out as strangers. You either attract them or they come in on word-of-mouth from brand promoters who are shouting about your brand. Strangers then self-qualify when they rank up to prospects, but you must engage them to make that happen. Keep engaging them, and prospects convert to customers.
But your work’s not done yet. Delight your customers consistently, and they’ll become long-term champions for your brand.
So, how does the flywheel build momentum? It builds kinetic energy to self-fuel its forward motion based on three key factors:
- How fast you spin it: The faster a flywheel moves, the harder it is to stop its momentum.
- How much friction there is: Friction is momentum’s biggest enemy. Any friction can inhibit forward motion.
- How big it is: A bigger flywheel takes longer to get going at full speed, but its momentum is heavy and hard to stop.
If you get your flywheel moving and remove any friction, you’ll see the benefits of better customer experiences.
What is content inertia?
Now, let’s talk about what we mean by content inertia. Every piece of content you produce has an overarching shared goal to move the buyer forward on the flywheel. Inertia is the enemy of this desired forward motion. When your buyer encounters friction while viewing your resources, the flywheel stalls. That’s content inertia.
The flywheel model can’t operate to its fullest potential with inertiaㅡthey’re mutually exclusive.
In the real world, this invention rotates in a constant circle fueled by nothing but the kinetic energy it contains. As long as it keeps moving, the flywheel maintains momentum. It’ll keep going as long as you let it!
That is, unless it encounters friction. Then it plateaus, slows, and stops.
That’s why the framework focuses on eliminating friction, the biggest source of content inertia. "Buyers leave the flywheel for a reason: they didn’t get the value you promised." If your content’s not performing, it could be that friction is behind the inertia.
How to convert your sales funnel into a flywheel
Switching up your established framework may sound like a lot of work, but you can transform your sales funnel into a flywheel in a few simple steps. Then, bettering the customer experience will make it all worthwhile when the long-term relationships and self-qualified leads start pouring in.
Here are the three steps to make the change:
- Define your flywheel
Chances are, you have some established processes that can translate to the flywheel without much extra work. Your first step is to comb your former sales funnel and inbound marketing strategy for these elements:
- The core KPIs you already track and whether you can apply them to the flywheel stages
- The forces (strategies, platforms, and content types) you already use to enthrall buyers, which you’ll apply to attracting, engaging, and delighting
- The points of friction where buyers bounce or leave the process, whether it’s from content, handoffs between stages, or an internal point of friction
When you’re examining your current processes, stop to ask yourself:
- Is this process for my own convenience or the customer’s needs?
- Does this discovery apply to the attract, engage, or delight flywheel stage?
- How can I update this process so it fits with each of the flywheel stages?
Keep what works and finesse it so it meets your needs. Don’t be afraid to ditch forces that don’t fit the flywheel (or move them to a stage where they do fit).
- Foster delight with the right touchpoints
Now’s your time to deliver kickass experiences by delighting the buyers who make your flywheel go ‘round.
Inbound marketing is customer-focused at its core, and what better way to keep your flywheel moving forward than providing above-and-beyond experiences?
Late-stage touchpoints can be tailored to what the customer expects to see, and the opportunities are everywhere.
For instance, (most) every business has a support ticket process for current customers. Could you add delight to yours by adding chat support? If you already have chat support but it’s staffed by live agents who work nine to five, what about chatbot integration for 24/7 availability?
This small change can make a huge difference to a customer.
- Zero in on friction points
Finally, examine your entire process from start to finish with a critical eye for friction. Here’s how to start:
- Build your inbound strategy around value-based content for the right buyer stage at the ideal time
- Dedicate an onboarding team to provide a smooth transition at the point of sale
- Distill customer communications down to one contact person (or one contact team)
- Give customers a choice of paths – e.g. email, book a meeting call live agents, of fill out a form – instead of just one way to opt into a purchase
It’s best to do this part last since there’s a lot that can change when you’re swapping around your current processes and inserting new touchpoints. Any change could introduce friction if it’s not 100% right, so sweep for sources of friction again at the end.
How to create stellar content for every buyer’s journey
We’ll let you in on a secret: You can get ahead of content inertia by crafting your content around the three phases of the flywheel.
One of the biggest drivers of friction is failing to provide the right content at the right time, so the value’s just not there for the buyer when it should be. "Keeping a finger on the pulse of your buyers allows you to hone in on what they want. Then get it in front of their eyes exactly when they want to see it."
Let’s dive in deeper to the three stages your buyers go through:
- Awareness: Attract
In the first stage, strangers want to consume content that gives them as much upfront value as possible with no pressure to buy. The best way to reach these buyers is with free content that’s easy to consume (e.g., targeted and concise) and costs them nothing but a few minutes of their time.
A blogging strategy for your business delivers no-cost knowledge to these early-stage leads. An established blog with a consistent posting schedule reaches leads passively as the same industry-specific questions come up for months or years to come (and your reputation as a subject matter expert grows).
- Consideration: Engage
The second stage is all about buyers considering their options. Now’s the time to bring out the big guns, since prospects aren’t just looking at your solutions — they’re eyeing up the competition, too.
You want to position yourself as the best value compared to your competitors by delivering content that provides solutions to a specific problem (and those solutions include yours, of course).
Content for this stage includes:
- Blog posts
- Guides, either downloadable or meaty blog posts
- White papers illustrating the results of your solution
- Decision: Delight
Late-stage buyers are the most qualified. As customers, they have all the information about their problem and they know what their options are. Now, they’re weighing those options and deciding whether your solution is the one for them.
Or, as promoters, they’re already on board with your solution and they’re looking for even more reasons to tell the world about it.
You can reach late-stage buyers by building intriguing landing pages around resources that are:
- So valuable you could charge for them —but of course, they’re free (except for lead data)
- Based on solving common industry problems with tactics that include your solution (but aren’t just your solution)
This kind of content can include:
- eBooks that promise (and deliver) exclusive insights or trends in your industry
- Guides that provide an expert’s perspective on a common pain point in your industry
- Toolkits, including interactive resources like checklists, templates, flowcharts, and worksheets
- Use cases and case studies that illustrate new and innovative applications for your solution
The point is, whatever the stage, you must attract, engage, and delight every buyer who enters your flywheel. And you do it by delivering valuable, tasty content at the right time.
How to get great content
Creating amazing content is easier said than done, but ContentBacon can help. We offer a customer-focused approach that uses premium content as the value that gets buyers to trust and connect with your brand.
Because we know another secret: Masterful storytelling fuels every inbound marketing strategy.
And that storytelling has to be your buyer’s story, not your own. They want you to practice reflective listening and show that you hear them. Research shows 66% of customers expect brands to understand their needs. They want to feel seen. Then, you can start building trust.
The ContentBacon team creates custom stories for every stage of the buyer’s journey daily. We help you capture every buyer’s attention when they’re actively ready for you to have it. Imagine a strategy where you don’t have to qualify leads because they qualify themselves.
This content fuels the flywheel’s forward motion with that energy, especially that of promoters who are delighted. This constant movement protects against the damaging effects of content inertia.
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