PR Campaigns to help fill your funnel
The marketing funnel (also known as the sales funnel, or customer journey) takes prospects from an initial stage of awareness, all the way through to becoming a qualified lead, a customer, and hopefully, a loyal brand ambassador.
Along the different stages of the buyer’s journey (awareness, interest, desire, and action), PR plays a critical role. With engaging and relevant messaging, that meets their needs during each phase of the customer journey; a strategic PR campaign can draw more leads into the funnel, and ensure they willingly move through the cycle, to eventually become a loyal customer and advocate.
The funnel begins with awareness. It’s a fairly simple concept; if your target market doesn’t know that you exist and have a solution to one of their problems, they’re not going to enter your funnel and become your customer.
This is why it’s necessary to begin your PR campaign with tools that make you visible and broaden your reach. Simply put, you need to set your brand up on platforms that your target market uses, and provide influential content, in the form of insights, white papers and thought leadership on subjects that matter to them.
Promote your knowledge and expertise by gaining coverage on specific media outlets—blogs, websites, or traditional magazines read by your target audience – that firmly position your brand as the authority.
This media coverage can be supported with activity on social media accounts and pay-per-click ads. These tools are going to be your daily bread; the consistent things that need regular upkeep, maintenance, and engagement to direct people towards your high-quality, relevant content.
When your target market begins to develop an awareness of your brand, they have taken the first step into the funnel. At this point, your goal is to get them to continue on through. To do this, you need to keep them engaged by building trust and demonstrating value.
This step in the buyer’s journey will focus on your potential customer’s problem and the range of solutions available to them; helping them to navigate the choices towards your brand. Now is the time to nurture your leads, paint a picture of their challenges using story-telling. Reach their heart and emotions with empathy and understanding using their language speak to them not at them. Then with authentic engagement and connection, walk them through potential solutions as their trusted adviser.
Today’s customers aren’t just looking for a product or service, they’re looking for connection, authenticity, value, and meaning.
When you take the time to nurture your leads and to provide value to them without asking them to buy, you’re building trust, relationship, and gaining their interest.
By the time your leads have reached this phase of the customer journey, they know who your brand is and what it stands for (awareness), and they’re interested in it because you have connected with them, shown them you understand them, and gained their trust (interest).
You’ve also helped them to really pinpoint what their challenges are, and with that knowledge, they’re ready to find and purchase a solution. This is the time to showcase your products or services, and to offer them as the solution they need.
Fortunately, by bringing your leads through your funnel, you don’t need to do a lot of selling at this point. The prospect is already aware of your brand and has an interest in it already. Now that they desire a solution, they’ll know exactly where to turn.
Owned content can play a critical role at this stage.
Use your website and blog or social media to showcase your products and services and provide a smooth progression for leads, who might decide it’s time to visit your website and learn more about what you’re offering after being exposed to editorial placements or relevant external media coverage.
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At the bottom of your funnel, your lead is ready to convert and become your customer. This is the goal post, the finish line, the place where they take action.
Your lead finds themself on your website, looking at your products, feeling compelled to purchase, and yet there’s always that little nagging voice causing them to fear making the wrong choice.
At this stage, PR can provide the extra layer of comfort needed to make a decision. This can be created with content like reviews, referrals, and testimonials, that give your product or service a third party stamp of approval, and knock down that last barrier to your lead saying, “Yes!”
Done right, PR can not only help fill your funnel by drawing in more prospects, but also build the trust and emotional connection to your brand that makes your offerings the only possible solution in your lead’s mind.
Then, when the prospects come through the bottom of your funnel, they’re ready to stick around.
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READ this Tech PR case study: How 2i found its voice: The 18 benefits of a communication strategy
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