If your Instagram content consists only of ‘pushy’ posts that intend to sell, then this strategy won’t bring you as many sales as you expect it to. The proper content funnel is a must-have in marketing, and Instagram marketing is not an exception.

Content funnel is intended to incite interest among your old followers, attract new ones and convert them into customers and buyers.

In this piece, we’ll talk about creating a content marketing funnel on Instagram from scratch.

What Is Content Marketing Funnel?

Content marketing funnel is a series of posts that walks a potential customer of getting to know your brand at the beginning and deciding to buy from you as a result.

You’ve already seen examples of content marketing funnels, even if you didn’t notice it was them. Various blogs, messengers, Instagram accounts of brands and sites that sell stuff - all these are examples of the content marketing funnel.

Since you can leverage a content marketing funnel on different marketing channels, Instagram is no exception.

Content funnels may consist of different amounts of posts. It depends on how well your audience knows your brand, how targeted this audience is, what industry and business you’re working in.

But even if the number of posts can vary, the order of the posts should be the same regardless of your business. Any content funnel has a common structure that you adjust to the product or service you’re selling.

But you can add other posts in your content funnel; it's not necessary that all the posts of the funnel go one after another with no other content .

To make the funnel work as it should, you need to communicate with your audience in your account, reply to their comments and make them leave comments under your posts. That said, your audience needs to be engaged with your content; this is a loyal and engaged community.

When using a content funnel, the main purpose is not to push the product or service but to give your audience the value the product would provide them with. You need to understand the pain points of your audience and call to these pain points in your posts.

Before we start making on the content marketing funnel, here are some mistakes other marketers and entrepreneurs make:

  • They don’t understand their audience well enough. They don’t know their pain points nor their motivations. Thus they don’t have a clue if their product is what they actually need and if it could help them at all.

Tip: To find your target audience on Instagram, use Combin Growth. This tool has advanced search capabilities that allow you easily find and attract your target audience, the audience of your competitors and similar accounts, and relevant influencers.

  • They don’t know their competitors and don’t know how they are different from them.
  • They post the same content all the time. Of course, your content needs to be about your product or about something you can use to connect your product to. You don’t need to tell about anything you don’t have in your assortment or something you don’t sell. Still, you should try to make your content look different even if it touches the same thing.
  • They can’t sell. The whole Instagram content doesn’t have to be pushy but still, why have you made an Instagram account of your brand in the first place? Don’t aggressively sell your products or services in each of your posts but don’t forget to sell whatsoever. In fact, this is why you’ve come to Instagram with your business.
  • They make content only for new followers, forgetting about the old audience. This is a common mistake. In marketing, retention of an old customer is a lot more expensive and complicated task than attracting a new one, so don’t ever forget to engage with your old audience.
  • They’re not flexible. They consider the content funnel as a strict content plan, so they don’t adjust it to various real-time events, audience’s needs and general landscape changes.

Content Marketing Funnel: When to Leverage

You don’t have to use the content funnel all the time, in 100% of your Instagram posts. Typically, it makes sense to leverage it when you expect a new audience to come to your profile: a paid social campaign, influencer marketing campaign, giveaway, or challenge are such reasons.

Depending on the event, the first post should have different content.

So logically, when you’re expecting a new audience, you should make them get to know you. Here’s where an introduction post is on point.

If you’re launching a new product, the first post should be about this product and why it’s useful, why it’s better than the one’s made by competitors.

Pandora publishes a motivational video to inspire followers to take part in the Pandora Memory Challenge.

You can use the content funnel on Instagram both for your old and a new audience. The core of its functioning is the same; what different is the content of each particular post.

Whether it’s a product or a service launch, an update, new release, assortment or business scaling, new shop opening, or just a reminder of your products - you start the funnel with the post that will draw the attention of your audience to the event.

Instagram Content Funnel Structure

Any content marketing funnel on Instagram is a flexible recipe into which you can add your own ingredients or remove them from the recipe depending on your goal.

The idea behind the content marketing funnel is that every post engages and calls to certain reactions.

Also important is that with one content marketing funnel you try to sell only one product or service at a time.

I bet all of you have several products or services that you want to sell. In this case, make a different funnel for each of the product.

All posts in the funnel are united and don’t exist independently of each other. Each of the posts has a certain purpose and walks a user from one step to the next one convincing them to buy from you at the end. But under certain circumstances, any post can make people purchase.

It goes without saying but even if the content funnel is often associated with captions and copies, Instagram remains a visually-focused platform, so images you pick for the funnel should be of good quality and on point. If the image or video is not appealing, people won’t read your caption.

What Posts Does the Content Funnel Consists of?

The most common content funnel on Instagram works on the principle of AIDA: attention, interest, desire and action.

Since we talk about Instagram, we’d add here also a fifth component, - engagement.

Attention post: you introduce your product or service to a new audience or remind the old followers about the product. How? By using an appealing image, headline and the first sentence/paragraph of the caption.

Tip: to attract maximum attention, use custom fonts on Instagram headlines and highlight all the necessary details with them. You can use different interesting fonts for your captions with Combin Scheduler.

Some ideas for the Attention post:

  1. Introduction post. Tell your readers about your company or brand.

2. Facts about your company/product. You can also add here a little bit of gamification by asking your followers which of the facts are true and false.

3. Your reaction/opinion to recent news.

4. Real-time events.

Instagram features creators in the post dedicated to Mental Health Awareness Month.

5. Viral content: videos, challenges, trends and alike.

KitKat takes part in the popular #Dollypartonchallenge on Instagram

6. Post that solves a certain issue of your target audience.

7. Debunked myths about your industry, product or service.

Interest post: this post is designed to attract maximum attention from your audience. Here you can tell why your brand or company is different from your competitors and why you’re better than them. But still focusing on your clients, even when you tell about yourself. Add some new facts and features that your audience have never heard of from you.

Interest post ideas:

  1. Success stories. People like to read about others’ success and to get inspired.
Instagram shares success stories of female entrepreneurs.

2. Storytelling about your project or brand.

3. Backstage and behind the scenes of your brand.

4. Industry news with your analysis and opinion.

5. Facts and statistics, infographics.

6. Industry forecasts.

7. Lists: Top X, Best Of, etc.

8. Memes and jokes. It is important that entertainment content is relevant to your profile.

9. Unexpected usage of your product or service.

Engagement post: At this stage, you post loads of useful content and involve your audience in communication by using interesting, useful, and viral content.

In your posts, always focus on your clients and their benefits, even if you talk about yourself.

Engagement post ideas:

  1. Life hacks, guides, video tutorials.

2. Secrets, ideas, useful tips.

3. How-Tos.

4. Polls and quizzes.

5. Contests, games, challenges and flash mobs.

6. Interview/Q&A with an (external) expert.

7. An honest post about admitting your failures.

Desire post: At this stage, you make the client prefer you among others. You make them want to buy from you. You confirm the already established opinion about your brand with real facts.

The idea here is to show that your product or service solves the existing problems of the client. How to do so with content?

  1. Social proof. Testimonials, UGC, product reviews, before and after posts.

2. Certificates and awards you achieved, industry events participation.

3. Live webinars and Q&A sessions.

4. Debunking customers’ objections and doubts.

5. Real working process.

6. Useful information on the purchasing process: how to buy, how to pay, shipment methods.

Action post: In such posts, you tell about the important features of the product as benefits adding a distinct call to action at the end of the caption.

Clear CTA in the caption is used in the action post. 

Before writing a post, you should answer these questions: What customer issues does your product solve? How will this product change a customer's life? What makes your product special for the target audience? What are their fears and objections to the purchase?

Implementing a Content Funnel in Your Instagram Content Plan

After you used a content funnel, the question is - what to publish next? You need to continue to build engagement, trust, interest, desire and attention for your brand with content.

For example, you publish expert content, appealing visuals, experiment with content formats, sharing interesting stories and behind the scenes with your followers.

After completing one funnel, you can also launch a new one for another product or service. After that - the next funnel. Do not be afraid to scare your followers with active sales. You sell directly only in the last post - Action. The main thing is to stay connected with your audience.

Content Marketing Funnel Doesn’t Work: What to Do?

If there is no response to the content you’re sharing, it means the audience that follows you is more likely not relevant to your business; this is not your target audience.

Tip: use Combin Growth to detect an irrelevant audience, such as bots, Instagram stores, celebrities and alike with machine learning algorithms. Once Combin has found these users who won’t interact with your content, you can manually remove them from your followers thus increasing your Instagram trust score and discoverability of your actual audience.

Or you have an audience that is not used to communicating. This happens quite often, too - not all users love to comment under brands' posts. To start communicating with these followers, conduct polls in stories, make live broadcasts, share engaging video content, viral posts and entertain them.

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