Content marketing: how to create an effective answer funnel

Posted by David Pagotto on 1 Feb, 2021
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Using content marketing and AI, an answer funnel can help you improve user experience and boost conversions on your website.

Answer funnel

In an age where information is key, you need to provide the correct data set at every stage of your buyer’s journey. An answer funnel helps you convert interested customers by using your site’s content in one neat system that combines content marketing and artificial intelligence.

The answer funnel helps your users get the answers they want on your website, enabling them to move forward and hopefully end at the checkout page. This guide will look at why all marketers need an answer funnel and six ways you can implement and leverage one to improve user experience.

Let’s get started!

What is an answer funnel?

An answer funnel is a term used to describe a customer's journey to get an answer to their question when they visit your website. It aims to address any query by a potential customer that can help them move onto the next web page and closer to a conversion.

There are three main steps for users to complete an answer funnel:

  1. the consumer visits the site with a query,
  2. the page provides the answer, and
  3. the customer moves on to the next page.

The idea here is to have your site deliver context to the user's interactions and provide answers to any questions they may have. It is a unique kind of marketing funnel as it relies on the website to provide automatic answers using the content on your platform. You’ll need an answer engine solution (AES), which is driven by artificial intelligence and streamlines on-site search to answer your visitors’ queries.

Why should you implement an answer funnel?

Your website is a trove of information about your products and brand. However, with a study estimating that the average dwell time (time spent on your website by each user) is only about 45 seconds, you have to give them a shortcut to get to the relevant page quickly.

An answer funnel is your best bet in providing the path from the landing page to the relevant web page and encouraging a conversion. It is a digital marketer's friend when it comes to ensuring that visitors find the information they are looking for and move along to the next step in their buyer journey.

Answer funnels also help you focus your content on answering queries rather than writing long, descriptive paragraphs. Doing this can allow your content to appear in direct searches on search engines like Google through a featured snippet. When you optimize your content to provide answers, you boost both user experience and conversion rate.

Six steps for creating an answer funnel that works

An answer funnel can help you optimize your content to provide the right prompts to users when they visit your site. No visitor will spend hours going through all your blog posts, product information, and other resources to find the information they need. An answer funnel offers direct answers, enabling the user to move on to the next web page representing a higher user intent.

It also helps you improve your user experience, which can give your SEO performance a boost since user experience can impact SEO.
In this section, we will look at how you can create an answer funnel that will improve user experience and encourage more purchases and return visits.

1. Perform a complete website content audit

Your website content is the foundation of your answer funnel and impacts the quality of the answers your visitors can find. Before you set up the AES, you should perform a full content audit. A few metrics to keep in mind specifically to create an effective answer funnel are:

  • Organic traffic. Is your content able to drive people to your site? Not hitting your goal for organic traffic could mean that your content is inadequate, and you may need to revisit your content strategy.
  • Time on page. This measures how long visitors are staying on a particular webpage. If they are spending a shorter time reading a particular type of content, maybe there is no audience for that, and it can be modified to something more relevant.
  • Bounce rate. This metric looks at when people leave the landing page without moving onto another page on the website. A high bounce rate may be due to a complex website path or irrelevant content that fails to support the user's journey.

These metrics can help you assess your website content and help you create better campaigns for your brand. An audit gives you insight into the efficiency of your content and is an excellent way to trim the content on your site to make it work better for your business.

2. Optimize your content for conversational search

When people read the content on your website, it should seem like they are talking to a person. It may seem like an easy enough concept, but it can be tough to create content that sounds like a continuous conversation. Avoid using buzzwords and focus on providing directed answers to their queries instead.

While your AES may answer with a yes or no or a quick link, it would still feel like talking to a machine. You should optimize your content to provide further conversational prompts that aim to take the conversation forward and move the user along to the next relevant page.

3. Set up your answer engine

An answer engine is a combination of site search and conversational chatbots. With Natural Language Processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence, you will create a smart answering engine that can provide specific answers.

Once the website content is ready, it is time to set up your answer engine to help your users navigate your site. You can easily integrate this with your existing marketing tech set-up and augment your overall strategy.

Just like your SEO strategy, you will need to update your answer engine regularly by improving your content creation to ensure customer success. Answer engines will be critical as we move into an answer economy.

4. Optimize your answer engine for conversion

It is not enough to give answers. Your answer engine should also provide the appropriate call to action (CTA). A study by Hubspot estimates that personalized CTAs convert 202% better than default ones. While the utility is critical, ensure that your answer engine also provides some options for the next possible steps. These could range from various web pages the user could visit next to guiding them to resources like a blog post or whitepaper on your site to learn more.

Conversion rate.

Source: Hubspot

Make sure that you end the interactions by providing a clear path for the user to further their website journey. Be specific and detailed about your offering.

This helps to convert visits into sales as it gives the users a clear answer to their query and a way forward, cutting down on any confusion and improving the user experience.

5. Study visitor intent and engagement

Answer engines enable you to capture actionable data and statistics that record how the answer engine interacts with your site visitors. This helps you to understand if the engine is answering the questions well and turning potential customers into qualified leads.

It also gives insight into your target audience’s questions - whether they are more information-based or navigational. You can judge the qualitative effect of your answer engine by studying the testimonials and ratings given by your visitors.

Use this analysis to fine-tune your answer engine by identifying any gaps in your content and user experience. You should aim to improve successful interactions, and the only way to do that is to track your efforts.

6. Add voice capabilities to your answer funnel

Ask any marketer, and they will tell you that voice search optimization is vital to any answer engine. According to an eMarketer study, about 36.6% of the U.S. population in 2021 will use voice search every month. With the rise of devices like Alexa and Google Home, your prospect is likely already using voice search in their everyday life and would expect the same convenience and features on your site.

Voice search.

Source: eMarketer

Voice searches help boost the user experience and make the search experience smoother on your site. We are also seeing a definite shift towards browsing and purchasing on mobile devices. The voice search on your site will be a natural progression of the search features on smartphones that are backed by voice assistants.

In closing

An answer funnel can be an incredibly useful tool in improving the user experience, aiding conversions, and using your content to personalize the user journey on your website. Adopt a conversational tone to your answer engine with a strong call to action to encourage prospects to move to the next page or step in the process.

Ensure that you employ tactics like voice search to tap into the growing market to guarantee convenience. Track your efforts by using data analytics, targeting the intent and nature of queries. These tips will help you create an effective answer engine that assists your visitors and grows your business.

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