Three Actionable Steps For Dark Funnel Devotees

Published on September 8, 2023 by David Zhang

Three Actionable Steps For Dark Funnel Devotees

The dark funnel, a colloquial term often used in marketing, refers to the unseen portion of the buyer's journey. It encompasses customer activities and touchpoints that are beyond the visibility of traditional analytics and tracking methods. Understanding and navigating the dark funnel is becoming increasingly crucial for marketers as buyers conduct more independent, self-directed research and rely on peer recommendations before making their presence known.

Navigating the murky waters of the dark funnel is paramount in modern B2B sales and marketing strategies. This article examines three actionable steps that devotees of dark funnel marketing can utilize to shine light on the anonymous buyer's journey, enabling a more strategic approach to influencing potential customers.

Step 1: Embrace Intent Data and Social Listening

Intent data consists of signals indicating a potential buyer’s research behavior related to your service or product categories, even if that behavior happens off your website or digital properties. This type of intelligence empowers you to proactively engage with prospects even before they enter your visible funnel. To do this effectively, it involves:

  • Investing in third-party intent data tools: Platforms like Bombora or G2 can track topics your potential buyers are researching across various channels.
  • Setting up robust social listening practices: Monitoring social media for mentions of your brand, product categories, or even your competitors can give valuable clues into buyer intentions.
  • Analyzing engagement with ungated content: Although ungated content doesn't capture lead information, assess how it’s shared and discussed across social platforms or among industry forums.

Social listening involves parsing vast amounts of unstructured data from various online sources to gain insights into people's opinions and discussions around your business and related topics. By integrating social listening into your CRM, you ensure that you collect every scrap of intent data generously provided by interactions in the digital ether.

Step 2: Leverage Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Techniques

The second step in mastering the dark funnel revolves around implementing a strong Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategy. ABM is a targeted approach to B2B marketing in which marketing and sales teams align to create personalized buying experiences for a mutually identified set of high-value accounts. Here's how to leverage ABM to illuminate the dark funnel:

  • Define your ideal customer profile (ICP) and target account list (TAL): By understanding who your ideal customers are, you can better target similar accounts that are likely in the dark funnel.
  • Align sales and marketing efforts: Ensure that both departments work in tandem to provide a seamless experience to your targeted accounts.
  • Personalize interactions and content: Utilize insights gained from intent data and social listening to tailor your outreach and content strategies to the unique needs of individual accounts.
  • Adopt a multichannel approach: Engage with your target accounts through various channels where they are active, relying less on your owned channels; this might include industry forums, LinkedIn groups, or even podcasts.

Step 3: Create a Content Ecosystem

A content ecosystem refers to a strategic, interconnected web of content, which can captivate and guide potential buyers through the dark funnel toward your controlled environments. This is not just about producing content. It's about ensuring the content produced serves a purpose and fits within a broader strategy to attract, engage, and persuade hidden prospects. Here’s how to build a powerful content ecosystem:

  • Develop leadership and peer-influenced content: Content penned by industry leaders or influenced by peer insights often gains more traction and garners trust in the unseen corridors of the dark funnel.
  • Build a narrative with a broad content mix: Video content, podcasts, whitepapers, and interactive tools can engage different types of learners and buyer personas. This diverse content can live on channels likely to be frequented by targets in the dark funnel.
  • Encourage and monitor content syndication: Allow and encourage influential third parties to share and comment on your content, increasing its reach into the dark funnel.
  • Optimize SEO practices: While SEO is thought of for attracting to owned properties, optimizing for discovery means your content can appear in the midst of your buyer’s self-led research.

Putting these pieces in place, a coherent and engaging narrative emanates from each content piece, resonating through the dark funnel to assist buyers unseen in their journey.

Bringing Light to the Dark Funnel with Aomni

In navigating the dark funnel, every action taken should be purposeful— none of this is speculative work. Each step depends on keen insight and data analysis, and often, technology is needed to aggregate and interpret the torrents of data generated in these shadowy channels.

For devotees of the dark funnel looking to illuminate their marketing strategy, Aomni provides access to critical data analysis and strategy tools necessary to execute these three steps effectively. With Aomni, tapping into intent data becomes intuitive, aligning ABM campaigns is streamlined, and measuring the impact of your content ecosystem is uncomplicated. In essence, Aomni presents a platform that can harness the potential of the dark funnel, demystifying it and yielding actionable competitive intelligence and personalized sales content, ensuring your efforts are less a shot in the dark and more a strategic move into the light.

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