If you are running, or are in the process of starting your own business, one of the most important steps is to build a marketing plan that will guide you from start to finish. You need this roadmap before you make any final decisions about your company and its future.
One of the important steps in achieving that is by developing a top-of-funnel marketing strategy (TOFU).
TOFU refers to what marketers call the first stage of the buyer journey, which involves identifying target audience needs and goals and engaging them through various channels to get them interested in your products.
Now that we know what it is let’s go over some strategies for using it effectively.
Top Of Funnel Assets
The first and most crucial step is to create top-of-funnel assets that will be used to engage your audience.
Most of your top-of-funnel assets will be content. For the most part, it will be either high-value content (longer articles that provide lots of useful information) or low-value content (short fillers that help you to build relationships with your target audience).
Creating content is crucial because it is the key driver of all other marketing activities.
You’ll also want to use paid advertising extensively as part of your TOFU strategy.
The goal is to spend money on channels with a high number of people in your target demographic and not waste any money on other channels.
Top Of Funnel Content
Now that we’ve made it clear why you need to create content let’s talk about how and what “content” really means.
Your main goal is to create something your readers will want to share with their friends on social media. If they don’t share it, then chances are you won’t be able to reach the audience you’re looking for.
It’s also important not to make TOFU content too promotional or sales-focused. The purpose of this stage is to hook users into paying attention to your brand by creating useful content – ideally, content that addresses one of their pain points in life or business.
When creating top of funnel assets, focus on:
Providing Value: Give them valuable information that could be helpful to them. This is usually in the form of a long-form blog post, video, or podcast.
Lead Generation: Collect names and email addresses in exchange for valuable resources. A smart lead generation technique is to create a landing page and offer a lead magnet to tempt them to subscribe to your email list.
Nurturing Relationships: Show your readers that you care about them and their issues. You can achieve this through an email sequence that delivers value, helps your subscribers solve pain points, and encourages them to purchase your products.
Social Sharing: Make website visitors want to share your content with their friends to help increase readership. This can be done by offering social share buttons or simply making interesting content. Your social media marketing strategy should play a role in your top-of-funnel content.
Once you’ve created your assets, it’s time for distribution.
Top Of Funnel Distribution
This is where most marketers make mistakes because they don’t distribute their content correctly. So here are some effective ways to share your top-of-funnel content:
Make sure it gets distributed through as many online channels as possible (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Instagram, etc.)
Don’t stop there.
Expand your reach by distributing the content through relevant websites and blogs where you can get more exposure. Engage with any feedback that you receive from these channels to improve your marketing strategy for the future.
Top Of Funnel Paid Advertising Strategies
The most important part of any top-of-funnel strategy is paid advertising (i.e., PPC).
This involves using Google’s Adwords platform to purchase ads on relevant websites or social media profiles where you think people in your target demographic will be receptive to seeing them. It also includes “organic” listings from search engines (i.e., sponsored links) and certain websites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
For example, if you’re selling a dog-walking app, you’ll want to advertise on relevant sites that have a large number of people in your target demographic looking for pet care services. Then, once they click on one of your ads, lead them to one of the top-of-funnel assets that we’ve discussed above, such as a landing page where they can subscribe to your email list.
While this method may not be totally free because it has an element of paid advertising (i.e., buying ads from Google with your money instead of getting traffic through SEO), you can still pursue some “organic” strategies by creating social media profiles that share useful information and engage your potential customers regularly without directly trying to sell anything.
This is a great way to build up an audience and capture their attention.
Using the TOFU process, you can generate leads that will eventually result in further sales down the line.
Developing A Top Of Funnel Strategy
This is a comprehensive marketing strategy that encompasses all aspects of your company’s sales and branding. Remember that it isn’t just a one-time deal; the process will change as you collect more data, but TOFU can help get you off to a strong start. Here are some basic principles for developing an effective TOFU:
Know Your Audience: The first step is to know exactly who you are trying to target. This is not an easy task, and it’s one you should never take lightly. You need to do in-depth market research on the type of person interested in what you have to offer. For your own peace of mind, focus on who would be interested in buying your product or service. There are a few ways to go about this:
Know Your USP: It’s also important at this point to make sure you’re clear about why anyone would want to buy from you instead of a competitor, especially if customers can get their needs met by other companies as well. If someone else could fulfill those needs better than you, they probably will choose them over you – so think about how you can separate yourself from competing brands.
End-To-End Process: Now that you know who you’re targeting and why they would want to buy from you, it’s time to create the process by which you’ll engage them. This may include a few different activities performed in succession:
Have A Clear Call To Action: Engaging your target audience is also about building customer loyalty, so make sure that your content reflects this goal. It should always be clear what the reader’s next step should be after reading an article. Try adding something like “Want more information? Click here” at the end of each post. This will draw people back to your site – especially if it’s valuable enough for them to give away their personal info (which brings me to my next point).
Become A Problem Solver: If you can eliminate a pain point for your audience, that’s one surefire way to get them interested in what you’re offering. For example, if they are having trouble finding information on the subject you cover or struggling with an issue, then maybe they’ll come back to your site when they need to find a solution.
Focus On Lead Generation: A top-of-funnel marketing strategy is an excellent tool for generating leads – after all, that’s largely the point. To do this successfully and effectively, there are several key pieces of data you must have before creating any content.
Keep Your Message Simple: When trying to engage your target audience, don’t try too hard or overwhelm them with a bunch of unnecessary information. It’s better to start with something simple and go from there instead of presenting everything all at once. Make it easy for people to get in touch with you by creating multiple ways for them to do so (phone number, website address, etc.).
Track Your Results: As you start implementing a TOFU strategy, make sure to track the results and tweak things as needed. Since this is a marketing strategy that’s continually evolving, tracking your results from TOFU activities will help you determine which pieces of content are resonating with your audience (especially helpful if you run Facebook ads or other forms of paid advertising).
Choose Your Medium: Like any good digital marketing campaign, it’s important to choose the right tool for the job – so while social networks are great platforms for engaging an audience, they aren’t necessarily the best choice for lead generation. Some of the most popular options include email, websites, blogs, videos, and webinars.
Be Consistent: This might seem basic when talking about marketing in general, but you absolutely need to be consistent if you want an effective top-of-funnel marketing strategy. An inconsistent approach leads to a general lack of interest from your target audience, and that’s the last thing you want.
Test, Test, And Test Some More: Testing is not an easy task, and it takes time, effort, and a certain amount of trial and error – so make sure to get comfortable with failing fast by testing out new ideas frequently before deciding on something permanent. Remember that there are no perfect answers for SEO content, so try out different approaches until you hit on something that works for your business.
Developing a top-of-funnel marketing strategy is an excellent way for small businesses to create brand awareness and find their target audience.
But it’s also one that must be handled carefully. Creating a content marketing strategy is key to a successful sales pipeline.