Marketing is an ever-changing field. Digital marketing strategies are influenced by consumer and technology trends, as well as world events. When the economy changes, consumer behavior also changes. And so, businesses that want to succeed need to adjust their marketing strategy. In this blog post, we discuss one strategy for navigating difficult economic waters: focusing on the top of the marketing funnel.
What is a Marketing Funnel?
A marketing funnel, also known as a sales funnel, represents the journey a consumer takes before buying a product or service. The journey begins when a prospect becomes aware of your product or service. It concludes when your prospect (or lead) purchases your product or service, thus becoming a client or customer.
There are various representations of the sales funnel, but a traditional model follows these phases from top to bottom:
- Awareness – the prospect becomes aware of your brand or product/service and your content helps them recognize the value you offer
- Interest – the prospect shows genuine interest in your product or service and you help them evaluate whether the solutions your business offers meet their needs
- Desire – the prospect shows a desire to purchase your product or service and you do everything you can to present an offer your prospect can’t resist
- Action – the prospect decides to purchase your product or service and becomes a customer
How to Manage Your Marketing Funnel
Marketing funnels are the foundation of successful marketing. To optimize sales, business managers constantly review and adjust their sales strategies based on their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). A good sales funnel can drastically improve the chances of converting leads into sales.
During COVID-19, businesses constantly pivoted to accommodate changing virtual and hybrid business practices. Since 2020, marketers have been using digital platforms more than ever. Now, as the market changes again, marketing professionals are once more shifting strategies.
Shifting Focus to Top of Funnel
Top-of-Funnel (ToFu) marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on acquiring new leads, establishing credibility with potential customers, and building awareness. When the market dictates that less leads will close, focusing on the top of the funnel is more important than ever.
Note that your outputs will be dictated by your inputs. Before you even create your first piece of content, ensure that you understand your ideal customer and how your product fits them. Well-crafted buyer personas can help you determine what sources you should draw from to attract your initial leads that will go into the top of your funnel. You can learn more about personas here.
The following best practices will ultimately save your business both time and money.
- Make your content relevant to your target audience.
- Invest in eye-catching design and graphics.
- Share your content on the social media platforms your target audience uses to reach a wider audience.
- Optimize your website for lead generation.
- Follow up with leads as soon as they’ve interacted with your content.
- Measure the success of your campaigns and make changes as needed.
Formats that Work Best at the Top of Funnel Marketing
Once you have defined your target audience, it’s time to draw them in through the top of your funnel. Note that most people at the top of the funnel are just starting to look for information that will help them resolve their need or problem. When they search for your content, they are trying to get an idea of what you’re about and decide if your products or services can help them.
There is no one best format for providing potential customers with the information they need. A diversified approach is often needed.
- Blog Posts and Articles can be used to answer a specific question or provide information. Blogging is one of the most popular formats used in top-of-funnel marketing.
- Guides (Webinars, Infographics, and Videos) make it easy for prospects to gather new information.
- Podcasts are a great way to introduce potential customers to your content.
- Webinars allow prospects to experience your products, services, and personality, so that they can determine if your offerings match their needs.
- Email Sequences allow you to provide highly-targeted information to potential customers. Done appropriately, email marketing will nurture the prospect and develop a relationship.
Why Top of the Funnel Marketing is Essential
The top of your marketing funnel spreads awareness about your product, educates your prospects, and cultivates buzz about your brand. Few prospective customers will purchase when they first become aware of your products or services. Most will go down the sales funnel before making a purchase.
Once potential customers enter the middle of the funnel, you can continue to educate them about your products and services in a more personalized way. As they begin to trust your knowledge and expertise, they will move to the bottom of the funnel and prepare to take action.
As prospects reach the bottom of the funnel, give them reasons to choose your brand over your competitors. Offer a trial or demo so visitors can experience your product or service first-hand. Share social proof, like customer reviews and testimonials. Continue with your email campaigns until they are ready to buy.
Every customer will experience your marketing funnel differently. If you consistently provide prospects with the information and experience they seek throughout their buyer’s journey, they will be able to make informed purchase decisions. In this way, your customers will connect with their ideal provider–and you will connect with your ideal customers.