B2B marketing is changing. Diving into the hard sell no longer cuts the mustard. Buyers want to feel empowered to make the journey themselves. 60% of prospects search for a brand before buying, so businesses need to create informative content that guides stakeholders along the path to purchase—and down the sales funnel.
Top-of-funnel (TOFU) marketing helps you grab the attention of buyers unfamiliar with your brand, product, or service. You can generate leads by appealing to a wide audience across your customer base, offering solutions and cementing your business as an industry expert.
TOFU content is a crucial tactic for lead generation. It’s content that sparks an interest in what you do, and gathers leads that your sales and marketing teams can nurture. 95% of marketers already create top-of-funnel content, but what does this look like in practice?
Also known as conversion funnels, sales and marketing funnels are visual representations of the different stages that potential buyers go through before they convert to customers.
Essentially, sales and marketing funnels represent how close a buyer is to making a purchase. In a B2B context, sales and marketing funnels give your teams the direction they need to generate leads and guide buyers through these stages.
Marketers can achieve this through various touchpoints, communication tools, and marketing software. A clear picture of what action needs to be taken at each stage helps you track results, build a customer base and make any necessary tweaks to improve your conversion rate.
Whereas sales and marketing funnels represent how to turn prospects into customers, the buyer’s journey represents the exact path that a prospect takes to reach the purchasing stage.
The stages of a typical buyer’s journey can include awareness, interest, consideration, intent, and purchase.
Although a buyer’s journey is essentially a more detailed version of your sales and marketing funnel, they are not the same thing, and they exist independently from one another.
You can split your funnel into three sections to optimize your marketing approach:
Top-of-funnel content is designed for buyers in the awareness stage. Maybe your prospects have never interacted with your business before or even heard of you, so this is the stage where you grab their attention.
27% of B2B buyers research independently online before considering a purchase. At this stage, you’re not selling anything. You’re simply building brand awareness by creating informative, engaging, and valuable TOFU content that will perform well in SEO.
Top-of-funnel content directs traffic through your sales funnel, for example, to your website, social media channels, or another piece of content. TOFU content helpfully shows your knowledge and expertise without going in for the sale. The image below shows some examples of TOFU content:
Buyers in the middle of the funnel have already interacted with your TOFU content, and it’s now time to reach out to them. They are aware of your business, but they might need further education or persuasion.
Use MOFU content to demonstrate why you differ from competitors, show your expertise and nurture your leads. Examples include:
Bottom-of-funnel content is directed at buyers who have reached the intent and purchase stages. They are ready to buy, and the deal is close to the finish line–help them cross the finish line by proving that you are the right fit for them.
This confirmation can be achieved through personalized, interactive, and informative BOFU content. Examples include:
Here’s how top-of-funnel content can benefit your business.
The number of leads you generate will always be reduced as your buyers move through the sales and marketing funnel stages. That’s why great top-of-funnel content is designed to reach a broad audience and generate as many leads as possible.
Educational and valuable top-of-funnel content can help cement your brand as the go-to expert for prospects. By building brand awareness, you will be at the forefront of their minds when they are looking at your industry’s products or services.
Prospects are looking for solutions to their problems. Therefore, top-of-funnel content helps your buyers seamlessly transition from “Seeing what’s out there” to “Tell me more.”
By consistently adding value to your prospects through top-of-funnel content, you establish your business as a trusted expert in your field – without spamming them with sales pitches.
Because many B2B buyers independently research online before considering a purchase, enticing TOFU content can ensure that your business competes for top SEO slots.
There’s no need for your sales team to waste time on resources explaining what your business does, why you are an expert, or how you can help the buyer. Great top-of-funnel content should include assets that do this for them.
What does a great top-of-funnel strategy look like? Here are eight examples of TOFU content designed to generate leads.
Oktopost has created their “Radically Transparent” podcast to give listeners more insight into industry topics. Podcasts are an effective top-of-funnel marketing strategy because they are often free to access and easy to distribute or promote across multiple channels. This helps potential buyers become leads and engage with your content without having to commit to anything initially, and you can demonstrate knowledge and experience in your field.
Top TOFU Tip
Use your podcast as an opportunity to link to other content or a sponsoring business in the show notes, description, or comments.
72% of the public uses some form of social media, and 96% of consumers increased their video consumption in 2020, which is why Squarespace’s video social media post is a great top-of-funnel piece of content. Social media posts like this one have the potential to attract a very large audience with a large pool of potential leads.
Top TOFU Tip
Optimize your media allocation by using software like Trendemon to monitor which campaigns and channels are most effective at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Salesforce has created an in-person event and is advertising it via their social channels. Webinars and events are excellent top-of-funnel strategies because they generate high-quality leads by engaging buyers with the brand and inviting them to participate.
In-person events can also be recorded or live-streamed across online platforms. Another option is webinars, which can be re-watched after the event is over. With so many online distribution options, you can easily and widely market this type of TOFU content.
Top TOFU Tip
Use video management software to help you track webinar metrics and gather critical data, such as drop-off rate, ROI, and the number of leads generated.
Like Hi Auto has done in the example above, blogs address a problem, pain point, or another topic that buyers want to read about. Blogs are an essential top-of-funnel brand asset because they remain relevant long after the posting date. You can constantly update your website and social media channels with new and topical blog entries.
Top TOFU Tip
Use high-search-volume keywords in your blog to boost your SEO rankings, generate more traffic and improve your lead generation rate.
Vimeo has provided a video template and an example video to demonstrate how potential buyers could use their platform. This offering is an innovative top-of-funnel lead generation strategy because Vimeo is endorsing its product in a highly visual, informative, and easy-to-understand way. By linking to a free video template, the buyer gets something for free, plus they progress to your sales funnel’s next stage.
Top TOFU Tip
Serve personalized video suggestions on your website using website journey orchestration software like Trendemon to accelerate buyers through your sales funnel.
Demos allow buyers to test a product or service before making a purchase. As a top-of-funnel content strategy, demos effectively generate leads because sales teams can handle objections using examples directly from the product or service.
In the image above, Filevine sends their virtual demo via email to avoid making buyers feel too committed. After all, they are only at the awareness stage. With this in mind, scheduling one-to-one demos is more suitable for middle-of-funnel buyers who are already interested.
Top TOFU Tip
Build rapport and generate more high-quality leads by offering a free trial period if the buyer likes what they saw during the demo.
Accenture has used an infographic as a visual representation of key info that they are conveying. Infographics work well as top-of-funnel content because they make complex information accessible and easy to understand. In this example, Accenture is cementing themselves as an expert in their field so buyers will associate their business with AI solutions.
Top TOFU Tip
Use the same colors, logo, and style across all your infographics. While it seems simple, it will help buyers to recognize that the content is yours and create a comfort level that is more likely to generate leads.
Case studies are valuable top-of-funnel content because they build trust between buyers and businesses. Through information, statistics, data, and emotive language, case studies generate leads by convincing the buyer that your business has a solution to their problem and is reliable. Like Trendemon’s example above, you can format a case study in an aesthetically pleasing PDF or infographic that can be easily distributed to sales leads.
Top TOFU Tip
If you’re using a case study as TOFU content, don’t forget that your buyers are still in the awareness stage. Rather than going into too much detail, how about using eye-catching graphics to convey top-line information? For example, use logos from well-known clients that you’ve worked with.
Top-of-funnel content is ideal for attracting a wide range of buyers within your customer base. Your TOFU strategy will help you build rapport with your buyers and generate high-quality leads from valuable blogs to engaging podcasts. Experimentation is essential, so don’t be afraid to play around to see what works best for lead generation.
But how can you keep track of all your top-of-funnel content and how well it’s performing? How can you be sure that your content strategy encourages buyers to move down your sales and marketing funnel? That’s where Trendemon comes in.
Trendemon helps you seamlessly map your buyer’s journey and measure your content marketing ROI, all in one place. Optimize your top-of-funnel content by promoting it on the right channels, measure metrics, and guide your audience through your sales funnel by serving it the right content at exactly the right time.
To see how you can increase conversion rates from your TOFU content, schedule a free demo today.