Top of Funnel Marketing Explanation & Tactics

Anthony Xiques
Updated:
December 8, 2022
Created:
November 23, 2022

While seeking to purchase a product, every potential customer embarks on a buyer's journey, otherwise known as a “marketing funnel.” Each funnel stage reflects the mindset of a customer. And for a business to market well and increase sales effectively, it must meet each prospect where they are at in their own customer journey.  Through funnel marketing tactics, successful business owners identify each pain point along the way to progress the sale.

Specifically, top-of-funnel marketing focuses on the awareness stage of a marketing funnel. To attract prospective customers, a business must focus on advertising frequency for target audiences.

A top-of-funnel marketing strategy increases brand recognition, highlights a target audience, and promotes lead generation. Reasons for having a solid top-of-funnel marketing campaign are detailed below.

What Is Top-Of-Funnel Marketing?

Creating an effective marketing funnel requires understanding the buyer's journey. Before purchasing from a business, a potential customer must know that the product exists. Product awareness is increased through quality content and marketing campaigns.

The beginning stages of a buyer's journey are the awareness and research phases. Top-of-funnel marketing, or “tofu” marketing, aims at raising awareness among potential customers through marketing campaigns. Tofu marketing is designed to educate users, nurture prospects, and generate leads for a business.

All businesses should continually focus on top-of-funnel marketing to stay relevant and increase their potential customers. However, top-of-funnel marketing is specifically necessary for new businesses that need more visits to their web page.

How The Marketing Funnel Works From Top To Bottom

A customer journey leads new prospects through a sales funnel. The sales funnel consists of 3 major steps: awareness, consideration, and purchase. Each step or touchpoint of a sales funnel directly leads to the next one. Therefore, an effective marketing funnel will encourage target audiences to engage at each customer journey phase.

Top-Of-Funnel (ToFu): Awareness

The top-of-funnel is the awareness phase of a customer journey. As stated earlier, potential customers must know that a brand exists before considering and purchasing a product/service. Increasing brand awareness and enticing customers into a marketing funnel is achieved through various types of advertisements and social media content.

Moreover, the awareness stage can funnel prospects toward the consideration or interest stage.

Middle-Of-The-Funnel (MoFu): Interest (or Consideration)

The middle of the funnel is when a customer considers purchasing from a business. Many sites and competitors exist, and 85% of consumers research products before buying a product. Creating a great site that is easy to read and offers educational materials is crucial to increasing visit-to-purchase conversion rates and marketing qualified leads.

On average, 3% of customers visiting a landing page will purchase a product or service. However, some businesses convert prospects at higher rates of 10-15%. Businesses can increase lead-to-customer conversion rates by having an up-to-date website that displays paying customers' testimonials or other indicators of a site's validity.

Bottom-Of-The-Funnel (BoFu): Purchase 

The bottom of the funnel consists of paying customers. Beyond the initial purchase, successful businesses encourage brand loyalty through various sales tactics.

A tactic to increase revenue from a paid customer is to encourage brand loyalty. Customer loyalty is developed by creating a relationship beyond the initial purchase. For instance, frequently touching base with past customers through email marketing, offering discounts, or encouraging a reward system are great ways to increase customer loyalty.

After a customer has become loyal to a brand, customers can be used to spread brand awareness. Positive opinions and recommendations from past customers are the most potent form of advertising.

Why Is Top-Of-Funnel Marketing Important?

The top-of-the-funnel marketing focuses on building awareness about your brand. Many customers in this stage of the sales journey are aware of problems and searching for potential solutions. This is also referred to as the information-gathering phase.

The ultimate goal for any business is to prove to prospective customers that their product/service is the answer to the customer's problems. Customers must first be made aware of the product and what it does for the business to gain purchases and revenues.

Therefore, top-of-funnel marketing is a crucial stepping stone in the customer journey before any sales can be made.

Upper Funnel Vs. Lower Funnel Marketing

Not to be confused with Top-of-Funnel and Bottom-of-Funnel, you have Front End and Back End sales (sometimes abbreviated as FE & BE).

Upper funnel marketing (FE) aims to widen a customer base and help new prospects enter the awareness stage of a sales journey. This type of marketing serves new businesses with low brand awareness or businesses who want to diversify their target audience. Front End products and promotions are typically focused on increasing customer acquisition (more new clients) and improving average order value (boosts cash flow and reduces net cost per acquisition of new customers).

On the other hand, lower funnel marketing (BE) aims at driving sales revenue by upselling, offering discounts/free trials and implementing a rewards system. Generally, lower funnel marketing is more beneficial to larger companies with high levels of product recognition. Back End products, and the marketing campaigns that sell them, are typically focused on increasing customer lifetime value (LTV) and the frequency a customer purchases products & services from your business.

If Front End is focused on getting more buyers, Back End is focused on getting those buyers to buy more stuff more often. Successful entrepreneurs and marketers are crystal clear about the purpose with every single campaign they create and where it fits in the funnel.

Benefits Of Top-Of-Funnel Marketing

Top-of-funnel marketing has many benefits because it helps users who are still in the awareness stage of their customer journey. Here are a few reasons why tofu marketing is so effective.

Not As Competitive

Top-of-funnel marketing is less competitive than lower-funnel marketing because a brand does not have to compete with other businesses directly in order to increase awareness.

Builds Brand Awareness

Successful top-of-funnel marketing strategies cultivate brand and product awareness among consumers. Moreover, top-of-funnel marketing tactics allow a company to keep loyal customers: a process called "lead nurturing."

Builds Trust From Potential Customers

Once a business has new leads, it is important to build trust, called lead nurturing. A brand can establish trust through continual top-of-funnel content marketing to attract potential customers.

Creates Assets Your Sales Team Can Use

Top-of-funnel marketing focuses on increasing brand awareness and creating educational content. When a customer is educated on a product or service, a sales team can use marketing materials to educate users so that they can focus on selling the product/service.

Powers Retargeting Efforts

After analyzing sales data, a business creates branded content to appeal to a target market. For instance, a product that appeals to men in the United States in their 20s will have vastly different advertisements than brands focusing on enticing 50-year-old women.

Moreover, a business can use top-of-funnel marketing to appeal to a new customer base.

Discovers What Topics Your Customers Are Most Interested In

Top-of-funnel marketing tactics allow a business to cast a wide net and increase the number of qualified leads. Additionally, a business can analyze the appeal of content on various subjects through user engagement and website traffic.

Essentials Of Full-Funnel Marketing

Full-funnel marketing strategy depends on the type of business. For instance, a SaaS will operate differently than a business promoting a physical product. Regardless of the business model, implementing a full-funnel marketing strategy is essential to identifying pain points and gathering key metrics to measure success.

Brand-Building Measurement

A business can better identify target markets by gathering data from website visitors and social media platforms. This data allows businesses to create content that lures potential clients.

A Unified Set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs create opportunities for a business to recognize pain points in a sales funnel quickly. This allows businesses the flexibility to tweak a marketing funnel to have better conversion rates between each funnel stage.

An Updated Media Mix Model For Integrated Spending

By analyzing data, a business can diagnose which portions of a marketing funnel are good investments in order to optimize revenue

A Full-Funnel Operating Model

A full-funnel operating model takes a holistic approach to view an entire marketing strategy. At each stage, marketing specialists calculate conversion rates to optimize the number of people traveling through the sales funnel from top to bottom.

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Creating A Full-Funnel Marketing Strategy

In order to develop a full-funnel marketing strategy, a business must identify pain points, target its audience and increase conversion rates at each touchpoint of the sales funnel. As more data is collected, a business can adjust its approach to generate more leads and increase sales revenue.

Use Video Ads To Generate Awareness

On average, Americans spend 78 minutes per day watching video advertisements. Therefore, creating eye-catching video advertisements increases brand awareness. Videos can be uploaded to YouTube or a business webpage.

Leverage Personalized Engagement To Drive Consideration

Through the use of third-party data and machine learning, a business can analyze customer behavior. Data and machine learning techniques allow businesses to align their ads with appealing to specific customers at times they are most likely to purchase.

Focus On High-Value Customers For More Conversions

A loyal customer can be more valuable to a business than 10 new customers. Therefore, promoting brand loyalty is crucial for a business to gain additional revenue.

Many businesses have begun customer referral campaigns or social media contests, which utilize loyal customers to create top-of-funnel content for your business and attract new customers.

How To Identify Your Target Audience

A target audience is a specific subset of people interested in purchasing a particular item. Information about a target audience will dictate the best content ideas to align with a brand. Therefore, knowing a target market is crucial to generate revenue and success.

Top-Of-Funnel Marketing Tactics

There are a variety of tofu marketing strategies to encourage internet users into a marketing funnel. Below is a list of content ideas to include in your digital marketing strategy.

Videos

Videos are an integral part of content marketing that can show how a product is used and foster a positive opinion about a particular brand.

Social Media Posts

Social media platforms allow businesses to reach new audiences who may still be in the awareness stage. In order for a social media post to be successful, it must have quality content.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a website's rank on search engines. When a web page ranks higher on a search engine, it experiences more organic traffic to a website. A high SEO ranking promotes the lead generation and allows a business to reach new audiences.

Blogs

Additionally, blogs have become a crucial digital marketing tool for small businesses to gain product recognition. Unique blog posts can highlight the knowledge of a business in a particular field. A good business blog post can drive traffic to a page and increase SEO.

Infographics

Infographics are a flashy way to convey educational content quickly. Infographics are a great way to market to customers with short attention spans since information is succinct and easily digestible.

Native Advertising

Native advertising is a sophisticated type of digital marketing that blends in within a web page and makes sense in context.

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising takes advantage of data and advertises directly to target audiences. Additionally, ad services can launch advertisements to quality prospects across premium publishers.

Interactive Quizzes

Interactive quizzes lure online users down a sales funnel by providing fun quizzes that find a particular product that aligns with their needs or personality.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is an excellent way to nurture new leads into purchasing products. Moreover, email markets entice new visitors and increase website traffic.

Press Release

Press releases are an example of top-of-funnel content that attracts quality prospects. A great press release can get people interested in a brand.

Retargeting

Once data has been collected about clients, a marketing campaign can align itself with its target audience. Moreover, retargeting efforts can also eliminate pain points within the marketing funnel.

E-books and White Papers

E-books and white papers are a more traditional but effective form of advertising promoting brand awareness.

Top-Of-Funnel Content Examples in 2022

Technological advances allow marketing campaigns to become more sophisticated in their targeting efforts. Here is a list of new tofu marketing tactics in 2022.

The Tripwire Funnel

A tripwire funnel is where a business offers one of its products at an irresistibly low cost to gain new customers, increase product recognition and upsell additional products.

The Product Launch Sales Funnel

The product launch sales funnel is a type of content marketing that promotes a new good or service by offering heavy discounts for a limited time.

The Webinar Funnel

The webinar funnel provides educational materials that also promote awareness to new audiences by hosting an informational webinar.

The Facebook Advertising Funnel

Facebook remains the most popular social media platform. Facebook collects vast amounts of data and allows businesses to promote to specific target audiences within a newsfeed.

The Instagram Influencer Funnel

Instagram influencers can highlight your product/service and market it to their followers. Some influencers have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of followers.

The Upsell Funnel

Once a customer has purchased an item, additional items may be offered at a discount. This tactic is called upselling. Upsells quickly add up and generate more revenue from loyal customers.

The Free Plus Shipping Funnel

Offering a trial period, discount, or free product are good tactics to entice customers to purchase a product. Free trials/products and discounts provide low-risk opportunities for potential customers to test a product/service before fully committing. A standard benchmark for trial-to-sale conversion rates is

Conclusion

As you can see, there are various top-of-funnel content examples that you can use to attract new prospects, increase conversions and boost sales. As with any marketing strategy, these tactics should be customized to your specific target audience and their customer journey through your funnels.

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