In a previous post, we looked at how marketing funnels and customer journeys go hand-in-hand. Today, we’re going to build on that knowledge by showing you how to build a funnel.
Begin by identifying current channels with which to build the framework of the funnel. What materials and platforms have you already created? What methods have you used to guide the customer journey? Consider the KPIs of each in order to determine whether or not a given channel is effective. For channels that are not performing well, consider testing them in a different section of the funnel.
For instance, if a TOFU (top-of-funnel) landing page has a high bounce rate, it could be that the content on it is better for a MOFU (middle-of-funnel) audience. But, if you reframe it to attract a MOFU audience and it still doesn’t perform well, it could be an issue with the content (or the product) itself.
This is why the ideal funnel would flow in any direction; because potential buyers may reach good content but at the wrong point in their journey. For example, you could be running social direct response ads and seeing a low conversion rate but high click through rates. Perhaps the target is being driven to a conversion-oriented page when they’re still in the learning stage about the product.
Conversely, say you’re running a prospective Google Ads campaign looking to drive interest. You might discover the cost per click is too high, but the cost per acquisition is lower than other lower funnel ads for the same channel. Identify new opportunities to test; you may discover that some channels can be placed at multiple points in the funnel.
As we growth experts know, there’s always room to grow. So, after you’ve defined your initial funnel, be prepared to test, adjust, and re-test. Once you have had some time to see how it performs, step back and take a holistic look at what’s in place. In order to set priorities, start by taking a look at what’s working and what’s not.
Deficiencies and weak points may need to be moved within the funnel or removed entirely. If you’re seeing negative growth it may be the messaging or the product itself that needs to change. For the channels that have traction, consider increasing engagement and budget accordingly.
It’s a phrase anyone in marketing has heard at nauseum: Content is king. And while the phrase itself is a cliché, its implications are just as true as ever. Providing content that is valuable and reliable attracts the relevant audience, and subsequently drives buyer action. It ranges from podcasts to videos to micro-sites, but no matter the packaging, content marketing is a critical part of moving buyers through their journey.
It’s a common misconception that content is only effective for TOFU stages because it’s an excellent way of creating brand awareness.
But we know that the power of content lies in the value it creates, and we can create value for buyers no matter where they are in the funnel—as long as we understand that what they find valuable changes.
Progressing down the funnel, a buyer’s intent shifts. That doesn’t mean that content marketing stops being effective after that first stage; it means that valuable content is tailored content.
At the top of the funnel, most prospects will not be ready to make a purchase, so the emphasis is on freely sharing knowledge.
This content is easily accessible because consumers at this stage are typically drawn toward surface-level content like blog posts, social media, and podcasts. If they like what they see, they’ll dive deeper into the funnel—and into deeper content.
At this stage, it’s important not to share too much knowledge—prospects who are just beginning to research a topic are going to want information shared in a way that is streamlined and easy to digest. In fact, content that is entertaining or inspiring, and not strictly educational, goes a long way.
If your content is valuable, it will draw leads further down the funnel. An action like attending a webinar, downloading a whitepaper, or signing up for a newsletter indicates that a lead has transitioned from the TOFU portion of the funnel to the most complex portion of the funnel: MOFU.
B2C companies often skimp on this section because they can, but for B2B companies, this is the meat and potatoes section of the funnel. It’s the difference between a $20 t-shirt and a $10,000 software investment. The latter requires a greater amount of nurturing and relationship building.
TOFU content is readily available, but MOFU content is typically gated. It incentivizes leads to share their contact information or opt into emails. As leads progress to this middle stage, they become more receptive to offers, but (generally speaking) are still not ready to make a purchase.
Where TOFU content centers on snagging attention and holding it with engaging content, the key to MOFU is nurturing a relationship with leads. The differences between stages of the funnel can also be thought of in terms of problem-solving. TOFU is about raising awareness of a problem; MOFU helps leads evaluate potential solutions. This is reflected in the content typical of the MOFU stage: downloads, surveys, whitepapers, newsletters, case studies, eBooks, webinars, video tutorials, etc.
Leads who engage with MOFU materials see you as a resource, an authority on the subject. These materials continue the education that began in TOFU, but go into more detail—and typically shares more about your specific product. By educating buyers on possible solutions and positioning yourself as the strongest choice, you’re not asking consumers to buy so much as you are to evaluate their options.
TOFU is to awareness as MOFU is to evaluation…as BOFU is to conversion. Aware of their problem and the available solutions, these leads are now empowered to make an informed purchase decision; a decision that should lead them to your product or service, if your content did what it was supposed to.
Too often, a company’s efforts at content marketing begins and ends at the top of the funnel. But, the fact of the matter is that content marketing creates important touchpoints at every stage of a funnel. At the top, it lures them in with the entertaining and the inspiring.
Their attention hooked, they’re pulled deeper into the funnel where they can explore the informational and educational. Armed with knowledge, they progress into the very bottom of the funnel, which, in the world of content marketing, is full of customer success stories, free trials, consultations, estimations, coupons, and brand comparison sheets.
Creating content for the TOFU-level audience is not enough. A full-funnel content plan is the key to a comprehensive, successful content marketing plan.
Now you understand the importance of content that’s tailored to every stage of a funnel. So how do you apply full-funnel content marketing? Let’s take email marketing as an example.
Depending on how you define your funnel, you may or may not include email marketing in the TOFU section of your plan. In fact, when a prospect submits their contact information, that typically marks the beginning of the MOFU stage. That said, it all depends on how you’ve defined your unique marketing funnel.
It might be that to access some TOFU content, prospects are required to share their contact information. Gated content can be helpful in acquiring email addresses of potential buyers, but it’s a double-edged sword: It may just as easily turn off prospects who don’t yet see the value in what you have to offer. That’s why email marketing generally falls within the purview of MOFU.
It’a typically the case that some combination of SEO and social media [JK17] [CB18] pull a prospect in, and the content on your site keeps them there. If they like what they see, they may sign up for regular emails.
During that fuzzy transition area between TOFU and MOFU, you can use TOFU content to drive a buyer’s interest. Link to both on- and off-site articles that help build awareness. Keep initial content light and fluffy with tips or short videos. Use your newsletter as a step toward MOFU, keeping the content mostly top-level but with links to webinars or eBooks that draw prospects into the middle stage.
Or, you may save email marketing exclusively for the MOFU and BOFU stages. Again, this depends on how you’ve defined your unique funnel. The construction of your funnel will largely depend on your industry, buyer persona research, and some degree of trial-and-error. If you’re not sure how to construct your funnel, a growth expert like Orogamis can help. We use data-driven insights to help you get the right content to the right people at the right time.