Marketing funnel, sales funnel, lead generation funnels.
When it comes to B2B marketing, there's an awful lot of talk about funnels, including who owns the different stages of a funnel, what those stages are, and (maybe most important of all) what the heck you're supposed to do in each stage of whatever funnel we're talking about.
Here's the thing — the marketing funnel isn't set in stone. Companies use marketing funnels in different ways — to track website conversions or to see if new content is impacting sales, for example.
Even here at Leadfeeder, our sales and marketing team don't look at funnels the same way.
Which can make it really confusing when we're talking about top-of-the-funnel content. However, top-of-the-funnel content is one of the most powerful tools to grow your business.
That sounds a little over the top — but it's true!
Let's talk about why top-of-the-funnel content is crucial to business growth — and how to create it.
Note: Leadfeeder is a website identification tool that helps B2B businesses identify leads visiting their site. Sign up for a free 14-day trial.
What, exactly, is a marketing funnel?
By now, you've probably heard about the marketing funnel. It's a favorite phrase for marketers and sales teams to toss around.
To make the most out of top-of-the-funnel content, we first need to define exactly what a marketing funnel is.
A marketing funnel is a visual representation of the steps in the buyer's journey from becoming aware of your product or service to closing the deal.
Depending on who you talk to, a marketing funnel might have anywhere from five to nine steps. At Leadfeeder, we like to use the five-step marketing funnel, which looks like this:
Notice how each step in the funnel is a little smaller than the last? That's because fewer leads move from one step to the next.
Here's what it might look like in real life:
Step 1: Awareness: Let's say 100 leads visit your website. They might not all be in your target audience and they might not need what you offer. But they are pulled in by content that addresses challenges they face.
Step 3: Consideration: Out of those 100 visitors, maybe 25 are in your target audience and know they need a solution. You've whittled your leads down to maybe 10 or so. They match your ideal customer profile and they know they need a solution. Your job is to show your offer is the best fit for them.
Step 4: Intent: They are interested in your offer, woo! Maybe they visited your pricing page after a demo, sent your demo to their boss, or otherwise indicated they are ready to buy.
Step 5: Evaluation: This is where leads make their final decision. In most cases, sales and marketing will work together to ensure this stage goes smoothly.
Step 6: Decision: Closing the deal — you'll also want to lay the groundwork for retention by ensuring the onboarding process is smooth and considering upsells.
Top of the funnel content vs bottom of the funnel
What is the difference between content at the top of the funnel and bottom of the funnel? Top of the funnel content is broader and might target topics that your ideal customers are interested in — even if they don't relate to your specific tool or product.
The goal of top-of-the-funnel content is to educate or inform — not sell. At Leadfeeder, we create a ton of lead magnet marketing and sales content that isn't solely related to our website identification software.
Here's an example:
We wrote this post on start-up pricing strategies.
Leadfeeder doesn't have anything to do with pricing. Our tool helps businesses identify leads that come to their site but don't leave contact information, not build a pricing plan.
So, why are we writing about start-up pricing strategies?
Because we've been a start-up, we know a lot about the topic and — most importantly — people like to hear from the CEO. Posts authored by the CEO build his authority and personal brand.
If they find this content, they’re more likely to want to learn more about what Leadfeeder does and how we have the authority to write on that subject.
Bottom-of-the-funnel content is more related to our tool or the problems we solve. It's for leads who know about Leadfeeder and are considering purchasing a website visitor identification tool — like this piece about using Leadfeeder for Sales teams.
What are the benefits of top-of-the-funnel content?
So, top of the funnel content tends to be broader and targets a wider audience. Why should you bother with it, especially since it often attracts businesses outside of your target audience?
Let's look at a few reasons why TOFU content rules:
It's not as competitive: Think about the main keywords your business targets. There's a good chance those are highly competitive terms. With TOFU content, you can find key terms with a smaller search volume and less competition, making it easier to stand out.
Build brand awareness: Businesses can't buy from you if they don't know you exist. By creating top-of-the-funnel content, you get your name out there so leads already recognize you when it's time to make a purchase.
Built trust: Trust can be a deciding factor in the marketing funnel. Using top-of-the-funnel content, you can show your expertise and build trust. When leads need the solution you offer, the trust is already there. (Which also makes your sales team's job easier!)
Create assets your sales team can use: TOFU content can educate users so sales teams spend less time educating and more time selling.
Power retargeting efforts: If your content gets organic traffic, you can track those users and retarget them on other platforms or create targeted sales lists.
Discover what topics your customers are most interested in: Struggling to come up with content ideas for the middle or bottom of the funnel? Take a look at the most popular top of the funnel content and see what topics your top customers like the most. Then, create content targeting more niche keywords.
How to find top-of-the-funnel content ideas
Now you know what top of the funnel content is and why it matters — let's put all that knowledge to work.
Here are a few ways to come up with top-of-the-funnel content ideas that will drive traffic, educate your audience, and streamline the sales pipeline.
Research your main keywords and look for related, long-tail terms. These will be topics related to your main keywords but won't be as competitive. We use SEMrush and Ahrefs.
Use Google suggest and people also ask. Like related keywords, they are more likely to be long-tail and less competitive.
Use Quora or related sites to find out what questions your audience asks. Remember, these topics don't have to be closely related to your solution, just topics your customers care about.
Solve common problems your users have, even if they aren't related to your business. At Leadfeeder, we know salespeople often struggle to send cold emails. So, we asked our internal team what templates they use and bundled them together as a blog post.
Ask sales and customer service what questions they get asked the most. See if any questions make sense as TOFU content.
Top of the funnel content is key to filling your marketing and sales pipeline
If you want to close deals, you need qualified leads. The only way to get qualified leads is to fill to the top of your funnel. That's why top-of-the-funnel marketing (and specifically content) is so crucial to long-term business growth.
If the top of your funnel is empty, so is the bottom of your funnel.
Note: Leadfeeder is a sales and marketing tool that helps B2B businesses fill their sales funnel with qualified leads. Sign up for your free trial and uncover hidden leads on your website.
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