Modern marketing tactics require you to have a strong understanding of your customers, the journey they take to make a purchase, and the goals and pain points they have along the way.
This customer journey is also referred to as a digital marketing funnel.
Understanding the different points in your marketing funnel allows you to know which types of tactics, content, and approaches are going to resonate with your audiences.
It also allows you to learn more about the behavior and decisions of your customers, which can foster strong connections, communication, and relationships.
But what is meant by top-of-funnel marketing, why does it matter, and how does that play into a well-rounded digital marketing strategy?
Find out in this article.
What is Top-of-Funnel Marketing?
To understand top-of-funnel marketing, you first need to know what a digital marketing funnel is.
A marketing funnel refers to a visualization of the buyer’s journey as a standard funnel, starting with the open top of the funnel, narrowing into the middle of the funnel, and ending at the bottom of the funnel.
Each touchpoint in the funnel correlates to a specific mindset a lead has while going through the process of becoming a customer.
Those stages each require a different marketing approach to properly address what a customer’s needs are at that time.
The stages of the buyer’s journey and the marketing funnel break down as such:
The awareness stage, where a customer becomes aware of the fact they have a need or want and starts looking for resources, answers, educational materials, data, insights, or brands that can help them.
The consideration stage, where a customer starts to narrow down their options and consider which brand, product, or service will provide the best result for their needs by looking for webinars, in-depth product guides, and ebooks.
The decision stage, where a customer is ready to make their final decision and pick which company will earn the sale and their business based on content like testimonials, demos, and pricing comparisons.
Top-of-funnel marketing focuses on the acquisition of new leads, and often has strong ties to your lead generation strategies.
But rather than trying to find brand new audiences, top-of-funnel marketing tries to draw in those who have become aware of your brand and encourage them to convert and take next steps down the marketing funnel.
Why Does Top-of-Funnel Marketing Matter?
Top-of-funnel marketing is extremely important to the success of your overall sales and marketing efforts.
It’s the step that encourages prospective customers to engage with your brand.
By casting a wide net and trying to bring in the most leads as possible, you help increase the number of qualified leads that your sales team can work with.
In addition, top-of-funnel marketing is often the first touchpoint a customer has with your brand, meaning that it needs to create a great first impression and bring them back for more.
Finally, top-of-funnel marketing increases your brand awareness and reputation among new leads, which can also help build more trust, authority, and credibility in your business.
People tend to buy from brands that they are aware of, and the more people you get through your funnel, the more recommendations your brand can get from happy customers.
All of that makes your brand seem more trustworthy to new prospects.
10 Top-of-Funnel Marketing Best Practices
Now that you know what top-of-funnel marketing is and why it matters to your brand, let’s take a look at some of the best practices that you should employ while creating a top-of-funnel marketing strategy.
1. Know Your Audience
Successful top-of-funnel marketing requires you to have a strong understanding of who your audience is, where they spend their time online, and what their pain points and frustrations are.
That will allow you to create content that appeals to them personally.
When a customer knows that they are working with a brand that understands their needs and wants, they are more likely to stay and convert through the marketing funnel to become a loyal customer of your brand.
Try creating a buyer persona to really identify who you are selling to.
2. Map Your Customer Journey in Detail
While the three basic stages of the customer journey — awareness, consideration, decision — will map into the three steps of the marketing funnel, it helps to have the customer journey broken down in more detail.
That will help you solve for the problems that your customers are having and create more touchpoints for conversion.
3. Create Educational, Problem-Solving Content
The content that your prospective customers are looking for at the top of the marketing funnel isn’t in-depth product details and intensive case studies.
Instead, they are looking for educational content about their problem at large or content that helps them address their concerns.
Creating educational content is a great way to draw your customers in.
4. Focus on the Quality of Content
Readers and search engines alike prefer to have content that is high-quality and written to address the concerns of the audience.
Short blog posts, poorly-written content, or content that doesn’t address the core question will frustrate your readers and hurt your SEO, or search engine optimization, rankings.
High-quality content will always perform better and deliver more leads.
5. Avoid Pushing a Sale too Quickly
Prospective customers at the top of your marketing funnel aren’t ready to make a purchase decision immediately.
They would rather educate themselves and learn more about your brand, products, and services.
Coming across too aggressively or pushing for a sale in your top-of-funnel marketing content will drive away prospective clients and customers rather than draw them in.
6. Include CTAs
It doesn’t matter how well-written and educational your content is — without a clear next step, you won’t be able to gather the leads you need to fill the top of your marketing funnel.
CTAs provide readers with the opportunity to convert and move through your marketing funnel with clear direction.
It helps you guide your leads down the funnel rather than leaving them fumbling on their own to find out where to go next.
7. Improve Your SEO Strategy
Getting found by prospective customers is part of your top-of-funnel marketing efforts, and it requires you to have a strong SEO strategy.
If leads can’t find your top-of-funnel marketing content, they aren’t going to become a part of your marketing funnel and will instead move to find one of your competitors.
Using SEO tactics and best practices can improve your brand’s reach and reputation.
8. Reduce Overwhelming Factors
Online users want to find information quickly and don’t want to feel overwhelmed or stressed by the process of researching a brand and finding a product or service that fits their needs.
Reducing the friction in your marketing funnel will help you attract customers and move them down the funnel to make a sale.
Too many fields, forms, and on-page advertisements will push a lead away.
9. Partner with Influencers
Sometimes it can help to use the influence of others to fill your marketing funnel.
If you partner with an influencer, you can tap into their audience and encourage them to learn more about your brand, products, and services.
Influencers have extremely loyal fan bases, which can help you gain credibility and trust in your top-of-funnel marketing efforts.
10. Measure the Success of Your Efforts
If you aren’t measuring the effects of your top-of-funnel marketing efforts, you aren’t going to know whether the tactics you implement have any effect.
Setting goals, tracking the right KPIs and metrics and creating reports to see the impact of your marketing efforts will help you discover what in your top-of-funnel marketing strategy works and what still needs improving.
Top-of-Funnel Content Ideas
Your top-of-funnel content needs to resonate with new audiences who might not be familiar with your brand and encourage them to come back and learn more about your products or services.
While not every content type is going to be ideal for top-of-funnel marketing, there are thankfully many types of content ideas that can help in your efforts, including:
- Social media posts
- Native advertising
- Paid advertising
- Interactive quizzes
- Kits and packaged interactive tools
- Email marketing
- Press release
Top-of-funnel marketing helps you bring in new customers, increase your number of leads, and improve your brand’s reach and reputation.
It also helps you determine what types of content ideas are going to be the most effective for bringing in new customers to your digital marketing funnel.
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