Insightful ideas for generating top-of-the-funnel leads in 2024
Top-of-funnel (TOFU) marketing is about creating captivating content to lure prospects into exploring your offerings.
Marketing is not for the faint of heart. It requires grabbing the attention of the perfect customer within a limited time frame. B2B marketing has undergone a significant transformation, moving away from the hard sell and focusing on empowering buyers to make informed decisions.
Informative content is the key to guiding stakeholders through purchase and down the sales funnel. Top-of-funnel (TOFU) marketing is the way to go, as it generates leads by appealing to a broad audience and positioning the business as a thought leader in the industry.
For a successful digital marketing strategy, it's crucial to understand your customers' journey, their goals and pain points. Utilising a marketing funnel helps to identify the different stages and tailor your tactics and content accordingly, fostering relationships with your audience.
This article will explore top-of-the-funnel marketing and some trending ideas for it in 2024.
What is the SaaS marketing funnel regarding top-of-the-funnel leads?
Regarding sales and marketing, three distinct stages correspond to different purchase decision phases. These stages, known as ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu, are shorthand for top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, and bottom-of-funnel, respectively. Each step requires a unique marketing and sales approach to attract and retain leads effectively.
This involves delivering the right type, volume, and frequency of marketing content to engage with potential customers and guide them through the sales process. By tailoring your approach to each stage of the funnel, you can increase your chances of converting leads into loyal customers.
At the top of the funnel, generating informative content that can effectively introduce potential customers to your products and services is essential. You can achieve this through various mediums, such as engaging blogs, insightful webinars, thought-provoking social media posts, helpful infographics, informative and educational videos, niche podcasts, effective SEO strategies, comprehensive eBooks, data-driven studies, and insightful reports.
Utilising these different mediums can create a complete and engaging content strategy to attract and educate new prospects, increasing conversions and revenue.
During the middle stages of the sales funnel, generating and distributing content that enables prospective customers to tap into the quality of your products and services is advisable. This can be effectively achieved through various channels, such as sponsored advertising, case studies, social media platforms, email campaigns, promotional deals and incentives, and providing informative white papers and downloadable resources.
By providing valuable insights and information at this stage, you can nurture and engage potential customers and ultimately increase the likelihood of converting them into loyal and satisfied clients.
Providing valuable resources at the bottom of the sales funnel is crucial to successfully converting hot prospects. This may include demos, sales collateral, shopping carts, testimonials, product specifications, reviews, and competitive analysis. By offering these resources, you can address any concerns or questions the prospect may have and give them the reassurance they need to purchase.
By taking this approach, you can ensure you maximise your conversion rates and drive more sales for your business.
What is the difference between a sales funnel and a marketing funnel?
Marketing and sales are closely related and often intertwined, making it difficult to distinguish between them. First, we have to understand the meaning of a funnel. Simply put, a funnel represents a customer's steps from prospect to buyer. It's the events before a purchase.
So what is the difference between sales and marketing funnel?
A marketing funnel is a system that guides potential customers from the first interaction with a brand to make a purchase. It helps businesses visualise their buyer's journey and provides a structured marketing approach.
The sales funnel is the ultimate tool for capturing and expertly guiding prospects towards successful conversion—something like a CRM system which marks stages in which your prospect is.
Although marketing and sales funnels are often used interchangeably, they serve distinct purposes. Marketing funnels create awareness and generate interest, while sales funnels convert that interest into sales. However, the line between these two types of funnels is becoming increasingly blurred as businesses seek to optimise their sales processes.
Best way to get top of the funnel leads
When starting the customer journey, it's crucial to catch the attention of potential customers who may need to learn about your business. About 27% of B2B buyers research independently online before making their purchase. So it's important to create valuable top-of-funnel content that increases brand recognition.
Here are some examples:
The advantage of top-of-funnel content is that it is often timeless. This means the content can have a long lifespan in the digital space. Although it may require minor annual updates, the main content stays mostly the same so that it can live for a long time.
Top-of-funnel content aims to attract potential customers by addressing their pain points and interests and staying up-to-date with current trends. This can help convert them into paying customers, but the first step is getting them to visit your site.
According to a recent survey from SemRush, 95% of content marketers create content just for the top of the funnel. A smaller percentage, some 86% of the content, is made for the middle of the funnel. And the least 76% covers the bottom of the funnel.
Lead magnet funnels
Lead magnet funnels are steps that guide potential customers from downloading a lead magnet to making a purchase and becoming repeat customers.
Ebooks - An ebook is a great lead magnet for businesses. It consolidates related blog post content for easy access, establishes credibility, and helps attract and retain leads.
Webinars - Hold and record a webinar around the content of your most important blog posts or about industry news. You can do it solo or with a coworker. Take it from our example here at Really Simple Systems, where we use webinars to educate on CRM usage.
Checklists - To create a list from a blog post, simplify it into bullet points, remove non-actionable advice, and divide it into numbered steps. Make it printable for easy checking.
Case Studies - Case studies should include specific content and customer success metrics. Package a real customer spotlight into a written case study and gate it behind a form for visitors to fill out before accessing.
Templates are popular lead magnets because they save time by streamlining processes. Creating a certain document from scratch is time-consuming, and your audience will appreciate that you have saved them some time. You can make templates for sales emails, social media, spreadsheets, graphic designs, and anything the audience needs. They're low-maintenance magnets.
During the TOFU (Top of Funnel) phase, the primary goal is to build brand awareness rather than directly generate sales. We track progress using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as Impressions, Reach, Engagement, Follower Growth, and active influencers. By focusing on these metrics, marketers can gain insights into the effectiveness of their content and how potential customers are receiving it. A great example of a brand that has successfully leveraged this approach is Tentree, which has been able to drive lasting impact by rallying creators to spread its message.
Email funnel marketing is an effective way to transform potential leads into loyal, repeat customers. By using automation in marketing, businesses can quickly build comprehensive email lists and provide leads with valuable, personalised content that resonates with their interests. This helps boost return on investment (ROI), improves experience and reduces the time required to manage and nurture leads.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
When finding information, search engines are the go-to for most people. Optimising for SEO is a must to effectively market to potential customers at the top of the funnel. Thorough research of your target audience's needs, questions, and available content is vital to addressing their initial online inquiries. It is good to remember that you should optimise your content not just for Google but also for platforms that work as search engines, such as Tik Tok, Pinterest and YouTube.
PPC and paid media
Managing PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns is rewarding, as it allows for attaining tangible and measurable results. This directly contrasts old-school marketing methods such as giant billboards or TV ads. Calculating click and dollar ROI is relatively straightforward, making it a more efficient approach. By leveraging the tremendous power of PPC, businesses can see the direct impact of their campaigns, which can help them to make informed decisions and optimise their marketing strategies accordingly. Overall, PPC is a highly effective way to drive traffic and generate leads, and it's certainly worth considering for businesses looking to boost their online presence.
How can the sales team use top-of-the-funnel leads?
In marketing, it is crucial to have a clear and accurate definition of the "top of the funnel." This stage of the process involves gaining a comprehensive understanding of the ideal client profile and engaging with them meaningfully instead of simply focusing on making sales.
Neglecting the top of the funnel can lead to a significant loss of revenue, as it is the foundation upon which all successful sales efforts are built. Fortunately, we can employ various proven strategies to enhance the value of this stage and make closing sales much more manageable.
Regarding prospects at the top of the funnel, they are generally in the awareness stage. Sales teams can use outbound tactics such as discovery calls, cold outreach, FAQs, and demos to keep their interest. These methods have proven effective in maintaining prospects' engagement with the product or service offered.
How to measure the success of your top-of-the-funnel leads?
To improve top-of-funnel marketing, consider metrics such as social platform evaluations, website traffic, bounce rates, PR reach, shares and comments on earned media. Paid media tools like Adwords and Meta can also enhance top-of-funnel marketing. Brand mentions, and word-of-mouth top-of-funnel effectiveness can measure efforts aimed at influencers and user-generated content. Following up on your leads with software that simplifies the process is also essential.
Positive sentiment can prime purchase, but a "for me" appeal seals the deal. Understanding why consumers change their minds is crucial, necessitating mapping digital actions. Factors that can thwart purchase intentions, such as registration hassles, options overload, and financing issues, demand attention. Simplify registration, clicks, and options. Offer convenient payment methods, and reduce risk through trials or free shipping.
What is the most important when creating top-of-the-funnel leads?
It is of utmost importance to carefully map out your customers' journey to gain valuable insights into their needs and pain points. One common mistake that businesses make is to immediately start pushing sales without first providing solutions to the problems that their customers are facing. It is crucial to take the time to get to know your audience and provide them with the solutions that they need.
When it comes to marketing, the ability to grab the attention of the right customer is essential. In the world of B2B marketing, buyers are becoming increasingly empowered thanks to the availability of informative content that can guide them to make a purchase.
As such, many marketers are now focusing on what is known as top-of-funnel (TOFU) marketing, which is all about creating captivating content that can effectively lure prospects into exploring your offerings in greater detail. This approach involves crafting meaningful connections with potential customers and establishing a solid foundation for future engagement.
In the grand tapestry of marketing, the apex lies in unravelling customer trajectories. Solutions first, sales second.
Dive deep, and craft your voyage.
Igor Krivokapic is a freelance content writer with a passion for social media and brand management. With over ten years of experience, Igor possesses a diverse content creating history including sales and marketing topics in the technology sector.