Top-of-Funnel Marketing: All You Need to Know

Top-of-Funnel Marketing

Marketing happens in different stages. It starts with the awareness phase, ends in the purchase phase, and the goal during all the steps is to keep the existing customers happy and satisfied during all the steps. When it comes to the conversion funnel, the purpose is to take the leads from the top of the funnel to its bottom, but it doesn’t happen overnight; dedicating time and energy is needed.

Note: Successful top-of-funnel marketing requires a deep understanding of your target audience. WatchThemLive is a behavior analytics tool that helps you achieve this understanding. 

What Is Funnel Marketing?

The marketing funnel is a visual representation that helps with understanding the process of turning leads into customers. It works like a funnel in which marketers cast a broad net to capture more and more information, and then it slowly narrows down the customers through different stages. In other words, a marketing funnel is the history of your relationship with your customers from the very first stages, including the time they discover your business, the steps they go through before they decide to purchase, and their advocacy until now. A marketing funnel, along with a conversion funnel, helps you by:

  • Allowing you to improve your marketing strategy, 
  • Allowing you to grow your business,
  • Letting you increase the rate of repeat customers dramatically.

There is a difference between the marketing funnel and the sales funnel; While the marketing funnel advertises a product or service to give leads a reason to buy, the sales funnel deals with the leads and entices them to buy over and over again.

The primary funnel marketing model includes top-of-funnel marketing, middle-of-funnel marketing, and bottom-of-funnel marketing which is explained in the following chapters.

Related article: Funnel Analysis: The Complete Guide

What Is Top-of-Funnel Marketing?

what does the top of the funnel mean in marketing? Top-of-funnel (ToFu) marketing refers to the earliest stage of the buyer’s journey. It is when marketers extend brand awareness about their products so that they can generate leads.

The marketing funnel, as the name implies, is a funnel in an upside-down triangular shape.

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Top of the Funnel (ToFu):

Your audience: Visitors, potential leads, and marketing qualified to lead

Your goals: Improve website engagement, SEO ranking, and generate leads.

Example: You are walking on the street, and suddenly, a jacket in the window catches your eyes; you wonder if this jacket suits you and decide to try it on.

Best used for: Blog posts, pop-ups, and social media posts

Middle of the Funnel (MoFu):

Your audience: Marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads

Your goals: Customer acquisition, customer education, keeping customers

Example: You are trying the jacket on, and you keep thinking about other alternatives. After thinking and rethinking a few minutes, you finally decide to take it.

Best used for: Newsletters, statistics, FAQs.

Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu):

Your audience: Sale qualified leads, sales opportunities, and potential customers

Your goals: Conversion, driving traffic

Example: You are standing in the queue, waiting to pay for your new jacket, but again you are reconsidering buying it when suddenly you mentally match the jacket with that new pair of jeans you bought, and bingo! That’s a perfect match! You happily buy the jacket.

Best used for: Case studies, brand comparative advertising, a demo.

Stages of the Marketing Funnel

The basic funnel model describes the key stages in the AIDA model. It consists of:

  • Awareness: People can’t buy it if they don’t know it exists.
  • Interest: Once they learn about your business, you should turn their awareness into interest.
  • Desire: Now that they are interested, you need to establish an emotional connection and motivate them to purchase.
  • Action: Give your visitors a reason to turn the desire into an action.

The Marketing Funnel in 2022

Now, in 2022, there are more and more variations of the marketing funnel. The funnel has now changed, and it looks like the picture in the following. Unlike the AIDA funnel, this new funnel considers consumers after their first purchase until they become loyal customers. It is crucial because you need to keep your existing customers and simultaneously attract new ones with your own customers’ help.

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1. Awareness

At the top of the funnel is where you make yourself seen, and people see your tagline and/or hear about your business; the more awareness you create, the more people you attract. To create awareness, you can use:

1. Google

The first step people take when they need something is to search it on Google, so having a solid website and original blog posts can increase the chance of being seen by more potential customers and create awareness.

2. Social Media

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, etc., are examples of social media apps where you can expose your business, gain followers, and make yourself seen. Using multiple social media platforms to interact with your audience is also wise, as people use different platforms because each has a different audience with different needs.

3. Influencers

Social media can increase your reach radically. Still, to boost your brand awareness, you may need to ask for influencers’ help to promote your brand. Influencers are already interacting with a large group of people and are trusted by many of them; they can introduce your business to people and get your business more awareness.

4. SEO

When you are trying to increase awareness by using social media and your website, you must also pay attention to search engines. SEO can nurture your efforts, rank you higher, and help you grow organically. 

5. Forums 

Another way of increasing awareness is to participate in online discussions and introduce your business. You can join online communities such as Reddit or Facebook groups where people gather to discuss common interests or mutual issues. You can share tips and link them to your business website.

2. Consideration 

Once you have created awareness, you will step into the consideration stage, where the visitors are supposed to learn more about your business, its products or services, and any other information it provides. You can develop a strong relationship with people and improve your brand positioning. Marketers also have the chance to nurture leads via emails, newsletters, targeted content, etc.

In this stage, visitors show interest in a group of services or products while comparing your business with other similar businesses to see which one comes with better offers. 

3. Conversion 

This is where evaluation starts, and visitors wonder if they want your product or service. At this point, potential customers are evaluating whether this product or service meets all their needs or not, and the prospect finally decides to purchase (hopefully from you.) In this stage, we can witness the conversion of “I like it” to “I want it” from the customers’ perspective.

4. Loyalty 

Loyalty is the stage where your customers regularly buy from you and become loyal customers and find it hard to buy from other companies. 

5. Advocacy 

Advocacy happens when your customers become more than customers; they become fans who are typically so excited about your products and services that they talk about it with their families and friends and share positive reviews. If you are lucky, they might even try to persuade others to buy from you.

 Top-of-Funnel Marketing Tactics

Here are some of the best top-of-funnel marketing strategies:

1. Understand Your Audience

Identifying your target audience is the first step in building a marketing funnel. There are several ways to understand your target audiences, such as the feedback you receive from your existing customer, surveys, social media, and analytics.

One of the best ways to understand your target audience is to use a behavior analytics tool like WatchThemLive. With WatchThemLive’s user tracking and session replays features, you will be able to track each and every user interaction on your website. This is an excellent way to better understand the buyer’s journey to improve it. 

By watching session replays, you will find out how users navigate through your website, what grabs their attention, and what distracts them from the conversion goal. 

Sign up now and track your users in every possible way! 

2. Determine the Number of Stages

When you know your target audience and can predict their journey before purchasing, you can determine the different stages in your funnel. 

A marketing funnel is a way to direct people in the right direction in their journey, so your buyers’ journey map is the best basis for developing the marketing funnel stages. In the most straightforward way, these stages include Awareness, Desire, and Action, which we explained in detail.

3. Add Marketing Funnel Tactics to All Stages

Once you have determined the stages in your marketing funnel, it is time to figure out which marketing funnel tactics should be used at each stage.

For example, awareness is in the top-of-the-funnel, and the most popular marketing strategies for this stage include social media marketing, influencer marketing, and advertising campaigns. In the middle of the funnel (desire), you can try product reviews, case studies, and UGC, and at the bottom part of the funnel, you can offer free trials.

Pieces of Advice on Top-of-Funnel Marketing 

Here is a table of the most crucial dos and don’ts of top-of-funnel marketing to give you some ideas.

DODON’T
Create problem-solving contentSell until the right time
Appeal to your target audienceSave current content for future
Do more of what works bestCreate all the content internally

Conclusion 

Creating a marketing funnel based on customer behavior requires a complete understanding of your customers’ needs so that you can predict their state of mind at every single step, from awareness to advocacy. 

Knowing and understanding your customers helps you build a stronger relationship and will result in your customers’ loyalty and advocacy. 

Using existing data to establish what tactics work most efficiently at each stage is wise; customer behavior is not ordinarily predictable, but performance metrics are pretty reliable.

Using a behavior analytics tool such as WatchThemLive is a great way to collect and track user behavior data. Sign up and start your journey toward more customers now!

Shadi Sadri
Shadi Sadri
Shadi is an experienced English teacher and a skilled translator who has been able to publish 4 books by the age of 25. After earning her master’s degree in TEFL from Elm-o-Sanaat university, she entered the digital marketing world and she is now a content writer at WatchThemLive.
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