Your marketing strategy won’t bring you amazing results if you, as a content marketer, won’t be able to visualize your plan concretely. Hence, it is important to use a framework that will provide you with better insights into the different marketing journey stages and types of clients. In the world of content marketing, the “funnel” is a crucial thing. Being conscious of the way users behave as they follow their way to their final goals is crucial to being able to get them there and to be the product or service they choose. To reach this goal you have to go through the TOFU, MOFU, BOFU stages. And in this article, I’ll decode these content marketing parts of the content marketing funnel for you. Let’s start.
Marketing Funnel Definition
So, what is the marketing funnel in content marketing? In short, the marketing funnel is a structure marketers use to turn unfamiliar with a brand people into loyal customers. It is a visualization of the entire process of the clients’ journey from the first moment of seeing the business to finally making a purchase.
The marketing funnel scheme is built on the concept that the number of people a brand attracts is bigger than the number of those who are truly interested and can carry out leads, and then, finally, become a customer.
In the funnel, content marketers build a wide net to capture as many leads as possible and then accompany them in every stage of the journey through the desired decision. This process also has different stages. It takes visitors through a process whereby they first become aware of the company and its products. The process continues to earn trust and create customer loyalty, even after the sale is made.
The two goals go together as the sales and content marketing funnel. You should consider the funnel to generate awareness of the brand and then, through the several processes, convert customers into loyal, paying clients. The concept is not to just capture attention but also to:
- Establish a relationship
- Create user engagement
- Earn the trust
- Build credibility, and
- Create repeat business.
This process includes the accomplishment of the TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU content marketing stages.
TOFU, MOFU, BOFU Content Marketing Stages
As you’ve already understood, these terms mean the stages of the content funnel.
TOFU (stands for Top Of the FUnnel), MOFU (stands for Middle Of the FUnnel), and BOFU (stands for Bottom Of the FUnnel) based on each other to increase leads in order to ultimately lead to conversion.
This funnel provides a basic framework for any company to start off of, but the details will differ greatly based on your clients. Your TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU phases should fit your every buyer persona, which means your very first step should be to fully understand who your buyer is and what inconveniences you can solve. Only then you can create your content for these stages appropriately.
So let’s find out what these different steps are and what you should do at each stage.
What Is the TOFU Stage?
The top of the funnel or awareness stage is a phase in which visitors have just realized they have a problem or they may be vaguely aware that something is missing. These users do not yet know about your company, so TOFU content is created to get their attention where they are most likely to consume.
TOFU content should be entirely educational and should not contain anything even faintly related to a sales pitch. The user simply isn’t ready for one at these activities, as many are still trying to fully understand what issue they feel. So don’t mention your brand, product, or service. Just give them useful content for their question or pain point.
Media types and content transform fast in 2021. Updating your marketing strategy constantly and adapting your content marketing funnel will help it to stay relevant and provide the desired results. As you adjust your strategy, keep the following in mind for your Tofu content.
What you need to create TOFU content:
- Understanding of what media your customers use and how: think about the media platforms, types, level of interest or engagement for each, time spent, and how these habits might change with the appearance of new sources.
- Know what gets your users’ attention: think about the topics, such as humor, entertainment, guides, inspiration, and more.
- Your users’ demographic content for targeting: users of different age groups, income, urban or rural areas, lifestyles, and other demographics are likely to be interested in different things.
Here are the types of appropriate TOFU content:
- Social media: what channels your clients are on and put your efforts accordingly.
- Infographic: provide a visual format to help users understand the problem or question they’re trying to solve.
- Blog: with keyword research create a survey blog post about a certain problem or pain point that is easily found by clients.
- Video: they should be short at this phase and should just mention the problem, not a solution.
- Guides: you can create guides in a number of different types, not all of them text-focused only. The goal of a guide is to provide background information your future clients need to know on the way to choosing your company as a solution.
- E-book/whitepaper: Create more in-depth content on the problem your clients are coping with.
- How-To Content: “How-to” posts is less broad than an ebook or general topic guide. It offers your visitors step-by-step instructions. Finally, they should achieve something with a minimum amount of effort.
- Quiz: discover more about your client by asking questions about the issues they have.
- Email Sequences: Email sequences are popular for onboarding new clients because they make a seamless connection between consuming your content and taking action on it.
The main purpose of this content marketing phase is lead generation. Hence, information should be gathered to use in nurturing the leads down the funnel.
What Is the MOFU Stage?
At this evaluation second phase, users have accepted that they have a specific problem to be solved and are actively searching for how to solve it. It means that now you received a targeted audience. They are looking for different options and carefully estimating the value of each.
Now you can present your own product or service. On the MOFU stage, you should continue your education but should also mention why you are the best solution. Leads are warm, so take this chance to explain how your product or service can assist them. MOFU stage can also be a good chance to provide gated content to get contact information from buyers.
What you need to create MOFU content:
- A small existing relationship with your clients (social media follower, newsletter sign-up, previous website visitor)
- A source for providing educational content (blog on your website or other platforms, video blog, etc.)
- Call-to-action (CTA) to move to the next phase.
Check out the appropriate types for MOFU content:
- Blog: provide a question that relates to your product or service.
- Case study: help clients see your product or service in use by showcasing the benefits it has provided by other clients.
- Whitepaper: put detailed information on a topic to convey why your solution is the best option.
- Webinar: organize training on a topic, and leave time for questions of the participants.
- Email drip: create a sequence of nurturing emails providing content specific to the client.
- Guide/How-to content: give step-by-step instructions on the problem solution.
- Template: let buyers discover for themselves how your brand can solve their problems.
- Comparisons: show a comparison of the solutions, not vendors, at this stage.
This middle of the content funnel is where most companies do most of their marketing. This is the step where most often companies sell their products and services.
What Is the BOFU Stage?
Bofu is where you have already earned enough trust with your future clients. This is the lower stage of the funnel. You can consider this as the pointed or the narrow part of the funnel.
As a marketer, your task in this phase is to present your company in a compelling way that attracts your possible clients to take action, that it is the best way to solve their problems. The bottom of your content funnel might offer a limited-time offer for your products or services. This is where you finally switch the leads into real clients.
Evaluation and purchase are the main focus of this phase. You have to check your possible buyers have enough information about the product beforehand so that nothing could stop them to complete the transaction when it comes to a buying decision.
The main purpose of this final step is to turn leads into buyers.
What you need to create Bofu content:
- An understanding of the client’s issues: put yourself in your client’s shoes and consider and what solution will make the most benefit for them.
- A platform for showing possible solutions: Your solution also has to be accessible for your clients. Think over how your clients might find it and where it will make the most impact.
- Desire to buy a product or try a service: Easy steps to buying a product can help to finish the sales funnel.
The appropriate types of the BOFU content:
- Product demo: Provide buyers with information on how your product actually works. Whether on-site or in a video, display all important characteristics and relate them back to benefits, and show how you exceed the competition.
- Free trial: Give clients the chance to try your product without making a big commitment.
- Testimonials and case studies: Clients’ stories are also useful in this final step, as they are content that converts and provides a third-party estimation of your service or product.
- Product characteristics: Show what your product can do and the benefits it gives, especially the advantages it has over the competition.
- Product comparisons: Help clients understand where your product or service scores by clearly highlighting the differences between your brand and the competitors.
- Webinars: This content type is perfect for products with high buyer resistance.
- Giveaway: Many clients who have discovered your product but might not is sure to make a purchase can be finally convinced by a giveaway. You might share it via social media, newsletter, or other sources.
- Coupon: Similar to a giveaway, a discount might be the final argument a customer needs to buy your product or service. Present the discount as an invitation for first-time buyers to boost this offer.
- Proof as UGC: User-generated content (UGC) functions as social proof, highlighting the quality of your product by showing that other people are satisfied with it. Publish your existing clients’ reviews, videos, social posts, or other content to make convincing the Bofu content.
Bonus: Brand Evangelist Sales Funnel Stage
Congratulations! Your TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU content have worked successfully and their power brought you lots of clients. But the content marketing funnel doesn’t finish there. Content after purchase can turn a one-time buyer into a lifelong client and brand evangelist. This content should constantly provide them additional points to stay with you, in addition to a great product or experience.
The appropriate types of content:
- Special feature blogs: Content for blogs at this marketing funnel phase should be different than previous blogs you’ve created. These may focus more on your business or products, such as events you are organizing, good works you are involved in, or contests and giveaways.
- Re-engagement emails: make your email content interesting and useful for your clients. Segment your audience to ensure you’re sending the right content for them.
- Contests or giveaways: Give thanks and support this segment of your clients. Create motivational events as an opportunity to engage them and make some gifts as gratitude to their loyalty.
- Storytelling videos: This type of content should also engage and inspire. You might point out exceptional activities from particular clients, charity activities, employees, partners.
- Community forums: organize a safe and welcoming place for clients to share their experiences and connect with others. Position yourself as a professional and maintain a positive climate there.
With a detailed analysis, the content marketing funnel provides you with information on what you have to do to affect clients at every stage. By analyzing your funnels starting from the top to the bottom, there’s a great opportunity to receive bigger sales, more loyalty, and stronger brand awareness.
Understanding the content marketing funnels deeply will help you build an efficient marketing strategy for attracting new clients at the first stages, persuading them to trust your company more and take a decision in your favor.