Marketing techniques assist an organization in sharing its principles, expanding the reach of its brand, and increasing product and service sales. If you work on a marketing team, you should think about introducing top-of-funnel marketing. This method might assist you in increasing brand awareness among potential customers and driving sales.
Bringing in new clients and generating leads are essential elements in ensuring the success of your marketing funnel. Without these early successes, a digital marketer will have no leads to nurture or convert to sales. Top-of-the-funnel marketing methods help you create trust and thought leadership with future clients. To begin, let’s define what it means to be at the very top of the funnel.
Top-of-funnel marketing refers to the strategies and tactics used to attract and engage potential customers at the initial stage of the marketing funnel. A marketing funnel is a visual representation of the customer journey, illustrating the various stages potential customers go through as they move from being unaware of a brand to making a purchase. The marketing funnel typically consists of:
- Top-of-funnel: In this stage, your goal is to spread awareness of your product, capture prospects’ attention and generate interest in what you have to offer.
- Middle-of-funnel: Your aim is now to showcase how your products and services can help solve your prospects’ problems or fulfill their needs, especially against competitors.
- Bottom-of-funnel: This stage is when prospects make the decision to purchase your product or service.
Customers at the top of a marketing funnel have yet to engage with the company’s sales or business development teams and might be completely unfamiliar with the brand and its offerings. The goal of top-of-funnel marketing is to make potential customers aware of a company’s products or services and to gather potential sales leads.
As customers move through the funnel, those who are less interested in making a purchase may leave the funnel. The middle and bottom of the funnel each include fewer potential customers but typically higher-quality ones. Businesses often engage in activities with the widest possible reach at the top of the funnel, such as influencer marketing and content marketing.
Top-of-funnel marketing strategies can help marketing teams in a number of ways, including:
Improve SEO rankings
Search engine optimization (SEO) rankings refer to the position a certain website has on search engine results pages for related keywords. Customers might be more likely to purchase from companies whose websites rank higher in search engine results because they notice those websites first.
One way to raise a website’s SEO ranking is to create top-of-funnel content, like blog posts, videos and infographics, that link to other pages on the website. This content can make a site rank higher by showing the search engine algorithm that the site is a resource for viewers. Businesses with established storefronts can benefit from local SEO efforts to drive increased foot traffic in their target market.
Facilitate brand awareness
Increasing the number of people who recognize your company’s branding can increase sales. Develop and maintain a consistent brand identity across your top-of-funnel marketing efforts to facilitate brand recognition. This could include using the same logo, visuals, color scheme and messaging across channels.
For instance, if a childcare facility hosts an indoor craft event for children and maintains consistent branding throughout, those who discovered the brand via that event may be more receptive to traditional ads from the same company because they recognize and are familiar with the brand. This could ultimately lead to increased enrollment and customer loyalty.
Improve lead generation
Many companies rely on lead generation campaigns to collect contact information for new prospective customers. After the campaign, sales representatives often contact these potential customers and attempt to engage them in the sales process.
Lead generation campaigns rely on top-of-funnel content marketing to attract prospective customers. For example, a local gym might create a series of exercise videos that prompt viewers to enter their information on the gym’s website to access further content. This action provides the gym with contact information for these leads so they can vet them for genuine interest.
For some products or services, top-of-funnel marketing might encourage customers to make a purchase quickly. While the goal of top-of-the-funnel marketing is mainly to increase awareness of a company’s brand or mission, it can also provide ready customers with an easy way to purchase a product or enroll in a service.
One way to increase sales at the top of the funnel is to introduce a low-cost or loss-leader version of the product to initially attract customers. For example, a digital software company may offer a basic plan for new customers. Once basic plan users have experienced the benefits of the program, they may later encourage them to upgrade to premium plans with additional features.
Establish thought leadership
By creating valuable and informative content, businesses can position themselves as authorities in their field. That may further enhance their credibility, improve their reputations and attract potential customers who seek expert guidance.
Expand market reach
Top-of-funnel marketing strategies enable businesses to reach new customer segments and geographic regions. This may help grow the potential customer base.
How do You Benefit From Top-of-funnel Marketing?
Below are some primary benefits of top-of-funnel marketing activities:
Facilitates trust with customers
Many top-of-funnel assets focus on delivering value to potential customers. For example, many businesses publish informational or entertaining blogs, ebooks, guides, and videos to attract potential customers. Because these items have something to offer viewers other than just a sales pitch, they may help establish trust with leads.
Read Also: 10 Best Sales Funnel Examples in 2024
Another way to build trust with customers at the top of the funnel is to highlight testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers. By showcasing real experiences and success stories, potential customers can better understand the value your products or services provide, further solidifying their confidence in choosing them over competitors.
Helps you distinguish yourself from the competition
Distinguishing yourself from the competition is crucial in today’s saturated markets, and top-of-funnel marketing helps brands do so. Clearly articulating your unique selling proposition (USP) or value proposition in top-of-funnel marketing materials may make your product more distinct and memorable to your target audience.
Also, by sharing engaging stories about the company’s history, customer success stories or the impact of its products or services, you evoke emotions that resonate with your audience and foster a deeper sense of brand loyalty. Lastly, targeting niche markets or customer segments that may be underserved by competitors can further distinguish a brand.
Serves as a resource for sales representatives
Top-of-funnel marketing content often includes engaging and informative resources that sales teams can share with interested leads. For example, a sales representative for an email marketing service might direct a customer to a blog post about how to optimize your email subject lines within the tool.
Assists in retargeting
Guests who visit your top-of-funnel marketing content can be excellent candidates for re-targeting efforts. Gathering contact details for people who read your blog or download your infographics can be beneficial in the future if they move on without making a purchase and you hope to regain their interest.
You might also consider segmenting and analyzing your top-of-funnel audience so you can personalize re-targeting campaigns. Abandoned cart emails are an example of segmented re-targeting, as you remind customers of exactly what they were considering purchasing.
Top-of-funnel Marketing Tactics
While top-of-funnel marketing content varies by company and industry, effective materials in this stage often include the following key elements:
1. Blog Posts
When you want to provide potential customers with information at the beginning of their search journey, blog posts are a straightforward way to deliver it. You can address common questions, provide answers based on your own research, and demonstrate your knowledge of whatever it is that’s the main concern, issue, pain point, and so on. Learn how you can make blog posts more effective at moving your readers further through the funnel.
Webinars, whether live or on-demand, are excellent tools for lead generation. In exchange for access to the webinar content, your potential customers provide their information. Later, you can use this information to nurture prospects by remarketing or retargeting to that audience. Aside from the benefits to your business, however, webinars are also opportunities to reach your audience with relevant information and education.
3. Social Media
Considering the majority of online users discover brands while browsing social media or websites, it makes sense to pursue social media as a top-of-funnel marketing tactic. You can launch paid social campaigns to drive awareness and generate leads, as well as support these efforts with organic content that’s both engaging and informative.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When people are looking for information, they naturally start with search engines. This means SEO – optimizing for search engines — is an important tactic for marketing to top-of-the-funnel prospects. In doing so, you’ll want to do some research on what your target audience is trying to solve, what questions they’re asking, and what content you have (or can develop) to address those initial searches online.
Whether you present it in a report, e-book, or white paper, your original research is a powerful way to capture awareness in the funnel’s uppermost region. Not only are you providing detailed and exclusive information to your audience, but you’re also demonstrating thought leadership in your prospect’s specific area of need or interest. If you want to make this opportunity to generate leads, you can offer the research as gated content in exchange for personal information like an email address.
The popularity of online video makes it a no-brainer when it comes to top-of-funnel marketing tactics. Whether you’re hosting your video content on a platform like YouTube or Vimeo, or on your own website, you can educate and inform your audience in a way that’s highly engaging. Plus, you can always repurpose your video content to get even more mileage.
Using infographics is a helpful way to show data visually to your prospects while demonstrating your finger is on the pulse of the industry. With infographics, you can present data in a more engaging and digestible format, which makes it easier for your audience to find what they need quickly. At the same time, you’re creating awareness around your brand with this top-funnel marketing tactic.
8. Public Relations
Getting your brand mentioned in the media is a great way to reach a wider audience and build credibility. You can achieve this through press releases, guest blog posts, and social media outreach.
9. Events and Sponsorships
Hosting or sponsoring events is a great way to connect with potential customers and prospects in person. This can be a good way to generate leads and build relationships. Sponsoring events, teams, or causes can be a great way to get your brand in front of a wider audience and build goodwill.
Partnering with other businesses that target the same audience can be a great way to reach a wider audience and cross-promote your brands.
Here are some examples of top-of-funnel marketing content:
Landing pages are customized pages on a website that encourage interaction between customers and the company’s sales representatives. A company’s marketing team might create landing pages for sales and promotions that highlight new services and special offers. For example, a car dealership might have a landing page for a new car sales event, with updated information on inventory. Marketing teams might also design custom landing pages for certain audiences, like college students or parents, and change the content to meet the customers’ needs.
Analytics and A/B testing could help you assess how various elements resonate with visitors. You can then use your findings to optimize the design and messaging on your landing page to inspire action from customers.
Customers might read blog posts about the company’s services, key industry topics or current client testimonials. For example, a pet trainer’s blog might include posts about training methods, common dog illnesses and rescue organizations. Remember to optimize blogs for SEO to increase visibility.
Blog posts can be effective top-of-funnel marketing opportunities because they give the customer answers or information about topics important to them, which can establish a company as a valuable resource. When it’s time for the customer to make a purchase, they may be more likely to buy from a company that has helped them understand a concept or answered a question they had.
Videos can be useful in top-of-funnel marketing because they’re highly visual resources. In a video, you can provide informational content, tell a story or highlight a product’s capabilities in a way that’s easy to understand. Videos are also convenient ways to show customers a company’s staff, logo or brand message. This is especially true if the video follows the company’s style guide and reflects the graphics used on the website.
Social media posts
Social media campaigns, posts and influencer partnerships can drive brand awareness and build a community. Social media managers can use tagging and comments to make the company’s logo and page details appear on other pages, increasing the number of people who see the brand. They may also choose the platforms based on their target audience and optimize their social media content based on the platform to maximize reach and impact.
On a company’s own social media account, social media managers might communicate with current or potential customers through messages and comments. Because you can embed links in social media posts, they can be effective ways to give viewers a call to action.