How to Build a Strong Foundation for Lead Generation With Top of Funnel Marketing

How to Build a Strong Foundation for Lead Generation With Top of Funnel Marketing

By Joel Widmer | Lead Generation

Mar 21
A graphic of a funnel with people at the top and a dollar sign at the bottom representing how top of funnel marketing works.

Back in January, when you mounted your new calendar for the year, you may have penned some resolutions for yourself and your business. I’m guessing expanding your reach and attracting new leads made the list.

If the statistics are right, most of us have already abandoned the bulk of our new year’s resolutions by now — because making big changes is HARD. But that doesn’t mean every resolution is destined for the recycle bin. In fact, getting more eyeballs on your brand may be the simplest resolution you made for this year.

With strong top of funnel marketing, you can do it in your sleep.

What Does ‘Top of Funnel’ Mean in Marketing? 

What is “top of funnel,” anyway?

If a marketing funnel is all the steps a customer takes on their path toward a purchase, then the top of the funnel, or TOFU, is exactly what it sounds like: the initial stage of the buyer’s journey in that marketing funnel. It’s where potential customers first become aware of a brand, product, or service.

The top of the funnel plays a crucial role in generating leads and building brand recognition. It’s the point where companies create a first impression and initiate the process of converting prospects into customers.

TOFU — the “top of funnel” acronym, not the spongy food — is distinguished by its broad audience, general messaging, and low commitment. Its primary objective is to capture the attention of a wide range of potential customers and pique their interest in learning more about your brand or product.

Top of funnel content should be​​​​​​​ engaging, informative, and provide value to the reader. It should focus on introducing people to your product or service in an easily digestible way that encourages further engagement and conversion.

Infographic: How to Build a Strong Foundation for Lead Generation With Top of Funnel Marketing

Examples of Top of Funnel Marketing Content

Some examples of top of funnel marketing content include…

  • Blog posts. Educational blog posts are a great way to introduce readers to your brand or product. A blog post is an opportunity to highlight the benefits of your product and show potential customers why it’s worth learning more about.
  • Videos. Videos are a powerful way to capture attention and engage audiences quickly. Use videos to showcase products, deliver helpful tutorials, and/or provide an entertaining introduction to your brand or concept. 
  • Infographics. Infographics are an easily digestible, visually appealing way to present complex information. They’re especially useful for quickly conveying data points or statistics, and can be shared across multiple channels. 
  • Case studies. Case studies provide potential customers with a detailed look at how your product or service has been used successfully by other people or organizations. They demonstrate the real-life applications of your product or service and help users to visualize it as a viable solution for their own needs.

How to Ensure Effective Top of Funnel Marketing

Ensuring your top of funnel marketing is effective isn’t just about creating content — it’s also about getting a structure in place so your TOFU marketing efforts can thrive.

Publishing top of funnel content won’t make much practical impact for your brand until you have the following in place:

Lead Capture Strategy 

If you’re attracting prospects to enter your funnel, you need a strategic way to capture their contact information so you can keep them moving forward on the journey. Tactics include lead magnets, content upgrades, or anything else of high perceived value that you can offer in exchange for an email address.

Examples of lead magnets include e-books, whitepapers, webinars, and checklists.

Clear Calls-to-Action on Every Page 

Your website should have clear, compelling calls-to-action (CTAs) that prompt visitors to take a specific action on every page — and I mean every page. You never want to leave a prospect guessing what to do next. CTAs should be relevant to the content on the page and designed to move visitors further down the marketing funnel.

Landing Pages

Landing pages are designed specifically to capture leads and convert visitors into customers. They should be optimized for conversion and have clear, concise content that aligns with your top of funnel messaging.

You can optimize landing pages for specific keywords in your industry or niche to pull in organic traffic from Google and other search engines, or you can attach each one to a relevant paid ad.

Social Proof

Social proof is one of the fastest ways to build trust with new visitors and increase conversions. It’s one thing for you to say you’re the best, but it’s another for four of your customers to extol your greatness for you. This builds trust a lot faster than you bragging about yourself.

Remember, top of funnel marketing addresses people who are encountering your business for the very first time. Your goal is to build trust with them as quickly as possible.

Metrics and Tracking

Analytics are essential for tracking the success of your top of funnel marketing campaigns. Having the right tools and people in place allows you to accurately measure website traffic, conversion rates, and engagement.

Side Effects of Top of Funnel Traffic

Top of funnel traffic, while crucial for generating leads and building brand awareness, can have both positive and negative effects on your website’s metrics. Make sure your team knows to expect the following side effects:

Increased Traffic

One of the positive effects of TOFU traffic is an increase in website visits. Effective TOFU strategies can bring in a wide array of visitors, which increases your overall website traffic. Higher traffic is generally a good thing for your website and can improve your SEO ranking.

Higher Bounce Rate 

Because TOFU traffic isn’t as targeted as traffic generated further down the funnel (which we’ll cover in a later post), it can result in a higher bounce rate.

This may seem like a negative result, but don’t panic. Since bounce rate is simply the percentage of visitors who leave your website without engaging, it makes sense that the rate would increase as you draw in a broader swathe of traffic.

And that’s just fine. The faster your website grows organically, the higher your bounce rate will probably be.

Remember, top of funnel marketing casts a wide net. Not everyone you catch will be the perfect buyer, and they’ll realize it quickly. But the perfect buyers you do catch will be worth the bounce rate.

Lower Conversion Rates 

Visitors at the top of the funnel are still in the early stages of the buyer journey and aren’t yet ready to convert. This means TOFU traffic will have a lower conversion rate compared to traffic further down the funnel. 

However, effective TOFU strategies will help your audience self-qualify in the later stages of the funnel. So even though your TOFU traffic may have a lower conversion rate, those who do convert are more likely to be high-quality leads.

Top of Funnel Marketing: Final Thoughts

If your greatest aspiration is to find new, high-quality clients for your business, focus on the top of your marketing funnel. That’s where the buyer journey begins, and it’s crucial for generating leads, building brand awareness, and establishing yourself as an industry leader. Once you establish a connection, you can court those leads and convert them into lifelong clients.

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About the Author

Joel Widmer is the Founder & CEO of Fluxe Digital Marketing—a content marketing shop that helps smart businesses create, produce and promote their content through a unique one-on-one interview process. When he’s not working, Joel can be found trying new restaurants with his wife, son, and daughter.

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