The thing is, not every lead can be treated the same way. Though they have all shown an interest in you, they may not be in the same part of the sales funnel journey. Their needs, wants, and goals may vary. Your ultimate goal is to get them excited about what the future holds with you. Your challenge is reaching them where they are at with what they want to hear.
ToFu, MoFu, BoFu?
ToFu, MoFu and BoFu are not different types of vegetarian options. Instead, they actually represent the different types of content needed to nourish leads in your sales funnel.
What is ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu content?
- ToFu: Top of the Funnel
- MoFu: Middle of the Funnel
- BoFu: Bottom of the Funnel
In a marketing sales funnel, leads often come in through demand generation efforts. Demand gen can be represented through advertisements, online demos, blog posts, or a (super long) list of other tools and strategies. Where a lead lives in your sales funnel depends on how close the lead is to converting, or buying from you.
“Your lead attraction and nurturing efforts should be organized to ensure you’re dishing up the right content for every phase of the buyer’s journey.” Frank Isca, Weidert
Top of the funnel (ToFu) content is part of the awareness stage. This is the first impression - so don’t mess it up. This is where a lead gets a sense of who you are, and where they decide if you’re cool. Your ToFu audience is extremely broad and, therefore, the furthest away from converting.
The nice thing about ToFu content is that you can attract a lot of leads that may not be ready just yet, but will eventually be ready. They can stay at this stage of the funnel indefinitely to be nurtured, or will eventually continue down the funnel and become a client.
The important part of this stage is getting some contact information. Think about it this way: it would be really hard to get a second date without a phone number. Because this is a customer we are talking about, if you can get a phone number, great! If not, an email address will do just fine.
Middle of the funnel (MoFu) content is the consideration stage. The middle of the funnel can be an uncertain place. Your lead will continue to engage with you and learn more about your product. The thing is, they still aren’t ready to commit to anything. You want to make sure they are progressively getting more and more into you.
The great thing about the middle of the funnel is by this point you have a better idea of who your lead is and what they are looking for or their unconsidered need. Your job in this stage is to let them know you are what they have been missing all along!
Let your lead know what kind of solutions you offer to their problems and why you are the best choice. Your lead is evaluating all of the information they have to solve their problems. They are weighing the pros and cons of all of their options, and really starting to think about their next steps.
For this reason, MoFu strategies should be content heavy. Keep passing information along, and work to increase engagement and develop that relationship.
Bottom of the funnel (BOFU) content is the decision stage—the moment of truth. This is mission-critical. You’d really rather not get rejected here.
After all, you’ve already forged a bond or relationship with your lead through excellent MoFu content. Now, your lead is going to look to you for specific information about the products that will solve their problems.
One key thing to remember is that even though you are trying to inspire a lead to convert at this stage, BoFu content should not be a direct sales pitch. Your lead still hasn’t committed to anything, and you could still scare them away by jumping into things like a pitch too quickly. You still want to prove that you’re here to help, not to sell.
BoFu content should let your lead know how great you are at what you do. Testimonials, case studies, and other reference content are great ways to prove your value. What you’ve done for others will get your lead excited about what they could have too.
Top 14 ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu Tips
Now that you have a good understanding of what ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu actually mean, it’s time to put them to use! Here are some of the most effective types of content for each “oFu” and the best practices to make them work for your company.
Top 5 ToFu Content Practices
Blogs are a great way to educate a wide audience and gain the trust of information-seekers in your field. By proving your expertise in a certain subject, you put yourself in a great position to get your audience to come to you the next time they have questions.
Blogs are extremely versatile pieces of content. They can be used as pillar content or supporting content, and broken up into microcontent. Blogs offer a world of opportunities to pull your audience in closer and really get to know you.
The key to using blogs as ToFu content is ensuring they are fully SEO-optimized. For your content to be easily found and widely read, it is important to do keyword research or use some helpful SEO plugins.
Information is easier to digest when it is presented visually. With the ever-decreasing attention spans of the internet age, it is important to get information across quickly. Neurologists have found people can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds.
Infographics are cool, creative, and can be used to increase your brand’s authority on a given subject. A key tip to remember is to use your brand theme and put your logo on the infographic. Not only will you communicate information more effectively with engaging images and data, but whenever your infographic is shared, your brand will continue to get more exposure.
Infographics can be used as a form of microcontent for a blog or video, or as plain stand-alone content. Infographics are good ToFu content as it quickly engages a wide audience.
3. Video Content
Video is becoming one of the most important pieces of content in the ToFu content game. For one, it is a lot easier to take in information with a video. Viewers are also 13% more likely to click on your link if you mention a video in the subject line or link descriptor. Additionally, video content earns 1200% more shares than text and images combined. Woah.
The other advantage of video is that it improves your SEO score, so you can reach an even wider audience and maximize valuable views.
- At the most fundamental level, video content is in step with what’s essentially Google’s main goal. Deliver highly relevant content that enhances the user’s experience online. As a result, when Google sees video, it rewards the page that hosts it.
- Video enhances your site's metrics around page sessions and bounce rate, both of which help significantly towards SEO.
- Video makes your content more shareable, and shares lead to backlinks—the backbone of increasing your rank.
4. Social Posting
Never underestimate the power of a great social media presence. A world of opportunity arises when you give a professional and sleek first impression on your LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or wherever your target audience lives.
The key here is to keep a regular posting schedule, post relevant content, develop a style and voice that you’ll stick with, and engage with your followers. It is common for social media to be considered as a highlight reel. Use this to your advantage and post high-quality content.
The first impression provided by social postings falls under ToFu content. Once followed and engaged with, your social platform can turn into a place to publish MoFu and BoFu content to followers.
5. Targeted Social Ads
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn all have some pretty great tools for audience targeting. From keyword targeting to look-alike audiences, with practice, you can gain the awareness of good quality prospects.
Like social posting, targeted ads can be used as ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu content, depending on the messaging used in the advertisements.
Advertising transcends the whole sales funnel. You could use it to generate interest, or you could use it to retarget and nurture leads.
Top 5 MoFu Content Practices
6. Email Campaigns
Email campaigns can be a great way to get your audience to fully acknowledge the problems they are having, AKA their unconsidered needs, and recognize that you have the solution. Remember, MoFu content is for the evaluation stage. If a lead believes that you understand their issues and pain points and have a feasible solution for them, no matter what kind of math you’re doing, the answer is going to be positive. The best practice for MoFu email campaigns is to continue nurturing them with content. Highlight the newest blogs, whitepapers, free templates, and anything else your lead can download and learn from.
7. Free Templates
Provide your audience with templates they can use. Examples of these can be checklists, tracking sheets, or even simple tools they may already have made, but better... or prettier. By doing so, potential customers feel like they are getting something practical. Free templates make your company look pretty great, too. After all, you are obviously successful with the template, therefore you’re being helpful by sharing it with the world. You are also solving one of your audience’s problems already. That’s a win—and a great way to keep pushing your lead through the sales funnel.
Whitepapers are an authoritative way to communicate the research that your company has done. These are great to put into email campaigns. When writing a whitepaper, use a professional yet conversational tone that can be easily quoted. Especially in the B2B space, companies will download whitepapers for DIY solutions or information to help them come up with strategies to operate more efficiently. Whitepapers are a great opportunity to share the solutions you offer, but make sure to place the focus on the research you’ve done, and avoid being too salesy—your leads are reading your whitepaper to learn, not to buy.
Your lead is in the evaluation stage. You want to show them you are the obvious choice to solve their problems, and prove that your competition doesn’t hold a candle to you. You have to be really careful with this one, though. If you make a competitor look bad, or sound too “braggy” yourself, it will reflect poorly on you. Use the power of emotional selling by telling your story and politely highlighting the limitations of your competitors. Comparing your company to others can be a great piece of MoFu content. On average, a buyer’s intent to purchase will increase by 22% after reading an effective comparative marketing piece.
Webinars are an awesome way to have real contact with a prospect, including time for conversation, questions, and interaction. The most successful webinars are intriguing. You want to find a way to have people follow through with attending after they sign up. Consider using leading questions in the description or title. Another tip is to highlight the host’s qualifications and achievement. If the host appears to be a leader in the field, people will be eager to learn from them. Finally, make sure your webinar is not too long. As mentioned before, attention spans are short and extremely precious. Webinars are considered MoFu content because they are for people who are already aware of you and are in the market to find solutions to their problems. This gives you a close-up chance to earn their trust and help them out in the consideration phase.
Top 4 BoFu Content Practices
11. Email Campaigns… Again?
You’re not experiencing deja vu, email campaigns were already mentioned in MoFu content. Email is one of those tools that can be used at any stage of the funnel.
The cool thing about “oFu” content is it is distinguished by the message more so than the type of content. To make email campaigns into BoFu content, it is a good idea to include a call to action. Add a button or link to book a demo or sign up for a free trial if that is something you offer. BoFu email content should help your lead turn into a buyer. You want to get them so excited about your solution to their problem that is at their fingertips.
Check out How to Create a Lead-Crunching Email Marketing Funnel to get your email campaigns to reach your leads where they’re at.
By the time you've reached the BOFU stage, your content should be geared towards guiding your prospects to take action. At this stage in the funnel, they know who you are and they understand the products and services that you offer a bit better. They simply need a push in the right direction. It's like a third date - you've wined them and dined them, and now you're ready to be exclusive.
12. Product Demos
To get a lead super excited about what you can offer them, you’re going to want to show them. Demos are a great way to do this. These can be video, webinar, or live demos.
The more your lead understands what you do, the more certain they will be about using your product. In the long run, this leads to longer retention because they knew what they were jumping into.
13. Case Studies and Testimonials
To get people to really want something, show them someone else's success. The proof is in the pudding when it comes to the influx in influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is all over social media today because it works. Companies are seeing the return on investment through increased brand awareness and in many cases, increased sales especially in the B2C space.
A similar concept can be applied to B2B marketing using case studies. By having case studies available for companies to see industry-related organizations experience success using the products and services your company offers, they will be able to more clearly visualize what they could have by working with you.
Case studies should be written in a way that is simple to understand and see the benefits, and relatable enough that the reader can put themselves in the shoes of the focus company.
14. Free Signup
The point of the sales funnel is to push the lead closer and closer to converting. Free signups are a great way to get the lead to convert without any financial commitment. Then, after they run out of their free trial or start to need premium features that have to be paid for, they already have their foot in the door and their interest piqued.
In all of the BoFu content that is sent out, it is worthwhile to have a call to action for a free signup. By signing up for free, it is a clear indication to the salespeople that there is interest and engagement; the perfect combination for a sale.
It is paramount to build a strategy that employs the different types of content to make sure you are reaching your leads where they stand.
Figure out what draws awareness and attention to your company, prove your worth to make the evaluation process a breeze, and then seal the deal with easy, actionable converting content.
The best part? When you get good a lead nurturing at different stages of the funnel, you will likely generate more leads! Forrester’s research shows companies generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost when they succeed at lead nurturing.
What are you waiting for?