Operation Funnel Cake: Top of the Funnel Marketing

When you walk by the funnel cake stand at a country fair, the alluring smell draws you in.  It is nearly irresistible and without conscious thought, you move towards it.  Creating a successful top-of-the-funnel marketing campaign works in much the same way.  Like that heavenly smell, the purpose of your campaign is to draw your target audience in.

Funnel Marketing is a term used to describe the buyer’s journey from awareness to consideration to decision.  Top of the Funnel Marketing efforts are meant to bring potential customers into the “funnel” by creating awareness of the products or services the company offers.  In your marketing efforts, success is more easily achieved when you are able to show how you can alleviate a specific problem or pain point for your target customers.

A recipe for success includes creating a strategy and then implementing tactics through various marketing channels. With a clearly defined strategy including a sound understanding of your target audience, you can whip up a tasty campaign that will draw them in.

Ingredients Make All the Difference

Putting together a successful Top of the Funnel campaign requires just the right mix of ingredients. Don’t skimp, and don’t leave anything out!

It is very important to take the time to identify and “flesh out” your target audience persona.  This semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer is based on data and research. 

Properly identified, a persona will help you focus your time on qualified prospects, and allow you to guide content development to suit the needs of your target customers.

Pain equals need and is the highest consideration of your customers in their buying journey.  Pain trumps having a designated budget.  Simply because someone has purchasing authority does not guarantee a sale.  However, being able to solve a problem through a purchase is highly motivating for a buyer.

Clearly defining the pain points of your potential customers and being able to provide viable solutions to solve that pain are essential to a successful campaign.

If your content is not showing up in search results, your target audience is not able to consume it.  Take the time to research which long-tail keywords are most effective for the content you are providing.  Moz and Google Ad Words are both excellent tools to use.

There are several options to choose from when creating a value-add offering:

  • Whitepaper
  • Checklist
  • Infographic
  • How-To Video
  • Kit or Tool
  • Ebook or Tip Sheet
  • Webinar

Knowing and understanding why the value-add content makes a truly compelling offer makes it easy to craft the perfect CTA.

What makes a CTA Effective?  

  • Grabs the audience’s attention
  • Makes a single, specific request
  • Presents a clear path forward
  • Motivates readers to click

Try A/B Testing to optimize your CTAs.

The landing page is the vehicle used to collect data from your potential customers.  Members of your audience that are interested in what you offer will provide contact information in exchange for the “downloadable nugget of value.”

Collecting this data moves those who fill out the form further down the funnel.  In the middle of the funnel, they begin the consideration stage, where people are ready to research whether or not your product or service is a good fit for them.

The landing page can be connected to your CRM, and/or to an email platform such as Mailchimp.  When a potential customer completes the form, an email including the “downloadable nugget” as an attachment or URL link, is sent to the email address they provide.  

This is an opportunity to thank them for their interest and provides another touchpoint in their buyer’s journey.  In the email you can also direct them to your contact page or to additional content on your website, providing more information to influence their decision.

Along with the initial thank you, you can program additional emails to be sent periodically to remain “top of mind.”  These should be short, to the point, and include a CTA.  Don’t overdo it!  Like indiscriminately adding too much salt, you will spoil the recipe.

Blog posts are ideal pieces of content that target potential customers at the awareness stage. When you target a pain point, problem, or another topic your target audience wants to learn about, you are creating a brand asset that is discoverable by search engines.  

Blog posts can also be promoted across social media in bite-sized chunks, allowing you to repurpose content and get more bang for your buck.

Create snack-sized snippets from your blog with attention-grabbing graphics or video clips.  Social media posts should pose questions that engage your audience, or drive traffic to your website or landing page.

Posts are a great way to show brand authenticity and develop trust.

No one likes a recipe that produces something bland and boring. Spice up your posts by adding audience-appropriate humor. Sprinkle commentary or videos that are funny, thought-provoking, or entertaining throughout your content calendar.

Creating successful marketing campaigns requires research, resources, knowledge, and lots of time.  You can’t simply whisk everything together, toss it in the oven and forget about it.  Testing, analytics, responding to social conversations, and well-informed course corrections are crucial to achieving your long-term marketing goals.

Download our Top of the Funnel Marketing Mix Recipe Now!