Your business’s inbound marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum and this is true for your content as well. Remember, your content is an integral part of your inbound strategy, which in turn is a critical component of your marketing strategy that must build solid MQLs or Marketing Qualified Leads. And, a large percentage of these leads must convert into SQLs or Sales Qualified Leads. These phrases and the processes they describe are integral to your sales enablement strategy.
So, the question now is what are TOFU, MOFU and BOFU?
The terms stand for Top of the Funnel, Middle of the Funnel and Bottom of the Funnel, and are used to denote the different stages of the buyer’s journey.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Think of this as the problem-solving stage from a buyer’s perspective. At this stage, they are trying to find a solution for a problem or looking for a product/service that meets their specific need. Their primary objective is research, and getting all the information they need to zero in on a solution.
From a lead perspective, they don’t really have a lot of value, and you don’t know whether they are going to be your customer or not. So, all you can do is keep trying to ensure that these would-be customers see your business as a solutions provider, that is, who is taking pains to answer the questions they have with respect to their search for a solution. What you are trying to do is attract visitors to your website via information sharing. At the TOFU stage, you are helping them find you, through keyword-rich content.
This content can be website blogs, guest blogs, infographics and anything and everything that can attract more website traffic. The key here is to ensure that your audience is able to come across your content assets and website. This means you need to optimize your posts for search engines. Also, you need to start creating some noise around them so that your audience is able to “hear” this content. Leverage social media and other forms of promotion (paid or otherwise) to attract attention to your TOFU content.
However, this is just the first step of your inbound strategy. Your next step is to convert this traffic into meaningful leads. This is where MOFU enters the picture.
Alright, so all those fantastic blogs you wrote are bringing in a huge number of visitors to your site. However, they are just visitors. You don’t know if they are actually going to become your customers. For all you know, they are visiting your competitors’ site as well.
Ideally, your next step will be to start converting these ambiguous leads into qualified leads. This is the most important step in your inbound marketing plan, and is a critical stage of your sales funnel. Here, you want to sift through your leads and focus attention on all those leads that can convert.
Your prospects have identified the kind of solution, they need to address their problem and have actively started searching for the right solution. They are now committed to buying a product or using a service, which means they are ready to convert into a qualified lead.
You now need to go one step ahead in terms of helping them make a decision in favor of your products or services. They are not looking for buyer education, but content that tells them why your product or service is better than the rest. You should, therefore, start creating the kind of content you can gate. This has a two-fold advantage. The first is that you know the visitors are really interested in your product/service because they have downloaded the content asset, that illustrates product/service efficacy. Secondly, you can also capture the necessary information through the conversion form. This allows you to create an email opt-in list that is critical for your email marketing campaign.
So, which are the content assets that work in the MOFU stage? The answer is whitepapers, case studies, research reports, product comparisons, solution briefs, product guides, quadrants and more along the same lines.
You now have a better idea of which prospects have a better chance of converting into your customers. And this is where the BOFU strategy comes into play, because this is also where your leads actually convert into customers.
This is make or break!
Your leads are now right at the bottom of the sales funnel. The buyer wants to buy, but will the buyer buy from you or someone else? That is the question. And the answer lies in nudging your buyer to make the right decision – that is achieving a positive purchase outcome for your business.
But you don’t have a lot of time. This is the stage when your competitors will also be trying to convince the same lead to buy their product or service.
Go for the jugular. Pitch offers to your leads. This could be a discount offer, a free quote offer with sales meeting thrown in for good measure, free trial or even a free audit. It could be anything that captures their mindshare enough so that they buy or try your solution.
But, remember they still haven’t made a decision. They are not yet ready to buy. According to an Accenture study, more than half that is 57% of the buyers are well on their way through the buying process, before they even think about meeting a sales representative. You don’t want to really put pressure on them to buy your products by inundating them with offers. The conversion chances are slim, in such cases.
No, you don’t leave things hanging. You simply cannot afford to do that. Keep making a case for your product/service. E.g. you can start sending them content that highlights the tangible returns from using your products. This is decision-centric content. Assets like vendor comparison, product mapping, highly-detailed case studies that cover the solutions process and more need to be clubbed with your offers to ensure the best results.
Your content should be a mix of MOFU and BOFU to achieve high ROI.
While TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU stages do not run in tandem, but their core objective is to build a repository of sales qualified leads, and which actually bring in sales. So, get your TOFU, MOFU, BOFU right and experience the impact in the form of improved business profitability. Contact us to get started.
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