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March 20th, 2021 10 minute read

Fuel your Funnel

Let’s start from the beginning, what is a funnel? When it comes to marketing and sales, a funnel is used to outline your marketing or sales model. Think of it as a theoretical custom journey or road map that lists the different stages in the customer journey, the content and goals of each stage and the technology used. Funnels, although similar at their core, come in many different iterations, from three stage to eight stage or from top to bottom – one funnel, two funnel, red funnel, blue funnel.

Sales and marketing funnels should be unique to your organizations, goals and marketing objectives. There is a very loose definition of what a funnel should include but there is no one size fits all model. The images below are subsegment taken from a simple “Marketing Funnel” search on Google.

As you can see, depending on a number of variables, funnels can be extremely complex or fairly simple, depending on your individual needs.

Where to Start

Every funnel should be broken into three main sections:

  1. Top of Funnel (TOFU)
  2. Middle of Funnel (MOFU)
  3. Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)

In these three sections you will be focusing on different needs and your audience moves through the funnel. From a high level it should look something like this:

  1. Top of Funnel (TOFU) – Awareness
  2. Middle of Funnel (MOFU) – Consideration
  3. Bottom of Funnel (BOFU) – Conversion

Now you want to break these three sections into their individual parts. Below are some examples of different funnels. The minimum section should include:

  1. Top of Funnel (TOFU) – Awareness
    1. Brand awareness – website visitors
    2. Interest – conversions
  2. Middle of Funnel (MOFU) – Consideration
    1. Consideration – leads
    2. Intent – nurturing
    3. Evaluation – proposal
  3. Bottom of Funnel (BOFU) – Conversion
    1. Decision – pitch
    2. Purchase – complete

Those are the basics of a funnel, how it is created and what it consists of. It is important to note that depending on your buying or sales cycle, this can be longer or shorter to match your audience needs.

What Good is a Funnel?

A funnel is a tool and a tool needs a job to do! Now that you have a general outline of your funnel it is time to start filling it with both content and contacts. As a user moves through the funnel, the information (content) that they want or need will change, and therefore, you need to match your content with the needs of your audience as they move through the funnel. Typically, higher value content is used as a contact moves through the funnel. Below are a couple very high-level examples that highlight the purchasing journey.

Facebook ad > Google search > Blog consumption > White paper download (conversion) > Form fill for demo > Sales collateral (case study, pricing sheet) > Purchase

YouTube video > Browse website > Retargeting ad > Services page > Newsletter request > Newsletter > Download Annual Report > Email from sales > Demo > Purchase

As you can see, there are a number of ways that someone can move through your marketing funnel and make their way to sales as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). The content moves from being very informational and focused on the client pain points to sales focused as the contact moves through the funnel and becomes a lead. What do you think would have happen if we did not nurture the lead through the funnel and rather, skipped to the sales content? We likely would have lost them!

In order to fuel your funnel, you need to have a content development strategy that is focused around the user pain points — this is how you build initial trust with your audience, position yourself as a thought leader and nurture the relationship.

Content Ideas for Top of Funnel Marketing

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Photography
  • eBooks
  • Web pages
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Print

Congratulations — you have all of this amazing content, your team has been writing blogs for months, your designers and editors have audio podcasts, amazing images and videos… now what? How do you get this in front of your audience? Well, first, I hope you know who your audience is and where they spend most of their time. For this example, we will assume those are true! Where do you reach them? The lowest hanging fruit is sometimes the most delicious AKA prosperous.

  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization/digital advertising

I know, I know… there are no major revelations here, and that is for a reason — because it works. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t use them! The proof is in the pudding. Not only are these the best performing channels (depending on your audience) but they are the most congested — you have probably noticed this over the years. Now comes the important part: knowing your audience.

Know Your Audience

If you have a deep understanding of your target audience then your content, advertising and marketing efforts will cut through the noise and resonate with your audience. If not, you will get lost in the shuffle. It is probably not news to you, but there is an abundance of content available to the public and this is creating a congested space where only the highest value content makes it way to the top.

Understanding where to find your audience, what they want and how they consume content will be important for the success of your marketing campaigns. This can be done a number of ways but the most common strategies are to look at your historical data and create personal profiles from that and the other is to begin testing. If you are unable to find any historical data, start allocating your marketing budget to test different platforms, messaging and styles. Over time, you will be able to compile an accurate depiction of your audience. Pair this with any new business that comes from your marketing funnel and you will be well on your way to improved ROI.

Having a proper understanding of your audience will help you place your content and marketing channels within your marketing funnel and will help to move them through the buying journey. Do not get discouraged if you try something and it doesn’t work, this is part of your internal marketing journey, learn from these mistakes and optimize your campaigns from this data.

Your Ideal Funnel

With proper planning, testing and optimizations you will be able to create your ideal funnel that moves users through the buying process quickly and has a higher rate of return. Remember to create this journey based on your audience pain points and not your ideal journey. This process is made for your audience and should reflect their actions not your “idea” of their actions.

Map out your funnel, what content will be used and how it will be distributed, create a personal profile to better understand your audience and get your team onboard. Once these items have come together your funnel is built. It will be important to monitor your funnel over time to find any bottlenecks or areas that need attention. Optimization is key, as your business grows and the needs of your audience change, modify your funnel to reflect these variables!

Want to learn more? If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, feel free to reach out to me at