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Digital Marketing 12 min read

The Galactic Fed Guide to Top of Funnel Marketing

Ayesha Renyard photo

Written by Ayesha Renyard

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 23 Dec 2021

When it comes to marketing, it’s hard not to prioritize the campaigns that’ll drive conversions. After all, that’s every business’ endgame, right? 

How do we get sales? How do we get signups? How do we get leads? 

All fair questions. 

But in order to get sales, signups, and leads, you need to warm up your prospects first. 

In the marketing world, we help visualize this process through the marketing funnel. The marketing funnel reflects your customer’s journey with you—from learning about your business to the purchasing stage.

Top, Middle, and Bottom of the funnel by Brand Evangelists.

Source: Web Ascender

To push them to the bottom of the funnel where they convert, they need to pass through the top of the funnel. It works a lot like dating. You wouldn’t pop the question on a first date, right? You’d work towards building a connection first. 

Think of what you typically say on a first date. You introduce yourself and share things that’ll help them understand who you are—your personal brand. You’re there to catch their interest and make them want to learn more about you.

That’s the same goal for top-of-funnel (TOFU) marketing. 

Does creating a top-of-funnel marketing strategy make you as nervous as going on a first date? Then you’re in the right place. 

As part of our Digital Marketing Series, here’s your trusty guide to creating a top-of-funnel marketing strategy that’ll make your prospects swoon. 

But First—What’s Top-of-Funnel Marketing?

Before we dive into creating a top-of-funnel strategy, let’s discuss what it is in greater detail. 

As I mentioned, “top of funnel” describes the upper portion of the marketing funnel. Here, you’re talking to your widest audience—most of which have never seen your brand before. 

It’s where you and your prospects first meet, so it’s essential to make a good first impression—and a lot of that boils down to your brand strategy. 

Your brand strategy and top-of-funnel marketing tactics go hand-in-hand—and should focus on these three B’s:

  • Brand visibility: The rate at which your target audience sees your brand through various marketing channels like social media, search engines, and more. 
  • Brand recognition: The ability of consumers to identify your brand through visual or auditory cues, such as logos and slogans, rather than being explicitly exposed to your company name. 
  • Brand awareness: The ability to build a deeper connection with your audience. At this point, they understand what makes your company different from and better than your competitors. This level of connection is where you want to get your prospects. Take a look at this quick video to learn more about it. 

What is brand awareness and how to build it?

To hit these three B’s, you not only need a stellar brand—but a solid top-of-funnel marketing strategy to promote it. You could be the biggest catch on Tinder, but people will only swipe right if you’ve got a profile to match. 

Tip #1: Create a Buyer Persona 

A strong top-of-funnel strategy should build a connection with your target audience. To do that, you need to focus on them. Who are they? What are they looking for? Why would they want your product or service? 

It’s like finding commonalities on a first date. Rather than blabbing about yourself all night, you should try to find things they’ll want to talk about as well.

Not sure where to start? We recommend creating a buyer persona. 

A buyer persona is fictional, but it represents real people: your customers. It’s a detailed outline of who is researching, buying, and sharing your product. Think about their personal and professional information, goals and challenges, and where they are. It’s also helpful to define who they are not.

Buyer persona starter questions.

Source: Algorithmic Global

You can create a few buyer personas—but no more than that. If you cast too wide of a net, you’ll struggle to move folks into the marketing funnel. 

When done right, it can have a significant impact on your ROI. A recent survey conducted by Act-On showed some staggering results of having an identified buyer persona:

  • a 900% increase in length of visit on the webpage
  • a 171% increase in marketing-generated revenue
  • a 111% increase in email open rate
  • and a 100% increase in the number of pages visited.

So, create that buyer persona! Then, you can gear your top-of-funnel marketing content to the right people.

Tip #2: Create High-Quality Content 

Powerful content will be the vehicle for your top-of-funnel marketing strategy. But it’s not just any ol’ content—there are specific types of content best suited for this point of the customer journey. 

At the top of the funnel, your content should address the customer problem: What are their pain points? Why would they be searching for your product? 

Sometimes, your target audience might not even realize they have a problem. Perhaps you sell subscriptions for a sleep sounds app. Your target audience may be experiencing anxiety, restlessness, and headaches but haven’t connected it to lack of sleep. You’ll want to create content that makes that connection for them. You’ll want to build problem awareness. 

The 5 stages of awareness.

Source: Growthmarketer

Once they’re problem aware, you can start promoting your product or service as the solution to their problem. (Experiencing headaches and restlessness? Perhaps you’re not getting enough sleep. Try our sleep sounds app for longer, better sleep—and say goodbye to mental stress.)

It also helps to do keyword research to see how your customers articulate their problems. 

For TOFU marketing, focus on informational queries. The search intent here is to explore or understand something—and that’s exactly what TOFU audiences are doing. “What is,” “why is,” or “how to” are all classic keyword modifiers for informational queries. 

Okay, now that we understand that top-of-funnel marketing focuses on the customer problem and solution, what types of content will convey this best? 

Comprehensive Top, middle, and bottom of the funnel.

Source: SpyFu

Blog articles, infographics, podcasts, social media content, and informative videos are all well-suited for top-of-funnel marketing content. 

When you can, try optimizing this content according to the keyword research you did earlier. If you see a lot of prospects searching up, “does lack of sleep lead to restlessness?” then target that longtail keyword in your content. Because at the end of the day, they’re looking for what will serve them. The more clear, direct value you bring, the better. 

Tip #3: Leverage Social Channels 

Once you’ve created your top-of-funnel content, you’ll need channels to distribute it. Social media channels offer the perfect landscape for TOFU marketing. Here’s why: 

  • Your reach is incredibly wide: With millions of users on social media platforms, you have plenty of opportunities to reach folks that would be interested in your product or service. And if you create something worth sharing, you can leverage word-of-mouth marketing and tap into their networks. 
  • It’s a chance to build credibility: Unlike other media channels, social platforms allow you to humanize your brand and build trust among new audiences. 
  • They’re free to use: While you can pay to advertise on social media channels, most platforms are free to use. Cost-effective? Sign us up. 

6 benefits of social media marketing.

Source: TechNexa 

Sounds pretty appealing, hey? Let’s dig into this opportunity further. 

First, you need to identify which social channels to use. These answers lie in the research you initially did for your buyer personas. If you’re selling B2B, you’ll want to leverage LinkedIn. If you’re targeting Gen Z, you may want to look into TikTok marketing

You’ll then need to do some work building up your followers. If you’re starting from scratch, take a look at your competitors’ pages and start engaging their followers.

Once you have a substantial following, start posting all that awesome content you created. You’ll need to present it in a way that shows its value. Typically, there are two routes to take here: make it educational or entertaining (or better yet, both). 

It’s important to remain active on your channels and interact with your followers when they show your posts some love. (A personalized comment indicates that there’s a human on the other side of the screen—and that’s important for building connection.)

A sure sign that your followers find your content valuable and relatable is when they share it with their own networks. If you’re linking to another piece of content, ensure the link is simple and sharable. We recommend gamifying your content through contests, quizzes, or polls to boost shareability. (Plus, a prize never hurt anyone.)

When it comes to TOFU marketing, don’t take your brand too seriously. We’ve all seen what goes viral these days. While you want to drive value, do it in a way that’s engaging, entertaining, and shareable. Have fun, experiment, and see what sticks.

Tip #3: Leverage Paid Media 

Paid media is undeniably effective—but it’ll cost you. Luckily, top-of-funnel campaigns targeting high-volume informational queries are a lot more affordable than bottom-funnel campaigns, where advertisers battle over specific high-intent keywords. 

We recommend setting up target audiences to make the most of your paid campaigns. Just like when you set up an online dating profile, create those restrictions upfront. (You only want to mingle with dog lovers? Then here’s your chance to say so.) 

2 audience definitions.

Source: Medium 

For example, if you’re advertising through Facebook Ads, you can define your audiences according to specific criteria, like demographics and interests. You can also set up “lookalike audiences,” which are folks who exhibit the same interests and behaviors as your already-established best customers. You can also set up retargeting campaigns to target prospects who interact with your ads, content, or website.

What are some best practices when it comes to PPC ad content?

  • Keep copy to a minimal: Short, snappy copy is best-suited for ads. Keep headlines value-driven and direct. We recommend only a few words on the creative asset itself if any. Remember, many of these ads will be seen on a small mobile screen. 
  • Incorporate video: Video content is the most engaging type of content—according to LearnHub, video is 1200% more successful than both image and text content combined. If you can incorporate short videos into your ads, we highly recommend it!

Ready to Take Your Prospects on a First Date?

And just like that, you’re on your way to setting up a successful top-of-funnel strategy that’ll drive prospects through your funnel and closer to conversion. In dating terms, you’ll be walking down the aisle in no time.  

SEO and paid media certainly play a role in TOFU marketing. So if you need a hand, we have teams of specialists ready to help. 

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Ayesha Renyard photo

Ayesha Renyard

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed