Using Top of Funnel Marketing to Catch Your Audience’s Attention
What catches your audience’s attention? What perks their ears up and makes them want to know more?
Top of funnel (TOFU) marketing is the subset of marketing tactics designed specifically to catch the attention of new audience members. It’s the snazzy hook sentence to your novel—the one that makes people turn the page and read what’s next.
Compelling top of funnel marketing is how you attract new leads to your business.
TOFU strategies are designed to draw people in, engage their interest, and ignite the desire to learn more about your business. It’s all about catching people at the top of your marketing funnel, so you can guide (funnel) them along the path to purchase.
Let’s dive into the marketing funnel and how top of funnel marketing can help you attract the attention of your target audience.
Understanding the Digital Marketing Funnel
The digital marketing funnel is a structure used to describe the process of finding new consumers and turning them into loyal customers. The funnel shape illustrates the journey of starting with a large pool of potential customers that get funneled down to a smaller number. These are the ones who will hopefully convert and become customers.
Each business may uniquely label the stages, but all funnels have three overarching stages:
- Top of the funnel: This represents people who are just becoming aware of your brand. The goal of top of funnel (TOFU) marketing is to attract new leads into the funnel and start them on the path to becoming a customer.
- Middle of the funnel: This represents people who are already aware of and interested in your brand but are not ready to become customers yet. The goal of the middle of the funnel marketing is to nurture or guide these leads to the bottom of the funnel (purchasing and buying), by providing valuable information about how your product or service can meet their needs.
- Bottom of the funnel: This represents people who are highly interested in your product or service and are very close to making a purchase. The goal of bottom of the funnel marketing is to strengthen your relationship with these leads to help them feel ready to take action. This step leads to making a purchase and crossing the finish line to become a customer.
Some marketing teams split these into further sub-stages (such as the Awareness Stage, Research Stage, Evaluation Stage, Decision Stage, and more). The goal is to tailor your marketing content to the stage an audience member is in, to deliver the right information at the right moment to guide them forward in the funnel.
What is Top of the Funnel Content?
Content produced for top of funnel (TOFU) marketing is catered to raising awareness about your brand, making a positive and memorable first impression, and engaging people’s interest so they continue interacting with your brand.
Strong top of funnel content catches attention and creates a good impression quickly. It often takes the form of bright, engaging visuals, catchy or snappy copy, and brief, easily digestible video or audio.
Shorter is better because you generally have eight seconds or less to capture the attention of your audience before they move on. This means you need to hook them in just a few words, a few snippets of a video, or a single image.
The top of the marketing funnel is not the place or time to be describing your product or service in great depth. This is the time to simply grab their attention in a way that makes them excited to see more.
Top of funnel content is often successful when it leverages emotion, humor, or relatability to make people feel connected to your brand right away. This content may be short, but it requires a lot of creative thought and skill to craft something that makes a lasting, memorable impression in just a few seconds.
Examples of top of funnel content include:
- Social media posts
- Blog posts
- Television ads
- Podcast ads
- Online quizzes and polls
How to Catch Your Audience’s Attention with Top of Funnel Marketing Content
Top of funnel marketing isn’t just about catching your audience’s eye at the entrance of your business; it’s about enticing them to walk through the door (literally or metaphorically!). Here are some strategic marketing tips for catching your audience’s attention with top of funnel content:
1. Use eye-catching visuals
Humans are incredibly skilled at taking in visual information. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it can process text. What does this mean for marketers? Visually appealing content is a strong way to grab the attention of your audience quickly and create a memorable impression.
For top of funnel marketing campaigns, incorporate bold colors, stark contrast, or otherwise stunning images that cause the brain to stop and look. A picture that conveys a deep or relatable emotion can stick with your audience long after they’ve scrolled past.
2. Seek to entertain and evoke emotion
As you move lower in the marketing funnel, it will eventually be worthwhile to present your audience with rational, detailed content that explains how well your product or service fits their needs. But at the top of the funnel, you don’t have the luxury of time for long explanations and rationale.
Top of funnel content is about creating emotion quickly. The feeling that you leave your audience with after reading a sentence or seeing an image will resonate with them as the first association with your brand. Make them laugh. Catch them by surprise. Pull on their heartstrings. Connect with their values.
When you create an emotional experience, your audience will not only be more likely to remember you but also be more invested in your brand.
3. Relate to your audience’s specific needs
Top of funnel content can succeed by evoking any emotion, from happiness and laughter to sadness or nostalgia. However, your top of funnel campaign is likely to be more successful if you connect the emotional experience to your audience’s particular needs or pain points.
Think about the problem your product or service solves for your target audience. Tailor your top of funnel content to poke at that problem. Develop content that makes your audience feel seen, heard, and understood.
This is what will take your top of funnel content from simply making them pause in their social media scrolling, to enticing them to click to learn more about your brand.
4. Offer value
While some top of funnel content succeeds by being entertaining, funny, or emotional, campaigns can also succeed by delivering value to your audience.
Offer advice and expertise through a free e-book or webinar that people can sign up for by providing their contact information. Give a discount with a special coupon or limited-time offer if they sign up for your marketing email list.
These value-added pieces of content are called lead magnets because they draw leads in that you can then nurture with further marketing. The right lead magnet is a strong top of funnel strategy to attract people who are already primed to be interested in your products and services.
5. Strive for shareability
A social media post that makes you laugh is somewhat memorable. A social media post that makes you laugh so hard that you send it to your friend so they can enjoy it with you is far more memorable.
When you’re building your top of funnel content, think about what will make your content worth sharing with someone else. A piece of content that’s funny or emotional while sharing value is primed for sharing.
Infographics are often praised as a highly sharable form of content. The right mix of humor, relatability, and visual appeal can take a piece of content from ‘good’ to ‘worth spending’ the extra time to send this to a friend.
Highly sharable content is not only more likely to be remembered, but it also has the added benefit of casting a wider net and helping to attract more leads.
6. Invite your audience to participate
People are more likely to remember something when they get involved. This is one reason that shareability is a key factor in top of funnel marketing; by sharing your content, your audience has now participated in interacting with your brand.
Two other key strategies used to get your audience more directly involved are user-generated content and influencer marketing.
User-generated content refers to content created by your audience and then shared or published through your brand. This may take the form of reaching out to ask your audience to share their opinion on something or answer a particular question and then sharing their answers publicly in branded content.
You may also ask existing customers to share a testimonial or story of their experience with your brand. User-generated content is often successful for the top of funnel because people feel more trust in information that comes from fellow consumers.
In a similar vein, influencer marketing involves building mutually beneficial relationships with consumers who have large followings online and are willing to promote or recommend your brand.
Both methods involve your audience more directly in your marketing efforts and lend your brand additional trust and credibility in the eyes of new leads.
Top of Funnel Marketing Metrics
How do you know if your top of funnel marketing content is working? Is your flashy video grabbing people’s attention? Did anyone share your infographic with their networks?
Here are some key metrics to track to measure the success of your top of funnel marketing.
- Impressions: This number refers to how often a digital piece of content is shown to users (the higher the number, the more times your content appeared in front of people). It’s helpful to measure impressions compared to other metrics, such as clicks, to see what percentage of people who see your content take action.
- Reach: Reach reflects the number of unique people who have seen your content. For example, your social media post may have 100 impressions for the month, meaning it was shown 100 times in the past month, but if that post appeared 100 times in just one person’s feed, it only had a reach of 1. A higher reach means that you are casting a wider net. Your content is reaching more people online.
- Web traffic: This number measures how many people visited your website in a defined window. If your top of funnel content links back to your website or directs viewers to visit it, then you should expect to see your web traffic rise month over month.
- Bounce rate: This reflects the number of people who land on your website and leave without taking any other action or viewing any other pages. Its purpose is to gauge how well your content entices people to continue interacting with your brand.
- Most marketers aim for a low bounce rate on their website pages, though it’s important to consider the context of the webpage when it comes to this metric. For example, if you see a high bounce rate on your webpage that answers common customer issues when logging into your platform, it may indicate that when your audience lands on this page, they find the answer to their question and leave satisfied! If you see a high bounce rate on a sales page for your service, it may indicate that people aren’t feeling compelled to buy.
Top of Funnel Marketing is Your Brand’s Hook – Now It’s Time to Reel Them In
Remember that top of funnel marketing is the shiny hook that attracts people to your content and makes them excited to know more. However, you still need good mid-funnel and bottom of the funnel content to nurture these new leads and convert them into customers.
The digital marketing funnel doesn’t stop there. It’s important to continue marketing to your audiences, even after they’ve become customers. This helps to strengthen brand loyalty and turn those customers into positive advocates for your brand. With the right strategy, those loyal customers can be instrumental in helping you hook new leads!