B2B companies are always looking for new ways to increase lead generation and convert more leads into customers. How you approach marketing in B2B is different from the way it’s done in B2C industries. But one thing remains true for both: you’ve got to keep the pool of potential customers full so the odds of conversions are always in your favor. You can’t turn cold prospects into warm leads and nurture those leads into customers if you don’t have any prospects to begin with.
In this article we will explore how you can win more business with top-of-the-funnel marketing by integrating specific tactics in to your current marketing strategy.
A Refresher on the Marketing Funnel
It is important to understand what a marketing funnel (or sales funnel) actually is before we dive into how top-of-the-funnel tactics can help generate leads.
The marketing funnel refers to the journey a prospect takes from being unfamiliar with your company to becoming a customer. This process includes multiple touch points and channels designed to move the prospect through each phase of the funnel. There are 3 phases in the marketing funnel, each addresses different levels of awareness and utilizes appropriate channels and content types to lead a prospect to the next phase.
Three Phases of the Marketing Funnel
Let’s dig deeper into Phase 1 – top-of-the-funnel marketing.
What is Top-of-the-Funnel Marketing?
The top of the funnel marketing focuses on building awareness about your brand. In the phase your prospects are generally aware of a problem and actively looking to solve it. This is where their search for a solution begins.
Your job is to educate prospects about:
- your existence as a company or brand and
- how you can solve their problems.
Think of it as casting a wide net. Your goal is to get the most exposure at the lowest cost. Concentrate your efforts on optimizing your on-page and off-page SEO, creating content covering broad topics that may be of interest to your prospects, and running pay-per-click brand awareness campaigns.
Benefits of the Top of the Funnel Marketing
Getting your brand in front of potential clients is the main goal. All customers start with questions. Be there to provide answers. Deliver content on topics that your prospects are interested in and you will inevitably create value and cement a rightful place for your company at the top of your future customer’s minds.
In B2B, the sales cycle is long – on average it’s 3 months. There are many stakeholders involved in decision making. Don’t miss the opportunity to speak directly to different groups of stakeholders addressing their goals, pain points and hesitations.
Build Trust and Authority
A key benefit of top-of-the-funnel marketing is that it helps build trust and authority with potential customers. You are establishing yourself as an expert in your field, which will help change the perception of potential clients, making them more likely to work with you or even refer you to their friends and colleagues.
Efficient and Effective
Most of the content that you create for TOFU will be useful for many years. As more prospect enter the market looking for products and services that your company offers, your content will continue to be relevant.
This makes top-of-the-funnel content evergreen which means it can be reused saving you time and money. It also creates a snowball effect. The more potential customers visit your evergreen content the higher those pages start ranking in search engines. And the higher they rank, the more new visitors and potential clients they attract.
Most marketers do not focus their efforts on TOFU because it’s hard to measure and prove its effectiveness when the reporting time comes. For this reason, there’s a lot less competition at the top-of-the funnel which makes it easier to promote and rank new content.
Assets for Your Sales Team
To grow revenue consistently, it is imperative that the message you’re delivering to your future customers is the same no matter how it’s being delivered – through the website, social posts, email newsletter or a sales call.
The more educational and value-added content you create, the better informed your prospects will be before they even reach your sales team. This will drastically increase the chances of closing sales and therefore create more ROI.
Make sure that you collaborate with your sales team during content development. They hear questions from the first source – your customers. Create quick reference guides that answer common questions and provide links to top quality content so that your sales team can work smarter, not harder.
Strategies for Top-of-the-Funnel Marketing
There are many strategies to build a successful top-of-the-funnel marketing campaign. Below are some.
SEO is an essential component of any successful marketing campaign, but it shines through at the top of the funnel. You want search engine optimization to capture more b2b leads who are searching for what you have to offer. What searches are they performing? What questions are they asking that your products and services can answer? Having a strong SEO strategy is important for capturing quality leads at the top of the funnel.
A strong SEO strategy will include:
- Publishing a blog that has regular content updates;
- Linking to other authoritative sites;
- Building internal links from one page to another on your website;
- Analyzing search queries to create more content customers want.
Content marketing is all about sharing valuable content that helps educate your potential clients. This should be the focus of a top-of-the-funnel campaign as it will help build trust and educate prospects on who you are and what you have to offer.
You can share content on your website by developing evergreen pages and publishing blog articles on various topics. You can start a podcast or a video blog on sites like YouTube or Vimeo. You can run social media campaigns and share infographics, e-books, white papers, case studies, etc. A great way to gain links from established authoritative websites is guest blogging and participating on Q&A platforms like Quora.
Content marketing has been a proven strategy for helping build trust with prospects. You want them to feel like you understand their goals and pains and you are the expert who can deliver solutions.
Paid advertising is another opportunity to put your brand in front of thousands of prospective customers. You can advertise on all major search engines and target potential clients using paid social media ad platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. You will find that some platforms produce better results than others based on your audience’s demographic characteristics.
Organic Social Media
Organic social media marketing will help you build a stronger following. The more followers you gain the bigger your pool of prospects. For B2B in particular, LinkedIn has proven to be the most effective. However, you should not dismiss Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as other platforms. Pay attention to what type of content gets the most engagement on these platforms and optimize future content to match those needs.
The top of the funnel is a critical component of any marketing and sales strategy. For your company’s message to resonate with buyers, you need an effective plan that starts at the beginning of their purchasing process, and the top of the funnel marketing does this perfectly. Reach out today to discuss your goals with our team of digital marketing experts.