A “marketing funnel” or “sales funnel” is essentially a visualization of a typical buyer’s journey. It starts from the top at the funnel’s widest point and gradually descends through a narrow shape. The bottom represents a purchase or conversion from a website visitor to a paying customer.
Many different organizations have come up with lots of ways to represent the marketing funnel and its metaphor. But here are the basics:
Note that customers don’t have to enter the funnel at the top; these days, customers can enter at practically every point of the funnel. Here are some examples:
Although bottom-of-funnel customers are nice, you’ll need to spend most of your marketing time focusing on top-of-funnel marketing to draw in most new customers and to expand your audience base.
To better illustrate why top-of-funnel marketing is important and how it works, let’s explore a classic buyer’s journey scenario from start to finish.
As you see from the above example, the customer went through each stage of the customer journey. But it all started with top-of-funnel marketing: social media ads and engagement convinced them to give the bespoke apparel brand a try.
Top-of-funnel marketing is any marketing designed specifically to start the buyer’s journey for as many people as possible. It’s the broadest type of marketing, and it includes marketing both to people who are already aware of your brand and to people who may not know that your company exists at all.
A major goal of top-of-funnel marketing is building brand awareness and trust over time. In this way, consumers organically progress down the sales funnel and don't feel pressured or annoyed by marketing, which drives them away from your brand.
Top-of-funnel marketing is most important so you can get a fresh stream of customers visiting your site over and over. With a few rare exceptions, most companies need new customers spending money on their products and services constantly to maintain their current services and grow and expand over time.
Top-of-funnel marketing helps you acquire more leads. With more leads, you make more money. Furthermore, as you develop those customer relationships, you could acquire long-term customers and improve loyalty to your business.
Through top-of-funnel marketing, you’ll expand your consumer base, boost brand awareness, and even build brand equity (another majorly important factor). Brand awareness is especially crucial if you’re a new business—in the earliest months and years of your business’s life, people won’t know that it exists.
By spending time and money on top of funnel marketing, you’ll fix that. Later, you'll gradually spend more money targeting your core audience or those individuals most likely to make a purchase from your store.
Given the importance of top-of-funnel marketing, you’ll need to practice multiple marketing strategies to get people to visit your store consistently. Fortunately, many of the best top-of-funnel marketing techniques overlap with general marketing strategies as well.
Content is king, and nowhere is that more important than at the top of your sales funnel. Marketing and branding at the lower levels of the sales funnel focus on securing a sale or impressing brand value onto a potential customer.
But at the top of the marketing funnel, you need to create as much content as you can to both advertise and inform. Some of the best examples of marketing content for the top of your funnel include:
Putting out a lot of high-quality content is excellent for improving brand awareness and marketing to the people most likely to purchase your company. If you aren’t yet cranking out content, start boosting your top-of-funnel marketing by doing so ASAP.
However, SEO or search engine optimization is also crucial for top-of-funnel marketing. Why? Because SEO affects how easily people can find your website when they type in target keywords on Google.
The more optimized your ads, website copy, and everything else is for Google, the higher you’ll rank in the more often people will reach your site to start their sales journeys. Good SEO takes a long time to master, but it’s well worth the investment, especially considering that Google traffic will increase as your brand becomes more widely known by the public.
Note that your website copy and layout need to be optimized for search engine algorithms, not just your ads or marketing copy. The optimization of your website will impact how readily it pops up at the top of search engine results pages and how much Google “trusts” your website relative to competitors.
You’ll also want to double down on social media marketing to improve your top-of-funnel marketing results. Social media marketing is more important than ever before, both for general advertising and for building relationships with your target audience.Good social media marketing includes:
Social media marketing is a type of top-of-funnel marketing because it brings people from social media platforms to your website or brand for the first time. Additionally, social media marketing plays a key role in improving brand awareness and spreading the word about your company if it is relatively new in its industry.
All in all, top-of-funnel marketing is a vital part of digital marketing overall, and it’s something your brand will need to focus on as it grows. Luckily, you don’t have to practice top-of-funnel marketing alone.
The Building Blocks Masterclass helps you master top-of-funnel marketing and all other aspects of digital marketing with its one-of-a-kind brand-building modules—many of which are free to try out.
Enroll today and see how Building Blocks can supercharge your business.
What Is a Sales Funnel? The Guide to Building an Automated Selling Machine | Entrepreneur
What We Talk About When We Talk About Brand Authority | Forbes
15 Reasons Why Your Business Absolutely Needs SEO | Search Engine Journal