The image might be slightly antiquated, however, the concept behind the lead funnel remains crucial in understanding how your leads move from totally unaware of you to being a happy customer.
Understanding that path is the beginning of understanding life from your lead’s point of view, and that’s ground zero for the content you create for them, the offers you make, and the ways you invite them to engage with you. This story is sometimes told horizontally, but most often we see it as a vertical funnel, mouth at the top, narrowing to show how your pool of likely buyers gets smaller over time.
Top of funnel is the beginning of the buyer’s journey
Prospects enter your funnel at the top, where they express general interest in your field or your company. They may have discovered you on social media, seen an ad, or Googled a search term and found you on the search engine results page. They could be researching a problem and found your company listed on a review site, or perhaps a colleague recommended your company to them.
At this early stage, they’re learning, so they may move from page to page on your site, or start with a blog post and click to an internal page. These leads move down the funnel as they begin to show more refined interest in your product (they may download your eBooks, white papers, or attend a webinar). As the leads get close to the bottom of the funnel, they begin to be considered qualified, and perhaps even sales-ready. If a lead is willing to participate in a trial or to sit through a demo of your product, they are probably at the bottom of the funnel.
It’s critical to understand where your leads are in the process
While it isn’t an exact science, understanding which stage your leads are in helps you deliver the most appropriate, timely content to move leads more quickly through the funnel (and closer to purchasing!).
Successfully understanding your leads means you gain the knowledge to get them what they need, when they need it.
- Leads at the top of the funnel (ToFu) can be quickly turned off by offers of a demo or free trial because that might feel too pushy.
- Leads in the middle of the funnel (MoFu) are getting more sophisticated, so you don’t want to send them beginner content; that might feel patronizing.
- Those who are closer to the bottom of the funnel (BoFu) are usually interested in specific things that will help them make a decision (ROI calculators, competitive analyses, etc.) so they don’t need a thought-leader analysis of the problem they’re solving.
In order to cater to the needs of each prospect in your funnel, you must first be able to identify which stage in the buyer’s journey they’re at, and secondly be able to predict what kind of content or outreach they will be most receptive to. This is where the three defined buckets – ToFu, MoFu, BoFu – come in really handy.
ToFu, MoFu, BoFu is a simple breakdown of the lead funnel determined by the lead’s interest level, engagement activity, and potential fit as a customer. By segmenting your leads into these three buckets, your marketing efforts will be more targeted, and so you’ll be more successful readying those leads for sales to convert into customers.