ToFu, Mofu and BoFu content are not about something to eat. Intriguing as they sound, these acronyms refer to various stages of the buying funnel that solopreneurs will notice their target audiences pass through, as they proceed in their product purchases online. People first seek information (loads of it) at the Top Of The Funnel (ToFu). They then digest this information, do comparison shopping, and arrive at some purchase inclinations and decisions at the Middle Of The Funnel (MoFu). And finally, they get to try and buy their chosen products through a series of transactions and experiences at the Bottom Of The Funnel (BoFu).
If you are a success-and-profit-hungry solopreneur, your Content Marketing Strategy should be to actually feed the right content to your audiences at the right stages of their buying funnel. Here’s how to achieve this …
What is the purchase funnel and why it’s key to Content Marketing
Woudn’t it be wonderful if the purchase funnel didn’t have a narrow bottom end, but was just a cylinder. Then almost everybody you bring to the top of the funnel would end up becoming your customers, and how great that would be! But alas, it doesn’t work that way. As people progress from gathering information to ultimately making a purchase, the crowds thin out – and the people you sell products to remain just a fraction of those who first seemed to enter the funnel!
Anyway, despite the funnel becoming narrower at the bottom, there’s one thing that you, as a solopreneur-marketer, can take heart from. It’s a common misunderstanding that all content marketing is aimed primarily only at the top of the funnel, and after that you may lose control of how a customer progresses through the funnel to become a buyer.
The truth is that for every stage of the customer purchase funnel, you will need to use different kinds of content to give the customer the informational support he is looking for. If your information can nurture the customer through the funnel’s stages, hand-holding him at the right time with the right content, so to speak, the customer will be yours at the end, make no mistake about that!
TOFU: Top Of The Funnel content and its value to the solopreneur
What the target audience is looking for at the TOFU stage of the funnel
According to Adweek, 81% of shoppers conduct a lot of online research before making a purchase. There’s a good chance that a majority of your target audience also falls into that category. What kind of information are potential buyers looking for at this stage of their purchase funnels? Most probably, they are trying to solve some problems, get specific answers, or meet particular needs.
At this stage of the funnel, you may not be sure that these casual visitors you bring into your site will end up as your actual buyers. Even if you are the one giving them a lot of information, there’s no guarantee that they’ll buy from you. So apart from just giving these site visitors your informational content, you have to help them understand that you are not a mere nobody – you are a strongly knowledgeable and trustworthy go-to-source. That way you entice them to make frequent visits to your site and prefer you to your competitors.
In this first phase of content marketing, you should be trying to generate positive awareness of your brand, and also trying to nudge a few potential customers toward conversion into subscribers for your mailing list. If you’re doing all this well, you’ll instill feelings of gratitude and respect in your audience for the quality and depth of your information.
What type of content serves audience needs at the TOFU stage of the funnel
The types of content that work extraordinarily well during the TOFU phase include:
- Blog posts
- Long-form content
- Comprehensive guides
- Email newsletters
MOFU: Middle Of The Funnel content and its value to the solopreneur
What the target audience is looking for at the MOFU stage of the funnel
When someone moves from TOFU to MOFU, it means you’ve captured their attention. They may have clearly acknowledged a need for a future purchase commitment, and they may be into evaluating their options. Evaluation is the most critical point in the purchase funnel, because this is where prospective customers start eliminating solutions that aren’t a good fit. So this is the stage where you should be telling your prospective customers why your solutions are the best fit for them, rather than the products of competition.
The middle of the funnel is typically a much longer period than the top of the funnel … it may involve extended engagement when you’re nurturing leads, strengthening relationships, and consolidating trust between the audiences and your brand. In this consideration phase, consumers begin to associate you strongly with the solutions you offer. Remember that they may not yet fully trust you yet, so don’t put out your sales spiel just yet.
Instead, make sure it’s easy for your visitors to get comprehensive information on all their doubts and queries, so that they don’t have to look at many other sites to make their evaluation complete.
What type of content serves audience needs at the MOFU stage of the funnel
At this MOFU stage, the sort of content you should aim to provide can include:
- Case studies
- How-to content
- Demo videos
- Product descriptions
- Data comparison sheets
BOFU: Bottom Of The Funnel content and its value to the solopreneur
What the target audience is looking for at the BOFU stage of the funnel
Finally, you’ve managed to get some people into the narrow end of the funnel …but wait, you still can’t let out your breath. All the wooing is done, but are your visitors ready to say “I do”? Maybe not quite! Depending on your brand’s style of hard or soft sell, this is where you have to gather the guts to make that final direct pitch. A lot of solopreneurs balk at this juncture, because it’s a do-or-die moment – the point of no-return.
There’s a 50% chance you may get that “Yes”, but there’s a 50% chance you may get that “No” too. In fact, the thing is, your own confidence level is what will make that crucial difference at the BOFU stage. You have to tell yourself that the folks remaining in the funnel are definitely interested in what you have to offer, or they wouldn’t have reached this point.
The right offer and content at this stage can have a dramatic impact on increasing your conversions. But how do you know that you are making the right offer that people will bite into? Now here’s a secret: any offer is a great offer if it comes along with the justificatory information that a customer needs to accept the tipping point.
You’re far more likely to nail the close, if the content you put out at the BOFU stage can justify the purchase price – and make the customer feel your solution offers the best value for money, as seen from many angles. You have to make the customer feel mighty proud to have made such an intelligent “value-based” choice.
What type of content serves audience needs at the BOFU stage of the funnel
The types of content that can make all the difference at the BOFU stage include:
- Free trial offers for a limited period
- Testimonials of past customers
- Favorable reviews and validations
- A good business case plus ROI calculations
- A deal sweetener added on as a surprise
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of content-marketer solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
Other articles in our series “Content Marketing Strategy”:
- Micro Marketing … Going Granular Can Help Solopreneurs Grow Faster!
- The 7 T’s Content Strategy Method That’s Do-Able For Solopreneurs!
- 20 Questions That Can Help Shape Your Content Marketing Strategy!
- Steal Your Competitor’s Thunder With Your Content Marketing!
- 4 Smarts For Content Marketers To Help With Competitive Analysis!
- Emotional Marketing: How Content Can Leverage Customers’ Feelings!