Marketing is a complex task with several stages. As a business or company, you need to take steps to let your customers know your brand or product exists, convince them that your product will meet their needs, and then compel them to make a purchase. The advent of the internet didn’t upend the overall structure and flow of marketing, but it did change the way businesses accomplish their marketing goals.
The idea of the sales funnel is at the center of attracting customers. This approach means businesses start with a broader concept to attract awareness, then work toward the more-specific goal of selling their products. There are three stages to the sales funnel: TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU.
While this sounds more like a food, TOFU stands for “top of funnel” in marketing concepts. At this stage of the funnel, the goal is to inform potential customers of a brand or company, but the focus isn’t on selling products. In TOFU, the goal is to educate customers about a topic they may not know about.
Think of the steps you take when you are considering making a new purchase. You’re likely to ask around for advice or look up informational articles on the web. TOFU content meets this informational need, educating a customer while not attempting to make a direct sales attempt.
Potential TOFU content options are:
- Blog posts
- White Papers
- Research Reports
Following TOFU, comes MOFU, which stands for “middle of funnel.” Once you reach MOFU as a customer, you may be trying to understand different ways to solve your problem, such as looking up specific product reviews and comparisons. This isn’t the buying stage, but it’s closer; you’re starting to consider just what product you may purchase.
For businesses, MOFU is the stage where you want to make it easy for your potential customers to compare products – while also supporting your own. However, MOFU is still about trust building, as opposed to making sales. While a business may mention solutions it can help with, it is still aiming to help customers understand their options.
Potential MOFU content options are:
- Comparison guides
BOFU stands for (you guessed it) “bottom of funnel.” At this stage, you as a consumer are ready to start making decisions and talk to businesses about purchasing their services or products. You also likely have a list of potential products; you just need the final push to decide which one to purchase.
This means businesses in the BOFU stage are ready to start making pitches and make most of the opportunity for a sale. Today’s consumers are less receptive to hard sales pitches – no one wants to be forced to buy a product or service. This means BOFU strategies tend to focus on free consultations and trials, opening the way to completing a sale.
Potential BOFU content options are:
- Case studies
- Free trials
- Live demos
- Vendor comparisons
Making Use of TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU
The different content options can sometimes work at a different stage in the sales funnel than mentioned here, depending on the purpose of the content. The choices are up to a business, but it should make choices with the overall structure in mind. Understanding TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU can be key to developing effective content that draws customers to a brand.