Each stage of the sales funnel is important for growing your business, but it all has to start somewhere. For your startup or small business, that somewhere is top-of-the-funnel marketing. In order to make any progress toward conversions, you’ve got to find your leads and get them into the top of your funnel.
Start from the top…literally. That’s where it all begins in the sales process. Your goal at this point is to introduce your brand and entice leads to want to learn more. During this early stage, you are laying the groundwork for a future relationship with prospects. Keep in mind that you aren’t pushing the sale at this point. Instead, you are creating a general interest in what your business does. (If this was a romantic relationship, the top of the funnel would be saying hello or asking them for coffee. This is not when you introduce them to the fam or ask what you should name your kids.)
Leads are looking for content to guide them through a topic that matters to them. Your goal is to demonstrate that you are an authority in that area by offering insightful information—and lots of it—using a variety of channels.
Ready to begin? Check out these front-end tactics.
- Create a Blog: A blog is a perfect place to talk about your industry and become a recognized authority in it. The most important thing is to offer value-added content in keeping with the interests of your prospects. Put yourself in the shoes of your leads and think about what you would want to know. Create content that is not only engaging but also “snackable” (not too long and cumbersome) and visual (images go a long way in enticing people to read a blog post). By educating prospects about your brand, as well as about industry topics in general, you are positioning yourself as a go-to resource.
- Invest in Your Website: We’ve all heard the saying that “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Those words especially ring true with your website. If a visitor isn’t understanding your message or your purpose right away, you are likely to lose them before they even become a prospect. It’s also vital that you make sure your website is easy to navigate. Can visitors quickly access pages of interest? Can all images be viewed, even on the screens of smaller devices? Also, be sure to implement SEO practices on your website. You can start by creating a keyword research strategy using a mechanism such as the Google Keyword Tool to discover what terms are being searched in relevance to your business. Create a list of these words and incorporate them into your website content where appropriate.
- Utilize Email Drip Campaigns: Staying in front of your leads in this early stage is key to keeping them in your sales funnel—and eventually moving them through it. Email drip campaigns are one of the best ways to consistently engage with prospects and pique their interest. You will rarely get a response from sending just one email, so the key is to focus on the follow-up. In other words, don’t give up on your leads. These people are in your funnel for a reason, and you want to keep them there as long as possible. An automated system is an ideal way to ensure that you maintain contact with prospects on a continuous basis. Funnelfly offers an automated marketing platform that can have you up and running with email drip campaigns quickly—and at a price you can afford.
- Create a Social Media Presence: Social media is another way to share content and create a buzz about your brand. As you form a social media strategy, think about the channels that best fit your message. This doesn’t mean you have to concentrate on only one channel, but it’s a good idea to narrow your focus to two or three. Are you looking to create forums or start discussions? Then Facebook may be a good bet. Do you want to establish credibility in your specific industry while reaching mostly business professionals? Linkedin could be a good option for you. Looking for a place to post “how-to” videos about your product? Start “broadcasting” on YouTube. It’s also helpful to take a close look at which channels your target audience is frequenting. That will help ensure you are getting their attention in a place they are already spending time.
- Experiment with a Variety of Content Formats: In addition to the items outlined above, there are a number of other formats you can utilize to distribute content. There’s no surefire way to know immediately which ones work the best, so experiment with an assortment to see what sort of feedback you get from your audience. Ebooks, videos, infographics, and white papers are just a few others to try, but you really are only limited by your imagination.
The Bottom Line
Having a strategy in place for your Top of Funnel is the building block that helps determine what happens as leads start to move further down the funnel. Remember that it’s important not to dive too deep into your product or service at this stage—there will be plenty of time for that later. Instead, use this time to form relationships and create a level of trust that will prove invaluable throughout the buying journey—and beyond.