Top of Funnel Content Explained: Definition and Examples

 

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Created December 12, 2020

You may have heard of top of funnel content when it comes to acquiring more potential customers or traffic for a business. This is one part of a visual diagram that maps out what is known as the ‘sales funnel’ otherwise called a ‘marketing funnel’ or ‘sales pipeline’.

The sales funnel is a visual concept in marketing that represents pulling in a wide group of visitors and narrowing them down a visual funnel until a purchase is made or a customer is acquired.

Regardless of what label is placed on the visual, the concept remains the same and it always begins with top of funnel content, followed by the middle, and bottom-funnel content.

top of funnel explained

 

What is Top of Funnel Content?

Each stage of the sales funnel (top, middle, and bottom) is meant to hold different pieces of content.

This content can vary depending on where the prospect is located within the sales funnel: a top-of-funnel prospect may be simply reading a blog post to learn information about a topic while a bottom-of-funnel prospect may be checking out all the previous reviews and testimonials on a certain platform before making a purchase.

This brings us to the first step in the sales funnel process: top-of-funnel content.

Top of funnel content, often recognized by the acronym TOFU, is content that is created to reach a wide range of potential customers. The purpose of this content is to educate and help your audience rather than being built to sell your audience a product or service.

This is at this stage of the sales funnel that prospects realize they have a problem, and they are seeking the right information or solution to help them out.

Often, when these potential customers are seeking information, they are turning to search engines to find what they are looking for with simple keyword searches.  

 

What is the Purpose of Top of Funnel Content?

The main objective for marketers in the top of the funnel include:

  • Brand awareness
  • Generate Leads
  • Providing Information
  • Education

 

This TOFU content is your first chance to bring in a potential customer by providing them with the information they seek and showing them that your brand has value.

Is important to understand that content in this stage of the sales funnel is not meant to be “salesy” or promotional in any way. In fact, you want to avoid branded content and focus on the information you provide your target audience.

Creating the best information available online for each topic should be on the top of your priorities for your TOFU assets.

 

What Does Top of Funnel Content Look Like?

TOFU content can come in many different forms including:

  • Blogs and Articles
  • Social Media Posts
  • Video
  • Infographics

Marketers also use many different strategies to get their content in front of their target audience which may include:

  • Search engine optimization
  • Paid Advertising
  • Social Media Advertising

More specifically, search engine optimization (SEO) and paid advertisements on search engines work great for pushing TOFU content in front of prospects since people are actively using search engines to seek out information while in this stage of the sales funnel.

 

Examples of TOFU Content

Looking for some inspiration to create some new top of funnel assets for your brand? Here are some great content examples that can help you get started creating your own TOFU assets.

 

REI: How to Choose Base Layers

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/underwear.html

tofu content explained

This article is purely informational and provides the information that a user would be looking for when interested in choosing the right base layer. The post is not promotional or branded and answers all the questions one might have when looking to learn about base layers.

  • What are the key considerations when choosing a base layer?
  • What are the best materials for base layer clothing?
  • How should this clothing fit on my skin?

In fact, the company really has no need to try and sell products directly to consumers in this article. If a potential customer really wants to make a purchase after reading the informative article, they can easily navigate to the proper area using the top menu. They already are familiar with the company and do not need the content to be overly pushy to land an online sale.

 

Piano with Jonny: 3 Exercises to Master Blues Piano

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1-N6vR6k3k

what is tofu content

In this example, we view a video that is optimized to be found on YouTube when someone is searching for something along the lines of “learn blues piano”.

This is a fantastic example of how TOFU content can provide some fantastic value to a potential customer and open the door for them to move further down the sales funnel. It is true that many prospects may simply watch the video and leave to never come back but many of these people can be converted to paying customers by first providing that value to get them interested in the brand.

While this is a top of funnel content piece, he includes a link in the bio of the video to a middle of funnel resource (FREE Piano Success Guide) that trades a valuable guide in return for a prospects email address (effectively leading them further down the sales funnel).

 

HubSpot: Contact Management Strategy

https://blog.hubspot.com/customers/contact-management-for-growth

tofu content example

For those who run a business, things can get hectic when you start piling on multiple contacts and do not have a way to keep track of all of them.

HubSpot is a customer relationship management (CRM) program that allows business owners or account managers to keep track of all leads and contacts that work with a brand. If you run through this piece of TOFU content, you will notice that HubSpot does not go out of their way to talk about themselves and how their program is superior to their competitors.

No, they take the time to educate a consumer or what it means to work with a CRM program and how it can effectively help them grow and scale their business. They understand the power of providing the information that prospects seek and there is no doubt that many of the people that land on this article end up choosing HubSpot for their CRM needs.

 

Creating the Best Content Possible

I cannot stress this enough… but it is such a valuable long-term asset for your business when you take the time to create a TOFU piece of content that provides the best information available.

When search engines are ranking content online in the search results, one of the main factors they take into consideration is how relevant and strong the content will be for the reader (alongside click-through-rate, backlinks, and other SEO metrics).

We recommend taking the time to research the topic that you will be writing about and finding what currently ranks on search engines for the term.

How can you make a better piece of content?

Can you add more helpful information that is not included on the article?

This is just a start for some of the questions you could ask yourself when build a monster of a TOFU content piece.

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