If you’re looking at the title of this article and wondering “what is a marketing funnel?” Click here to read the intro article “What is… a Marketing Funnel.”

You’ve started your digital marketing strategy. You know you need a marketing funnel. So where do you start? The top of the funnel, of course!

Top of the Funnel Goals

At the top of the marketing funnel, your primary goal is awareness. And we’re not just talking about making people aware of your business name. Sometimes you have to help them become aware that they have a problem first, before you can help them solve it.

Top of the Funnel Activities

There are some marketing activities that just aren’t appropriate yet. Think of the top of the funnel as just having met someone. You’re not ready to ask them to marry you yet. And that’s kind of what asking them to buy right away is doing.

The best top of the funnel activities are blogs, social media, podcasts, infographics and videos. These are all designed to entertain, educate or inspire your prospects… not ask them for the sale.

That’s right… social media isn’t for selling. It’s for awareness. Remember that next time you’re looking at your engagement metrics. You’re building trust and expertise here. Write posts that establish you as a thought leader, not a used car salesman.

This is also where search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) activities come in handy. Most people don’t convert on the first visit to your website, so these are great ways to build awareness about your brand and your solution when people are searching about their problem.

Offline marketing activities that fill the top of your funnel can include in-person events and meetups, advertising, trade shows, direct mail and even public relations and media hits. It’s all great for awareness, but you’re not going to expect high conversion rates from these activities.

Top of the Funnel Steps

Remember, top of the funnel content is freely available or has a very low barrier to entry. You’re not asking for a commitment, you’re offering value to your prospect. So what’s the best way to do that?

Start with a blog & social media, then you can expand to other areas that make sense for your niche. But start with the basics first.

Then you should focus on ranking higher in search engines with your content and a great SEO action plan. Look at paid search ads with Google AdWords that direct prospects to a focused landing page on your website. Do you have relationships with complementary businesses related to your niche where you could guest post?

So many people address the top of the funnel and just stay in that space. But you can’t stop there. You’ve established your customer’s problem and made them aware that you have a solution. Don’t leave them hanging… move them to the next stage of your funnel.

We’ll deep dive into the middle of the funnel next week. Want to get notified? Just use the form below.


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