ToFu, MoFu, BoFu – at first glance, these names will be associated with only one area, which is primarily an accurate observation. They can be understood as a metaphor for the meal served to the customer – appetizer, main course, and dessert. Each of these is an integral part of the consumer’s decision-making process and, on the other hand, also part of a marketing strategy that focuses heavily on content marketing.
However, before we break down our meal into its components, it is worth answering the question – what is content marketing anyway?
Basic terms in a marketer’s dictionary
Content marketing is a type of marketing tool aimed at attracting customers. Activities are based on the publication and promotion of valuable content for a predetermined audience. It is worth noting that not only PR material will be helpful here – the basis is to diversify the resources you use and dedicate them to a specific segment.
In conclusion, content marketing is building long-lasting and strong relationships with a group of customers.
But first, you need to determine what form and content of the message to choose.
This is where another term from the industry dictionary comes in – the profile of the ideal customer and the buying persona. In the first case, it represents a group of customers based on their needs, expectations, and concerns. The second profile, on the other hand, is focused firmly on the customer’s purchase path – how and when they make each decision.
All of this is aimed at putting our audience at the center of the communication process, in a manner consistent with the content marketing plan – publishing what they find interesting and relevant.
After determining our target audience, the next activity is to track the customer’s behavior and the path they take on our site. A graphical representation of such a route is called a marketing funnel. While the word may not evoke many associations, it is intuitive. The funnel illustrates a customer’s interaction with a brand – from the initial contact to the completion of the sales process.
It illustrates the process of “fishing out” the consumer, guiding them in the following steps through the process of education about the service or product (“warming up the leads”) until contact with the seller/consultant.
To further illustrate the whole mechanism, there are four stages within the funnel (called the AIDA model):
A – Attention
I – Interest
D – Desire
A – Action
Sometimes other stages are added to AIDA, including evaluation or loyalty.
Let’s look at the same process, not from the perspective of the reactions we want to elicit from a potential consumer as they cross the path, but the place within our metaphorical “fishnet” they are in.
At the outset, it is important to emphasize that the stages of the purchase funnel are closely related to ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu, and should not be considered separately, but treated as interrelated processes, additionally keeping in mind that the potential customer can move between them not only downward, but also upward.
According to Adweek, a magazine that publishes marketing industry news, 81% of shoppers do online research before making a purchase1. It is therefore worth paying particular attention to arouse interest in a potential customer to stand out from the competition.
Such a process is contained in the top of the aforementioned funnel and is known as ToFu, or Top of the Funnel.
The first stage of introducing a customer to a brand requires the greatest amount of publishing and advertising. However, the message will only be personalized if it is essential to build brand awareness and recognition in the market.
The customer comes to this place mainly because he already knows he has a problem but is just looking for a solution. Sometimes he already has an initial vision of it, but it still needs to be concrete.
The type of content used in ToFu:
- Blog posts – the most common and easiest way,
- expert articles,
- social media posts,
Here, however, an important principle must be remembered – education, an expert attitude, and not mere product advertising should take the lead. The goal is to encourage the customer to move on to the next place in the funnel.
In summary, the more educated a buyer is, the faster they enter the sales process and make a buying decision.
If we have sufficiently interested a potential customer in our product, they will be in the central place of the funnel – the Middle of the Funnel. This stage requires the most work because the message must be individualized, tailored to the customer’s expectations, and interesting enough to encourage him to continue his journey. The brand’s content must resonate with the value conveyed to the Internet user and relate to the goods or services it offers.
In this critical phase, the most important thing from the brand’s perspective is to stand out and present the product in more detail. This is because the customer is aware of his problem and is evaluating potential options for solving it. For this reason, MoFu is considered the most critical stage of the funnel.
Type of content used in MoFu:
- email marketing,
- product descriptions,
- product ebook,
- case studies.
As with ToFu, the content in the MoFu stage should also educate, but it needs to be geared more strongly toward providing as much information as possible to help interested parties decide that this is the product or service that will solve their problem. In addition, it is helpful to gain information about the behavior of the message’s audience and what interests them.
The previously acquired information about individual customers is essential for the effective execution of our previously mentioned conversion, which is usually a purchase.
BoFu, or Bottom of the Funnel, also known as the golden stage, is the bottom stage of the marketing funnel, where only those willing to buy the product are found.
However, this means that only some of the work is already done.
Such buyers usually already have sufficient knowledge of the problem at hand and the solutions on the market. So they need an impulse, inducing them to buy, for example, one that will make the purchase seem less risky – top-notch customer service.
At this stage, care must be taken to convey why the product is better than a competitor, what features it has, and what problems it solves.
The type of content used in BoFu:
- Case studies showing specific solutions in practice,
- promotional content, including product comparisons,
- discount codes,
- occasional emails, e.g., for holidays,
- trial versions of products.
ToFu, MoFu, BoFu – what’s next?
An essential part of the whole process is patience and persistence. Studies show that companies that take care of their customer have 50% more leads ready to buy, and they make 47% more purchases2. That’s why it’s a good idea to consistently stick to a set framework and not advertise a product from the beginning but to gain trust and focus on content.
While there is no room in the funnel for the next step, you must remember after-sales service, including offering another product or service from your portfolio to a satisfied consumer. It’s important to realize that completing the transaction is not the final step but the starting point for analyzing and maintaining the relationship.
It’s also a great place to remind ourselves, and it’s a mistake to believe that since we’ve acquired a customer to this stage, it’s no longer worth providing them with new content.
Contests, newsletters, or closed social media groups are good places to highlight your most dedicated and loyal customers.
When they feel special, they are sure to make a repeat purchase in the future or recommend the brand to friends. It is well known that the so-called “whisper marketing” (honest discussion promoting a brand) is one of the most influential branches of the industry.