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Understanding TOFU MOFU & BOFU content marketing funnel

Imagine you run a cupcake shop. Soft, sweet cupcakes fresh from the oven every morning, in flavors like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and more.

Your display case overflows with frosting and sprinkles guaranteed to spark joy in any dessert lover.

But despite providing a drool-worthy product, you struggle to attract customers. The shop sits empty while piles of uneaten cupcakes go stale.

Why won’t people bite? Your cupcakes serve up joy by the mouthful, but potential customers pass them by.

The reason lies in awareness. No one knows about your scrumptious treats. And without that awareness, you won’t make any sales.

This example highlights the importance of lead generation in business.

You must hook interest before you can expect conversions. And content marketing provides the tools to reel in those leads.

Specifically, smart entrepreneurs use content funnels that align with the customer journey. These funnels nurture leads through 3 stages:

  • Top of Funnel (TOFU) – Attracts attention
  • Middle of Funnel (MOFU) – Converts interest
  • Bottom of Funnel (BOFU) – Closes sales

In this post, we’ll explore what types of content work best for each funnel stage. Apply these strategies to catch more leads for your small business.

Top of Funnel Content Generates Awareness

TOFU content casts a wide net to capture initial attention and interest. Think blog posts, ebooks, webinars, and more.

For example, an accounting software company might publish a guide on tax preparation for small business owners. This educational content serves to establish expertise and get the company on readers’ radars.

TOFU content works best when:

  • Focused on education – Teach readers something useful that relates to your industry or products. Establish thought leadership.
  • Optimized for search – Incorporate keywords and tags that help you get found by searchers.
  • Promoted through ads – Run paid campaigns to push your TOFU content in front of target audiences. This expands your reach beyond organic search.
  • Offers something for free – Lead magnets like free ebooks or email courses incentivize visitors to exchange their contact info for your educational gifts.

The goal is to grab the attention of potential leads. TOFU content generates that initial awareness that you exist and provide value.

Think of it like an appetizer that gets patrons interested in the rest of the menu. TOFU content entices readers to want the main course.

Middle of Funnel Content Converts Interest

MOFU content catches the low-hanging fruit – those already aware leads primed for conversion. This stage aims to turn interest into action.

For example, an accounting software company might nurture leads with a product demo video or free trial. This gives potential buyers a taste of using the actual software.

MOFU content works best when:

  • More promotional – While TOFU focuses on education, MOFU highlights specific products or services you offer.
  • Shows off your offerings – Give leads a sample through demos, trials, or sales sheets presenting top product features.
  • Directly asks for conversions – Calls-to-action drive sign-ups, purchases, downloads, etc.
  • Targets warmer leads – Run ads and offers to those who already engaged with your TOFU content. This group has demonstrated interest and lies closest to converting.

The goal here is nudging leads closer to becoming customers. MOFU content gives them a reason to engage further and view your wares in a positive light.

Think of it like an appetizing main course that diners want to sink their teeth into. MOFU content feeds that hunger for your products.

Bottom of Funnel Content Closes Commitment

BOFU content aims to seal the deal with leads ready to buy. Retargeting campaigns touch hot prospects at multiple points to inspire action.

For example, an accounting software company might send special discount offers or customized product recommendations to leads who tried the free trial. This capitalizes on spiked interest to push the final conversion.

BOFU content works best when:

  • Promotional and personalized – Speak directly to leads based on their activity and interests. Tailor offers to what they’ve shown affinity for.
  • Applies pressure – Limited-time discounts or claims of scarcity help create urgency to buy now.
  • Automated for continuous nurturing – Set up drip campaigns that reach out to hot leads via email on a consistent basis to stay top of mind.

The goal here is successfully moving the smallest subset of the warmest leads from your funnel through the final hoop to become buyers.

Think of it like a sweet dessert that ends the dining experience on a high note. BOFU content closes with an irresistible offer guaranteeing satisfaction.

Mix Up Your Funnel for Maximum Results

The TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU framework provides a general guideline for structuring content across the customer journey. But funnel shapes come in all sizes.

Experiment to find the right concoction of content that attracts and converts your audience. Try:

  • More TOFU content to increase broad awareness
  • More MOFU content to double down on hot leads
  • More BOFU content with personalized nudges to close deals
  • Varying content types like blogs, videos, ebooks, etc.
  • Testing paid promotion at different funnel stages
  • Optimizing and iterating based on performance data

As with any recipe, the ingredients and portions depend on those you aim to feed. Mastering content funnels means mixing things up to uncover what sticks for your business.

The bottom line? Well-planned content aligned to buyer journeys nets you more customers. The TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU framework provides a recipe template for funnel success.

Now get out there and start serving up tastiness! Those leads won’t bite themselves.

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