Before delving into the blog, let me first break some assumptions:
“All leads do not always follow a linear path i.e. entering from the top, passing through the middle, and ending the journey at the bottom of the funnel when purchasing your SaaS product.”
It has been observed that leads can enter through different stages, making it a nonlinear funnel. This is because most prospects are already informed and educated by other brands and competitors, so leads jump from one stage of the funnel of one brand to another brand’s MOFU or BOFU stage.
“Creating top of the funnel content is not always the best option in the initial phase of the SaaS lead generation.”
It may seem logical to create top of the funnel content when building your SaaS brand from the ground up. Also, most novice content marketers and agencies would almost tell the same tale to focus on the TOFU content first.However, as per research, 87% of B2B brands with successful content marketing that includes TOFU content, can successfully increase brand awareness. But only 51% are able to generate sales or revenue.
Being a leading SaaS Marketing Agency, the Growfusely team has a different philosophy to approach content marketing. Understand that nobody here is saying stop creating TOFU content altogether, but if your sole purpose is to generate quality leads and sales, starting with TOFU doesn’t make sense.
Before we explain and back up our claim, let’s recap what a funnel and its stages are:
A funnel, be it marketing or sales, is a visualized representation to understand the process of turning leads into customers. The basic idea here is that marketers or sales teams cast a wide net to capture as many leads as possible to nurture them and move them toward the purchase.
What we have seen above is a regular funnel, there are also different funnel types such as Pirate Funnel, Flywheel, and others. However, there’s no single agreed-upon version of the funnel, but here’s how we envision it:
Essentially, the funnel is divided into three stages: TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU. Don’t worry, these are not cuss words or new cool acronyms or lingo that your son or nephew uses to chat with his friends. They are short for top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU).
We have already dived deep into each stage and explained elaborately the different content types that work best. But for a better understanding, let’s recap these stages starting with the top:
The top of the funnel refers to the early stages where customers begin their journey to find solutions. Here, the TOFU content aims to raise brand awareness in addition to educating prospects and making them aware of the problems.
These prospects may not always be aware of the pain point they face and even if they do, they may not actively look for the solution or haven’t found one that solves their specific problem. This stage is also known as lead generation, however, it’s not as most leads drop out immediately or after a few interactions.
Prospects in the middle stages have gained a certain level of understanding and may actively look for a solution. Here, they crave the more complex and in-depth MOFU content that validates their need for the SaaS product. They would evaluate different options to choose from based on a variety of factors.
As mentioned, most leads acquired in the TOFU will drop out due to numerous reasons, and only people with high interest will remain for you to target. However, there will be the addition of new leads that drop out from others’ funnel and hop onto yours.
These prospects are considering the best options and are on the verge of making a decision which is where effectively crafted MOFU content would really help in the decision-making process.
Only a handful of prospects make their way from the top or middle to the bottom stages of the funnel. But similar to MOFU, you’ll experience a surge of fresh leads that directly enter the BODY stages. They are well on their way to making a purchase but need a little push in the form of highly targeted BOFU content.
This will include providing proof and assurance that your product is what they need. And in order for them to trust your product, they’ll engage and read reviews, testimonials, client success stories, case studies, and many other resources.
They may also need a trial or demo of your SaaS to see how it works in the real world. Based on their experience in these stages, users may purchase or need further consultation.
Now that we know the different stages of the funnel, let’s get into the conversation about why starting from the top is not always the best option.
As seen above, SaaS marketers are often at war due to the two contradictory theories. One side of the marketers believes in starting from the TOFU content first and making its way to the bottom (Top-Down), while the other group favors starting at the bottom first and then making its way to the top (Bottom Up).
This has raged a war between the two sides as they present a variety of reasons for why the strategy they follow works and the other doesn’t. The most common argument presented is that you can’t measure the impact of someone reading a TOFU article.
“We know it works, but you can’t just measure it.”
Marketers with a Top-Down approach further argue that the customer first needs awareness of their problems. Once it is accomplished, they should be provided with content that piques their interest in your SaaS, and then look for the right solution to convert.
In theory, it seems logical, but it’s a huge fallacy marketers fall prey to. They think the onus is always on them to educate their prospects by creating top of the funnel content first. However, it’s not always true and can be a big waste of your time and resources.
The bottom-up, on the other hand, seems a more logical approach. Why? The reason for the same is that most people interested in buying your SaaS category product have already been educated by competitors. They’ve researched and engaged with different content types published by others. Thus, they may have basic to advanced knowledge about your niche and the working of SaaS.
Equipped with such knowledge, these prospects most likely will enter from the middle or the bottom of the funnel stages. Moreover, since they are already aware of their problems, they are considering why to invest in your SaaS product category or who the most promising players are.
With the help of tailored BOFU or MOFU content, you can elevate the experience of these prospects and bring them down the funnel to trigger an action. But with only TOFU content, the SaaS sales and conversion goals are achieved and it may seem like playing a lost game.You need to define user personas and the stages they belong to. Also, you need to keep a close eye on your competitors and their content marketing strategy to gauge the knowledge level of your leads coming from and then define your own growth-expanding content strategy.
As we learned, focusing on top-of-the-funnel content is not ALWAYS going to be the best approach. But there are, however, exceptions where starting from the top is actually good. Let’s get to know when to focus on TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU for lead explosion:
Focusing on TOFU is surely helpful when you are inventing a new category of SaaS product for which not much content is available online. Here, starting with TOFU content makes sense as you want to educate your audience first about your SaaS product as much as possible.
For instance, when the online crypto industry was new, not much content was available for users to consume and understand the market. Thus, SaaS businesses based on such new technology can prioritize TOFU to educate and make users aware of ins and outs of this new category.
The second use case is when you’ve rebranded your SaaS or made a switch from one category to another or the only goal with content marketing is to build awareness or increase visibility. This also qualifies for creating TOFU content that answers why you made a switch or what the future holds for effective lead generation.
The biggest benefit of TOFU content is it acts as evergreen content and can be used for educating newcomers about your niche. But creating content only for TOFU is not going to cut it. It should be backed by strong and actionable MOFU and BOFU content to reap the maximum benefits.
MOFU is the right stage for brands to focus on right now for a couple of reasons. SaaS brands, with an established online presence and leads obtained through the TOFU, can create personalized MOFU content to nurture and push interested prospects down the funnel.
Apart from that, you can also attract leads already educated by your competitors with tailored MOFU content. MOFU holds a notable place in the funnel as it has the power to nurture and convince your prospects why they need your SaaS. You can even design MOFU content campaigns to ensure you get a high return on your investment.
Moreover, you can double down on your MOFU content creation process to gain more bang for your buck. By focusing on MOFU, you better equip your prospects to make informed decisions and drive them for conversions. If you are able to gain even a little increase, it can have a greater impact on your ROI.
BOFU is where your content marketing can actually bring the desired revenue immediately. Apart from the leads pushed down from the TOFU and MOFU, you’ll also get some fresh sets of leads with an advanced level of knowledge. These prospects are easy to convert with little to no effort if provided with the right BOFU content.
SaaS brands, with little budget for content marketing, who seek instant gratification in the form of sales, conversions, and revenue should focus on creating BOFU content first. Doing so helps you capture the leads with a high inclination for your SaaS product category.
Moreover, this will eliminate your overreliance on paid advertising when customer acquisition scales up. Also, since people are actively searching for a solution to their problems, an effective BOFU SaaS content strategy can prove to be a boon for your sales & revenue.
The strategy incorporates targeting specific long-tail keywords that indicate someone is looking for solutions to their problems. Thus, you need to prioritize and focus on these topics and keywords before you start working on the content for other stages.
At Growfusely, we believe setting goals would really help in tracking what you plan to achieve with your content marketing. It helps you set the right course and gives you a direction to move forward. If your goal, let’s say, is to generate leads by building brand awareness and visibility for your SaaS, then TOFU content will work best.
However, if your goal is to generate high-quality leads and trigger conversions, then focusing on the MOFU and BOFU content would work best. Also, you don’t want to publish content targeting specifically one stage of the funnel to attract a high volume of leads.
The reason for the same is, as mentioned, not all prospects follow the linear path to reach the bottom of the funnel. Many enter through TOFU, a few in MOFU, and a handful one in the BOFU. Thus, an effective SaaS content strategy that caters to and nurtures prospects in each stage simultaneously would generate a true lead explosion.
You need to start with BOFU content first and then generate content for other stages to publish them one after the other at an interval of a week or two. Doing so would help you get initial sales and build an online presence so you can truly experience the growth fusion for your SaaS brand.