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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Content Marketing: Your Sales Funnel Needs More TOFU!

    Posted by Bill Faeth

    A Recipe For Really Great TOFU


    content marketing strategyTurns out the single most important ingredient for an effective website is TOFU. No, not the white, vegetarian protein. We're talking top-of-the-funnel content (TOFU), also known as marketing without the sales pitch. Your business needs to create irresistible, free offers to draw customers into the sales funnel before you can woo them with your marketing automation and suave sales team.

    TOFU content is about solutions and charisma that comes with a price tag of zero. Your offers need to be appealing enough that website visitors are willing to trade their email address and phone number for your eBook or whitepaper. Buckle your seat belts, because we're about to share some insight that can take your lead generation from 0 to 60. 

    I'm Just Looking, Thanks.

    You know when you walk into a clothing store and you're suddenly bombarded with very helpful salespeople asking if they can get a dressing room started for you? Maybe you're not quite ready to try things on or head to the cash register, because you're just looking around and doing some research. Well, turns out that 96% of visitors to your website are in the exact same situation. They have pain points, issues that they're looking to resolve with a product or service, but they're just not ready to pull out their credit cards and make a purchase. Irresistible TOFU bridges the gap between your website being found, and being able to convert leads into customers by moving them through your sales funnel. How exactly do you write content that people are willing to trade their email address and phone number for? We'll examine the top 3 ingredients found in awesome TOFU:

    1. Simple, Yet Substantial

    The first step towards creating irresistible TOFU is identifying which questions are driving people to your website in the first place. These questions are going to look a lot more like the search terms that are driving traffic from Google than the speeches your sales team give to leads at the bottom of the funnel. For inbound marketers, questions that drive great TOFU is going to look more like "how do I get started with social media?" than very specific queries about marketing automation templates. A wedding photographer could write a checklist or calendar to help brides get started with planning. One great example of a general eBook with substance can be found on the Team Training Institute Website, a business consulting group for private Dentist Practices:

    TOFU should be general but substantial for lead generation

    In this instance, the content perfectly meets the needs of people who are searching for solutions, which is private dentists hoping to improve their businesses. TOFU should be basic but really actionable: while you don't need to write something ground-breaking, it should offer real value to your new leads so they're more willing to be lead through the sales funnel.

    2. Authoritative, but Not Too Pushy

    The purpose of an eBook is to establish thought leadership and position yourself as an option without trying too hard to close the deal. While it's probably not prudent to write an eBook with the title "Why My Competitors Are Lame," feel free to empower your clients by educating them on how to identify and hire the best caterer, florist shop or limousine company. The key is to establish your company as an authority and provide opportunity for leads to take the relationship to the next level, without the content being completely about you. One example of irresistible TOFU I encountered recently was on King of Pork, an eCommerce company that specializes in creating roasting boxes for amateur and professional barbecue masters:

    example of killer TOFU for lead generation

    Even if website visitors aren't quite ready to invest in a home roasting system, they're provided with enough knowledge to get started.

    3. Is it Shareable?

    How do you know if you've cooked up some really great TOFU? One of the best ways to identify if you've written something that's actionable and relevant to your buyer personas is to watch if people are sharing the content. While it's good to pick a topic that's specific enough to cover in 2,000-5,000 words, you shouldn't get too specific. Consider shares the perfect "free" exposure for your TOFU, and strive to emulate the qualities of your most-shared offers. While we can't tell you exactly what topics will give value to your future clients, we can share an example of really shareable content via Marine Insight, an online community for maritime news and careers:

    Make your content shareable to generate more exposure

    This TOFU, titled "The Ultimate Guide to Personal Safety on Ships" is perfectly relevant to anyone who spends time on the water or is even considering purchasing a boat. Make your content shareable by writing something that isn't just helpful to your website visitors, but could also benefit their friends.

    Even if your SEO and marketing automation are flawless, your business can't grow without new leads. Don't try to close sales too fast by writing self-promotional eBooks, but establish thought leadership by addressing website visitors' FAQ. The best way to blow up your lead generation is to identify exactly why people are finding your website in the first place, and create shareable offers they can't resist. 

    Have You Seen Any Examples Recently of Really Great TOFU?

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    Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/rakratchada torsap

    Topics: Sales