Understanding Upper-Funnel Marketing: Strategies for Effective Audience Engagement

Before you can educate prospective customers about your products and go on to seal the deal with a compelling call-to-action (CTA), you first need to introduce your brand along with its products or services. 

The process of generating brand awareness and making that all-important first impression on prospective customers is known as “upper-funnel marketing,” alternatively referred to as top-of-funnel (ToFu) marketing, and it marks the beginning of the buyer’s journey. 

Below, we’ll explore the question, “What is upper-funnel marketing?” by highlighting some effective upper-funnel strategies for garnering audience engagement and providing actionable tips with which you can expand your reach. 

What Is Upper-Funnel Marketing?

The top of the sales funnel is the first stage in the buyer’s journey, as customers are just learning about the existence and mission of your brand. With that being said, upper-funnel marketing refers to a specific subset of marketing that focuses on introducing customers to your products or services, developing brand awareness, and generating leads. 

Typically, upper-funnel marketing campaigns focus on casting a wide net with the intent to capture as many leads as possible. In other words, businesses want to get their content in front of as many prospective customers as they can for as little of a total cost as possible. 

Tips and Strategies to Engage Top-of-Funnel Audiences

Successful ToFu marketing can be a challenge, but you can create content that hooks your audience and drives engagement by doing the following:

Researching Your Audience

Before you can create content or choose an advertising medium, you must first identify who it is you want to connect with, and to do so, you need to conduct ample audience research. 

Focus on defining your audience with demographic attributes and behavioral traits. A few examples of the former include age, gender, and relationship status, while the latter include where they spend their time online, their favorite social media platforms, and the frequency at which they buy products in your niche. 

Mapping the Customer Journey

Your next step should be to map the customer journey in detail. The typical journey consists of three key stages: awareness (top-of-funnel), consideration (middle-of-funnel), and conversion (bottom-of-funnel). 

Mapping involves getting more granular and identifying the specific touchpoints within each phase of the journey. For instance, one customer may become aware of your brand via a social media ad or by reading your marketing emails. They’ll then visit your e-commerce store during the consideration stage and ultimately go on to make a purchase. 

Understanding potential purchasing pathways through mapping will help you determine when and how to target your audience. 

Focus on Problem-Solving

ToFu marketing content is not meant to be overly promotional. Instead, it should focus on solving a customer’s problem. Providing customers with free educational content can generate intrigue and prompt them to seek additional information about your product. 

Don’t go too deep, however; simply provide a high-level look at what problem the customer is facing and a clear means of how your product or service will solve it. 

Prioritizing Quality

As always, prioritize quality over quantity. Choppy, subpar content will frustrate your audience, and search engines will often penalize you as well, meaning your website will fall in the rankings and be harder to find. Conversely, high-quality content will boost your rankings and resonate with readers, as they will be receiving something of value. 

Instead of publishing a few dozen hastily written blogs, consider consistently creating a few thoughtful and interconnected pieces of content.

Choosing the Ideal Tone

Upper-funnel marketing content must employ a tone that is on-brand and stylistically consistent with the rest of your marketing materials, but — as mentioned above — it is equally important that your upper-funnel content does not come off as overly “salesy.”

When you target customers at the bottom of the sales funnel, feel free to be direct, but when speaking to individuals who may be learning about your brand for the first time, focus on educating, not selling a product. 

Including a Gentle CTA

Most pieces of marketing content, including upper-funnel materials, require a solid CTA that provides the reader with clear instructions as to what they should do next. 

With that being said, upper-funnel CTAs need to be a bit more gentle. Instead of closing an article with “Buy our [product] today!” consider something like, “Check out the guide found here to learn more” or “Sign up for our newsletter.” 

Providing simple but clear instructions to your audience will encourage them to take the next step without adding friction to their journey. 

Expand Your Funnel With CTV

To effectively maximize the reach of your upper-funnel content, consider implementing CTV marketing software that can help you intrigue, captivate, and mobilize your audiences with effective television advertising.