As many as 50% of leads aren’t ready to buy when they first inquire about your business, product or service. This makes lead nurturing and understanding sales funnel stages essential to sales conversion. For lead nurturing to be effective, businesses have to understand how their customers move through sales funnel stages, and what content customers look for before they make a purchase. With content to lead customers through each stage—top of the funnel (ToFu), middle of the funnel (MoFu), and bottom of the funnel (BoFu)—web visitors can become leads and, eventually, sales. ToFu, MoFu and BoFu content types are all different, but each is important to close the funnel and maximize lead conversions.
Try these 27 content types for every sales funnel stage, including the top of the funnel (ToFu), middle of the funnel (MoFu), bottom of the funnel (BoFu), and after purchase to promote brand evangelism.
27 ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu Content Types
What AreToFu, MoFu, and BoFu & How Do I Use Them?
Before organizing ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu content types around sales funnel stages, it’s important to understand who your buyers are and what your total sales funnel looks like. Create buyer personas first to determine how buyers find, think about, and interact with your brand. Consider how long buyers spend in each stage and questions they might ask as they move through each stage. You should have a lead scoring system in place to know when a buyer moves from one stage to the next.
Buyers generally start at the top of the funnel (ToFu) stage as they approach a problem or need, and your business or brand. Starting at the top of the funnel, we’ll address each sales funnel stage and how ToFu, MoFu and BoFu content types fit into a successful sales conversion strategy.
ToFu: Top of the Funnel / Awareness Stage
- Widest audience
- Most general
- Interested in what you do
- Least ready to convert
- Lowest value
Top of the funnel or awareness stage buyers have just discovered they have a problem or something is missing. In digital marketing, they are web visitors who found you through an Facebook ad, search ad or organic search, or they may have other low level interactions with you like sharing or liking a social post.
Example; My pant leg keeps getting stuck in my bicycle. It’s ruining my pants and it’s not safe. I know I’m going to keep biking, but this has got to stop. Other people must have this problem, I’m going to see what they’ve done about it.
ToFu Sales Funnel Stage Content Types
Content at this sales funnel stage helps the buyer find you for the first time. It’s important that your content is informational and relevant to their problem. This buyer isn’t ready for a sales pitch about your product yet, since they might not fully understand their problem or available solutions.
As with all ToFu, MoFu and BoFu content types, it should get the buyer to take the next step. In this case, you want to continue to reach them, so you’ll need their contact information. That means the content should be general enough to reach a wide audience, but focused around a problem your customer actually has, while also making a natural segue to the next step, like filling out an online form for a download.
Combine your existing knowledge about your buyer persona with keyword planning research to find content topics and keywords for the ToFu sales funnel stage. Even if your content won’t be searchable (such as a social media post or a video ad) use keyword research to make sure it’s relevant.
1. Social media post: Target platforms that your buyer personas are likely to use, and organize your posts around hashtags or communities. Remember that social posts aren’t one-size-fits-all and each platform has its own sharing and content curation rules. Example: That moment when your bike chain eats your morning bike ride good vibes #cycling #bikelife on Instagram
2. Infographic: Give customers an overview about a question, problem, or topic, ideally showing easy-to-understand statistics about others with the same concern. Example: Most popular bike accessories infographic.
3. Overview blog: Using high-search-volume keywords to generate traffic and easy to scan content, help your buyer understand the problem and what they could do about it. Example: Top 12 bicycle safety risks for city cyclists.
4. Short video: Create a short (less than 10 minute) video that will help your persona. The video can be general and address a particular topic and not necessarily a specific problem. Example: 10 city cycling safety tips in under 10 minutes.
5. Quiz or survey: Use a series of short questions to get more information about your buyer and help them understand a topic, problem, or community. Example: What type of cyclist are you?
6. Introductory email: Welcome your new leads and use awareness stage content to move them to the next sales funnel stage. Example: Beat these 10 city cyclist problems.
MoFu: Middle of the Funnel / Consideration Stage
- Targeted audience
- Meets buyer persona criteria
- Interested in a benefit you provide
- May already be a lead
- Moderate value
The buyer is now researching solutions to their problems or finding ways to fill something missing in their life. People at this stage are considering the value of each solution and objections they might have.
Example; Well, I can roll up my pant legs, by my legs will get cold. I can use velcro straps, but what if those get caught too? I could stuff my pant legs in my socks, but won’t that wrinkle my pants? I could use clips, but what if they come off?
MoFu Sales Funnel Stage Content Types
You should have a way to contact buyers at this point, usually via email. The content for this sales funnel stage should explain solutions, address objections, and present benefits of each solution. While it’s ideal to present your solution in its best light, it should be realistic and honest, as all ToFu, MoFu and BoFu content types should be.
Though your buyer may have given you their contact information or asked a question, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily ready to buy yet (remember that 50% of buyers aren’t). Depending on the product, buyers may spend a little or a lot of time in this stage. Your business model will impact the length and content of allToFu, MoFu and BoFu content types. High price products or items that a customer uses every day will require a longer middle of the funnel stage, and more content. It’s important here to estimate how long buyers spend in this stage, and to understand what triggers signal they’ve moved into this stage and out of it.
7. Email drip: A series of nurturing emails with content based on the customers’ interests or demographic (which they either provided, you safely assume from your persona or advertising methods, or you find from social media). Use an appropriate voice and provide content or link to content that addresses objections and explains solutions.
8. In-depth blog: Again using keyword research as well as audience demographic research, curate in-depth content to solve a problem. If you can’t get hard numbers on long-tail keywords, see what your customers are talking about in related social groups or on Q&A forums to create an effective business blog. Example: 35 cyclist problems and hassle-free solutions.
9. Relevant news: If new invention, big event, new product release, store opening or other news relates to the customer’s problem, it can be helpful content, but should be chosen carefully. Example: New bicycle model saves lives for city cyclists.
10. Checklist: Help customers solve a problem using an organized set of tasks. Example: 8 point bicycle safety checklist before you hit the road.
11. Ebooks: If the problem or solution is more complex, an attractively designed, informational ebook can give the customer the information they need. Example: The (abridged) bicycle maintenance book for savvy cyclists.
12. Guide: Lend your industry expertise and show the best way to solve a problem, including detailed step-by-step instructions. Bicycle buyer’s guide: all the bicycle accessories you will ever need.
13. Templates: Outline a way that you solve a problem, and give your customer the basics for applying the solution to their situation. Example: Map template to plot your safest route.
BoFu: Bottom of the Funnel / Decision Stage
- Narrow audience
- MQL or SQL
- Interested in your specific product
- Ready to buy
- High value
At this sales funnel stage, your buyer understands their problem, has selected their solution, and is now looking for a particular product. Ideally, by offering them the previous information they needed, you’ve already forged a relationship with this person and they’re more likely to choose your brand.
Example: I watched some videos and cyclists like me seem pretty happy with pants clips. So where can I get some affordable, durable pants clips? Should I go to a store, or buy online? Are pants clips pretty much all the same, or are some better than others?
BoFu Sales Funnel Stage Content
Content at this sales funnel stage should showcase your product while avoiding a direct sales pitch. It’s helpful here to demonstrate how the product works, showcase the product’s features, and show benefits customers receive by using the product. Though the ultimate goal is a sale or purchase, all ToFu, MoFu and BoFu content types should focus on helping the customer, not selling to them. Previous customer testimonials, case studies or endorsements from industry experts or influencers can help provide information at this stage without a direct sales pitch.
This content should segue naturally from the previous content and into the next step; purchase. Consider where this buyer persona prefers to make a purchase; online? In your online store or a third party site? In a store? A big box store or a small local store? Make this as easy to find as possible. Again, use triggers and lead scoring to know when a customer transitions into and out of this stage.
14. Case studies: Tell an existing customer’s or a known industry figure’s story. Illustrate problems or challenges that the buyer in this sales funnel stage also struggles with, and show how the problem is solved. Example: Karen Jones uses pants clips to cycle to work.
15. Testimonials: Testimonials are key to establishing social proof and trust. You might use these on a dedicated testimonials page, product page, pricing page or other pages designed to convert.
16. Product demonstration: Show the product in action in a short video. Example: See how easy pants clips are to use.
17. Product features: Show what your product can do and benefits it provides, especially advantages it has over the competition. Example: pants clips product page.
18. Product comparisons: Go head-to-head with your competition and showcase your advantages. Remember, it’s okay if competitors win in some areas; your product’s advantages should be relevant to your persona. Example: Pants clips vs. Velcro straps
19. Webinars or Webinies: These video instruction segments are ideal for products with higher buyer resistance. To keep customers’ attention, shorter (5 minute) webinies have become a common replacement for webinars (20 to 30 minutes or longer). Example: Champion cyclists address cycling dangers and how to avoid them in upcoming webinar.
After Purchase / Customer Evangelists
- Narrow audience
- Previous customer
- Interested in forging a relationship with your company
- Very high value
We know repeat customers spend more, require less maintenance, and are the best brand ambassadors, so some content should be focused on them. If they had a good experience with your brand, your choice of content can turn them into an brand evangelist and lifelong customer.
Wow, these pants clips are exactly what I needed! My pants-ripping problems are all in the past. This company even donates money to buy bicycles for people in developing countries. I’m a fan. I wonder if I could get a matching helmet from them too?
Brand Evangelist Sales Funnel Stage Content
Success! Your ToFu, MoFu and BoFu content types have worked their magic and converted another customer. But the sales funnel isn’t over yet. Content after purchase can turn a one-time customer into a a lifelong customer and brand evangelist. This content should give them additional reasons to support you, in addition to a great product or experience. To make your brand a part of your customers’ lives, your content should be continuously relevant to them, though not necessarily to solve a problem. It might also inspire, amaze, surprise, intrigue, or make a customer’s day.
Choose your goals, triggers and scoring at this stage of the sales funnel carefully. Do you want to encourage repeat purchases? In this case, you’ll want to move a buyer from after purchase content to discounts or rewards programs. Do you want them to talk about your brand? Then you’ll want to highlight the quality of your business and encourage social sharing and reviews.
20. Special feature blogs: Content for blogs at this sales funnel stage should be different than previous blogs you’ve written. These may focus more on your business or products, such as events you are holding or attending, good works you are involved in, or contests and giveaways. Example: Pants Clips Company partners with Good Works Cycling charity for environmentally-friendly transport in developing nations.
21. Re-engagement emails: Vary your email content and layouts to keep your customers interested. Ask what your customers are interested in to keep your information up-to-date and increase engagement. Be sure to segment your audience to ensure you’re delivering the right content at this buyer’s journey stage. Example: Has your cycling routine changed? Tell us.
22. Contests or giveaways: This user-generated content strategy focuses on content from your buyers instead of your brand. Incentivize your customers to share their purchases or experiences online and expand your reach. Example: Share your Pants Clips Company pictures and win a helmet to match your bicycle.
23. Storytelling videos: This content is meant to engage and inspire. You might highlight exceptional activities from particular customers, partner businesses, charity work, or positive messages you wish to support. Example: Karen Jones transformed her life with everyday cycling.
24. Interactive campaigns: Using multiple platforms and varied content, including a way to submit user-generated content, rally your company and your customers around a relevant cause or message. Example: Share your bicycle safety tips and rally for cyclist safety.
25. Newsletters: Keep your customers engaged with snackable newsletters featuring helpful tips, product discounts, upcoming events, inspiring stories, and more.
26. Community forums: Create a safe and welcoming place for customers to share their experiences and connect with others. Moderate these communities to position yourself as an expert and maintain a positive atmosphere.
27. Online and offline events: Allow everyone to get involved by posting live feeds of seminars, talks, or trade shows and regularly hosting both online and offline events. Example: Watch Pants Clip Company cyclists compete LIVE in the Iron Man Triathlon.
Delivering the right content at each sales funnel stage is essential to effective lead nurturing. When you can deliver the message and information customers are looking for at the right time, you’ll be the first to come to mind when it’s time to make a purchase. This will not only increase sales, but also strengthen customer relationships and build brand equity.