Need help generating funnel leads? We can all use help there, since keeping the funnel full and flowing is a must for marketers who want to build and maintain a solid lead generation program.
Today, let’s focus on the first step: Keeping your funnel full by generating top of the funnel leads.
How to Build Awareness & Interest for Top of the Funnel Leads
Top of the funnel leads should be in the early stages of the buyer’s journey. As such, it’s important to keep in mind that the overarching goal for pulling in these leads is to build awareness and some general interest in what your business does.
How can you achieve this goal and keep your funnel full at all times? Start with these seven tips:
- Don’t dive too deep: Since bringing in top of the funnel leads is all about building awareness and interest, it’s critical that you don’t dive too deep — there will be plenty of time for that in nurture campaigns down the road (or funnel, as the case may be). Diving too deep too soon might confuse people who don’t have the appropriate base knowledge yet. Even if they do understand what you’re talking about, they might not be ready to consume that information just yet, and today’s buyers look for brands that add value by providing the right information at the right time.
- Differentiate your brand with a unique experience: What will keep people coming back to your brand time and again as they move further along the buyer’s journey? Providing valuable insight that meets their needs at any given point in time is one component, but creating a unique experience is equally as important. That unique experience is what will help differentiate your brand from competitors. Therefore, it pays to consider how you can create entertaining and engaging content that highlights your brand’s voice to attract top of the funnel leads.
- Invest in your website and blog: Your website and/or blog will be the first impression of your brand for many of these leads, and as such it’s important that you make the appropriate investments here. Areas to consider include populating your website and blog with engaging content meant for leads in the early stage of the buyer’s journey for the reasons described above, making the path you want these leads to follow clear, taking advantage of opportunities to personalize and/or recommend the next best piece of content and creating clear and concise calls to action.
- Optimize for search engines: Whether you’re focusing on organic SEO or running a pay-per-click campaign with a program like Google AdWords, best practice search engine marketing (SEM) can help generate a lot of top of the funnel leads. With that in mind, it’s important that you pay close attention to factors like keywords, content optimization and so on in order to build a SEM program that results in new leads.
- Take advantage of the power of social media: Similar to search engines, social media is another area that’s ripe for attracting new top of the funnel leads. Developing a strong social media strategy in which you share content with your networks, engage with others (especially influencers) and encourage your employees and customers to advocate on your behalf can help attract new followers and leads alike.
- Tap into partner networks: Most businesses have partners who offer complementary products and/or services to their own. These partners’ existing customer bases are ripe fields for new leads for your business. Some ways to tap into these networks include publishing a guest post on a partner blog, hosting a joint webinar or in-person event and running a joint campaign on social media, email or any other network.
- Consider outbound opportunities: The previous six tips fall under the purview of inbound marketing, but what about outbound marketing? Opportunities exist there too. For example, you can generate new top of the funnel leads through interactions at a booth at a tradeshow or by sending direct mail. While inbound has certainly become a preferred marketing method for many organizations over the past several years, outbound marketing is far from dead. In fact, these outbound methods can be very useful if you have specific targets in mind.
Keep Your Funnel Full — Then Get It Flowing
Once you have tactics like these in place, you’ll be well positioned to keep your funnel full with new leads. And, once you can do that, you can keep your funnel flowing with acceleration activities like nurture campaigns that are designed to strengthen relationships and turn those leads into customers.