Back in sales days of yore, cold calling and hassling people who might not be anywhere near qualified leads to buy a product was the norm. Today, it’s vital to nurture those leads and provide relevant and helpful information at the exact time a lead needs it. Lead nurturing is known as inbound marketing – being so trustworthy and authoritative that when a lead is actually ready to buy, your business will be the one they come to.

This saves a lot of time and energy from throwing away money on ads and marketing campaigns that may not work, just to see what sticks. Inbound marketing software HubSpot points out:

  • 50 percent of leads are qualified but not ready to buy
  • Nearly 80 percent of leads never convert, and a lack of lead nurturing is to blame
  • Companies that are excellent at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more qualified leads at a 33 percent lower cost

This is why TOFU, MOFU and BOFU strategy is so important – and no, they’re not new drool-worthy dishes. Although, if you nurture leads at every one of these stages, you’ll be more likely to create some tasty results. Here’s a primer.

TOFU, MOFU and BOFU: Are Not New Vegan DishesTOFU

TOFU stands for top of the funnel. For some businesses, there could literally be millions of customer possibilities floating around the TOFU. These people:

  • Are unqualified leads
  • Have a problem that needs solving or a need to be met
  • Are information-seekers, but haven’t committed to buying yet

Those in the TOFU part of the funnel may not even realize that there is a product or solution that could help them. All they know is that they are trying to educate themselves on a topic related to their need.

Types of content that your brand can produce to move those TOFU people further along your marketing funnel include:

  • Blog posts
  • Educational videos
  • Podcasts
  • High-level webinars
  • Infographics
  • Slideshows

These types of content may be branded, especially when they’re shared on social media and your business is linked to them, but the goal isn’t to push the hard sell just yet. Since it can take around six to eight touchpoints to generate a lead, the goal is to create content so useful, those TOFU visitors keep coming back to learn from your brand.

MOFU

MOFU stands for middle of the funnel. At this point, the people who learned all the great information from your business while they were still in the TOFU stage now realize there are products or services that can benefit them. They’re just not sure which one is best yet. At the MOFU stage, your leads are now:

  • Interested
  • Looking for more in-depth content about their pain point
  • Willing to do more research to find the best solution

MOFU consumers are the ones your competitors may have also identified and may be directly targeting in order to turn them into sales. Without nurturing at this middle stage, you may have missed out on the perfect sale simply because another brand better captured the attention of those in the MOFU.

To retain MOFU prospects’ interest, you can deliver more detailed looks at the problem they’re experiencing, and weave your brand into how the problem can be solved. MOFU content examples include:

  • Ebooks
  • Case studies
  • Whitepapers
  • Granular podcasts, webinars and videos
  • Comparison guides
  • Drip email campaigns

MOFU is the time to establish a relationship between your brand and the lead. “Gate” the content listed above by giving it away for free in exchange for an email address. Then, you can add those leads to an email marketing strategy whose content relates to what they previously downloaded.

TOFU, MOFU and BOFU: Are Not New Vegan DishesBOFU

BOFU stands for bottom of the funnel. These are the leads who discovered you while looking for information, and then continued to engage with your brand when they realized they needed a solution. Now it’s time to close that sale and convert that lead into revenue. When leads reach BOFU, they’re:

  • Highly qualified
  • Very educated about their problem and potential solutions
  • Ready to buy

Your business goal is to make sure any lead at the BOFU stage becomes your customer. It’s not safe to assume that just because a lead read 10 of your blogs, downloaded a whitepaper, and watched a webinar that you’re their optimal solution. You still need to be at top of mind in BOFU.

This is where you can more outrightly tout your services and offer a way for the lead to get in touch with you directly. Convert those BOFU leads with content like:

  • Free consultation
  • Free trial
  • Live demonstration
  • In-person meeting
  • Discount code for your product or service

BOFU is your time to explicitly show a lead what you can offer them. Even if you don’t convert BOFU leads right away at this stage, you can continue to nurture them with MOFU content. They can also serve as brand advocates if they try your product but don’t end up buying, and help spread the word for you.

What tips do you have to make your TOFU, MOFU and BOFU strategies sizzling? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter @AlphaMindStudio. Want more tips on aligning content with buyer journeys to increase conversions? Visit our blog post.