There are five key phases in your consumers’ buying process: awareness, acquisition, revenue, retention, and referral. If you struggle to expand into new markets or find new clients outside of your internal connections or current client referrals, then you likely have a “top of funnel” problem.
This means your potential target market needs to be more aware that you exist (step one in the buying process).
In this blog, we will cover five ways to increase the amount of awareness that your company has, and how to fill the top of your funnel.
5 Ideas for Filling the Top of Your Funnel
1. Start a Podcast
It’s no secret that a lot of service-based businesses can at first glance feel “boring” to learn about. But a podcast can be a way to add some personality and humanize a service offering in a way your consumers can connect to.
Podcasts do three things very well:
- They give you an open platform to explore, discuss, and clarify your thoughts.
- They allow you to speak with guests who can educate your audience while bringing a new audience to the table.
- They give you a huge library of long-form, evergreen content that you can use to get in front of your target audience for longer periods of time — before starting the sales process.
- The more time a person (your customer) can spend with you, the more educated they can become, and the more they will trust you. One 30-minute podcast is much more efficient than 60 short-form LinkedIn posts.
2. Referral/Partnership Programs
Your best marketing assets are your current clients. These are the people who know others similar to them that you can help and through working with you they can recommend you based on experience.
But sometimes you have to incentivize them to speak about you.
No one walks around saying, “Look at this marketing campaign that X marketing company made.” Instead, they say, “Look at how great our ads are performing” or “Did you see our new video?”
This is because your customers want to highlight themselves… not talk about another company that helped them. Unless “X marketing company” tells them they can get rewarded for speaking about (or referring) their company.
Building a system to incentivize your audience to talk about you is an easy way to fill the top of your funnel without having to do all of the work.
Many referral/partnership programs use things like discounts, revenue-sharing programs, or service offerings in return for each referral. Partnership programs also work best when your “partners” get exclusive access to something valuable to them.
3. Optimize Your Approach to Social Media
How do you make showing up on social media less effort and more effective?
Although social media can be seen as tedious, time-consuming, or an energy suck, one of the easiest ways to win on social media is to show up consistently.
Here are four steps to building an effective and optimized social strategy.
1. Find a Platform to Test On
Choose one platform to test the success and impact of your content.
This platform should likely be the one that you have the largest reach, and that the majority of your target audience uses the most. We find that LinkedIn has been one of the most successful platforms to utilize for B2B organizations.
Once you test your content there, take the best-performing pieces and recreate them for other platforms. (Hint: you don’t have to be doing everything at once).
2. Stay Consistent
Being consistent means that you drive home the same message repeatedly.
You don’t need new content topics every month, week, or day.
You need to take one message and drive it home until your audience clearly understands. Don’t reinvent the wheel every day. Stick to what you know!
3. Engage (Get in Front of New Audiences)
One of the easiest ways to grow the top of your funnel on social media is to engage with your audience’s posts.
This is arguably just as important as posting your own organic content. By engaging with your audience you can get in front of the network of others and grow the number of people that are seeing your content.
4. Expand to New Platforms with Proven Topics (Be in More Places)
Above, we told you to start with one platform to test your content. Once you have a good idea of what your audience will engage with or want to hear through testing there, you can start to expand to new platforms.
The more places you can be the better. The reason we wait to expand platforms is to avoid burnout —making sure that our efforts are optimized and strategic (and not a guess).
4. Paid Media
If you already know what your message is and who your target audience is, you can really expand the top of your funnel by backing your organic marketing efforts with a strong paid media strategy.
At this point, you can take your already effective content and put money behind it to expand your reach to a larger audience.
The biggest misconception is that paid media is different content than organic content.
But that’s not true.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel! Your best paid media strategy will be built off of your already successful organic content.
5. Email Lists and Outbound Campaigns
Email lists and outbound campaigns are an easy way to get your message in front of thousands of people that may have heard about your company but haven’t taken action to interact with you.
A strong outbound email campaign can be used to educate your audience about their potential problem, inform them of some of your past client successes, answer frequently asked questions, and give them offers as to how to take the next steps to use your company as a solution to their problems.
If you have a tool like HubSpot, you can track this activity and build your own lists.
It’s time to get started!
There are a lot of ways that you can begin to expand your reach and start to fill the top of your funnel. The most important thing to remember is that one size does NOT fit all.
So take the one activity that will have the most impact at the start, then build your marketing strategy brick by brick.
The second thing to note is that: these things take time. Give yourself 90-day trial periods. Commit. And make something happen. The tools are out there.