Most branding and reach is targeting the top of the funnel– TOFU.
And the PPC experts focus on the conversions at the bottom of the funnel.
But connecting brand power to conversion requires a strong Middle of Funnel– MOFU. B2B is the hardest area to drive meaningful engagement on Facebook– often a mix of silly cat photos and heavy whitepaper content.
Let’s talk to some bad ass MoFu’s to see how they drive engagement, leads, and opportunities in B2B.
First up, we have Preston Smith, Organic Marketing Manager at Infusionsoft, a small biz marketing automation company. How do you define the Middle of the Funnel and how does Facebook play into this?
“MOFU is that dark place your most valuable prospects go to die. But really, without going into too many details on the varying layers that are the middle of the funnel, MOFU is basically anyone that has taken a hard or soft opt-in that isn’t being worked by sales.
“Facebook plays into MoFu is many way but let me tell you about 2 ways we use it. First, a facebook like is a “soft opt-in”. When someone “likes” your facebook page they are giving you permission to show them content, just like they would in filling out an email opt-in. And just like email, people want to be given relevant content. The content you present should move people through the funnel.”
“The second way we use facebook in the MOFU, is by creating custom audiences in power editor based on segments of our MOFU email list. We can then advertise exclusively to those customer audiences in a way that moves them through the middle of the funnel to the sales team. The key is to build your customer audiences in a way that allows you to present relevant content to the relevant customer audience.”
Let’s drop in on David George, who was in charge of Customer Success at Heyo, a social apps company with 41,000 fans and hundreds that attend each of their live webinars. What’s your secret to bringing folks from awareness to web demo?
“One of the most important things for us was maintaining active email lists.
While email seems a little passé, it still reigns as one of the most effective mediums for businesses to communicate with potential customers.
We made sure to have a list that was always full of fresh leads. These leads came in through many different channels, so it was also important to track where the most “active” people came from, or those who were most likely to sign up for our software via the demo. We obtained these leads through people signing up for our Free Trial, but dropping off before completion; signing up to receive free e-books and case studies; live conferences/speaking engagements; and more.
If we ever sent messages to an older, less active list, it was important to first, A/B test the copy, but also include a follow-up email with a different subject line to the segment who didn’t open the first message.
If you have an older list, it’s important to note that as time goes on, less and less people will be interested.
Don’t take this personally – it is due to many things – change of occupation, change in finances, business went in a different direction, etc. In order to maintain an “active” email list and not be another spam troll, periodically send an email to your list encouraging them to unsubscribe if they don’t like the content. This way, your open rates and click-through rates will be much more accurate (and higher – which is always fun to see!).
Next, just send a friendly reminder about 30-60 minutes before the event to get the last stragglers that didn’t have their coffee that morning and forgot about the whole thing. Something that proved very effective for reminder emails was being super short, and super direct with the subject line. “We’re live, should we wait for you?” always gets some interesting responses 😉 “
Maria Pergolino runs Marketing at Aptus. How does she handle leads?
“You can’t accelerate leads through the funnel with early stage content like general best practices and top tips type blog posts. Instead, you need to map out your buyer personas by buying stage, and then pair it with the appropriate content. For example, buyers who are mid-funnel may be looking for analyst reports, buyers guides, and case studies. Less people will consume this content, but it will be those getting ready to purchase. “
Jason Miller rocks the title of Sr. Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn. His strategy involves Custom audience targeting with mid-funnel content.
“Upload a list of names into Powereditor based on where they are in the buying cycle. Then drop in some MOFU content offerings then track, refine rinse and repeat. It’s all about the targeting in the phase :)”
Carra Manahan is the marketing programs specialist at Marketo, who believes MOFU is a very important part of the buying cycle.
“When you have leads that aren’t quite ready to buy, you want to make sure you’re giving them content that will help push them through the funnel and unfortunately TOFU content does not show buying intent. For instance, if someone looks at an infographic it doesn’t necessarily mean they want to purchase your product. We generally like to give them our middle stage content which we define as “tools that can help buyers find you when they’re looking for solutions”. Such content is comprised of buying guides, ROI calculators, analyst reports and other similar assets.”
Joe Chernov is the VP of Marketing at Kinvey, who feels that everyone defines MoFu differently. He defines it as ‘the lowest funnel stage over which marketing has complete control’
“People tend to think in terms of black and white. Top and bottom of the funnel thinking is reinforced by this tendency. Top is “fluffy, awareness-generating stuff” whereas bottom is “about the product”. The casualty of this thinking is the middle of the funnel, where a balance needs to be struck – it has to be just broad enough to not turn-off those who aren’t in a purchase cycle, but just specific enough to advance someone along their “buyer’s journey.” Nuance is difficult for people, myself included.”
Jeff Tomlin holds the title VP of Marketing at Vendasta, who’s still growing the strategy for MOFU
“When it comes to our MOFU work, I wish we were further along in our sophistication but we have been pretty successful in the past couple of months. Our mid funnel content is mostly case studies and sales training videos. This content has been getting a lot of attention because a lot of companies we are targeting are struggling with sales force transformation and transitioning from traditional to digital revenue streams. This content has been generating a lot of direct conversions for us. “
Jeffrey Eisenberg is an authority of Internet marketing strategy. His thoughts are that content that is produced without the intent of moving prospective customers through the buying process is simply wasted effort.
“Sales processes fail in MoFu when you fail to provide the relevant content that fuels persuasive momentum. Do you know what content provides enough fuel to make the sale?
If you’ve planned your content by identifying the questions your personas have at all stages of their buying process, then you’re half way there. The middle of the funnel is where you need to anticipate all the content that will support your buyer gaining the consensus – not just to make a purchase – but to change their company’s organism. Companies are like organisms in that they avoid change. They aren’t looking to simply replace what they are doing with a solution, your champion is trying to disrupt the corporate organism as little as possible.
In the MoFU, give up on the idea of a single decision maker, support everyone involved. Yes, the VP of Marketing has different questions at different companies, but at some companies you also need to provide your champion a way to answer the CFO’s questions, maybe the CEO’s, and likely his/her direct reports. When you have the right content, prepared for the right media, for the right buying modality – for all the people who will truly be involved in buying your product or service – then you’re truly headed in the right direction.”
Lisa Buyer supercharges internet marketing strategy with The Buyer Group. Author of the book “Social PR Secrets”, she believes that the power of public relations can be extremely influential in the middle of the funnel.
“It can make it or break it for business. MOFU is part of the relationship building process in marketing. As a brand you are either building trust, maintaining trust, growing trust or in some cases earning it back. Coming from a public relations angle, the stronger relationship you can build in the beginning the better.
If you are introduced to a brand via a friend or third party trusted source, the trust factor is higher. Brands delivering selfless content designed to educate, entertain or help the prospects make smarter decisions and become an educational type source will in the end create an army of brand advocates.
Examples include projects like The Social Media ProBook headed by Joe Chernov back in the day with Eloqua and JESS3. The Social Media ProBook is a 42-page free e-book collaboratively written by a cross-section of social marketers from brands and agencies, analysts, and social support professionals across both business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries.
This is an example of bringing together a group, creating a community, that lives outside a brand and uniting them into one collaborative and branded voice in an objective way. Using tools such as free ebooks and webinars in the MOFU creates a bonding effect and accelerates the process in building trusted relationships and fan engagement.
The Social Media ProBook won the “Killer Content” Award during the B2B Content2Conversion Conference by the DemandGen Report recognizing it for exceptional content marketing. Creating exceptional content, whether it is a feature story in a top tier publication that can be repurposed and lives forever as a trust logo on a company home page and links to the full story on a company’s online newsroom to a piece of published content such as The Social Media ProBook that went viral. “
Our MoFU strategy here at Content Factory is simple: Ask the smartest people in the industry for their feedback and to publish articles featuring them– hence, this one! 🙂
Readers, What’s YOUR strategy for the middle of the funnel?
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