I must confess. I have a weakness for disaster films. One of my favorites is the 90s classic, Twister. In it, the comic relief, a tornado-chasing character, “Dusty,” explains to a newbie that there’s a critical area near a tornado – “the suck zone.” If something lies in that zone, the tornado will sweep it up. Just like content marketing. If your prospects don’t get into your marketing funnel’s “suck zone,” you’ll never have the chance to convert them into paying customers.
That’s the main idea with top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) content, to attract your target audience to your website and get them into your “suck zone”.
No matter how long your company has been in the content marketing game, you can always use new ideas that amplify your content strategy. Here are some of our favorite TOFU content tactics to consider.
1. Use Link Retargeting to Get Them into the Zone
Link retargeting isn’t just for people that have visited your website. You can use it at the top-of-the-funnel as well. Here’s the deal. Add retargeting links to curated content that you post on social media. If a prospect clicks on one of those links, you can retarget them with ads that put them directly into your “suck zone” – right into your website, as Louisa McGrath shares in her Crazy Egg post.
The tricks to leveraging this strategy are twofold:
- Get them to take the bait: First, your ads need to be nearly irresistible. Using emotionally loaded keywords and phrases that target potential customers’ pain points and interests is the hook you must have to draw them in.
- Make clicking worth their time: Nothing turns away prospects more than wasting their time. Make sure that the content you link to the ad is chock-full of problem-solving, interest-piquing information that will position your brand as a thought leader who cares about them and their challenges.
To put link retargeting to work for you, all you need is a link-shortening tool and retargeting pixels from your advertising platform, be it Google or one on social media. It’s like magic – and if McGrath’s statistics are correct, you can increase your top-of-the-funnel traffic by up to five times your usual yield.
2. Understand Your Audience with Customer Personas
To really dig into the problems your audience faces, you must put yourself in their shoes. “But I’m a content marketer, not a therapist,” you protest.
You have to think like a therapist. Beyond all the demographic and pain-point data, lies their life itself. Enter into their world, and you can create TOFU content that attracts and speaks to them. Kind of like a data-driven Dr. Phil.
You need to include all of these factors:
- Their behavior: how they interact with your brand
- Their points of view: how they feel about your content
- Their mindset: their preconceived notions about possible solutions
But since the prospects we are talking about aren’t in the funnel yet, use social media posts that address these aspects of their persona to draw them in. Since you haven’t gathered data about them yet, use the customer personas you’ve created for your current customer base as the foundation for your posts. Always link the post back to your blog, and include an invitation to subscribe to your email list at the end of each blog post.
3. Use Keywords and Images That Hook Readers
Earlier, we discussed using high-impact keywords in link retargeting ads. Extend that strategy to the titles and first paragraphs of your social media posts as well.
Don’t limit your keyword choices to the ones that Google’s Keyword Planner suggests. Combine one of those high-value keywords with catchy phrases that hook your readers emotionally.
Science shows that emotions drive conversions, as Dan Baum points out. Use images that grab readers by the heartstrings, and they’ll be more likely to click to read the rest of your content.
4. Use Storytelling to Keep Them Captivated
Once they’ve clicked on the link, they’re in your virtual “suck zone.” You’re done, right? Not if you want them to subscribe to your company newsletter.
If your TOFU content doesn’t keep their interest moving along with a story that positions them as the hero, you’ll lose them after the first few paragraphs. When you introduce your product as the sword they’ll use to slay the stress monsters that plague their businesses or their lives, you’ll find that more than likely, they’ll read to the end and become subscribers. Again, pique their emotions, and the numbers will be on your side.
5. Create TOFU Content That Engages Multiple Senses
Although approximately 65 percent of the world’s population are visual learners, you need to engage the 30 percent that are auditory (hearing) learners and the five percent that are kinesthetic (movement) learners. Engage people at the top-of-the-funnel with a variety of content, including videos, visuals (such as images and infographics), podcasts, blog posts that break up the text with images, and some activities that ask the audience to perform an action.
When you do engage all your potential customers in the way they prefer to receive information, you’ll experience better results. Since your goal at the top-of-the-funnel is to attract people to click through to your website, you want to make the experience as easy and attractive as possible.
6. Promote Content Where Potential Customers Hang Out Online
Finally, use social media and content analytics to discover where and when customers who match your customer personas hang out online. The more thorough you are in your research, the better your chances of reaching them at their favorite social media site and other digital channels.
Once you have that information, use a content calendar to schedule posts during your prospects’ peak usage times and on their preferred channels. Having a content automation program allows you to promote your content 24/7, a definite plus in today’s globally connected world.
To pull all these content strategies together, a comprehensive content marketing platform will simplify your top-of-funnel content production, from initial research to publication and analytics. With DivvyHQ, you’ll have everything you need in a single solution. Take advantage of our free 14-day trial to see how it works for you.