ToFu, MoFu, BoFu: Understanding the Marketing Funnel


Published: November 16, 2020 Author: Jason Holicky - Hometown Design Studio Inc.
ToFu, MoFu, BoFu: Understanding the Marketing Funnel

Before someone can become a customer, there is a process of becoming aware that there’s a problem that needs to be solved, research done to find a solution, and then a purchase decision is made. No potential customers want to be pestered by a salesperson while they’re making their journey, but most would benefit from a bit of nurturing along the way. ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu are how we meet prospects where they are.

What is a Sales Funnel?

The best way to understand a sales funnel is to think about an actual funnel that you may use in the kitchen, garage, or another everyday place. The top of the funnel is the widest and is built that way to make it easy to get things into the funnel, and it becomes progressively more narrow as you work your way down.

A sales funnel works the same way, but rather than using gravity to work something down to the bottom of the funnel, marketers use strategically placed content to bring prospects to one destination. Another key difference is that a sales funnel has plenty of exit points--not everyone who enters will reach the bottom. This is important as we don’t want to bother uninterested or unqualified leads with our content.

full funnel marketing strategy

Sales Funnel Explained

Unlike a real funnel that brings as much material to the bottom as quickly as possible, the sales funnel relies on marketing strategy, tools, and time to get people from the initial stages of awareness to being ready to buy a product or service. Which tools to deploy will depend on the sales funnel stages: top, middle, and bottom, or ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu.

Top of the Funnel

The top of the funnel is for prospects in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. For you, this means attracting a wide audience of potentially interested leads and bringing as much relevant traffic to your web pages as possible. At this stage in the journey, the idea is to familiarize new visitors with your solutions, start to filter those who are a clear mismatch, and nudge the rest along toward the middle of the funnel.

A blog post is one of the most common and effective types of ToFu content as you can provide the necessary information that people are searching for while also gently introducing them to your company and your products or services. (ProTip: Helping people find your blog posts and getting them into your funnel is what SEO is all about.)

While you want to avoid any sales pitches at this stage, encouraging visitors to convert into leads by pointing them toward premium content such as eBooks, white papers, or other resources is how to keep them moving.

Middle of the Funnel

The MoFu stage is where you’ll begin to develop interest on the part of your prospects. This zone takes up the greatest space in the sales funnel, mainly because your prospects will have a variety of pain points, needs, and interest levels that you’ll have to match with content.

This stage of the process is also where you’ll start qualifying leads so those that are not a match can exit the process. That way, you’re not dedicating resources to and annoying people who are never going to become customers.

A series of emails is the most common type of content for this stage of the sales funnel for two reasons. First, emails can be highly customized to the needs and interests of the recipient. You can decide which email comes next based on previous interactions with your content and other website behavior. The second reason is that all this can be automated: you only need to think through the process once and let software do the real-time work.

As far as what to include in these nurturing emails, all the content should still be focused on solving the prospect’s problem and be very easy on the sale. Product comparisons are a great tool for this stage, but be sure they are comparing features and benefits, not price points or vendor differences. Videos and webinars are also helpful to help prospects visualize solutions.

Bottom of the Funnel

The bottom of the funnel is the smallest in size, but the most critical in terms of importance. Any prospects who make it this far are very likely to be ready to buy, or they only need a few remaining roadblocks to be removed before making the leap. At this point, prospects are prepared to consider pricing as well as compare solutions across different providers.

The most common tools for the BoFu stage are no-obligation introductions to specific products or services such as case studies, free consultations and estimates, live demos, or free demos that prospects can try out for themselves. Depending on your offers and your industry, a direct sales incentive such as a discount code or free shipping offer are the best pick.

ToFu, Mofu, BoFu in Action

Nurture Leads Toward A Sale With Mofu And Bofu

By having a deeper understanding of the steps your customers take before making a purchase, you’ll be able to reach a broad audience, and then nurture leads toward a sale more efficiently and effectively. For many consumers, problem-solving starts with a Google search, which brings them to the top of your funnel. From there, it’s just a matter of matching up relevant content with the right people at the right time to bring qualified leads to the bottom--and boost your bottom line.

This page is at the top of our sales funnel. Welcome! We have lots of resources for you to check out while you’re enjoying our cozy MoFu. One place you can start is our collection of blog posts. Here you’ll find lots of information about marketing, SEO, and more.

Or, if you’re ready to jump to the BoFu, contact us here.

Categories: Content Marketing
About the Author

Creative Director Jason co-founded Hometown Design Studio of New Lenox, IL in 2013. He spends his days guiding and consulting industrial clients and small businesses owners on their marketing strategy and projects. Jason enables everyone to be successful and grow their business by sharing his knowledge and experience.
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