What is Top-of-Funnel (TOFU) Marketing?

Every customer’s journey begins at the Top-of-Funnel, aka TOFU. TOFU refers to the initial phase in the sales funnel, where the primary objective is to generate awareness and interest within a broad audience. This stage is not about hard selling but rather about sparking curiosity and establishing a connection.

At this juncture, potential customers might be seeking information, answers to questions, or solutions to problems, but they are not yet ready to make a purchase. This is where TOFU plays a big role, serving as the first point of contact between a brand and its prospective audience.

The importance of TOFU lies in its ability to introduce a brand's value proposition and to begin nurturing a relationship with potential customers. It builds a solid foundation for further engagement in the subsequent stages of the sales funnel.

Importance of TOFU in the Sales Funnel

Executing an effective TOFU strategy will set you up for success throughout the rest of your customer’s journey. TOFU marketing is vital for several reasons:

  • Awareness Building: It increases brand visibility and awareness. Without this initial exposure, potential customers may never discover the brand or its products.
  • Lead Generation: It is a critical phase for lead generation. By capturing the interest of a broad audience, TOFU helps in identifying potential leads who can be nurtured through the sales funnel.
  • Educating Prospects: It provides an opportunity to educate the market about the brand’s offerings. This educational aspect is crucial for setting the stage for middle and bottom-funnel activities.
  • Building Trust and Authority: Through quality content and valuable information, TOFU helps in establishing a brand as a trustworthy authority in its field. This trust is fundamental for customer loyalty and long-term engagement.

In summary, TOFU is all about laying the groundwork for a lasting relationship. It's the start of a journey that, with the right strategy, leads to conversion and customer loyalty.

Types of TOFU Content to Create

Blog Posts as TOFU Content

Blog posts stand as a cornerstone in TOFU marketing. They are a versatile tool, capable of addressing a wide range of topics, from educational content and industry insights to company news and thought leadership pieces. The key to effective blog posts at the TOFU stage is to focus on topics that resonate with your target audience's interests, questions, and challenges. Well-crafted blog posts can:

  • Attract Organic Traffic: Through search engine optimization (SEO), blogs can draw in a significant amount of organic traffic. By targeting specific keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching for, you increase the visibility of your content and, by extension, your brand.
  • Establish Authority: By providing valuable and insightful content, you position your brand as an authority in your field. This builds trust with your audience, making them more likely to return for more information and eventually consider your products or services.
  • Encourage Sharing: Shareable content can extend your reach far beyond your immediate audience. When people find your blog posts informative or engaging, they are likely to share them with their network, amplifying your brand’s reach.

Social Media Posts for TOFU Engagement

Social media platforms are a great way to engage in TOFU marketing. They offer a way to reach and engage with a vast audience through various content forms, including posts, stories, and live videos. The immediacy and interactivity of social media make it an excellent channel for starting conversations and building relationships with potential customers. Effective TOFU social media strategies include:

  • Creating Engaging Content: Posts that are visually appealing, thought-provoking, or entertaining can capture attention and prompt engagement.
  • Interactive Posts: Polls, quizzes, and questions can stimulate interaction, making your audience feel more connected to your brand.
  • Consistency and Relevance: Regular posting on topics that matter to your audience helps keep your brand top of mind and fosters a sense of community around your brand.

Creating Compelling Videos for TOFU Outreach

Videos offer a dynamic way to convey messages and engage audiences. They can range from educational content, and product teasers, to behind-the-scenes looks into your company culture. Videos can:

  • Boost Engagement: Videos are often more engaging than text and images alone, leading to higher interaction rates.
  • Increase Reach: Platforms like YouTube offer a vast audience and can significantly increase your brand's visibility.
  • Tell a Story: Videos allow for storytelling, which can be a compelling way to convey your brand’s values and mission.

Infographics: Visualizing TOFU Concepts

Infographics are an excellent way to present complex information or data in an easily digestible format. They are particularly useful for summarizing topics, presenting statistics, or explaining processes related to your industry. Benefits of using infographics include:

  • Enhanced Comprehension: Visual representations can make complex concepts more accessible.
  • Shareability: Infographics are often shared across social media and other platforms, increasing the reach of your content.
  • Visual Appeal: They can break the monotony of text-heavy content, adding a visual appeal to your TOFU strategy.

Each of these content types plays a unique role in the TOFU stage. They work together to attract, engage, and educate potential customers, paving the way for deeper engagement in the later stages of the sales funnel.

Effective TOFU Marketing Tactics

Targeting and Attracting the Right Audience

One of the fundamental aspects of effective TOFU marketing is identifying and targeting the right audience. Attracting a relevant audience is crucial because these are the individuals most likely to progress through the sales funnel. Key strategies for targeting the right audience include:

  • Market Research: Understanding your audience's demographics, interests, and pain points allows you to tailor your TOFU content to their needs.
  • Customer Personas: Creating detailed customer personas helps in visualizing and understanding the ideal customer, guiding content creation and targeting efforts.
  • Segmentation: Dividing your audience into specific groups based on shared characteristics enables more personalized and effective targeting.

Using SEO and Keywords for TOFU Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential tool in TOFU marketing. It involves optimizing your online content so that it is more likely to be found and ranked highly by search engines. Effective SEO strategies for TOFU include:

  • Keyword Research: Identifying the right keywords that your target audience is searching for is critical. These keywords should then be seamlessly integrated into your TOFU content.
  • On-Page Optimization: Ensuring that your content is well-structured, with clear headings, meta descriptions, and alt text for images, enhances its visibility in search engine results.
  • Quality Content: Producing high-quality, relevant, and informative content is key. Search engines favor content that provides value to users.

Leveraging Influencers for TOFU Brand Awareness

Influencer marketing can be a powerful tactic in the TOFU stage. Collaborating with influencers who have a significant following in your industry can:

  • Expand Reach: Influencers can introduce your brand to a broader audience, many of whom might not have come across your brand otherwise.
  • Build Credibility: When a trusted influencer endorses your brand, it can lend credibility and foster trust among potential customers.
  • Drive Engagement: Influencers often have high engagement rates with their audience, which can lead to increased interaction with your TOFU content.

In summary, effective TOFU marketing tactics involve a combination of targeting the right audience, optimizing content for search engines, and leveraging influencer partnerships to enhance brand awareness and reach. These strategies lay the groundwork for attracting potential customers and guiding them further down the sales funnel.

Real-World Example of a Successful Full-Funnel Campaign

TOFU plays a major role in every integrated campaign. This study demonstrates the importance of full-funnel, integrated marketing campaigns - the ones our teams excel in.

Case Study: Solo's Full-Funnel Strategy

The Client is an Application Networking Platform enabling companies to take the next step in their cloud journey. They came to 97th Floor to increase MQLs.

Audience Insight’s existing campaigns didn’t convert because they lacked mid-funnel nurturing. We first built personas for Solo, discovering customer questions and content needs at every stage in the buying journey.

Big Swing

Based on persona insights, we developed and pitched a full-funnel LinkedIn campaign targeting personas for Solo’s two main products: Legacy API Gateway and Gloo Mesh. would deem the campaign successful if we achieved a CPL < $200.

The Results

Campaign Term: June 15th - September 15.

Leads: 246

CPL: $141

This is a 26% increase in total leads and a 29% decrease in total cost per lead. All of these leads came as eBook downloads.

How to Plan Your TOFU Strategy

Setting Objectives and Goals for TOFU

A successful TOFU strategy begins with clear objectives and goals. These should align with your overall marketing and business objectives, and be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Objectives might include increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, generating leads, or establishing thought leadership. Key considerations in setting TOFU goals include:

  • Audience Reach: Determining how many new potential customers you want to reach.
  • Engagement Levels: Setting targets for engagement metrics like shares, comments, and likes on your content.
  • Traffic Goals: Establishing benchmarks for the amount of traffic you aim to drive to your website or specific landing pages.

Developing a Content Calendar for TOFU Outreach

A content calendar is essential for organizing and scheduling your TOFU content. It ensures a consistent flow of content and allows for strategic planning around key dates, events, or product launches. Your content calendar should detail what type of content will be published, on which platforms, and at what frequency. Aspects to consider when developing a content calendar:

  • Content Variety: Plan a mix of blogs, social media posts, videos, and infographics to keep your audience engaged.
  • Seasonal Trends: Align your content with seasonal trends or events that are relevant to your audience.
  • Content Themes: Establish themes or topics for different periods to provide a cohesive narrative.

Measuring and Analyzing TOFU Performance

To gauge the effectiveness of your TOFU strategy, you need to measure and analyze performance against your set goals. This involves tracking various metrics such as website traffic, engagement rates, social media analytics, and lead generation numbers. Effective analysis techniques include:

  • Identify What Works: Understand which types of content and channels are most effective in achieving your TOFU goals.
  • Adjust and Optimize: Use data insights to refine your strategy, whether it’s tweaking your content, targeting different keywords, or focusing more on the channels that yield the best results.
  • Report and Iterate: Regularly report on performance and be ready to iterate on your strategy based on what the data tells you.

Planning a TOFU strategy requires a thoughtful approach to setting goals, organizing content, and measuring performance. By following these steps, you can ensure that your TOFU marketing efforts are targeted, effective, and aligned with your broader marketing objectives.

Additional Resources and Recommendations

Recommended Tools for TOFU Content Creation

To execute an effective TOFU strategy, be sure to use available tools and platforms to streamline your content creation process, enhance the quality of your content, and help you measure its impact. Here are some recommended tools for various aspects of TOFU content creation:

  • Content Management Systems (CMS): Platforms like WordPress or HubSpot are invaluable for creating, managing, and publishing blog content. They offer SEO tools, analytics, and customization options.
  • Social Media Management Tools: Tools like Hootsuite or Buffer allow you to schedule posts, manage multiple social media accounts, and analyze social media performance.
  • SEO Tools: Platforms such as SEMrush or Ahrefs provide insights into keyword rankings, competitors’ strategies, and areas for SEO improvement.
  • Graphic Design Tools: For creating visually appealing content like infographics or social media graphics, tools like Adobe Creative Suite or Canva are highly recommended.
  • Video Editing Software: Tools like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro are essential for creating professional-quality videos for your TOFU content.
  • Analytics Tools: Google Analytics and other data analysis tools are crucial for tracking website traffic and user behavior, helping you understand the effectiveness of your TOFU content.
  • Email Marketing Platforms: Services like Mailchimp or Constant Contact can help in managing email campaigns and tracking their performance, which is a vital part of TOFU outreach.
  • Webinar Hosting Platforms: For hosting webinars or online workshops, platforms like Zoom or GoToWebinar offer robust features to engage with your audience.


In conclusion, an effective TOFU marketing strategy is an important component of your overall digital marketing efforts. It requires a clear understanding of your audience, creative and engaging content, smart use of digital tools, and a consistent approach to measurement and optimization. By focusing on these key elements, you can effectively attract and engage your target audience, setting the stage for successful conversions down the sales funnel.


What Is TOFU Marketing and Why Is It Important?

TOFU marketing refers to strategies aimed at the top of the sales funnel, focusing on awareness and engagement. It’s crucial because it’s the first step in attracting potential customers and building brand awareness, laying the groundwork for subsequent sales and marketing efforts.

How Does TOFU Marketing Differ from Other Stages of the Sales Funnel?

TOFU marketing is about creating initial awareness and interest, as opposed to middle-funnel (MOFU) strategies that focus on consideration and evaluation, or bottom-funnel (BOFU) tactics aimed at conversion and loyalty. TOFU is broad and informative, while MOFU and BOFU are more targeted and persuasive.

What Types of Content Are Most Effective for TOFU Marketing?

Effective TOFU content includes educational blog posts, engaging social media content, informative videos, and visually appealing infographics. This content should be informative, relevant to your audience’s interests and challenges, and designed to attract and engage.

How Do I Measure the Success of My TOFU Marketing Efforts?

Success in TOFU marketing can be measured through metrics like website traffic, social media engagement (likes, shares, comments), lead generation numbers, and SEO rankings. Analyzing these metrics helps in understanding the effectiveness of your TOFU strategies.

Can TOFU Marketing Generate Direct Sales?

While the primary goal of TOFU marketing is not direct sales, it can indirectly contribute to sales by increasing brand awareness and interest, which may eventually lead to conversions as prospects move down the funnel.

How Often Should I Create and Distribute TOFU Content?

The frequency of TOFU content creation and distribution depends on your resources and audience engagement. It's important to maintain a consistent presence without overwhelming your audience. A content calendar can help in planning and organizing content distribution effectively.

What Role Does SEO Play in TOFU Marketing?

SEO is vital in TOFU marketing for increasing the visibility of your content in search engine results, thereby reaching a larger and more targeted audience. It involves using relevant keywords, creating quality content, and optimizing your website and content structure.

How Can I Target the Right Audience with TOFU Marketing?

To target the right audience in TOFU, conduct market research to understand your audience’s demographics, interests, and pain points. Use this information to create detailed customer personas and tailor your content accordingly.

Should I Use Paid Advertising for TOFU Marketing?

Paid advertising can be a useful complement to organic TOFU strategies. It can help in reaching a broader audience quickly, especially when launching a new product or entering a new market. However, it should be used judiciously as part of a broader TOFU strategy.

How Can I Integrate TOFU Marketing with Other Stages of the Sales Funnel?

Integrating TOFU with other funnel stages involves creating a seamless journey for the customer. This can be achieved by ensuring that TOFU content naturally leads to more in-depth MOFU content, and by using TOFU data to inform and optimize MOFU and BOFU strategies.