Most marketers view the funnel as including the following stages: Awareness, Consideration, Preference, Purchase and Post-purchase (client retention, upsell and advocacy).
Paid search is often thought of as being really low funnel – and it absolutely can be! But it can also span up the funnel and, when done correctly, can even rival other top-of-funnel channels.
Top-of-funnel usually refers to the Awareness stage and can even include parts of the Consideration stage. In the Awareness stage, folks are feeling symptoms of a problem and may not have even been able to put a name to a problem yet. In this stage, they’re still gaining awareness of whether this issue affects others and what the potential solutions are. In the consideration stage, buyers are researching into all of their options with the goal of beginning to narrow down their options.
The key to successful top-of-funnel campaigns is knowing when to leverage them – which businesses and situations tend to benefit from top-of-funnel campaigns – and how to run the most effective top-of-funnel campaigns.
There are several ways that paid search marketers can reach the top of the funnel via search campaigns. Targeting informational queries, for instance, is a great way to engage folks that are beginning to look for solutions to their problems – which is a key piece of the Awareness stage.
Equally, if not more important, is knowing how to handle the traffic that you receive from top-of-funnel campaigns. Since that traffic is cold, sending those visitors to the same low-funnel CTAs as your other campaigns will likely lead to high bounce rates and low conversion rates. Rather, it’s important to understand what information that your prospects need in different stages of the funnel in order to develop resources and calls to actions that align with their current place in the buyer’s journey. Doing this both increases your likelihood of conversion, which allows you to get a better measure of intent, but also allows you to build audiences which can be used in subsequent campaigns.
I’ll be speaking about top-of-funnel search campaigns in more depth at SMX West inn my session, “Why And How To Run Effective Top-Of-Funnel Search Campaigns” on Feb. 19. You can learn more about everything discussed in the post above, as well as:
- Which businesses benefit most from top-of-funnel campaigns
- How to run effective top-of-funnel search marketing campaigns get your products and services in front of new customers early in their consideration process
- How to implement strategies and best practices for setting up and managing TOFU campaigns
- What to expect for performance and how to measure it
- How to attribute value to top-of-funnel campaigns