Semalt Expert Tells What The Top Funnel Initiatives Are And How A Company Can Win Buy-Ins For Them
As the company grows, it will eventually reach a stage where it becomes critical that it invests at the top of the funnel. If your company decides not to invest, you're basically leaving your continued market share to chance.
As we've functioned as demand generation marketers for clients, we still get goosebumps about the ROI we get from the bottom-of-funnel tactics provided. Assuming that the pre-and post-click experience for your website has been optimized, targeting the highest-or-purchase intent keywords and audiences is bound to produce good results.
The question becomes, "What happens if you exhaust all your demands and maximize your share of voice and you've hit the point of diminishing returns?" While many companies get satisfied and don't want to move beyond the bottom of the funnel, others don't.
The reality, though, is that businesses can and will eventually hit an inflection point as the continue to grow. At this point, the company will invest at the top of the funnel if they want to continue gaining market share.
How The Top Of Funnel Works
According to a study by McKinsey, brands which are in the initial consideration set are at an advantage in winning business when compared to other brands who consider this option later in the decision journey. The top of the funnel is even more important for up-and-coming brands. In reality, decision-makers are more resistant to buy products or services from new vendors. To be able to gain market share from brands that have already been established, your brand needs to reinforce its relevance, culture and expertise, and value earlier on in the buyer's journey.
With this, when your prospect finally hits the market, your brand then becomes the first thing they consider, which gives you a marked advantage. The availability heuristic states that when a consumer is giving a choice between several options, the consumer is most likely to go for the option that comes to mind most readily. With marketing, we can digitally surround your target audience early on, giving your brand the best possible chance at getting chosen.
You must have noticed that effective brand advertising produces quantifiable and visible long-term results. With that in mind, no matter how buttoned-up your attribution gets, there will always be gaps. It is practically impossible to completely assign every customer's touchpoint during the purchasing process despite our best efforts.
For example, we have a client who proceeds with excellent top-of-the-funnel video content that served as the perfect antidote for boredom in the financial industry. It was perfectly edgy and humorous in nature. From the perspective of brand awareness and recall, it was great. However, the comments and anecdotes were what seemed most impressive to us.
As we went about marketing, we sent out emails to the target audience, and each person that got one likely opened the mail to watch one of the ads. But here is the twist: the emails were sent from an influencer in the financial industry who had watched the video. That individual is who we call a decision influencer. These are brand ambassadors that will get you the attention you need.
Sometimes, these influencers may just want to share something fun and relaxing with their audience to strengthen their relationship. Either way, getting your content on their profile can be a big boost to your company's success.
With this in mind, we always tell our clients that to sell on the internet; we help them serve the right ads, to the right person, at the right time. While there is immense value in blended back-end and front-end data with tight attribution, there are gasps we marketers must fill to complete the purchasing cycle.
Defining Top Of Funnel Success
The journey to becoming the leading feature business in your industry starts by defining the right TOF key performance indicators correlated to down funnel activity and optimizing towards them. The KPI for your businesses differs from the KPIs for other businesses, but everything bottles down into three elements, namely:
- Lead generation
At the awareness level, the KPI of businesses focuses primarily on the Share of Voice (SOV). For example, in a paid search, we monitor things like CTR, impression share, and absolute impression share. This SOV rule we Opeak of has proven to be true for B2C for over 50 years. This is clear evidence that brands will grow if they ensure that their SOV is higher than their share of the market (SOM). Likewise, any brand whose SOV is lower than their SOM will see a decrease. In the Five principles of growth in B2B marketing on LinkedIn, we see a clear representation of what that process looks like.
If you plan on focusing on long-term growth, you must expose your brand to your target audience.
Outside of the lead generation initiatives, the KPIs that are most important to the goals and budgets of most marketers are engagement-based. Engagement KPIs indicate the interest of our audience and show if we are lucky. Engagements are actions taken by a user as they browse your social and web properties.
As we align your TOF KPIs to your engagements, we are ensuring impressions of what matters the most. Our goal is to get you engagement from the right audience. Doing so enables us to validate your audience alignment and enables your brand to continuously improve through AI-driven optimization and targeting.
While SOVs are important, trust must be nurtured between those who control the funding, and we can only do that by showing successful results further down the tunnel. While we educate our clients on the nature of SEO, we also recognize the skepticism of clients on matters concerning top-of-funnel initiatives.
It is more than likely that they've come across an SEO expert that sold them the definition of SEO success that stops at CTR and Impressions. If positioned correctly, even the toughest demand gen advertisers may be convinced. For advertisers who are reluctant, shifting your KPIs from awareness (pre-click) to engagement (post-click) is often the solution that enables marketing managers like Semalt to convince clients of what they stand to benefit from.
This may have been a lot to swallow, so here is a quick rundown of everything we have discussed that you should take note of:
- TOF develops the brand. The research is detailed.
- Some articulate metrics value, but the payout is longer.
- Not everything can be attributed. That is why we must pay attention to serving the right message to the right viewer at the right time.
- To get buy-in for TOF, we must be able to separate some initiatives from demand gen plays.