If you’ve explored schools of thought on marketing at all, you’ve surely heard of TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU content. These cute acronyms all refer to assets that are part of a marketing funnel - a carefully designed orchestra of content pieces that guide would-be buyers through their purchase process from building awareness, to facilitating consideration, to conversion and ultimately loyalty. Top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) content is what introduces prospects to your brand in the first place, it’s their first encounter with you. Bottom-of-the- funnel (BOFU) content are the most detail-rich pieces that ultimately help them make their purchase decision. And you guessed it, middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) content makes up everything in between. Of course, “everything in between” is a big designation, so in this blog, we’re going to take a closer look at middle-of-the-funnel content: what it is, why it matters, and how to build it.
What is middle-of-the-funnel marketing content?
If top-of-the-funnel marketing content introduces people to your brand and your products or services for the first time, and bottom-of-funnel marketing content provides the details, facts, and considerations they need to make a purchase, you can think about middle-of-the-funnel marketing content as the pieces that moved them between those two stages. It’s content written for people who are already familiar with your brand, who’ve already encountered a lot of your messaging, who don’t need the introduction anymore, but who haven’t yet become a customer. They’re interested in you - may respect and admire you - but they don’t think of themselves as belonging with you just yet, at least not in a money-exchanged sort of way.
Real-life examples always help. I recently moved to Tucson Arizona. Being from dark, damp Seattle originally, I am getting to know my new home and climate - in part - by subscribing to emails from companies and organizations that provide information about the local goings on. One such company is Tohono Chul. The business kept coming up in conversation with locals, so I took a cursory glance at their online presence. “The mission of Tohono Chul is to enrich people’s lives by connecting them with the wonders of nature, art, and culture in the Sonoran Desert region and inspiring wise stewardship of the natural world.” I signed up for their email list immediately. Ever since, Tohono Chul has been sending me content that helps me get to know them and their offerings better. Not in an annoying, salesy way, but in an informative way. Their content aligns with my interests.
So far, Tohono Chul has connected me with articles about the timing of specific desert blooms and the best places to see them, emails about spectacular astrological events and opportunities to use big telescopes to look at them, blogs about desert wildlife and educational events happening about them. Each touch point - be it email, webpage, or flier in the mail - gives me opportunities to connect deeper. I see information about their membership, I understand I can buy tickets to events. I haven’t yet, because I’m not quite ready. But let’s be real: I’m getting closer every time.
This is an example of muddle-of-the-funnel content. I know the brand already, I’m familiar with what they do, and I’m enjoying that orchestra of content pieces that’s dancing me closer and closer to conversion.
Why does middle-of-the-funnel marketing content matter?
Every part of your marketing funnel matters - it’s all about finding your audience: taking someone who’s never even heard of you, facilitating them getting to know you, and (in the best cases) entering into a mutually-beneficial relationship as buyer and seller. Middle-of-the-funnel content assets matter because they facilitate that getting-to-know-you portion.
In providing your audience with content related to your industry, brand, products, and more, that MOFU content does a few important things:
It paints a picture of your brand: Who you are, what you care about, why you matter
It describes the value of your products: What problems you solve, what pursuits you help with
It dissuades people for whom your company or products aren’t a good fit
It engages people who do have alignment with your brand values and who may benefit from your products
It entertains, educates, and enables people
It ingratiates those people to you
Middle-of-the-funnel content plays an important role in sorting people out. In marketing funnel terminology, it identifies qualified leads. Recipients of MOFU marketing materials who are opening, clicking, or otherwise engaging positively over time are becoming more qualified, more interesting to the sales team. It’s starting to look like a good fit. And on the buyer's side, the same thing is happening. With each piece of content that meets their needs, tickles their senses, or helps enlighten or educate them, your brand is probably looking better and better when it comes to doing business.
How to build middle-of-the-funnel marketing content
While content in each area of the funnel - top and bottom included - is uniquely valuable, I won’t hesitate to suggest that middle-of-the-funnel content has the biggest breadth of opportunity. This is the part of the buyer journey in which prospects often linger; the segment is likely sizable; and the number of touch points is vast. If you like content marketing, this is an especially fun area to work because there’s a lot you can do, there are a lot of ways you can do it, and there’s a ton to learn and build on.
The best place to start when it comes to building MOFU content is the buyer’s journey. After all, this is what the assets in your marketing funnel ought to align to. Get to know your would-be customers by looking at their experience in this middle-of-the-funnel stage: What problems are they grappling with? What topics are they learning about? What questions do they have? What emotional needs are coming up for them? Answers to those questions will help you identify what types of content to build.
Examples of MOFU content include:
Discounts and offers
This part of the funnel is all about facilitating relationship growth and offering opportunities for evaluation. You’re doing a lot with these assets: you’re getting the recipient of the content to like you, you’re encouraging them to invest their trust, you’re letting them see you as a partner in their field, goal, or pursuit. Importantly, you’re also introducing your offerings, your brand, your products and service. The leads in the middle of the funnel are warm. All you have to do here is identify and facilitate growth of alignment. If you do MOFU content well, the rest of the funnel flows easily from there.
Looking for help building out assets for your marketing funnel? My team and I love to talk shop. Drop us a line and let’s see what we can do.