Posted in Content Marketing. 7 min read
Wait, what does marketing have to do with tofu?
It may sound odd at first, but the Tofu, Mofu, and Bofu method is a unique approach to segmenting your online content according to prospects’ needs at different points in the sales funnel.
To quickly refresh your memory:
Tofu is the “Top of the Funnel,” when prospects are new to your brand;
Mofu is “Middle of the Funnel,” when prospects want buying criteria;
Bofu is “Bottom of the Funnel,” when they decide between options.
As people move through the sales funnel, their needs change ... and your content has to change with them! The more your content aligns with each prospect's specific needs, the more effective it will be in motivating them to keep pressing forward.
So, what content should you be sending at every stage of the funnel? Let’s break it down.
Top of the Funnel Content
So, a new prospect just popped onto your site and starting peeking around. After a quick glance at your data, you identify them as a MQL – great!
But, what content should you share with them to get them thinking about your brand a little more? Here are four types of Tofu content to share with these new, eager-to-learn leads.
An ebook is a great way to answer your lead’s burning questions and demonstrate expertise in a relatable way. Despite the profusion of mobile technology, text isn’t dead – but it has to be truly informative and engaging to get attention from decision makers hard-pressed for reading time.
To be effective, an ebook needs a few things in its favor:
A hook based on a lead’s most important questions, pain points, or business concerns.
A layout with professional elements, including a good cover, design, and typography.
A clear call to action (CTA) to move leads forward to the next stage in the process.
When planning an ebook, take it as seriously as you would if your work was going to find its way to library shelves. Deliver real value by attacking an in-depth topic with a substantial number of pages – but not so much that you stray from the point or the reader loses interest.
What’s the difference between a “guide” and an ebook?
You can develop guides in a number of different formats, not all of them text-focused. The purpose of a guide is to deliver background information your prospect needs to start them on the road to choosing your solution.
And, depending on your industry and offering, it can take a variety of forms.
For example, you could have a research report that brings together a number of infographics. You could communicate with a handful of short videos that help prospects address a key business problem.
Whatever you choose, remember – the medium is the message.
You should select a format that helps you get your point across quickly and efficiently. Although blog posts can make for great guides, many decision makers are visual learners. Think about your customer persona, how your content will be used, and where it will be consumed.
3. How-To Content
“How-to” content is less broad than an ebook or general topic guide. It provides your readers with step-by-step instructions.
By the end, they should achieve something with a minimum amount of fuss and effort. A good how-to gives the prospect a sense of accomplishment and a better understanding of how to finish something successfully.
If how-to content is accurate and easy to follow, then the format might not seem to matter. Still, users want to feel like they’ve gotten something substantial in return for their email address ... and you are collecting email addresses, aren’t you?
With that in mind, a how-to usually makes a bigger splash in one of two formats:
Short videos in which each step takes less than two minutes to accomplish.
A long-form infographic supported by a blog post for the deeper details.
People generally have an easier time following instructions that are visually interesting. Additionally, information supported by an image is more likely to be remembered.
A report by Social Media Examiner found that people who hear information will remember only about 10% of it three days later. However, when that same information is paired with a relevant graphic image, they can still remember up to 65% of it after three days.
If you go for a how-to video, be especially careful to make sure your presenter moves through the points at the right rate – not too fast and not too slow – and avoids going into too much detail. You don’t want to confuse your reader and make them pause and play repeatedly.
4. Email Sequences
Email sequences are popular for onboarding new prospects because they provide a seamless connection between consuming your content and taking action on it. Each email in a sequence should build trust, inspire interest in what’s to come, and try to encourage prospects to take that next step.
Email sequences can be stretched out over any period of time, and your strategy will depend on what audience you wish to reach. A short sequence unfolding over five or seven days provides closure and a sense of reward, but a longer one can foster trust if the user keeps up.
You should also consider how many emails your sequence should contain. It usually takes about six emails to get some sort of response from a prospect – whether positive or negative – so pre-plan what messages you will send at what time to create the best flow.
Middle of the Funnel Content
After feeding your prospects Tofu content, some of your prospects have moved into the middle of the funnel, where they've identified their problem and are now evaluating their options for the best possible solution.
This is where Mofu content comes into play. The best types of Mofu content to share with prospects at this stage are:
A whitepaper consists of detailed research and information on a topic. This is your chance to establish just what a best-in-class solution looks like and why prospects should stick with yours.
B2B decision makers in particular appreciate lengthy, well-designed whitepapers with strong citations and plenty of quotes from industry thought leaders.
To create an effective whitepaper, follow these few tips:
Write in a professional yet conversational tone.
Use a catchy title to grab the reader’s attention.
Include the most relevant facts to support your claims.
Always proofread before publishing.
2. Case Studies
A case study is a special kind of research report that focuses on how your solution transformed business at a client company. It brings readers on a journey from the initial problem through the implementation of a solution and the results.
Case studies show why and how your solution is better, integrating testimonials from the business stakeholders affected.
It’s important to note the length of your case study. While it’s great you included detail after detail to prove your success story, leave that in a whitepaper.
A case study should touch on the main points – the problem, the solution, and the results – to showcase how you were able to help a client. Some of the best case studies can fit onto a single page.
A webinar is a (generally) live event where subscribers sign up to get specific training or information, usually in a 30- to 90-minute presentation of sorts.
The best way to make a webinar compelling enough for people to show up for the live event is to make sure there is plenty of time at the end for a Q&A with a real expert – someone your Mofu subscribers will be interested in talking with.
Bottom of the Funnel Content
After sharing your Mofu content with prospects, it's time for them to make their final decision. Who will they choose?
To help influence their decision to choose you, it's important to share and provide valuable Bofu content. The best types of bottom of the funnel content are:
1. Assessments and Consultations
The purpose of Bofu content is to turn a one-way relationship into a conversation .. one that ultimately ends in a sale. You can call it many different things, but all kinds of consultations have the same goal: To get more details on the prospect’s problems and figure out if you have the best solution.
Incorporating assessments and consultations into your marketing strategy can help better position you as an industry expert and showcase how your company provides viable solutions to help solve a prospect’s challenges.
Make sure you share enough valuable feedback to your prospects during a consultation, highlighting both strong points and weak areas for improvement. By addressing their needs, you’ll be able to share how your business could be a right fit for them, encouraging them to choose you.
2. On-Site Demos
If you have a software product or a piece of specialized equipment, nothing beats an on-site visit. Prospects get to see what you do, how you do it, and imagine your solution in their own space.
Plus, they will have an opportunity to physically meet the team they’d be working with and get to know the company culture a little better. A strong company culture could heavily impact their final decision, so always put your best foot forward when introducing prospects to your business
An inbound marketing strategy includes a full-scale embrace of funnel-focused content. With a full deck of Tofu, Mofu, and Bofu content, you'll attract more leads – and convert more paying customers as a result!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2017. It was updated in December 2018 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.