Guiding Consumers to the Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

Customer reviews, client reviews, best PR firm, public relations, content marketingThe word “sales” often conjures up some very specific images. A man in a suit holding a briefcase going door-to-door selling encyclopedias or vacuums, for example. Or a guy hustling in a car lot. But as we know, sales is, in reality, a process. A process that ends with a pitch. The direct pitch to the customer or the final sales touchpoint is the last step in the sales process and is often referred to as “the bottom of the funnel” (BOFU). It follows TOFU (top of the funnel) and MOFU (middle of the funnel) activities that are designed to move the consumer down a pathway to a purchase.

In an article for Entrepreneur by Steve Young, Young looks at how to use content that increases sales funnel conversion rates. The article, on the whole, is worth a read; however, we thought it might be useful to spend some time describing just what the sales funnel is.

The sales funnel is a framework or conceptual tool to track potential customer interest through four phases: awareness, interest, decision and action—that’s the old AIDA acronym that some of you may be familiar with. The image of the funnel represents the fact that at each stage fewer consumers have moved on. For example, while 1,000 potential customers may be aware of your new store, perhaps only 250 will be interested and only 50 will make a decision to purchase something from your store.

Let’s look at each level of the funnel individually:

Awareness

The first level of the funnel is simply making the market aware that your product or service exists. This is basic marketing that often involves mass media. That might mean television or radio advertising, billboards along the highway, etc.

Today, though, it also likely means digital advertising or marketing that might take the form of social media posts, email marketing, or advertising on search engines or social media channels.

Whether using traditional, or digital, means, the point is getting your name out there. You can’t sell something if nobody knows it exists.

Interest

While millions of consumers may be aware of your product or service, they aren’t all likely to be interested—and certainly won’t all be interested at the same time. Some may become interested at a later date. For example, most of us have been exposed to countless advertisements for personal injury attorneys. We can probably even name a number of them. This is awareness. But when we are injured in a car accident, we may suddenly recall those advertisements and become interested, because those services are now relevant to us. If the personal injury attorneys or firms that come to mind have left a favorable impression with us over time, we will develop interest in the services they have to offer.

Decision

The decision phase is that point at which the consumer has made her a choice. He or she wants to purchase Car XYZ. The consumer hasn’t acted on the decision yet, but has made a decision to act.

Action

The final stage of the process is when a customer actually pulls the trigger and purchases your product. Depending on the significance of the purchase, moving from decision to action can be either a very short-term, or a very lengthy and complicated process. Consider, for example, a multi-million-dollar B2B purchase that involves a number of decision makers and lengthy contract negotiations. With this level of complexity, it is even possible that, ultimately, the two sides can’t come to terms and the deal falls through.

 

The sales funnel is a common framework used by marketing and sales professionals to visualize and track the process of moving potential customers to prospects and finally to completed sales. It’s a useful tool to help conceptualize more specific concepts in the sales world. For instance, thinking about this process and the steps your consumer audience is likely to take you could identify communication channels and messages to present them with at each stage to help guide them, ultimately, to a purchase decision that involves your products and services.

Communication that drives to BOFU should be strategic—and multi-faceted. Today, it’s likely that this communication takes both traditional and digital forms. How are you guiding your audience to the BOFU?

 

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About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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