The majority of marketers have a strong tendency towards conversion oriented campaigns, like lead generation. As such, they are focused on bottom of the funnel tactics and orientation. Top of the funnel and brand awareness campaigns are often considered secondary goals. Yet without brand awareness and prospecting, conversions suffer.
Part of the reason is that many marketers can’t justify to others the purpose of focusing on higher funnel initiatives. They simply leave out these tactics – and the potential opportunities that come with them. So how do marketers engage in higher funnel activities, but still ensure that it’s resulting in positive ROI and encompasses the full marketing funnel? Here are a few ideas to help marketers engage in these types of campaigns – in a very accountable way.
Purpose of Prospecting & Brand Awareness Campaigns
The purpose of higher funnel initiatives or prospecting campaigns is to reach potential customers before they’re ready to buy. Top of the funnel campaigns typically involve tactics like banner, social media, video/audio campaigns, display, etc. The goal of these campaigns is to get people to a website or landing page so they can learn more about the company, product or service.
Consumers don’t typically immediately buy a product from an unknown entity. They want to purchase from trusted resources (think how Amazon Prime has taken off). People trust Amazon because they’re familiar with the brand and their offerings. Plus, most people are not ready to buy when they start researching. They’re looking at all of their options and will make a decision later on in the process (bottom of the funnel).
Benefits of Top of the Funnel Campaigns
When most consumers begin searching for products or services, they are doing the search because they’re trying to find a pool of products/services that fit their needs. These consumers are not aware of your company, and they need to be educated about and exposed to the brand.
The main benefits of brand awareness campaigns are that marketers can:
- Drive scale: The pool of people in the upper funnels are much larger. They haven’t been narrowed down to a specific group who has the most chance of purchasing. This type of prospecting allows marketers to see who outside of their chosen target audience may also be interested in the product/service. It gives campaigns a very large set of scale, meaning new customers.
- Create brand relationship before competitors: The more targets are exposed to a brand, the more they recognize and trust it. If competitors are not reaching out to the audience first, then companies have the opportunity to be the first brand associated with a particular product/service and the first one to connect with consumers.
- Reach users at lower cost due to higher audience scale: If companies are not fighting for the same audience, typically clicks costs are lower. With more prospects, marketers can scale and find new customers at significantly lower costs.
How to Create a Foundation for Higher Level Initiatives
Prospecting campaigns can’t be held to the same standards as bottom of the funnel campaigns, i.e. don’t have the same expectations of display as retargeting. To ensure that higher funnel campaigns receive the right amount of respect, marketers should:
- Establish accountability with higher level initiatives: For example, set up multi-channel funnel reports that show that top of funnel campaigns are the first or second touch of a conversion – basically set up a new attribution model outside of last click.
- Focus on establishing a mentality of system wide impact: Showcase to clients and stakeholders that top of funnel activities help conversions. Help them understand that consumers typically need to see a brand, product or service multiple times before they convert.
- Create new forms of KPI’s against each higher funnel impression: Some examples include: Click-through rates, Cost-per-High-Quality Visitor (someone who visited multiple pages or spent a minimum amount of time on the site, etc.) or other meaningful KPI’s that are one or multiple steps removed from the ultimate conversion.
Top of the Funnel Marketing Tactics Are Important
Every marketer wants more conversions, and they want them at the same cost as previous conversions. If, however, more conversions are coveted, then higher funnel initiatives become key to this success. Adding them to a campaign is possible. Yet, they must be properly introduced via a defined and accountable framework that clearly shows the impact to the overall campaign.