Marketers use a lot of labels to sort their leads, like TOFU, BOFU, MQL and SQL. While we’re sorting everyone into the right bucket in this alphabet soup, it’s important to remember each bucket has different needs.
Your top of the funnel (TOFU) leads are where you get your quantity. Over time, your TOFU leads will be whittled down using tactics like email nurture programs and follow-up conversations.
What you’re left with are your bottom of the funnel (BOFU) leads. These are the leads closest to executing on a B2B purchase. Their needs have been identified, their budget is often approved, and they’re in the final stages of choosing a vendor and solution to sign a deal.
But in between the hand raisers in the TOFU bucket and the serious shoppers in the BOFU bucket, there is a vast and diverse group of leads in the middle of the funnel (MOFU). Who are they?
MOFU leads have raised their hands and expressed an interest in a product or service, but they aren’t quite ready to get serious. It could be because:
- They lack budget. Getting budgets approved can take time, especially in large organizations.
- They lack consensus internally. Today’s B2B buying committees often consist of 10 or more people. It’s not easy to get that many people to agree on much of anything.
- The timing isn’t right. Sometimes projects get delayed due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control. This was a common theme in 2020 because the pandemic shifted priorities.
- They’re having trouble deciding on a short list of vendors. There is a lot of information out there for B2B buyers to consume. Each new piece of information risks causing paralysis by analysis, which makes it hard for buyers to move forward.
Messaging to mid-funnel leads
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you develop messaging for MOFU leads is taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Messages with broad appeal work better with TOFU leads. When you deploy messaging about saving time or saving money, for example, you can expect to generate a lot of interest.
Your MOFU leads have already expressed interest in these broad messages. At this stage, you need to address the diversity of the MOFU segment and start to develop messages that are more targeted. It’s time to take the information you have on your MOFU prospects and put it to work. Here’s an example.
Your MOFU leads consist of prospects in six different industries. First, develop content pieces specific to each industry. Each piece should address the needs of people in one of the industries and how your products and services can help. If you include all six industries in one piece of content, much of the message will be irrelevant to many of the readers.
Next, segment your list of MOFU leads by industry so you can identify which prospects get which piece of content. Then deliver your relevant, personalized messages to the right prospects to show how you understand their situation. But don’t stop there. Plan and build nurture tracks and a cadence that regularly delivers relevant content to your MOFU prospects.
Messaging over format
If you’re wondering which content format works best for MOFU leads, the answer is “all of them.” It was once common practice to map certain content formats to certain stages of the buying cycle. That’s no longer the case.
It’s not only the longer forms of content like eBooks or webinars that appeal to MOFU leads. Content format preferences are very personal and can change from one situation to another. For example, certain formats will appeal to people short on time, or using a mobile device for their research. It’s a good idea to construct and deliver your message across formats and allow your MOFU prospects to self-select based on their situation.
What to tell mid-funnel prospects
Your MOFU prospects may not have their credit card in hand or accounts payable on the phone, but they’re starting to think seriously about working with your organization. In addition to product benefits and thought leadership, it’s a good idea to give MOFU prospects a taste of what it’s like to be one of your customers. Tell them about your customer service and other perks and benefits you offer your customers. You’re encouraging them to establish a relationship, so open up a bit and offer a vision for the future.
Don’t forget to appeal to their emotions. B2B buyers don’t take off their B2C hats when they log on for work. Emotions play an essential role in B2B purchase decisions. Trust and confidence, in particular, help B2B decision makers feel good about the choice they’re making, so make them an essential part of your messaging. One way to build trust and confidence is by sharing peer reviews and referrals. Demonstrate for your MOFU prospects how B2B buyers like them are making the same decision.
Gauging the success of your mid-funnel marketing
There are a number of events in the B2B buying cycle that are beyond your control. Leads can go cold because of personnel changes, budgets, and shifting priorities, among other reasons. Try to focus on what you can control when measuring the success of your efforts.
Start by identifying who moved from the MOFU bucket to the BOFU bucket. Then take a look at their journey. What did they consume? How long did it take them to change buckets? How quickly did they go from BOFU to customer?
Next, look at the areas that were consistent across the successful journeys. That’s where you’ll find the messages and tactics that are resonating with your MOFU leads.
Mid-funnel marketing is an art, not a science. Just as Monet wasn’t a master the first time he picked up a brush, you’ll also need to hone your craft to keep your MOFU leads moving on down the line.
Do you need help perfecting the art of mid-funnel marketing? Discover how TechnologyAdvice can help.