How to Create a Digital Marketing Funnel That’s Keyword-Driven

Marketing funnels are all the rage today. The concept is simple: fill the top of your funnel with leads, and then nurture them until they convert into customers at the bottom of the funnel. In this introduction to digital marketing funnels, I’ll show you to one of the most basic models. The concept is simple. Think of a funnel in three parts: Top of Funnel (TOF, or TOFu), Middle of Funnel (MOF, or MOFu), and Bottom of Funnel (BOF, or BOFu).

The User Journey

In the context of a website, you can refer to the stages that a user passes through as the user journey. If the end of the journey is a purchase, then this you may refer to this as the buyer journey. Many people also refer to this series of steps that a person makes before a purchasing decision as the consumer journey, or customer journey. Technically, however, the customer journey continues well-past the first purchase.

TOF, MOF, BOF Illustration. Source: Medium

Top of Funnel: Awareness

The Top of Funnel, often referred to as the TOF, or TOFu, is where you try to bring a broad audience to your company or website. People often refer to the TOF as the awareness stage of the customer journey. In the context of a website, this traffic might come from social media posts, or broad keywords that don’t signal a buying decision. For example, if you sell belts, and someone lands on your website because they’re searching for fashion, then they are probably at the top of the funnel.

Middle of Funnel: Consideration

You can think of the middle of funnel, or MOF, as the consideration stage of the customer journey. Sometimes this is segmented into interest and consideration. At this stage, the customer knows what they want, and they are considering whether to buy it from you or someone else. If this were related to a keyword search, then a MOF phrase might be something like buy belts.

Bottom of Funnel: Conversion

At the bottom of funnel, or BOF, the consumer is ready to buy. If they buy from you, then you have converted that browser into a buyer. A BOF keyword might be something like, buy brown leather belt for men. Always think about the stages of the marketing funnel when you perform your keyword research. Keep in mind however, that the funnel is not exclusive to one marketing channel. In the digital space, you may have a comprehensive funnel that includes search traffic from Google, as well as social media traffic from Facebook and other sources. Furthermore, consider all of the touch points in between. Email, store visits, and ad impressions are all part of the digital marketing funnel and the customer journey.

Facebook Ads Basics: TOF, MOF, BOF

Beyond TOF, MOF, and BOF

Once someone has made a purchase from your website, they are added to your database. At this point in time, your job would be to retain that customer. You can think of this in terms of Customer Lifetime Value, or LTV. If the customer makes one $40 purchase from your website, then their lifetime value is $40. If they make a second purchase for $30, then their lifetime value is $70. Furthermore, if you have a subscription model, then that lifetime value is dependent on your ability to retain subscribers. Let’s say you own a web hosting company, and you charge $20 per month. If the average customer remains a subscriber for three years, then the average LTV is $20 per month times 36 months, or $720.

Generally, it costs much more to acquire a customer than it does to retain a customer. Therefore, always think in terms of maximizing your LTV. Do this, and your digital marketing funnel will become the gift that keeps on giving.