The most important part of the sales funnel for building materials is the top. If there’s nothing at the top, there’s nothing to move down into a closed sale. The top of the funnel represents the total universe of people who are potential buyers. Only a percentage of these will make it to the bottom of the funnel, so having a large number of people in the top of the funnel will give you more sales opportunities. If you haven’t focused on the top of your sales funnel, now is the time.
You have two goals for people who are at the top of your funnel: raise their awareness of your brand or building material product, and see if they’re interested in learning more. There are a number of signals we use to gauge someone’s interest, and they’re all based on an affirmative action the person takes. For example:
- Entering a zip code to find the nearest dealer.
- Downloading a brochure or product guide
- Requesting a material sample
- Watching a video of a materials application or a product in use
When crafting messaging for this first stage, remember that the person receiving the message doesn’t know much or anything about what you offer. This is why it’s important to be clear and direct in your messaging.
Messages that are overly clever, cute, or hide the ball won’t help people at this stage understand what you do. Imagine that you’re at a networking event. A person you don’t know approaches you and introduces themselves by saying their name, who they work for, and why they’re there. What you hear may or may not interest you, but you’re probably not going to write them off immediately. If you are interested, you can ask them more questions and soon you’re having a conversation.”
Now pretend you’re at that same networking event and someone you don’t know approaches you. This time, instead of telling you who they are and what they do, they say, “4x isn’t what it used to be. This isn’t your mother’s coating.” You have no idea who they are, why they’re there, or whether they’re trying to get you to buy something. Worse, you don’t want to put the effort into finding out. All you can think about is how fast you can excuse yourself.
This is how people react when the top of the funnel messaging is written as though you’re already in the middle of a conversation. You’re not. You’re at the beginning, and you need to introduce yourself.
Your top-of-funnel messaging should clearly articulate things like:
- The basic problem(s) your building material solves
- How to purchase the material (direct or through a dealer)
- What type of application your material is well-suited for
How does this messaging get conveyed? At the top of the funnel, there are three primary channels.
Your company website is the cornerstone of your digital marketing, serving as a traffic hub that supports all of your other marketing efforts.
Social media is a great way to exponentially grow the number of people at the top of your funnel, provided that you’re consistently producing engaging content.
Digital ads can be placed on social media, display networks, or as paid email campaigns. The ability to geo-fence or target specific audiences is essential to maintaining control over the budget.
You can use any content medium at the top of the funnel, as long as the message is clear.
Written content like product pages and blog posts can be crawled by search engines, so they support your search engine efforts as well as the top of your funnel.
Images can include photos, slides, or infographics that show what your product or service is and how it solves a problem.
Videos are an alternate way to communicate about your product in a way that tells a story. You can quickly distill uses, features, and even installation within a short amount of time.
What does this look like in practice? Here are several examples.
- A series of social media posts that feature short videos about how your product solves a particular need.
- A landing page that offers a product brochure not available anywhere else in exchange for the person’s email address.
- Digital ads that show your product in use, targeted to people in a certain metro area with certain job titles.
Often the hardest thing about creating materials for the top of the funnel is distilling what you do or sell into a clear message for “outsiders.” We can get so focused on the details of the products that we blank when someone asks, “But what does it do?” Making the time to clarify your top of funnel message will increase its chances of resonating with prospects and shorten your sales cycle in the long run.