Funnel Basics for New Home Marketers: Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
Are you a new home marketer looking to attract more qualified leads to your funnel that turn into home sales? It's time to get back to the basics and be ready to nurture them effectively long before they even know they're ready to buy a home.
In this post we're going to focus on the top of the funnel (TOFU), also called the Awareness Stage (when you're talking about the buyer's journey), and how to effectively use content to move your leads to the Consideration Stage and beyond.
Reading time: 5 minutes
- what the home buyer's journey looks like and the common questions they ask
- the approach you should take when blogging for your home buyer personas
- website integration best practices for more higher-quality leads
- what your sales and marketing teams should be doing when following up with leads
You need to adapt your marketing funnel to the needs of buyers and establish yourself as a resource from the very first interaction they have with you.
Respect where they are in their buying journey - the awareness stage - with relevant content and downloadable offers. You'll be amazed by how well your funnel works as they move closer to finding themselves sales-ready and researching home builders.
TOFU offers are designed to bring in and educate your site visitors, (which should match your ideal buyer personas) about their options to solve their housing problem and to raise awareness of your brand. These offers and content introduce your positioning and company value, allowing you to start building rapport with them.
In the graphic pictured below, you can see the three main stages of a home buyer's journey and the statements or questions they typically ask.
Your first step should be to create great blog content that answers these questions so when they visit your website they can find what they're looking for right away.
Create Blog Content Your Audience Wants to Read
There are some pretty basic questions someone is going to have in the awareness stage, where they have a pain point being that the home they're in just doesn't meet their needs anymore...
- Should we buy a different home?
- Should we buy a new home?
- Can we or should we renovate?
- Is now a good time to buy?
When they visit your site and notice you have in-depth articles about the questions they've been asking themselves, that is your best way to capture their attention and convert them into leads.
Remember, you are writing for your ideal buyer. NOT what you think they want to read. So if you haven't already figured out what your home buyer persona looks like, now is a good time to create one because it is the foundation all of your marketing efforts are built around.
Website Integration is Key
Having an active home builder blog is a very important component, especially as a TOFU touchpoint. However, you need to remember that your website should also have a relevant call-to-action on every page.
Marketing automation software like HubSpot makes it easy for you to embed CTAs and track every click. You'll be able to see which page someone was on and what buttons they clicked and/or forms they submitted, right from their contact record.
You won't know which stage a visitor is at when they visit your site, so that is where contextual marketing comes into play. Your showhome or quick possession listings page are not going to have the same CTA as a home model or community page, where awareness offers like a first-time home buyer's or area guide would be respectively.
Having the right offer or CTA, on the right page, in the right spot, means better user experience. One where visitors don't have to search your site to find what they want and the next steps will be right where they are.
Another important integration worth considering is a chatbot. You can build one right in HubSpot and it's not as hard as it sounds, trust us!
You have the ability to turn it on and off depending on who is online to answer questions, and can even automate most of the responses in order to effectively answer questions and capture leads before a real person is assigned to the chat.
The Art of the Follow-Up
Woohoo! A visitor to your website or blog has converted on one of your CTAs and is now a lead. Now what?
It's time for some proper lead nurturing and follow-up. In HubSpot, you can set up simple follow-up emails and workflows, attaching marketing and/or sales reps depending on the offer and relevance.
For example, let's say a visitor landed on a blog post about whether or not now is a good time to buy a new home. On that page, there is a CTA for a guide you've created on the key signs someone is ready to buy a home. They click the CTA, fill out the form, then receive a link in their inbox where they can download it.
Internally, you have an email that sends at the same time to the sales rep assigned to this community, with details on which type of lead they are and the next steps for following up with them. For this example, they are marketing qualified and probably aren't ready for sales just yet, so the internal email from the marketing team to the rep would include these details and suggest questions to ask them so they can learn more about the lead and what they're looking for.
Asking the right follow up questions will help you determine if they are still in the awareness stage or have moved into the consideration stage. Then, you will be able to better help them by sending links to additional blog content and offers they would find helpful.
Having your sales and marketing teams on the same page is integral for the success of your funnel as you move leads through each stage. At Marketing Ninjas, home builder marketing is our specialty and we can set you up for success using these best practices to build a customized marketing package to deliver the results you're looking for. Want to learn more? Let's talk!
Originally published May 14, 2019
Photo credits: depositphotos.com
About Casey Cleary
Casey is passionate about marketing and using his skills to plan, implement, and run social media campaigns. He also creates and promotes content and plans digital strategies. He loves split testing and tweaking programs for maximum conversions! Also... #GoOilers!