As a basic concept in marketing, the sales funnel is all about making prospects aware of your brand at first touch, right through to the point where they take action – whether that means a purchase or a sign up to your service.
Link retargeting can help you attract top of funnel traffic to your website (TOFU), and even help bring them a little further down the funnel toward conversion.
The top of the funnel is all about building awareness of what your business does with a broad audience that is unfamiliar with your brand.
Most marketers will have a plan in place to attract as much top of funnel traffic as possible, then they will have other strategies in place to optimize the conversion rate as prospects move through the various stages of the funnel.
But the first hurdle is all about attracting TOFU prospects.
Who is a Top of Funnel prospect?
When marketers aim to attract TOFU traffic, they’re targeting consumers who have never engaged with their brand before. So how do you get completely cold leads to take this first step?
The best way to start a conversation with them is to:
- Provide general information related to what your business does
- Answer the questions they might be searching for on Google
- Provide interesting resources they want to read and share on social media
The goal is to share informative material around specific questions and pain-points.
In this way, people will discover your brand in the process of doing research. Most marketers foster the discovery process by creating blog articles, social media posts, relevant curated content and paid advertising campaigns.
For example, if a business specializes in organic food, it could create and share general content around the benefits of eating organic produce. This is exactly what Nature’s Path does over on its blog.
At this point of initial contact, the aim is to educate consumers, build awareness of your brand and, perhaps, encourage email sign ups.
Once these new leads are more familiar with your business, they can then be targeted with more promotional, sales-y content.
How to increase top of the funnel traffic
Enticing consumers into the TOFU can be done in a number of ways – through SEO, advertising, PR and link retargeting.
It’s important to have a keyword strategy around topics that potential customers might search for during their initial research.
Remember, these are consumers who have never engaged with your site before, so it’s necessary to catch them when they are looking for general terms related to your business, or browsing elsewhere online.
How to use link retargeting to increase TOFU traffic
As previously stated, most marketers are probably using search ads, content marketing and social media as part of their TOFU content marketing strategy.
Though it is often overlooked, link retargeting is a powerful and cost-effective way of attracting new visitors to your website.
Many marketers will already be familiar with the concept of retargeting, and likely run campaigns to attract people back to their website after a first-time visit. This is a hugely beneficial marketing strategy, because most visitors don’t convert the first time around.
Retargeting can help nurture leads and guide prospects through the sales funnel.
But link retargeting in particular can engage consumers who have never visited your site before, and is something that should be considered in the initial stages of planning a TOFU strategy.
Unlike normal ad retargeting, link retargeting allows marketers to increase TOFU traffic in an efficient, effective and resourceful way.
When sharing third-party reviews, media coverage and other curated content on social media, you can use retargeting links.
Anyone who clicks on these links can later be retargeted with ads to drive them to your website.
Retargeting links can be used anywhere off-site where your audience might click a third-party link. They can be used as part of influencer marketing campaigns, partnership promotions, guest posts, sponsored articles, email blasts and event pages.
Sharing a product review from a blogger could be the first step in building brand awareness.
Then, relevant ads quoting this review could be used to encourage readers to click-through to your website.
Link retargeting ads will reap better results than general advertising campaigns, because the ads can be carefully crafted to encourage engagement.
The target audience is also likely to have a certain level of trust or interest in your brand, as they may have seen your brand name once before or shown an interest in content relevant to your industry or business.
How to do link retargeting
By using a combination of retargeting links and curated content, you can build out your audience quickly, capturing anyone you have influenced online. Our growth manager found he could build out his TOFU traffic 5 times faster with link retargeting.
Link retargeting is easy to implement. When sharing a link on social media, use a link shortening tool that allows you to add on retargeting pixels from Facebook, Google, Twitter, or whatever advertising platform you’re using.
Then, anyone who clicks these links will be added to your retargeting lists.
Who should use link retargeting?
Any business, big or small, who wants to build brand awareness can use link retargeting to increase traffic.
It is particularly ideal for marketing teams who are focused on social media or content curation, and are already running retargeting campaigns.
If retargeting is bringing your business results, it makes sense to use link retargeting to add prospective customers to your sales funnel.
For smaller businesses who struggle to publish native content regularly, it can also be extremely effective when used with a well-thought-out content curation strategy.
Retargeting, in general, is a really effective way to boost the return on investment of your online advertising budget.
Link retargeting can take campaigns to the next level by attracting more engaged TOFU traffic, which is in turn more likely to move through the sales funnel toward taking your ultimate desired action – a subscription or purchase.
Louisa McGrath is a content manager at Rebrandly, the URL shortener empowering marketers to put their brand’s name on all the links they share. She can be seen blogging around Dublin city center, except on Sundays when she stays in to pore over the newspapers.
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