Behind every purchase a consumer makes, there is a decision-making journey.
This is a process that everyone goes through from discovering their problem or need to their final decision to buy. As a person progresses through their buying journey, they’ll have different questions and concerns.
BOFU (bottom-of-funnel) content comes at the very end of the decision-making journey, or the last step before buying. In content marketing, nailing the BOFU phase is absolutely essential for getting an ROI on your content. If this step isn’t right, your prospects won’t convert into customers, and all the work that came before would be for nothing.
We’ll take you through the types of BOFU content, how to use them, and why they’re effective.
What is BOFU content?
To understand BOFU content, it’s worth taking a step back to understand the decision-making funnel. The decision-making funnel is used to describe the step-by-step process consumers go through before most purchases. You’ll find variations of this model, but here’s the simplified version:
- The user becomes aware of their problem or desire
- They conduct research and find out which solutions are available to them
- Decision: they do any final research, then make their purchase
BOFU content, as it sounds, targets the end of the decision making process. People at this stage in their journey know about their problem and some of the solutions, and are preparing to make their final decision.
That means you can (and should) be more aggressive with your copy and calls-to-action (CTAs). With this type of content, these kind of CTAs are all appropriate:
- Get a free trial
- Request a demo
- Get a quote
- Call us now
- Buy now
- Add to basket
They may not, however, be appropriate further up the funnel. It’s important to match your language and CTAs to the correct intent and stage of the funnel.
If someone is searching for “what is Bitcoin?”, they probably don’t want to buy Bitcoin. Not yet anyway. A better next step might be to read about the price history, or “Is Bitcoin a good investment?” to help push this reader further down the funnel.
This is a simple concept, but an important one to grasp. If you try to use more aggressive calls-to-action (CTAs) such as ‘book a demo’ or ‘add to basket’ in content that is not BOFU, then your conversion strategy simply won’t work. It’s important to match the right CTA to the right type of content.
How does BOFU content differ from MOFU and TOFU content?
Naturally, since we have ‘BOFU’ content, we also have ‘MOFU’ and ‘TOFU’. Middle of funnel, and top of funnel, respectively. Here’s an explanation of what each of those are, how they differ, and some quick examples to illustrate.
Top-of-funnel (TOFU) content
At the top of the funnel, you have the biggest and broadest audience. These are people who are mostly simply looking for information, and may not yet be aware of a specific problem they need to solve. They are the furthest away from a purchase, which also means you have a lot of nurturing work to do before this audience converts.
Here are some examples of TOFU content:
TOFU content is informational. It is the first step in making a reader aware of your brand, and aware of a problem you could solve for them where possible too.
Middle-of-funnel (MOFU) content
In the middle of the funnel, people are now aware of their problem. This is known as the evaluation stage, where the person is weighing up the different solutions to solve this problem.
With MOFU content, it’s worth remembering that it doesn’t have to be YOU who nurtures the person to this stage. There’s already plenty of people out there who’ve got to this stage, and are ready to start researching solutions.
You now just have to make sure that you produce the right content, and get it in the right places so that your target market finds you in this stage.
Here are some examples of MOFU content:
Types of BOFU content
At the bottom of the funnel, we have prospective customers who know their problem, and know some of their potential solutions. At this stage, people are figuring out the details, and finalizing their decision. Here are five types of content you can produce to convert BOFU prospects into customers.
1. Product comparisons
Comparing product A to product B is a commonly used tactic to weigh up the pros and cons of each product, and identify the use cases where one is superior to the other.
Why this works
Someone reading comparison content is past their initial research stage. They know of at least these two solutions to their problem, and now they want to know the finer details of each. It’s a great opportunity to jump in and highlight key selling points.
Example: GetResponse vs. Constant Contact
This example is written by GetResponse. They’re aware that anyone buying GetResponse may also be considering Constant Contact, so they’ve put in the time to write up a comparison.
It starts by drawing a comparison of the features, before moving onto pricing. It also gives GetResponse a chance to highlight other selling points that may affect the decision-making process, such as 24/7 support.
A secondary benefit of producing this content is that it equips the sales team to deal with any questions about this comparison, and give resources for prospects to read.
This article that compares Trello vs. Meistertask is written by Toggl Plan, a competitor of both tools.
It is a creative tactic that allows you to leverage the brand awareness of your competitors with SEO and content. Toggl Plan has satisfied the search intent by pitting Trello against Meistertask, but simultaneously thrown their own hat in the ring as a third alternative.
If you’re a newcomer to the market, try doing some keyword research. Look for people who are comparing some of your better known competitors, and see if there’s an opportunity to utilize that in your content marketing.
2. A case study
Case studies are used to show what kind of results other people have had with your solution. Often, they’ll focus on a specific problem that you solve, and take you through the journey to the results.
Why this works
A case study proves that your solution works. That customer chose you ahead of all their other options. What was the result? It lets you incorporate testimonials and show off the outcomes that other customers have achieved.
A reader may find themselves in a similar situation to the person or company in your case study. Explaining step-by-step what happened in a real-world scenario makes it easy for the prospect to understand what can happen if they buy.
Example: Attest’s Gymshark Case Study
In this first example, Attest are able to boast about how their solution has enabled Gymshark to navigate a difficult market. Gyms closing was a new challenge, and Attest could equip brands in this space with market intelligence to figure out what to do next.
The case study walks through the journey, starting with the problems and questions Gymshark had, then following with the results. It details how Gymshark made some key discoveries, such as data proving that people were anxious about returning to the gym amidst the pandemic.
Example 2: Shopify’s Heinz Case Study
Shopify’s Heinz case study neatly lays out the challenge, solution, and results from using their e-commerce platform. It includes multiple testimonials from a key stakeholder at Heinz.
Three key details are also highlighted above the fold:
- Previous platform
- Food and beverage
- Use case
These help a reader understand quickly how relevant the case study is. The closer to their situation, the more effective it will be, which makes having case studies across a number of different industries and use cases effective.
3. An ‘alternatives’ listicle
Sometimes a person is aware of one solution to their problem, but it just isn’t quite right. This is usually a market leader with lots of brand awareness. In that case, it’s common to search for product alternatives to see if there’s anything else out there that is a better fit.
Why this works
Someone searching for an alternative is ready to buy. They already know their problem, and just need to find the right solution. It might be that the solution they already know about is too expensive. Maybe it lacks a certain feature, or isn’t great for their specific use case. This is an opportunity for you as a content marketer to step in and offer the perfect alternative.
Example 1: Benchmade Bugout Alternatives
This affiliate article starts by identifying the reasons why someone might look for an alternative to this brand (Benchmade). The primary reason is that it’s an expensive brand. However, it’s also small, and very light – so perhaps someone would look for something bigger or sturdier, too.
For each potential drawback, the article recommends a product that fits better. This is easily replicable across many physical products, SaaS products, and brands. Like with product comparison keywords, you can do keyword research to look for similar opportunities in your niche. See if you can leverage the brand awareness of market leaders in your space.
Example: ClickUp Alternatives
This example is a little different in that ClickUp is the author of this post.
If people are searching for alternatives to your product, you have an opportunity to address their concerns. Publishing and ranking content like this makes it harder for your competitors to do so, and it allows you a chance to change the reader’s mind.
In this article, ClickUp lists out alternatives to their product, but also identifies the drawbacks of each and how ClickUp solves them. For example, Asana is one of the prospective alternatives. ClickUp are sure to highlight the limited privacy permissions which they can offer a better solution for.
4. A free trial or demo landing page
A free trial or demo is the perfect way to get prospects over the line. The very last step in the decision-making funnel.
Why this works
People this far down the funnel already believe you can offer them the solution they’re looking for. They’re nearly ready to pull the trigger and pay, but need to see it in action first to confirm. At this point, you don’t need to beat around the bush. CTAs can be straight to the point. People are ready to try your solution.
Example: LinkedIn Sales Navigator Free Trial
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator trial page is a great example to look at, that includes many landing page best practices.
Take note of:
- A clear CTA above the fold
- A product video
- Social proof used (high profile customer logos)
- FAQs to address potential concerns
The page is short and to the point. You can also see that there’s no top bar navigation. LinkedIn has reduced the number of ways someone can get distracted and leave the page without starting a trial.
Example: Perkbox’s Request a Demo
For a self-serve product, a free trial works well. For a sales-led product, however, we usually see free demonstrations being offered. There are some similarities to the LinkedIn page: a clear CTA above the fold, and lots of social proof (client logos, testimonials, reviews).
For a demo request form like this, it’s important to consider which fields to include. Typically, more fields will result in fewer form submissions, but potentially a higher quality of lead. Fewer fields will likely result in more leads, but they could be less qualified.
In this case, Perkbox choose to add in fields for company size and level of seniority, since these are important factors in the sales process.
5. Free courses and educational materials
Lastly, another type of BOFU content is educational materials. This can come in several forms, but video courses are particularly popular and effective.
Why this works
By creating free educational content, you’ll be able to show someone how they can achieve their goals by using your product. Prospects can see your product in action, understand the value it provides, and see whether or not it’s what they need.
It allows you to give value up front, and showcase your expertise on the topic. It’s also an opportunity to grab email addresses and work on nurturing leads.
Example: Ahrefs Academy
This free course by Ahrefs is designed for absolute beginners in SEO. It teaches the fundamentals of things like keyword research and on-page SEO, showing how Ahrefs can help you with those things along the way. Getting a trial of Ahrefs is a logical next step after this course, to start applying the learnings.
Example: Email Marketing Basics by Sendinblue
Similarly to the Ahrefs example, this course by Sendinblue introduces users to the basics of email marketing. And naturally, to Sendinblue’s email marketing product. It’s a low-friction way to start delivering value and educating users on how to achieve their marketing goals with the product.
Both Ahrefs and Sendinblue’s courses are ungated, meaning there’s no email address required to access them. You’ll find others examples such as HubSpot Academy which do require a sign up. In that case, the creator has the opportunity to send further emails and nurture leads.
How long do prospects stay in the BOFU stage before a buying decision?
Typically, once a prospect reaches the BOFU stage, they are close to buying. However, the precise timelines for that final decision can vary a lot. Some purchases are simply a bigger decision than others.
Keep in mind these key factors which could affect the timeline:
- B2B vs. B2C
- Number of stakeholders involved
- Price point
- Business model (sales-led vs. self-service)
Think about how long it would take you to decide on which car to buy. Then compare that to how long it would take you to decide which brand of chips to buy.
The price and the business model will also impact this a lot. For example, a sales-led B2B product may have a long sales cycle. With multiple demos, multiple decision-makers involved, and budgets to allocate, this can take months whereas a lower cost B2C product could take as few as a couple of hours.
BOFU content is the key to ROI on your content marketing. The whole purpose of everything that comes before (TOFU and MOFU marketing) is to get prospects to this point, and convert them into customers.
Think about the questions, thoughts, and potential objections a prospect might have by this point in their buyer’s journey. Create content that aims to satisfy those concerns. Think about producing:
- Product comparisons
- Case studies
- ‘Alternatives’ listicles
- Free trial and/or demo landing pages
- Free courses and educational content