Sendspark Blog > What Is TOFU (Top Of the Funnel)?

What Is TOFU (Top Of the Funnel)?

Before making a purchase, prospects go through a buyer’s journey. In marketing and sales, this journey is often visualized as a sales funnel

At the top of this funnel lies the expansive phase known as TOFU, or Top Of the Funnel. This stage takes prospects from not knowing about an offer to being aware of it. TOFU focuses on creating awareness and sparking interest. It precedes BOFU and MOFU.

What is the Top of the Funnel (TOFU)?

The top of the funnel (TOFU) is the initial stage in the buyer's journey. It's the point where potential customers become aware of a brand or a solution but have not yet decided to make a purchase. 

The main goal at this stage is to attract as many potential leads as possible and educate them. 

To achieve this, marketers create content that answers questions, solves problems, and engages the audience.

The goal is to inform without pushing a hard sell. Leads at the TOFU stage are Information-Qualified Leads (IQLs). 


A sales funnel can be visualized in three main segments: TOFU, MOFU (Middle Of the Funnel), and BOFU (Bottom Of the Funnel).

TOFU: This is the awareness stage where prospects are discovering an offer. They may or may not realize they have a need or a problem. Marketing here is educational and broad, targeting a large audience. 

MOFU: As potential customers move down the funnel, they move into the consideration stage. They're aware of their need for a solution and are ready to be sold to. MOFU content is more persuasive, explaining why a particular product or service is beneficial. Leads here are Marketing-Qualified Leads (MQLs).

BOFU: This is the decision-making stage. Prospects are ready to make a purchase. A combination of marketing and sales tactics helps convert them into customers. The leads here are Sales-Qualified Leads (SQLs). 

3. Challenges Faced at the Top of the Funnel

Given the broad scope of TOFU, one of the main challenges is standing out in a saturated market. With so many brands vying for attention, creating unique and compelling content consistently is key. 

For example… Top-of-funnel ad creative often gets stale and needs to be refreshed. People get used to it and competitors imitate it frequently, so you need new creative constantly. 

Another challenge is making sure TOFU content takes your audience into the Middle of the Funnel (MOFU). If it doesn’t do that well, people will know about your offer - but not consider purchasing it. 

4. Key Metrics to Measure in TOFU

Key TOFU metrics include: 

Website Traffic: A direct indicator of how many people you’re reached with your awareness efforts.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): Evaluates the effectiveness of your TOFU ads in driving traffic.

Conversion Rate: Tracking how many TOFU leads move to the MOFU stage is important.

Leads Generated: The number of new leads customers acquired. Usually measures how many TOFU leads progressed to the MOFU funnel stage. 

5. Best channels for TOFU marketing

Selecting the right channels is crucial for TOFU success. 

Content marketing stands at the forefront. Blogs, videos, and infographics serve as valuable tools that provide value and drive TOFU traffic. 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one way to apply this. By creating content, brands ensure customers find them on Google. When the target audience looks up relevant topics, they’re taken to information and resources on brand websites.

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are another TOFU marketing tactic. You pay money to drive clicks to your website, where you generate awareness for your offer. The ability to hone in on specific demographic and drive traffic is valuable here. 

The power of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, cannot be understated for TOFU. These platforms help reach diverse audiences and draw them in with engaging, shareable content. 

6. Building Awareness

At its heart, TOFU is all about building awareness. It isn't just about letting people know a brand exists, but about shaping their perception of the brand. It's about establishing early trust, credibility, and goodwill as people move from awareness to consideration (TOFU to BOFU). 

Engaging storytelling, addressing problems, and showing empathy are key elements of TOFU marketing. Do this well, and you can feed your funnel - and your sales pipeline - consistently. 

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