The top of the funnel: How to reach a broad audience in the Connect phase?

  • Date: 31 July 2020
  • reading time: 7 Minutes
  • Blogger: Francisca Zimmermann

Do you remember previous blogs about the sales funnel and the online money making machine? We described how, in the top part of the funnel (the ‘Connect’ phase), you reach out to a large audience. We explained how to guide this audience towards the thinner part of the funnel and how to convince an even small(er) part of your audience to become customer (in the Close phase).

In the coming three blogs, we will zoom into the different phases of the funnel. With a short blog series, we will tell you all about the upper (blog 1 - the Connect phase), middle (blog 2 - the Commit phase) and lower (blog 3- the Close phase) funnel. We will remind you of the importance of having a strong funnel in place and will give you a few great tips on making the most of each phase.

In this first blog, we will dive into the first phase of the funnel—the upper funnel, where your main goal is to reach as many potential customers as possible.

But first, back to the basics.

3 phase mini sales funnel

The sales funnel in 3 phases: Connect, Commit and Close

What is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel can be defined as:

‘a planned route that marketers want potential customers to take, from the first time they hear a company's name until the moment they turn into loyal fans.’

It is an (often) automated sales campaign with a series of steps designed to guide visitors toward a buying decision. All the way from connecting for the first time to closing a deal.

Every funnel starts wide. It captures the attention of as many people as possible, through strategies like social media marketing and online advertising. This happens in, what we call, the Connect phase.

As soon as the funnel becomes thinner, some of these people slowly build a connection with a brand. They repeatedly see interesting content that resonates with the phase they are in, they click on a link once in a while or sign up for a newsletter. This part is called the Commit phase.

The further the leads move through the funnel, the stronger their connection with the brand becomes. Of course, some people lose interest and leave the funnel. However, the others most probably start to consider a purchase as they move forward slowly.

At the thinnest part of the funnel, the Close phase, only the people with a real interest in the product or service remains. And, the chances are good that they decide to become a customer in the end.

website traffic

Connect: The widest part of the funnel

As described earlier, every funnel starts with a strong focus on reaching new people. The more people you can drive into the widest part of your funnel, the more you will probably have left at the thinnest part. And this simply means more potential customers left in the Close phase.

So, how do you reach those new people? How do you create brand awareness among your target audience? And how do you make sure the right people will start interacting with your brand?

Let’s take a look at a few techniques that are most successful in the Connect phase.

1. Define your audience

Success in the Connect phase starts with one essential condition. To be able to reach the right people, you need to know who they are.

Before even starting to think of making your funnel work, you, therefore, need to define your target audience.

As described in our previous blog about social media tips for dummies, there are several ways to find out who your perfect audience is.

You can, for instance:

To clearly document your findings, it can be helpful to create a few buyer persona. These are descriptions of fictional ‘ideal’ customers. By creating a few of them, you can keep them in mind while working on creating the rest of your funnel.

Take a look at this buyer persona by Smart Insights for a great example:

buyer persona

2. Create educational content

The Connect phase is all about content. The content demonstrates your expertise; it helps your audience by answering questions and solving problems.

Good content is the reason why your potential client finds you, follows you, and enters the top of the funnel.

So, what to pay attention to when creating content?

  1. Use your knowledge gained during your target audience research and create what your audience really wants to see.
  2. Be original. There is so much content available, that standing out is the only effective way to guide people into your funnel - and not the one of your competitors.
  3. Don’t be too salesy in your communication. In the Connect phase, you want to focus on attracting your audience with high-quality content that interests a wide audience. By selling your product or service too early on in the funnel, you will most probably lose the interest of those who are not ready for purchase yet - but might be soon. Content in the Connect phase can be anything, as long as it is interesting for your audience and doesn’t directly mention or promote your brand, product, or service.
  4. A lot of content is great, but try to focus on quality rather than quantity. A high-quality guide, whitepaper or e-book that serves as a lead magnet or a beautiful infographic can lead many more people into the funnel than a long list of short and low-quality blogs.



3. Use social media

Social media is essential in the Connect phase. With a strong social media strategy, you can attract your audience and guide large numbers of people into your funnel. In 2020, an estimated number of 3.6 billion people worldwide are using social media. That is insanely high and means a huge possibility to reach new people—all online, and possibly for free.

To fully cover the importance of social media, we could write a book, instead of just a blog. Therefore, we will keep it short. However, we quickly want to mention the two main parts of social media marketing; organic reach and paid advertising.

a. Organic reach

With a strong strategy and enough time to actively engage with your audience, organic reach can go a long way.

Unfortunately, doing it right is time-consuming. You entirely rely on other people liking, sharing, and following your content. Every like or share makes your content visible on the timeline of some more people. Every engagement pushes your post up in the algorithm. The more active you are, the more your brand will be seen.


b. Paid advertising

Although organic reach is possible, most brands don’t have the time only to grow their audience organically. For those with some budget, paid advertising is a great addition to their strategy.

Most social media channels offer incredibly specific targeting options, making it easy to reach who you decided to focus on during your target audience research.

Would you like to learn more about social media marketing? Take a look at our 3.6. Here, you can find many relevant courses and discussions that will help you make the most of your social media strategy.

4. Google advertising

Together with social media, Google is another excellent way to reach new people and guide them into the funnel. Did you know that Google receives over 63,000 searches per second per day on average? If you get your content on the first page of the platform, this can mean great exposure to many new people and a huge increase in brand awareness.

Just like social media channels, Google Ads offers many very specific targeting options. You can select the demographics, interests, and search intent of your audience and use advanced techniques like ‘retargeting.’

Retargeting simply means showing your ads to the same people multiple times, at different phases of the funnel. A general ad in the lower funnel, and a more specific offer closer to the top of the funnel.

We will dive deeper into the world of Google Ads in our next blog in this series, where we discuss the middle of the funnel. Keep an eye on our blog page to be the first to see this blog appear!


5. Branding

Last but not least: the Connect phase is where you define your brand.

To make sure your leads will remember you as they move through the funnel, they need to recognize your brand. When they receive your email, they need to remember that they have seen - and liked - your content before. This creates the connection you are looking for.

Make sure that all the content you create and share at the top of the funnel is consistent, and will stay consistent in the rest of the funnel.

Clearly define:

The more clear you are during the Connect phase, the more result you will see over the entire funnel.

Funnel software

Although we will dive into this in our next blog about the Commit phase, we just had to share our funnel secret with you already.

Have you heard of Kartra yet? With this sales funnel tool and All-In-One Marketing Platform‎, you can automate large parts of the funnel completely.

Kartra offers complete landing pages, email marketing, analytics, video, and helpdesk services, and much more.

Are you interested? Feel free to contact us for more information or sign up here to try Kartra for 14 days, for only $1.

Need help?

We hope we gave you some guidance on what to pay attention to when working on the lower part of your funnel. However, we understand that all of this can be overwhelming.

Luckily, we are here to help you!

Feel free to us for a FREE strategy call so we can discuss your goals and strategies together.

Would you like to learn more about social media marketing, sales funnels, and marketing in general? Then our Social Media Gids Community might be worth checking out. On this platform, you can access all our training material and discuss your progress with like-minded entrepreneurs. Contact us for more info, so we can tell you precisely what you can expect from your subscription.

Want to post a comment? Join the conversation in our community.

  • Blogger: Francisca Zimmermann
  • E-mail: [email protected]
  • Social media manager & content creator at Social Media Gids
  • Francisca Zimmermann is a social media expert with a background in research and a love for learning new things. She travels the world looking for beautiful places and interesting cultures, while she dives into the world of her clients to be able to write about them and their interests as a real 'insider'.
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