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The Secret Sauce to Successful Sales: Mastering the 3 Stages of the Funnel

Are you struggling to convert your website visitors into customers?

You’ve probably tried all sorts of marketing tactics, from paid ads to social media campaigns. But still, the results aren’t coming and you feel like you're spinning your wheels?

Don't worry – you're not alone.

As a business owner or marketer, it’s tough to know where to focus your efforts and it can be all too easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day grind of running your business and doing "some marketing".

But just "doing marketing" doesn't work.

It never has, it never will.

The secret to every high converting sales funnel is a carefully crafted strategy that takes into account the exact process of how people go from being website visitors to customers.

This is the “buyer's journey” and you need to use it to your advantage.

And that's where the 3 stages of the sales funnel come in – ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu.

By understanding each stage of the sales funnel (and their unique challenges), you can create content and strategies that increase conversions at each stage of the funnel.

That'll put you miles ahead of other marketers who are just “winging it”.

In this article, I'll break down each stage of the funnel and talk about the tactics you need to master in order to succeed.

From capturing attention to nurturing leads and closing the sale, I'll cover everything you need to know to become a true master of the “buyer’s journey”.

So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let's dive into the secret sauce of successful sales funnels – ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu.

What is ToFu, MoFu and BoFu?

If you're new to the world of sales and marketing, the terms ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu might sound like some exotic dish. But these 3 words are actually the key to unlocking a successful sales funnel.

ToFu stands for "Top of the Funnel," and it's the stage where you're trying to capture the attention of potential customers. In other words, you're trying to get them interested in your product or service.

This is the stage where you'll typically use tactics like blog posts, youtube videos, social media posts, and other content marketing strategies to grab people's attention.

MoFu stands for "Middle of the Funnel," and it's the stage where you're trying to nurture your leads. These are the people who have shown an interest in your product or service and might be considering making a purchase.

This is where you'll typically use tactics like email marketing, webinars, quizzes, and educational posts & videos to keep your leads engaged.

BoFu stands for "Bottom of the Funnel," and it's the stage where you're trying to close the sale.

This is the final stage in the buyer's journey, where you'll typically use sales pages, scarcity marketing, product demos, free trials, and tripwire funnels to convert your leads into paying customers.

Here’s a real world example of how this works:

Let's say you want to replace an old broken USB cable with a new one.

At the ToFu stage, you might come across a blog post that talks about the benefits of using high-quality USB cables, and you decide to learn more about the topic.

At the MoFu stage, you might sign up for a company's email list to receive more information about USB cables and other related products. The company might send you a series of emails that educate you on the different types of USB cables and why their products are the best on the market.

Finally, at the BoFu stage, the company might offer you a free trial of their top-of-the-line USB cable or a special discount if you make a purchase. This is the stage where you'll make your decision to buy the cable and become a paying customer.

By understanding each stage of the sales funnel and what tactics to use at each stage, you can optimize your marketing efforts and create a frictionless buyer's journey to boost your sales.

There’s no fixed time period for someone making a buying decision.

For inexpensive products like a new USB cable, the time between realizing you need a new cable to actually placing an order, can be very short.

For more expensive products, like a $1000 per month business software that's used by many people in a company, the process can take months.

It really depends on what you’re selling and the requirements of your target customer.

A Deep Dive into Tofu, Mofu, and Bofu

Let's start with ToFu

This is the first stage of the funnel, where you're trying to capture the attention of people who may be interested in what you have to offer.

At this stage, potential customers are just becoming aware of your product and the benefits it has to offer.

Let's go back to our USB cable example. Imagine that you are in the ToFu stage of the funnel, and you need a new USB cable to replace your old broken one.

At this point, you might not be aware of all the different types of USB cables out there or what brands are available. You might do a quick Google search for "USB cables" or browse Amazon to see what options are available.

That's where marketers need to step in.

In order to capture your attention and move you further down the funnel, marketers need to create content that will inform people about their products or services and create an interest in learning more.

This could be in the form of blog posts, social media content, or even paid ads.

Moving on to the MoFu

At this point, the potential customer has already shown some interest in your brand or products. They might have signed up for your email list or downloaded a free resource from your website.

This is where you need to focus on building a relationship with the potential customer and nurturing them towards making a purchase.

In our USB cable example, you might have signed up for a newsletter from a tech company that specializes in cables and accessories. They might send you helpful tips on how to choose the right USB cable for your needs or share customer reviews of their products.

Finally, we have BoFu

This is the stage where the potential customer is ready to make a purchase. They've done their research and are ready to buy.

At this point, it's important to make the purchasing process as easy and streamlined as possible.

Back to our USB cable example - at this stage, you might have decided on a particular brand or type of USB cable that you want to buy.

The company that has been nurturing you throughout the funnel should make it easy for you to make the purchase, with a clear and user-friendly website, multiple payment options, and a hassle-free checkout process.

By understanding these three stages of the funnel, you can create content and marketing strategies that cater to each stage and move potential customers closer to making a purchase.

In the next section, we'll dive into the tactics you can use to optimize your content and marketing for each stage of the funnel.

Creating a Winning Strategy

Now using what we’ve learned about the buyer’s journey, let’s learn how to create your content strategy using ToFu, MoFu and BoFu.

Strategies for Tofu: Attracting Visitors and Building Your Mailing List

Ok, let’s talk about ToFu content and the strategy that works best at this stage. Remember, the goal of ToFu is to attract visitors to your website and get them on your mailing list.

Here are some strategies to make that happen:

Offer Valuable Content

Creating valuable content is one of the best ways to attract visitors to your website. By providing content that solves a problem or answers a question, you position yourself as an expert in your field, making visitors more likely to sign up for your mailing list.

If your site doesn’t rank in organic search, you can still use search ads to reach new potential customers. But search ads are not a good way to bring repeat visitors back to your site.

You can get some ToFu content visitors to come back to your website again if you invest in retargeting ads. But because these are casual information seekers, not qualified prospects, your ads probably won’t get you the results you’re hoping for.

That means retargeting ToFu content visitors is generally speaking, expensive. So if you’re running a small or medium business with a small advertising budget, this strategy isn’t for you.

Use Social Media

Social media platforms are a great way to attract visitors to your website. By regularly sharing your content on social media, you can attract new visitors and drive traffic to your site.

But given that organic social media takes a ton of effort and produces little results, you’ll probably need to pay for ads.

The good thing about ads is that you can target (or retarget) a specific audience who’ll be more likely to make a purchase later.

If your website is small and doesn’t rank well

If your website is small or doesn’t rank well in search, then creating content for highly competitive keywords is a waste of time. Your content simply won’t rank well enough to get you the clicks you need.

You can still rank for keywords with low search volumes because they are less competitive. But that’s also a waste of time because you still won’t get enough clicks.

The best approach is to find the sweet spot and look for keywords with low enough competition and high enough search volume, to make it worth your while to create content.

Obviously, that can be tricky, especially for beginners. So if you’re new to SEO, here are some resources that will help you understand how to get traffic from search engines:

SEO Beginners course: SEO Sprint from Thrive Themes
SEO Intermediate course: Blogging for Business by Ahrefs
SEO Blog you should subscribe to: Backlinko
SEO Videos: Moz WhiteBoard Friday

Create Lead Magnets

You could try to pitch your product or service to new visitors ... but instead of pushing to make quick sales to people who didn’t really come to your site to buy anything, I suggest you play the long game.

Delay the sales pitch.

First focus on converting as many visitors to email subscribers as possible.

Once people are on your list, then tell them why your product/service fits THEIR needs and how it's better than your competitor's product/service.

If you do it right, people will want to buy anyways, and you probably won’t even need the sales pitch at all.

The best way to convert your website visitors into newsletter subscribers, is by offering a lead magnet.

A lead magnet is a valuable resource that you offer to visitors in exchange for their email address. This can be an e-book, a free course, a discount code, or anything else that is valuable to your audience.

Use this free guide to learn how to create the perfect lead magnet.

The MoFu Stage: Nurturing Leads

Once the visitor has provided their contact information, they move on to the MOFU stage. At this point, they have shown an interest in your business and what you have to offer, but they may not be ready to make a purchase just yet.

In the MOFU stage, your focus should be on nurturing your leads and building a relationship with them. This is where you'll need to provide them with more targeted and personalized content that's relevant to their interests and needs.

For example, let's say you're selling USB cables and someone has signed up for your mailing list after reading your blog post on the best USB cables for gamers.

In the MOFU stage, you might send them an email with a link to a video review of your newest USB cable that's designed specifically for gaming. This content is tailored to their interests and is designed to move them further down the sales funnel.

You can also use other methods to nurture your leads, such as:

Providing them with free resources, like eBooks or webinars, that offer more in-depth information on your products or services.

Offering them personalized product recommendations based on their browsing history or past purchases.

Engaging with them on social media and responding to their questions or comments in a timely manner.

The goal of the MOFU stage is to keep your leads engaged and interested in what you have to offer, so that when they're ready to make a purchase, they'll choose you over your competitors.

In the next section, we'll dive into the final stage of the sales funnel – the BOFU stage – where the magic happens and you can finally close the sale.

BoFu: Bottom of the Funnel

Now we've arrived at the final stage of the funnel – the bottom. By this point, your potential customers are very close to making a purchase. They've shown a real interest in what you have to offer and are likely weighing up their options.

Your content needs to persuade (not manipulate) the visitor that your stuff is worth buying. You need to use this space to remind people of the benefits they will get or the problems they can solve when they make a purchase.

At this stage, the key is to make it as easy as possible for them to buy. It's all about removing any obstacles in their way and helping them make the final decision. Your job is to make them feel comfortable with the idea of buying from you.

You also need to assure them that their purchase is safe and if you offer a risk-free trial or a money back guarantee, this is the perfect place to mention it.

Here are some more things you need to consider:

Make the buying process as easy as possible: Whether it's a simple checkout process or easy-to-understand pricing, make it as easy as possible for your customers to buy.

Offer incentives: At this stage, incentives can be a powerful tool to encourage a purchase. Consider offering free shipping, a discount, or a special bonus to help seal the deal.

Use urgency: Urgency is a great way to push people over the edge and make a purchase. Limited-time offers, countdown timers, and stock availability can all create a sense of urgency that encourages people to take action. Make sure to use timers ethically because false timers can harm your reputation and lose sales.

And also setup a process for recovering abandoned carts to bring back the people who added a product to their cart but dropped off before making a purchase.

Provide social proof: Testimonials, case studies, and reviews can go a long way in helping potential customers feel more confident in their decision to buy.

Besides these, the are many other marketing gems like tripwire funnels, perfectly timed emails, engaging newsletters etc. that you can use to boost the performance of your funnel.

Remember, the goal of this stage is to close the sale. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to say yes, and you'll see your sales soar.

That brings us to the end of the funnel, but it's not the end of the journey. There's still one more important step to consider – after-sales service and support. Let's take a look at why this is so important.

After Sales Service or Support

People often overlook this stage of the funnel because the sale is already completed, but it’s just as important as the others.

This stage involves providing after-sales service or support to your customers. This could include troubleshooting, answering questions, or providing additional resources to help your customers make the most of their purchase.

Providing excellent after-sales service or support can be the key to turning a one-time customer into a repeat customer.

When you go above and beyond to help your customers, they’ll remember the positive experience and be more likely to return to your business in the future. Conversely, bad customer service can drive customers away and tarnish your reputation.

So, excellent after sales service is not just the right thing to do - it's also good for business.

Happy customers are more likely to leave positive reviews, recommend your business to others, and make repeat purchases.

For example, let’s say you sell high-end headphones online. A customer purchases a pair of headphones, but a few weeks later they start having issues with the sound quality. If you have a dedicated support team that can quickly troubleshoot and resolve the issue, the customer is more likely to recommend your business to others or return to make another purchase.

So, don't underestimate the importance of the after-sales service or support. Make sure you have a dedicated team in place to handle any customer inquiries, and be proactive in following up with customers to make sure they’re satisfied with their purchase.

Repeat Sales

The final hidden stage of the sales funnel is repeat sales. This stage is where you’ll find the best Return On Investment (ROI) because it costs much more money to acquire a new customer than it does to sell more to an existing customer.

By focusing on repeat sales, you can create a loyal customer base that continues to come back to your business time and time again.

This could involve offering special promotions or discounts to repeat customers, or simply providing excellent customer service to make them feel valued and appreciated.


In conclusion, mastering the three stages of the funnel is key to building a successful sales strategy.

Whether you're trying to capture the attention of potential customers, nurture leads, or close the deal, there are specific tactics that you can use to achieve your goals.

Remember to create targeted content that speaks to each stage of the funnel, and to always be thinking about how you can optimize your strategy to better serve your customers.

By doing so, you can not only increase your sales but also build a loyal customer base that will continue to support your business for years to come.

About the Author

I'm obsessed with building profitable online funnels.
I created this blog to teach digital marketers the skills, tools & techniques needed to generate evergreen revenue from their online business.
Blogs I like: ActiveCampaign, Ahrefs, Backlinko, Thrive Themes.

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