I'm Dolly — a Nashville based family & branding photographer AND a systems + workflow educator (and Podcast Host) for creatives who want to be more streamlined and organized with Systems, Workflows & SOPS to better impact the backend of their businesses. I'm here to help you look awesome (for your photos) & feel great about workflows!
In this blog post, you are going to learn why every creative business owner SHOULD start developing a SYSTEM for themselves and their small business by picking 1-2 consistent top-of-funnel marketing strategies to drive cold traffic to their business. You are going to walk away with some action steps AND most importantly you are going to have a clearer understanding of WHAT Top of Funnel Marketing MEANS.
Before we dive in, I have an unpopular opinion in an overly saturated market that relies heavily on digital marketing:
👀You do not have to be in ALL the places as a small business owner *yes, even in the beginning stages of your business* (Yes..there ya have it, I said what I said)
Instead, as a small business owner, you should be consistent in at least 1-2 top-of-marketing channels so that you can slowly over time build momentum for your small business.
Before we dive into some strategies for developing a workflow for yourself, let’s define what the top of the funnel in marketing means:
⭐️The top of the funnel in marketing refers to the early stages of the sales funnel when potential customers are made aware of your company and product. It’s the first step in the customer journey and consists of activities such as creating awareness, increasing visibility, and generating leads. This is typically accomplished through tactics such as advertising, social media, content marketing, and search engine optimization. It’s important to note that the top of the funnel is the widest part of the funnel, as it’s where you will attract the most potential customers.
📌Since the top of the funnel is the theme of this blog post, I have a FREE resource I would love for you to dive into that will help you with the foundations of digital funnels in 2023 and beyond:
🎙Interested in a weekly podcast filled with Systems and Workflow Tips? I’ve got you covered friend:
Now let’s dive into the 3 ways you can utilize TOP of Funnel Marketing for your small business:
According to this article by asmmdigital:
So as you begin the new year (when this blog post comes out) you probably have the desire and tendency to want to be in all the places and do all the things because you have made a vision board, or you have some big & mighty goals (which are all good) but if you come out of the gate “with your marketing guns a-blazing” and it’s only you (without a team) you may burn out mighty fast and you may run out of steam mighty fast.
To bypass that burnout, set your mind on setting up a SYSTEM for your TOP of funnel marketing! My advice? I encourage you to pick out 1-2 platforms you want to be present on. Here are some tangible ideas on how you can develop a weekly or bi-weekly workflow that will help you out with a consistent system:
💡Idea 1: pick out a DAY that you can assign to yourself (stick with that day for at least one quarter)
💡Idea 2: pick out a TIME of that specific day you assigned to yourself & mark it as an appointment with yourself) (it doesn’t have to be hours, but at least 30 minutes)
💡Idea 3: Once you have a DAY And a TIME determined, write out your workflow and keep it posted beside your computer, or keep it up in your note app so you can do that SAME consistent workflow
Here are my very own TOP Of funnel marketing strategies I have been implementing in my own business CONSISTENTLY since 2018:
1️⃣ Blogging (ahem…you’re reading this right now!) (and my blogging “days” = every Monday & Wednesday)
2️⃣ Instagram (over time I have grown my own brand to serve THREE different types of clientele so I have two different Instagram accounts) (Again, this did not start overnight, I have developed a consistent system and workflow for myself to branch out to two Instagram accounts).
3️⃣ Podcasting (which I started in 2021) (The Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast)
According to this Forbes article :
Here are some 2023 Digital marketing trends to take advantage of (they share 9 ideas, but idea #9 really stuck out to me because…)
I love that they want the business owner to FOCUS on Foundations (because when you build off of a great foundation that creates a positive ripple effect for your marketing efforts, ESP at the top of the funnel)!
Again, do not feel like you have to do ALL the things, read over the article and pick 1 or 2 trends you want to incorporate in your business and as far as systems and workflows go, you CAN develop an automated system for yourself once you determine what platforms you want to stick with.
Take advantage of automation tools like social media schedulers, email drip campaigns, and email automation. These tools will help you stay on top of your top-of-the-funnel marketing efforts, even when things get busy.
My favorite automation tool that I have added to my weekly Instagram planning platform is PLANNTHAT (*full transparency that’s my affiliate link*) but I love this tool so much!
➡️(Backstory): Originally, I was using Tailwind to automate two of my IG accounts + my Pinterest account but because of rising costs & extremely poor customer service on Tailwind’s side, I switched over to PlannThat and I am happy with this scheduling tool (plus it is only $98 a year versus the over $300 I was spending with Tailwind…and I don’t have to pull my hair out in frustration due to poor customer service) (okay rant over)
I love Plannthat because I know that this company focuses on Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. So you can spread your social media efforts across MANY platforms strategically. In all honestly, I focus on Instagram since I already have only 10-15 hours per week, but when I have more time in the future, I will add more platforms to focus on (but again let me stress I am writing this article in the perspective of focusing on 1-2 top of funnel marketing efforts!
⬇️Below is a screenshot of what it looks like to map everything out on a desktop, but they also have a great mobile version as well (for my friends on the go who work more from your smartphone!)
I have a bonus tip for you:
Make sure you are tracking and analyzing data regularly to see what content is performing well and identify areas for improvement. This will help you stay on top of your top-of-the-funnel marketing and make sure it is as effective as possible. You can easily incorporate tracking and analyzing data in the weekly workflow you set up for yourself (point 1)
Wouldn’t it be fun to set a goal for yourself in 2023 in seeing how far you have come from the beginning of 2023 to 2024? This is one of my favorite activities I love doing and at the end of every year, I love seeing how far I have come in my own small creative business.
🥳I do have a resource in my Systems & Workflow shop that helps you track your income, budget, and email marketing efforts, AND it gives you the option to add tabs to track your own top-of-funnel marketing efforts. You can check it out below ⬇️ or click here
So in summary, you have been armed with four points on how to get started in consistently marketing your creative business at the top of the funnel, why it’s important to stay consistent in 2023, and how you can develop a system and workflow for yourself at the top of the funnel.
Now that you know what TOP of the funnel marketing means, I’ve got some more TOF podcast episodes to share with you to consume today:
And if you are reading this between January 2023 to Feb. 10th, 2023, you can get FREE Funnel Edition here ⬇️
Or to get a quick crash course on all things digital funnels, check out my fabulous resource “The Simple Funnel Mini-Course” here ⬇️
Thank you so much for reading!
Dolly DeLong is a Nashville-based branding photographer for small business owners, a milestone family photographer & and a creative business owner who educates other creative business owners on all things systems + workflows. Dolly loves serving business owners with her bold, elevated, and radiant photography. And, she also loves educating other creative business owners on how to set up systems and workflows that will ultimately help them save time in their business-she does this by producing weekly blog posts and weekly podcast episodes on The Systems & Workflow Magic Podcast.
She has a heart for serving the larger business community. Dolly shares her knowledge of tools like Dubsado, Email Marketing, and Business Systems with new creative business owners & family photographers in an encouraging and supportive way because she believes that anyone can find joy in automation! Plus BONUS: Systems is where the MAGIC happens!
Dolly’s faith and love for her family motivate her to help other business owners find the joy and freedom she’s found in running a successful small business.
Whenever she has a spare moment, she enjoys watching TV (i.e. Survivor), loves eating way too many sweets, and listens to podcasts while running or walking. To work with Dolly DeLong Photography for a branding photography session, fill out her contact form here.
Or maybe you're not really sure how you'd use your new collection of branded images? Download my free planning guide to learn how to plan an elevated brand photography session to impact your business!