ToFu That Isn’t Flavorless

3 min readMay 19, 2023

by Zoe Grant

More than 91 percent of cold emails are ignored. 87 percent of customers don’t answer cold calls. Every minute, there are 46,740 new posts on Instagram, more than 120 people joining LinkedIn and 15,220,700 text messages sent. Your prospects are constantly being inundated with information — which is why compelling top-of-the-funnel messaging has never been more critical.

To win the battle for prospects’ attention, engaging top-of-the-funnel messaging requires a strong call to action and an appeal to the prospects’ pain points prior to the first mention of the product. Top-of-the-funnel (or ToFu) messaging people respond to must be appetizing — here’s how to make sure your ToFu isn’t flavorless.

The strategic stories used by essential brands follow a consistent structure. Download Woden’s guide on how this approach works, and how to put it to work in any company.

Customers don’t make rational decisions. Essential brands look to their strategic narrative as the framework for their ToFu messaging; good ToFu avoids touting the features and benefits of your product. ToFu messaging must highlight clear pain points from the brand story. Emphasizing these challenges engages the audience emotionally; biases, habits, fears and aspirations influence buying decisions, especially early on.

If your ToFu is spicy enough, it will help the prospect make an emotional buying decision early, and then use their interactions in the rest of the customer journey to seek facts or figures and features or benefits that support that decision.

Tasty ToFu is built around a clear call to action. Great CTAs, and the messaging around them:

  • Are story-driven: they draw the prospect into the funnel, with the intent of carrying them through the full customer journey
  • Create urgency: there must be a reason for the audience to act in that exact moment
  • Are Actionable: think of the CTA as a “call to adventure” — tell your prospect where you want them to go
  • Meet the prospect on their level: language that is engaging and persuasive helps build trust, and ease anxiety about entering the funnel
  • Asks very little commitment of the prospect: remember the top of the funnel is the beginning of a conversation, not the moment of sale

Brands should remember that they are competing in the attention economy. The most scarce resource in your sales funnel is people’s attention, this is why ToFU (and all messaging) must be derived from your strategic narrative. It’s crucial for companies to have emotionally resonant top-of-the-funnel messaging because in a world overflowing with content, people will only pay attention to what they want to.

In order to meaningfully season your ToFu, consider the following.

  • Determine your buyer persona: in order to create messaging that resonates, you need to know what motivates your buyer, what their pain points are and what their ideal outcome would be in having these pain points rectified. Essential brands define this persona in their strategic narrative.
  • Speak to their pain points: once you’ve honed in on these pain points, empathize with them. Help the prospect see that you really understand what they’re going through (ultimately making them feel as though you’re equipped to solve their problem). Speaking to these pain points also creates urgency in the prospect.
  • Lay the groundwork for conversion: when setting up these pain points, make sure to do so in a way that allows your company to guide the prospect through the remainder of the sales funnel. Prepare to guide them all the way through the sale and for you to deliver on your promises.

Flavorless ToFu isn’t just bland — it’s easy to ignore, resulting in fewer leads.

Flavorless ToFu results in wasting your demand generation budget — 35 to 45 percent of top-funnel leads generated by demand generation programs are unmarketable!

Flavorless ToFu wastes the time and energy of your sales representatives; when sales loses faith in marketing, they are less inclined to follow up with leads.

Your strategic narrative is the best seasoning for ToFu messaging. It’s the framework essential brands use to cut through the noise and reach their prospects. And because it maps right on to the sales funnel, it means your approaches in the middle and bottom of the funnel will be just as efficient.




Woden creates strategic narratives for essential brands. Visit us at