The marketing funnel is a great tool that helps visualizing the customer journey or the path that prospects take as they become more familiar with your company and products, from awareness to purchase to (hopefully) the advocacy stage. It allows marketeers to map out the marketing campaigns that need to be considered in a more structural approach. Keep in mind that this is a general version of the marketing funnel and that you might need to adapt it somewhat to fit the business you are in. Let the marketing begin!


I mentioned earlier that the sales funnel goes beyond the first purchase. You don’t want customers to buy once and then forget about you. You want them to buy again and become long-term customers who are loyal to your brand. You want them to recommend you to other people – both online and offline – who might also be interested in what you have to offer.

It’s important to note that there is not a single agreed upon version of the funnel; some have many “stages” while others have few, with different names and actions taken by the business and consumer for each. In the diagram below, we’ve done our best to pull out the most common and relevant funnel stages, terms, and actions so this information is useful to as many marketers as possible.


The first stage underlines the basic function of any marketing campaign: to create awareness regarding the company’s offerings. Your campaign will help to introduce your business to strangers through customer research and discovery. During this initial stage, your primary focus will be toward attaining thought and trust leadership via advertising, webinars, social media, viral campaigns, content creation, events, and more.

At this stage of the funnel, the value of your product is still unknown; customers won’t be engaged by sales material or product specifics. Instead, try to establish value through educational promotions. Here, customer information is gathered as leads are pulled into the first phase of the funnel. It’s interesting to note that 65% of businesses claim that lead generation is their biggest marketing challenge which only emphasizes the need for developing creative marketing strategies.
Advocacy: Turning your customers into advocates is the ultimate evolution for nurturing current customers. Evangelism in the form of writing product reviews, posting about products on social media, and more can help drive more new leads for your marketing funnel. Having an external recommendation not connected to a brand can strongly influence prospects. Marketers can work to develop their communities to better support advocates, ask them to participate in case studies, or engage them around consumer-generated content on social media.
Upon entering their email address they are now in the Evaluation stage, where they (possibly) read the case study, browse the company’s website, and receive regular emails from the company. After a few weeks the prospect receives an email explaining that they can trial the service for 1-month for just $1. At the end of the month they will be taken onto the regular subscription price of $49 per month, but they can cancel their subscription easily anytime within that first month.

If they pursue this valuation this takes the customer further down the funnel into the Evaluation/Trial phase. At this point they are offered the opportunity to market their property on a no-win-no-fee basis. The homeowner will have already done their research on the company (the Evaluation phase), and so this relatively frictionless offer where no money exchanges hands is an easy way to move the homeowner further down the funnel to the Trial phase.


For example, the choice of having either Indian food or Chinese food is fairly straightforward and requires minimal time whereas offering managed IT solutions requires an investment costing thousands of dollars. Due to the differing time frames and value of the product, the prospects are more than likely to request for content during this consideration stage. A high number of competitors can lead to longer evaluation time, something experienced by 48% of businesses.
At RealEstateMogul.com, we’re committed to delivering the awesomest, most practical, actionable content to our members … and that a big part of that is getting YOU to tell us what you'd like to learn from us. Since our REI resources are basically endless, we’d love to tailor our upcoming training as much as possible to precisely match what you, our members, really need and want out of us.
The manufacturing company worked with the MECLABS team, and the value messaging was changed to focus on the value proposition of the guide itself with a new headline: “You’re One Quick Download Away from Finding Your Perfect Infrared Camera,” and other messaging focused on communicating the value of the free product guide, not the product purchase (the end goal of the funnel).
For example, the choice of having either Indian food or Chinese food is fairly straightforward and requires minimal time whereas offering managed IT solutions requires an investment costing thousands of dollars. Due to the differing time frames and value of the product, the prospects are more than likely to request for content during this consideration stage. A high number of competitors can lead to longer evaluation time, something experienced by 48% of businesses.
In this email, Nerd Fitness includes a case study from a customer who saw amazing fitness results by completing the Nerd Fitness Academy. The case study is appropriate during the consideration stage, because it relates to subscribers’ interests (fitness) and introduces subscribers to the product (Nerd Fitness Academy) while showing the value of that product.
Typically in your content marketing, to generate traffic, you will use a website, blogging, SEO, landing or squeeze pages, Google Adwords or PPC, Social Media Marketing, perhaps influencer marketing(see more below) and the old fashioned mediums of TV, Radio and Newspapers or Magazines. It involves creating engaging and useful or interesting content to promote through the various mediums, videos, guest posts etc. Likewise you want to get the technical aspects right, any transaction pages need to be as simple as possible, contact forms, shopping carts and search filters. If you lose people during the process, you can remarket through Facebook and Google, to draw them back.
This is stage with the most potential to grow your marketing funnel, and ironically, it’s the one you have to work the least in. The “advocacy” stage is your reward for all the work you put into the stage before. When you keep your customers happy, they’ll not only remain loyal to your business, but they’ll recommend you to friends and industry contacts facing a similar problem to the one you solved. They’ll brag about how easy life is with your product or service and how hard you work to keep them happy. The result is not only a bigger marketing funnel, but the chance to get a head-start on your competitors.
Now, why do I call them ‘marketing funnels’ and not just ‘sales funnels’ like 90% of the rest of the internet? (That was an entirely made-up statistic by the way.) Because sales funnels focus on a sale, marketing funnels cover not only the sale, but general connecting, and after you make the sale. Marketing funnels help you think of your entire customer journey, not just getting money out of them.

It begins when you use emotion to capture their attention (maybe they feel a certain way or identify with others that do), once you have their attention you need to use logic to show them you’re good at what you do and can address the requirements they have. Finally, to seal the deal and make them a loyal customer you need to use emotion. Emotion is a powerful tool in getting prospects across the line once they have reached the penultimate stage of your funnel.
I’ve heard a lot of talk over the last couple of years about the sales funnel being dead. What a load of nonsense. It’s not that long ago these sorts were telling us SEO is dead or – more recently – that web design is dead. Jackie Chan has also died multiple times over the last couple of years but I have my doubts about this, too, unless he has at least one identical twin who also happens to be versed in multiple forms of martial arts.
Okay, so death rumours aside, the sales funnel is in good health and every argument I’ve heard suggest otherwise comes from someone trying to create a selling point for one of their products. What has changed in recent years is how marketers use the sales funnel because the number of interactions between brands and consumers along the buying cycle has multiplied.
Why is the set of steps to conversion called a “funnel”? Because at the beginning of the process, there are a lot of people who take the first step. Then, as the people continue along and take the next steps, some of them drop out, and the size of the crowd thins or narrows. (And even further along in the process, your sales team gets involved to help close the deal.)
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