Interest: Once leads are generated, they move on to the interest stage, where they learn more about the company, its products, and any helpful information and research it provides. Here is an opportunity for brands to develop a relationship with the people in its lead database and introduce its positioning. Marketers can nurture leads through emails, content that is more targeted around industries and brands, classes, newsletters, and more.
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Targeting these leads is the easy part; guiding them along the buying process is more challenging. For this, you’ll need an effective content strategy that provides them with the information they need and keeps them coming back for more. You’ll want to get these people signing up to your newsletter – or some other kind of email interaction – as soon as possible. This gives you a channel to segregate audiences and target them with more relevant messages that move them along the sales funnel.
Several debates have been revolving around the applicability of marketing funnels today, where the fashion of purchasing is no longer linear. Prospective customers might not enter the marketing funnel in the first stage itself – they might join in on different levels of the funnel. This would hold true if they are suggested to buy a particular product from a particular brand and a particular site and hence might step into the funnel towards its ultimate stages. They might also conduct researches elsewhere and derive their conclusions on their own, without any help from the B2C’s intervention. Hence several alternatives to the marketing funnel are coming up, such as McKinsey’s circular model.
For example, that funnel may consist of freely available content published on a website aimed at the overall pain point a potential customer has. That content then includes a call-to-action to sign up for email for more information. That email list includes a lead nurturing campaign that answers key questions as customers have them, ultimately leading customers to talk to sales reps to answer their most specific and complex questions.
The largest pool of leads is always the least qualified, but every one of them is still a potential customer – one that might shop with one of your competitors if you don’t get them first. So, to maximise your marketing funnel conversions and keep your rivals in check, you also want to guide as many of these potential buyers towards the finishing line as possible.
The marketing funnel is a visualization for understanding the process of turning leads into customers, as understood from a marketing (and sales) perspective. The idea is that, like a funnel, marketers cast a broad net to capture as many leads as possible, and then slowly nurture prospective customers through the purchasing decision, narrowing down these candidates in each stage of the funnel.