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.
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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.

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So the obvious approach to funnel marketing is to focus on high-intent users who show all the behaviour of someone ready to buy. And your best weapon for this is AdWords – the only platform that allows you to target people itching to buy. People turn to Google when they’re about to jump from consideration to conversion and AdWords is the only channel that allows you to target high-intent search queries that have “next customer” written all over them.
Not only must value be properly sequenced throughout the funnel, but cost must be as well. In that deeper stage in the funnel, SolarWinds didn’t only provide the properly sequenced value (trial versions) it also communicated properly sequenced cost (an online price quote engine). You must determine when to introduce the price in the funnel you’ve created, but also non-monetary elements of cost too.
An increasingly common practice for marketing, sales, and customer service and experience managers is to “flip the funnel” into a customer experience funnel. This funnel outlines the process of turning customers into advocates, which in turn refuels the top of the marketing funnel by driving awareness and lead generation. Here’s our diagram of the customer experience funnel:
Notice how this happens automatically without the customer having to do too much. This makes sense because at this stage in the funnel they are choosing the use the firm because they like the firm and are making an emotional decision so don’t have to invest much time. In fact, they may have experienced more friction when it came to signing up to the trial in the first place. This is because at that stage of the marketing funnel they are using more logic and less emotion than at the later stage of the funnel.
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Just like an actual funnel, Marketing funnels represent a buyer’s journey from awareness to the actual purchase of the product. The concept marketing funnel revolves around is that marketers spread a vast lattice to catch hold of as many leads as possible and then gradually foster prospective customers through suitable schemes, even though the numbers lessen with every passing stage.

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!


In fact, more than 80 percent of people look for recommendations before purchasing a product, according to research by Business 2 Community. And Nielsen reports that 84% of people trust the recommendations of friends and family over marketing campaigns. That makes personal referrals the highest ranked source for trustworthiness when it comes to making a purchase.  
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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.
Now that you have the consumers’ attention, you want to create some interest. The goal of this stage is to show who you are and what your brand stands for. You are trying to build a relationship with your potential customers and gain trust. Give people valuable information, but don’t focus too much on selling your product yet. Throughout this stage potential customers begin to develop attittudes, opinions and hopefully interest in your company. Content creation is often used for this stage. Think about blogs, webinars, infographics, free e-books, newsletters et cetera. Keep in mind that customers can also develop negative feelings towards your brand, so be careful with what kind of messages you convey to potential customers.
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, a complex purchase funnel might include steps like this: searching a pain point in a search engine, getting to a content piece on a website, clicking to a landing page for a white paper download, receiving several pieces of email in a lead nurturing campaign, deciding to speak to a sales rep to learn more about the product, going through several stages of a sales process with a sales rep, and then ultimately making a purchase. This may happen over several months.
In this example imagine a real estate company that prints an ad for their services on a piece of card. On the card it doesn’t say too much about the company but simply shows pictures of some houses sold locally by the company and the prices those houses achieved. The cards also contain a link to the company’s website should the prospect wish to find out further information about the company’s services. These cards are then posted through the letterboxes of everyone who lives where the best buyers are for this business are. The complete marketing funnel for this real estate company is shown below.
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.
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You want to create initial awareness of your existence, then encourage interest or ‘traffic’ and eventually a conversion or purchase plus repeat purchases from happy customers. Your ‘funnel’ as such, can get lots of people interested, but many will drop off along the way through the process. This happens for a variety of reasons, price, availability of funds, a clunky website or interface, information overload, poor customer service and so on. By the time a person gets to the bottom of the funnel the numbers are considerably lower. And here you need to be consistently optimising the conversion rates, as in helping people decide to contact you or buy something – a result.
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Alright, at this point in the funnel you’re going to be working with fewer leads than you started with. But that’s ok! Because those that are still with you are a higher quality lead, and are more interested in what you have to offer. They’ve also taken some form of action or micro-commitment and are a lot more open to what you have to offer next. It’s at this stage that you want to begin the follow-up process and really bring the value. Continue to nurture your leads by providing more valuable and helpful information but at the same time, don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. If you’ve done a good job at guiding them along their journey up until this point the next logical step should be your core offer, product, or service. When your “warm” lead buys and exchanges their money for your product or service they become “hot”.
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.
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Any entrepreneur who is growing their business has come across the term funnel, whether it's marketing funnels, sales funnels, or just funnels in general. One of the biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs making is that they think they need a website before all else, when in reality, having marketing funnels first allows them to be in direct communication with people all across the web from the start.
However, there are even some who see the funnel as being split vertically, with both sales and marketing owning the full funnel. They argue that the sales people are increasingly becoming thought leaders to drive awareness by doing outbound outreach. In this scenario, both marketing and sales would work to nurture leads and prospects from awareness to purchase.
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