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At such a point, work on making the potential customer feel confident in their decision to buy your product. Let’s take the previous example of a fitness center. Here, develop a case study showing a customer’s success story including before-and-after pictures along with testimonials. This can be related to either weight-loss or gaining substantial muscle-mass—whatever’s appropriate based on the client.

In the loyalty stage, customers start to develop a preference for your brand or company. They do not make repeat purchases anymore because you remind them of it, but because they genuinely like your product. Customer loyalty is therefore far more favorable than repeat purchasing. Loyalty means customers are hanging in there even when there may be some problems or negative rumours about your company. In order to create loyalty, your customers need to see the relationship between you and them as more than just a transactional relationship: connecting with your customers on a personal level is therefore crucial. Strong engagement, personalization, loyalty programs, community development, social identity and the sharing of values can help with that.


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.
For example, 1-800-DENTIST increased conversions 23% by sequencing friction at the very beginning of its funnel. Originally the dental referral source asked for ZIP code, dental need and insurance/payment info on a form right at the beginning of the funnel. Dental need and insurance/payment info were moved to steps three and four in the funnel, respectively, leading the company to increase conversions.
There are many different versions of the Marketing Funnel. I tried to only use very distinctive phases of the customer journey without becoming too specific, in order for this funnel to be applicable for a multitude of industries and businesses. The reason why the Marketing Funnel is a funnel is because the wideness of the funnel at every stage represents the amount of people belonging to it. Since you are likely to loose some potential customers along the way, the funnel gets narrower towards the bottom. Finally it is important to mention that the colours chosen for this marketing funnel are deliberate. In the beginning, your relationship with potential customers are rather ‘cold’ and are therefore coloured blue. Once you get to know your customers, you want to ‘heat’ things up a bit and make your relationship stronger until you reach the advocacy stage (orange). Let’s go through each stage one by one.

Mary Wroblewski came of age as a reporter and editor in some of Chicago's scrappiest newsrooms but softened up long enough to write nine children's books as well as one nonfiction tome. She has a master's degree in communications and teaches college-level courses at a Chicago area college. You'll see her work in a wide variety of publications, especially those in the business, education, health care and nutrition genres.

Many marketing funnels stop after the purchase has been made. However, in the hypercompetitive and dynamic environment of today, it is key to keep customers with you for as long as possible. Repeat purchases and the retention of customers are therefore just as important as the initial purchase. Good after-sales service and customer relationship management (CRM) enlarge the chance that customers will become repeat customers. You could for example start by sending out an email a week after the purchase has been made asking for customer feedback. People generally love to give their opinion on subjects. From there on you can get to know the customer better and see if he or she might be interested in a repeat purchase. Depending on the nature of your business, calling or even meeting up face-to-face with customers are considered more personal and more effective. This latter is for example more appropriate in the auto or consulting industry where larger transactions are being made.
Facebook is particularly good at capturing these leads, thanks to its targeting options. You can narrow down on users based on their demographic info, interests, online behaviour and previous purchases. AdWords also has a role to play here, letting you target lower-intent searches like “how often should I audit my website?” and getting these users involved with your brand.
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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.
It’s now time to really bring on the value and elevate your relationship with your customers. Following up with your recent buyers is one of the fastest ways to solidify your position as a business that truly cares. Buyers remorse is very real, and is alive and well across all markets and industries, so the first 24-48 hours after making a purchase is a critical time to calm any anxieties and affirm your new customers decision to do business with your company. It’s also unexpected. Which makes it an even nicer surprise, and part of the system to turn elevate your customers into brand evangelists who tell their friends, family, coworkers, and sometimes even strangers, about just how great your business is.
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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.
It is important to identify your potential or target market, what their pain points are and where do they hang out online. Why would they want to buy your product or service. And why from you? What difference will it make to them? You can create buyer ‘Personas’ to help you focus better on the who and the why. Nowadays, it is easier to measure the results of any investment, especially in digital marketing activities. The idea of marketing funnels or sales funnels is to try and create the perfect business generator, which relates to transaction density, increasing sales and margins and increasing the lifetime value of a client. A funnel might be used as a way to generate leads, a Lead Conversion Generator or to generate actual sales, a Sales Conversion Generator. Nowadays, funnels are also used to upsell products, during the transaction checkout – no doubt you have seen this when you have been shopping online.

The final and optimal stage to reach with customers is the Advocacy stage. Advocacy happens when your customers become something more than just customers: they become fans. Fans are usually so excited about something that they tell their friends and family all about it, they share positive reviews on social media, and they might even try to convince others to become fans as well. In other words, they are now helping you creating awareness just like at the beginning of this marketing funnel. When customers decide to become your own brand’s ambassadors, you know you are doing something right!
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.
Many marketing funnels stop after the purchase has been made. However, in the hypercompetitive and dynamic environment of today, it is key to keep customers with you for as long as possible. Repeat purchases and the retention of customers are therefore just as important as the initial purchase. Good after-sales service and customer relationship management (CRM) enlarge the chance that customers will become repeat customers. You could for example start by sending out an email a week after the purchase has been made asking for customer feedback. People generally love to give their opinion on subjects. From there on you can get to know the customer better and see if he or she might be interested in a repeat purchase. Depending on the nature of your business, calling or even meeting up face-to-face with customers are considered more personal and more effective. This latter is for example more appropriate in the auto or consulting industry where larger transactions are being made.
Awareness: Awareness is the uppermost stage of the marketing funnel. Potential customers are drawn into this stage through marketing campaigns and consumer research and discovery. Trust and thought leadership is established with events, advertising, trade shows, content (blog posts, infographics, etc.), webinars, direct mail, viral campaigns, social media, search, media mentions, and more. Here, lead generation takes place, as information is collected and leads are pulled into a lead management system for nurturing further down the funnel.
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