The Marketing Funnel starts off with the Awareness stage (sometimes called Attention). The goal of this stage is to gain presence and to introduce your brand to potential customers: they need to know that you exist. You could either actively reach potential customers through marketing campaigns or help them discover you more easily with their own (online) search. Awareness can be created through advertising, trade shows, direct mail, social media campaigns et cetera. In order for customers to more easily find you online, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Advertising (SEA) are advised.
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.
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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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 chances are that you are doing this already, but is there any structure to it? Do you have a content library or matrix to use in your promotions? Do you have these emails formatted? Do you have landing pages, squeeze pages and thank you pages created? Is there a flow? Do your YouTube videos back up your mailshots or Facebook adverts? Is it all connected? If not, then it is time to look at creating a proper funnel for your generating the right leads for your business, rather than just hope that business will come in the door.
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.
But this funnel didn’t just deliver amazing value, it also prompted me, very softly, to enroll in David Kadavy’s premium course that delivers lessons like the ones in Design Pitfalls. Not only did the Design Pitfalls funnel give me tons of information, engaging me every day for a week, but it also prompted me to continue my learning through a paid course.
Once your lead has arrived at your website, store front, or landing page, the next step is to get them to make a micro-commitment and take some form of action. If you’re selling a low priced item (like a pack of gum) than that action could be a sale. If you’re selling a higher priced item (like a car) than that micro-commitment could be a smaller action (like going for a test drive). The point here is that you want to encourage them to take the next logical step in the relationship, whether it’s exchanging their contact information like their name, email, or phone number, or even agreeing to a follow up meeting. At this stage your lead is now “warm”
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.
A standard marketing funnel would usually contain some simple tools, but you do have to create these for your toolkit. So there is content creation involved to get copy and images and landing pages or forms etc. Whilst we use websites as a big part of the marketing funnels we create, you may not necessarily use one. We create a lot of content around the planning for a business website and then the development or build of a business website and then the marketing involved in making it deliver leads.
Once the prospective customer is made aware of the product, it’s the duty of a marketer to nurture the lead by arousing his interest in buying the product and make him consider it over other products. This involves marketer to tap several other channels, improve its public relation strategies, and include affiliates and partners who promote the product.
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.