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.


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.
Signing up to the trial provides a low barrier way to acquire a customer and the customer enters the Trial part of our funnel. If at the end of the month they are enjoying the company’s service and are happy with it, they then move to the full price subscription. At this point they are a full customer and they have entered the Adoption part of the funnel.
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”
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Many businesses fail to develop and implement an effective customer loyalty plan which results in lost customers and a waste of marketing efforts. For many businesses, repeat customers is what brings in the real money. A welcoming onboard process, personalized attention, and access to resources play a crucial part in convincing the customer that they’ve made the right choice.
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.

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!
Daniel Burstein, Senior Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the editorial direction for MECLABS – digging for actionable information while serving as an advocate for the audience. Daniel is also a speaker and moderator at live events and on webinars. Previously, he was the main writer powering MarketingExperiments publishing engine – from Web clinics to Research Journals to the blog. Prior to joining the team, Daniel was Vice President of MindPulse Communications – a boutique communications consultancy specializing in IT clients such as IBM, VMware, and BEA Systems. Daniel has 18 years of experience in copywriting, editing, internal communications, sales enablement and field marketing communications.

Now that your brand has made it to the Consideration set, customers are likely to evaluate the options based on some personal criteria they might have. Even though selection criteria may vary from person to person, you might be able to find some general patterns by looking at the most often used criteria. Continious customer feedback, surveys and focus groups will help you figuring out what customers in general find most important about a certain product. Once you are aware of these attributes, you could guide your marketing efforts in such a way that you highlight these features when showing off your product. Often used attributes that customers use to evaluate products are: price, quality, appearance, durability and after-sales service.
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.
In addition to vocational occupations where I was able to do what I loved most - helping people, I have developed game apps and undertaken a variety of freelancing projects - amongst other things. But none of these jobs gave me the fulfillment I craved. I needed something bigger and better. So, I started a journey of self-education in a variety of different areas and began investing time and money. This enabled me to gain a deep understanding of the science and strategy that underpin marketing funnels, social media marketing, and different types of business models. 
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No one has to tell you, of all people, that customers go through stages as they move through the buying process. As a small-business owner, you've been selling your product or service long before your sales and marketing team started casting decisions in terms of “the marketing funnel.” The marketing funnel? If this term is new to your vernacular, don't worry, you're not far behind the curve – or the tactics to help you navigate it.
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