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This is stage with the most potential to grow your marketing funnel, and ironically, it’s the one you have to work the least in. The “advocacy” stage is your reward for all the work you put into the stage before. When you keep your customers happy, they’ll not only remain loyal to your business, but they’ll recommend you to friends and industry contacts facing a similar problem to the one you solved. They’ll brag about how easy life is with your product or service and how hard you work to keep them happy. The result is not only a bigger marketing funnel, but the chance to get a head-start on your competitors.
Simple marketing funnels have fewer, more meaningful interactions. More people make it through to the end of the funnel and a simple funnel is far more geared towards high ticket sales. It’s much easier to buy traffic when using a simple marketing funnel and it works well with high-value media. Simple sales funnels are the fastest path to online lead generation for high-priced products and services.
If we were comparing this point in the customer journey to a real-life human relationship, it’d be the honeymoon stage and beyond. Your new customer is excited to have a tool to solve the problem they’ve been struggling with, but after that excitement dies down, they want to know they can rely on you to help them get the most out of their purchase. If you don’t provide the support they need, they’ll abandon you for a business that can.
Now, at any given time maybe less than 1 in 100 people are ready to sell their house, but by sending these mailings out consistently, month-on-month over a period of years, the company is building top-of-mind awareness (the first level of our funnel) for when they are ready to sell, even if that takes 5 years or more! Notice how the cards contain very little information because people won’t invest much time on the company at this stage in the funnel, and notice how using the prices the firm has achieved in the area tries to emotionally connect with the homeowner.
Now, before we begin I should state that this funnel is for illustrative purposes only. There is no such thing as a marketing funnel as drawn above, only a series of interactions people go through with your company (and other companies) as they make their way from being a complete stranger to a loyal customer. In short, each marketing funnel is unique.
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.
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.
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.
I mentioned earlier that the sales funnel goes beyond the first purchase. You don’t want customers to buy once and then forget about you. You want them to buy again and become long-term customers who are loyal to your brand. You want them to recommend you to other people – both online and offline – who might also be interested in what you have to offer.
Your prospect’s goal: To determine which class of products or services can solve their problem, then to begin evaluating businesses within that class. If we’re using the tax example, this would be when the prospect decided to use a DIY tax software solution over a hiring a CPA. Afterward, they’d start evaluating specific software, like TurboTax or QuickBooks, for example.
Your goal: Here, your goal is to show leads exactly how you can solve their specific problem and help them decide which product best meets their needs. While the consideration portion of the funnel focuses on proving your authority and ability, this one focuses on solving their problem in detail.If your product is software, free trials and demos allow leads to try before they buy to ensure a solution is practical. If you’re a service-based business, this is where a one-on-one consultation can prove you’re capable of solving a client’s unique problem. If you have a physical product, this is where social proof like detailed testimonials and case studies will persuade leads to click the “buy” button.
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: