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Targeting these leads is the easy part; guiding them along the buying process is more challenging. For this, you’ll need an effective content strategy that provides them with the information they need and keeps them coming back for more. You’ll want to get these people signing up to your newsletter – or some other kind of email interaction – as soon as possible. This gives you a channel to segregate audiences and target them with more relevant messages that move them along the sales funnel.
It’s important to note that there is not a single agreed upon version of the funnel; some have many “stages” while others have few, with different names and actions taken by the business and consumer for each. In the diagram below, we’ve done our best to pull out the most common and relevant funnel stages, terms, and actions so this information is useful to as many marketers as possible.
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.
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.
It begins when you use emotion to capture their attention (maybe they feel a certain way or identify with others that do), once you have their attention you need to use logic to show them you’re good at what you do and can address the requirements they have. Finally, to seal the deal and make them a loyal customer you need to use emotion. Emotion is a powerful tool in getting prospects across the line once they have reached the penultimate stage of your funnel.
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.

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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.
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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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.

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.
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”.
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The actual purchase phase has been kept separate from the decision making phase because of two reasons. The first one has to do with the difference between the buyer and decision maker as explained above. The other one is because potential customers might still decide to NOT purchase your product even after they decided to actually purchase your product. This could for example happen when a customer is searching online for your webstore and has trouble finding it. Or because they have issues with the payment options on your website’s check-out page. Once your prospects have decided that they want your product, it is up to you to make it as easy as possible for them to make the purchase. In case of a webstore, try to get rid of unnecessary and distracting features and make the path to the check-out page as clear and simple as possible. This will help you to boost the conversion rate.

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To do this, go back to your list of interactions, which are all assigned to the most relevant stage of the buying process. What you need now is a system capable of detecting these interactions and then assigning them to segmentation lists. This will allow you to target users on each list with campaigns relevant to their place along the buying journey.

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.
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.
One entrepreneur who started her entire business off of funnels to delight is Marie Forleo. In her funnel for the audio training “How To Get Anything You Want” she not only provides an hour-long training to help people, she follows it with a thank you page offering even more helpful tips and insider information, and delivers a series of automated emails providing the audio training and more information around overcoming your business obstacles.
A Marketing Funnel is pretty much anything you do that promotes your product or service, your sales process. If done properly, it should lead people to your door. If done well it should all be a profitable exercise. But it does need some planning and measuring, rather than just a spray and pray approach. Tip: Any funnel should address one single pain point and deliver a solution to that one single thing.
The interest stage is followed by the stage of consideration where the lead gets converted into a marketing qualified lead. The prospective customer is now considering to buy the product and hence marketer needs to give more attention and communicate to him elaborated information about the product, offers, and discounts. This information is communicated through free trials, basic services (if applicable), targeted emails, newsletters, phone marketing, and other direct interaction strategies
Additionally, you can conduct keyword searches to get an idea of what your content should revolve around. This also helps discover which search terms receive the most attention in your niche. This allows you to create appropriate content, the importance of which is highlighted by the fact that 93% of B2B companies believe that content marketing is far more effective than traditional marketing strategies when it comes to lead generation.
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