Yesterday I was in the Northridge Mall while my tires were being rotated at Firestone outside. When I walked in there a man was promoting Occulus, the 3D experience. . . for $5 a journey. I didn’t have any bucks so I declined. I was wondering why he didn’t use the email model of a free gift to get a subscriber; I mean a free trip using the mind altering adventure. Then I got to thinking about video and 3D in email, and it dawned on me the cycle of a company’s promotion is a like a trip into virtual reality–at least it could be a mind-altering experience for the recipient, especially for someone who’s tired of getting ads, ads, ads.
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:
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.
Imagine any online shopping portal, for instance. Several hundreds of people like you visit the website every day, rather every hour. You view products and choose among innumerable options. This is followed by adding items of your choice to their virtual shopping carts. Not all visitors to the site buy the products from here. Some might make inquiries; some might browse through a different site and land up buying the product somewhere else. The platform which was open to act as a magnet for millions now gradually funnels its way through different steps into achieving profits from few by selling its items away.

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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.  

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.
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.
As you think of your audience and your business goals, you need to make sure what you’re delivering is in step with your brand, putting thought and intention behind your actions. It’s wonderful when Ben & Jerry’s has free cone day every year where they hand out free ice cream cones, but it would make no business sense for them to give $100 to each person who comes in to help pay off car loans.
Now, why do I call them ‘marketing funnels’ and not just ‘sales funnels’ like 90% of the rest of the internet? (That was an entirely made-up statistic by the way.) Because sales funnels focus on a sale, marketing funnels cover not only the sale, but general connecting, and after you make the sale. Marketing funnels help you think of your entire customer journey, not just getting money out of them.
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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.
If you’re searching for further clarification on it, you’re not alone. In theory, the marketing funnel is straightforward: It’s the representation of your buyers’ journey from prospect to customer, combined with the tools and processes you use to gracefully guide them through. But in practice, constructing a marketing funnel is far more confusing. What do the building blocks of a successful one look like? What processes ensure the maximum number of leads become customers that stay loyal to your brand?
I’ve heard a lot of talk over the last couple of years about the sales funnel being dead. What a load of nonsense. It’s not that long ago these sorts were telling us SEO is dead or – more recently – that web design is dead. Jackie Chan has also died multiple times over the last couple of years but I have my doubts about this, too, unless he has at least one identical twin who also happens to be versed in multiple forms of martial arts.
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.
However, as much as I loved helping others, I wanted to find a better way of doing so. More freedom, more money, and more flexibility were what I was searching for. I just didn’t know how to find the perfect career that ticked all the boxes. That was, until I discovered that becoming an entrepreneur was indeed the dream occupation - in every conceivable way!
Rather than initially send your prospect a huge case study once you’ve peaked their interest, perhaps it might be better to send them a single page containing a bullet point list of the results you’ve achieved for others. Yes, it might just take 30 seconds to digest, but it gives them what they want to know (not what you want them to know) and if they like what they read then they can start to evaluate you.
Marketing funnel, sales funnel, purchase funnel, AIDA model or customer journey. What these conceptual models all have in common is that they are attempts to map out the cognitive and behavioral process that customers go through when searching for a certain product or service that would fulfill their needs. The theory behind it states that customers go through several stages or phases before making the final call to purchase a company’s product. By mapping out these stages and by stepping into your customer’s shoes, you can see your company from the customer’s point of view and improve where needed. This article will explain a more widely applicable version of the marketing funnel and how to use it yourself.
Just like an actual funnel, Marketing funnels represent a buyer’s journey from awareness to the actual purchase of the product. The concept marketing funnel revolves around is that marketers spread a vast lattice to catch hold of as many leads as possible and then gradually foster prospective customers through suitable schemes, even though the numbers lessen with every passing stage.
Here, I’ll explain what you need to know about the marketing funnel, and I’ll dive into recent changes and rising challenges for marketers. I’ll compare B2C and B2B uses of the funnel, break down the hype around the marketing vs. sales ownership debate, explain how the funnel can be flipped to create more leads, and explore nonlinear approaches to the funnel.
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