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.
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!
Step 1 is to identify where your prospective customers (let’s call them leads) are coming from. Are they finding you through social media, a search engine, or a paid ad you’re running. Once you’ve identified your traffic sources you can start to compare and pit them against one another. And may the strongest traffic source win! As a side note, these leads who have never heard about you or your business before are called “cold”
Notice how this happens automatically without the customer having to do too much. This makes sense because at this stage in the funnel they are choosing the use the firm because they like the firm and are making an emotional decision so don’t have to invest much time. In fact, they may have experienced more friction when it came to signing up to the trial in the first place. This is because at that stage of the marketing funnel they are using more logic and less emotion than at the later stage of the funnel.
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 complex marketing funnel is made up of several different low-value steps. An example of a complex marketing funnel would be if you run an ad that takes users through to a landing page where they are asked to complete a specific action. After a visitor completes that specific action they will be taken to a success page where there’s another chance to get them to make a purchase or complete a second action. A complex funnel is not ideal because there are a lot of places for people to fall off, reducing the chances of getting them to convert.
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.
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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.