The marketing funnel is an amazing way to generate revenue for any small business! This tried-and-true marketing concept is a fantastic way to understand buying behavior and your overall marketing strategy.
However, many small businesses don’t have dedicated marketing teams or agencies and consequently don’t have a strategy to guide their marketing. They’re really just throwing advertising dollars at the wall like spaghetti and seeing what sticks. While you need advertising and marketing, you also need a guiding strategy that is tailored to where your prospective customers are in the buying process. For most businesses, the marketing funnel is the best way to visualize this and guide their marketing strategy for maximum impact.
So what is the marketing funnel?
Read on to learn more about marketers’ favorite tools and how to use them to generate revenue!
The Marketing Funnel
The marketing funnel breaks down the sales cycle into several distinct steps. Whether you’re selling luxury automobiles, homemade quilts, or a new barbecue sauce, the sales cycle always looks a little something like this.
- Awareness: Regardless of what you’re selling, your potential customer at some point first encounters your brand. In the blink of an eye, they go from complete ignorance of your brand to awareness!
- Consideration: The prospect is considering buying at this point.
- Intent: The customer has made the decision to purchase but has not completed their purchase yet.
- Purchase: The customer has purchased!
- Delight: Your work isn’t done, however. Now that you’ve won this customer, you need to continue remarketing to them and make sure that they are both satisfied with your offering and your brand. After all, you want them to become loyal customers!
- Referral: This is the end-all-be-all of your marketing funnel. You have done such a good job at remarketing to your existing customer that they have referred other customers to you! Your customer has now gone from complete ignorance of your business to being an advocate for it.
This funnel looks different from industry to industry and there will be peculiarities. After all, the sales cycle for trying a new soap might last all of a few days and the sales cycle for a luxury watch might be ten years or more! Despite the variety, this is a useful tool for marketers to understand how to drive revenue from their potential customers.
Firstly, the marketing funnel lets you understand which marketing tactics you need to use to maximize your impact on the potential client. The funnel helps them understand where and when to use which tactics. For instance, you might be using social advertising to reach new customers in the awareness stage and email marketing to poke existing customers, but realize that you don’t have a way of marketing to customers in the consideration and intent stages. This could be a chance to use site retargeting and pay-per-click advertising to help guide customers from general awareness through to purchase!
Secondly, the marketing funnel ideally should be a continuous pipeline to move potential customers through to purchase. Some might fall out, some might convert, but ideally, all of your marketing tactics are working together to advance the customer to purchase. To use one example, you could use Youtube ads for the awareness phase, a custom landing page with persuasive content for the consideration phase, a pay-per-click advertisement for intent, email marketing for the delight phase, and a referral program promoted via email for the referral phase. In this funnel, you’ve created one continuous stream for potential customers to flow through before they purchase.
Lastly, the marketing funnel gives you the opportunity to cater to where the customer is in the buying process. For instance, your awareness advertisement needs to be short and punchy to make a positive impression in only a few seconds. Your consideration phase, in contrast, is the time to speak to common objections and answer frequently asked questions.. Covering all of these bases in one or two advertisements is darn near impossible. Segmenting customers into different phases of the buying process via the marketing funnel and addressing them differently is a much more attainable goal.
Marketing Funnel Tips & Trick
So now you have been introduced to the marketing funnel! Congrats, you’ve taken an important first step to understand how to use your marketing strategy to generate revenue! However, there are a few important caveats to keep in mind when analyzing your marketing funnel. Our marketing writers noted a few of the most important considerations to be cognizant of.
Match Branding Across Tactics
The whole point of the funnel is to create a seamless transition from tactic to tactic and slowly lead the potential customer to purchase. In theory, this sounds good, but you need to ensure that your funnel reflects this. You can’t just take what you’re currently doing and try to make a funnel out of it.
For instance, let’s say you want to use social advertising to drive to your website and then entice the customer to download a piece of content about your industry. The goal is that the prospect downloads the content by providing their email address and is then put down an email campaign, which probably aligns with the “consideration” and later “intent” stages. Let’s also say that the email campaign you set up contains your old logo, which is relatively similar to the tone and look of your current logo and messaging, but has a few large differences. You decide the differences are not noticeable and proceed.
The problem is that the email campaign may confuse your prospect and cause them to abandon opening their email. Your intentions were fine, but you need to ensure that your funnel is consistent, or else you’ll confuse the prospect.
While it can be tempting to cobble together what you’re already doing, we don’t recommend this approach without reviewing. Audit your existing advertising and marketing assets for noticeable differences, whether that’s branding, old products, or an old brand name. Even better, create an entirely new set of ads, content, and emails if you have the resources to do so!
Put Yourself In Your Client’s Shoes
While the funnel is critical to generating revenue, you also need to remember that real customers will be engaging with your ads and content. Don’t just view your marketing funnel as a highway to revenue that you can jam leads through. Remember that you need to place yourself in your customer’s shoes.
For example, don’t focus your entire email marketing to existing customers on upselling. You absolutely should make some pitches to drive new revenue, but it’s irritating if every email between you and your existing clients is about new products. Every once in a while, it’s ok to send an informational email. Likewise, you wouldn’t ask for a Google review when a customer is in the “awareness” stage; that’s better reserved for an existing customer in the “delight” phase. Remember, your customer is transitioning from one stage of the sales cycle to another and it’s ok to adjust elements of your strategy to some extent to where the client is in the sales cycle.
Adjust Your Funnel For Your Industry
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all funnel. What works for a watchmaker will not work for a doctor’s office and vice versa. Don’t be afraid to call in some audibles and custom-cater your marketing funnel to your unique needs. If you’re selling watches online, you might find that your marketing funnel is best served by investing in social ads for your awareness phase, with little need for lengthy, comprehensive written content. After all, no one really needs to read a blog about watches before they purchase; they’re probably looking at images and then going to purchase.
However, if you’re selling a new enterprise customer relationship management software, you probably need to write interesting and educational content for executives researching the problem you solve. It’s a big decision to invest in a customer relationship management software and the members of your buying committee are likely looking to read educational whitepapers and blogs about what your software actually does. You’ll likely find that you need to spend a lot more time writing content than you would if you were selling watches.
Of course, you may still find that you need to use social media advertising to drive people to written content; you just may find out that you see better results reaching potential CRM customers on LinkedIn over Facebook or Instagram! Whatever the use case, don’t be afraid to tweak your funnel to make sense for your purposes. No two businesses are the same and you absolutely need to change your marketing funnel where applicable.
Understand That There Will Be Dropoff
If you reach 10,000 people via a social ad campaign, you cannot expect even a quarter of those people to become customers. The funnel, like a literal funnel, tapers off over time. A lot of people will see your ads, a more modest number will consider your brand, and even fewer will purchase.
If 10,000 people see your social ads, maybe 1,000 click to your web page, 250 request additional information, and 100 convert after receiving your follow-up emails. You may see that 100 figure and be dismayed that only 1% of the 10,000 people you reached became customers. However, this is entirely how the funnel is supposed to work.
Remember, just because a customer doesn’t convert now, doesn’t mean they won’t ever convert. It can take multiple touchpoints of “awareness” before a customer actually “considers” your product and then moves on to “intent” and “purchase.” If you reached 10,000 people and only 100 converted within 30 days, that’s ok. Those 9,900 people are still aware of your brand and you can continue to reach them via brand awareness tactics. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, in some cases.
Contact JSL Marketing & Web Design For Your Marketing Funnel
That’s the marketing funnel! It’s an extremely useful tool to understand where customers are in the buying process and how to market to them! However, your work isn’t done just yet.
A marketing funnel is most productive when several pre-conditions are met. You can design the right type of pipeline and pay attention to the caveats we noted above, but it will make no difference if you can’t meet these pre-conditions.
- Branding: You need to have consistent messaging, logos, and tone across all marketing materials. While you can adjust elements of messaging and tone depending on where the client is in the buying cycle, you need to have some good feel across all mediums.
- Market Research: One of the biggest assumptions of a marketing funnel is that you have accurately identified who your ideal customers are. For instance, if you’re a watchmaker who markets affordable timepieces to men over 21, you may be frustrated by the poor results you’re seeing with your marketing funnel. Upon closer inspection, you may discover that white-collar working men 30-40 with a household income over $100,000 drive 80% of your revenue. Yet this demographic is a minority of those reached with your brand awareness advertising. Your ideal customers are only a small percentage of those seeing your ads and that’s a huge problem! Your marketing funnel isn’t magic. If you have missed or misidentified your ideal customer profile, then you need to go back to the drawing board.
- Competent Web Design: Your website is usually a springboard for your marketing funnel. You may drive users to your website with Facebook ads, entice them to download a free coupon, and then use email remarketing to alert them to new products and discounts. But what happens if your website isn’t up to snuff? A poor website will cripple your marketing funnel’s performance. Let’s say that your site loads slowly and most people who click your Facebook Ads end up bouncing after the site fails to load. You can drive innumerable people to your website and it won’t matter if your site is outdated and technically compromised.
If you find that your business needs some help meeting these marketing requirements or constructing a full-funnel marketing strategy, reach out to JSL Marketing & Web Design today! We’re an award-winning marketing agency for a reason!
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