8 min read
The marketing funnel explained
March 16, 2022
As a business owner, you know that marketing is key to your success. But what many people don't realize is that marketing isn't a one-time event – it's an ongoing process that should be constantly evolving. One of the most important parts of your marketing strategy is creating a funnel that guides potential customers through the buying process.
In this blog post, we'll explain what a marketing funnel is and how you can create one for your business. We'll also discuss some tips for optimizing your funnel to ensure that you're getting the most out of your investment. So if you're ready to learn more about marketing funnels, dive in!
What is a marketing funnel?
The marketing funnel is a useful way to think about the process of capturing and converting leads on your website. The marketing funnel represents the journey that a potential customer takes from first hearing about your business to becoming a paying customer. The steps can vary depending on your business and its sales process, but it can typically be broken down into three main stages:
- Awareness: In this step the potential customer becomes aware of your product or service. They may have heard about you from a friend, seen an ad online, or stumbled upon your website.
- Interest: Here the potential customer starts to learn more about your product or service and considers whether it's a good fit for them. They may visit your website multiple times, read your blog posts, watch your videos, or download your freebies.
- Decision: In this stage, the potential customer decides whether to buy from you or not. They may complete a purchase, sign up for a free trial, or simply leave your website.
Each stage has its own set of marketing activities and goals. For example, the goal of the awareness stage is to get the customer's attention and introduce them to your product or service. The goal of the interest stage is to convert the customer from a prospect into a lead, and the goal of the action stage is to convert leads into customers.
Your goals during the stages of the marketing funnel can be viewed in more detail as follows:
- Awareness: In the awareness stage, you're trying to get the customer's attention and introduce them to your product or service. This can be done through marketing activities such as advertising, PR, and social media.
- Interest: In the interest stage, you're trying to convert the customer from a prospect into a lead. You can do this by providing valuable content that is relevant to their interests.
Engagement: In the engagement stage, you're trying to keep the lead interested in your product or service. You can do this by continuing to provide valuable content and by offering incentives to purchase.
- Nurture: In the nurture stage, you're trying to convince the lead to buy your product or service. You can do this by providing more valuable content and by showing them how your product or service can solve their problem.
- Conversion: In the conversion stage, you're trying to get the customer to purchase your product or service. You can do this by providing a strong sales pitch and by making it easy for them to buy.
As your lead is moving through the funnel, so their status changes. They go from a captured lead, to a prospect and then get converted into a customer. You can lay this lead funnel over your marketing funnel.
- Lead capture stage: This is the first interaction they have with your marketing funnel. It entails any action where they supply you with their details. They may subscribe to your email list or interact with your chatbot or web form.
- Prospect stage: In the prospect stage you are following up with the lead. You are also qualifying leads to see if they're a good fit for your product or business. You might offer them a live chat or a scheduled meeting with one of your sales reps.
- Offer stage: Once they have been qualified, they are offered a solution to their pain point by means of your product or service.
- Customer stage: You have successfully converted them into a paying customer.
Why should you use a marketing funnel?
The marketing funnel is an essential part of any marketing strategy. The idea is to cast your net wide to capture as many leads as possible. Then you try to move your captured leads through the funnel to the point of conversion. It's a process that helps you convert leads into customers and it's the best way to ensure that you're getting the most out of your marketing budget. By using a marketing funnel, you can:
- attract more leads,
- convert more leads into customers,
- increase your sales revenue, and
- improve your customer retention rates.
Creating your marketing funnel
Now that you understand the basics of the marketing funnel, it's time to start creating one for your business. The first step is to map out the customer journey. Customer journey mapping is a process of documenting the steps a customer takes on their way to making a purchase.
The best way to do this is by using customer journey mapping. This involves creating a visual representation of the customer's journey, including all of the touchpoints they encounter along the way. By understanding the customer's journey, you can identify opportunities to improve your marketing strategy and increase your conversion rate. It will also give you a clear picture of where your potential customers are getting stuck and what you need to do to help them move through the funnel.
Customer journey mapping
There are many different ways to map the customer's journey, but in most cases it will involve creating a diagram or flowchart that shows the different stages and touchpoints.
How to make a customer journey map
Here are 8 steps to get you started on creating your customer journey map:
- Collect data: Firstly, collect data about your current customers. This data can come from surveys, interviews, customer feedback forms, or analytics data.
- Create a customer persona: Then create a customer persona. This is a fictional customer who represents your ideal customer. You can use data from your customer research to create a customer profile that includes demographics, interests, and needs. More on this later on.
- Analyze the data: Once you have collected the data, it's time to analyze it and identify patterns. Try to include:
the channels the customer uses (e.g. website, social media, email, phone),
the content they consume (e.g. blog posts, videos, case studies),
the actions they take (e.g. signing up for a free trial, making a purchase), and
the emotions they experience (e.g. confusion, frustration, delight).
- Create a diagram: Now create a diagram or flowchart that shows the customer's journey. This diagram should include all of the stages and touchpoints, as well as the emotions that the customer experiences.
- Identify opportunities: After you have created your diagram, you need to identify any opportunities for improvement. Are there any steps where you're losing customers? Are there any areas where you could provide more value?
- Create content: Now that you know what your customers need, you need to produce content that will help them move through the funnel. This content can take many forms, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, or ebooks.
- Test and optimize: In this step you use analytics data to track how the content is performing and make changes as needed.
- Repeat: The customer journey is always changing, so it's important to continually track and analyze the data to identify new opportunities. You should also keep creating new content to help your customers move through the funnel.
And don’t forget to celebrate wins. Celebrate any wins that you achieve along the way. This can be anything from increasing your conversion rate to getting a positive review from a customer.
Creating a customer persona
As mentioned above, we'd like to expand on the customer persona. Creating a customer persona is an important step in the customer journey mapping process. By creating a customer persona, you can ensure that all of your content and marketing efforts are focused on helping this one customer.
You can use data from your customer research to create a customer profile. There are many different ways to create a customer persona, but in most cases it will involve creating a profile that includes the following information:
- Job title
You can also get more specific with your customer persona by adding information such as income level, marital status, and location.
The important thing is to make sure that your customer persona is realistic. That being said, your customer persona is just a representation of your ideal customer, and not everyone will fit this profile. You should always be open to change and adaptation.
Tips for optimizing your funnel
We've gone over the basics, now let's talk about some tips for optimizing your funnel:
- Make sure your funnel is aligned with your business goals. Your funnel should be designed to achieve specific goals, such as increasing website traffic, generating leads, or converting sales.
- Use tracking tools to measure your progress. Use analytics tools like Google Analytics or Kissmetrics to track how many people are moving through each stage of your funnel and identify drop-offs.
- Use marketing automation to speed up the process. Marketing automation tools like HubSpot can help you streamline your lead nurturing process and automate tasks like email marketing and lead scoring.
- Test and optimize your funnel regularly. The best way to improve your funnel is to test different variations and see what works best for your business. Make sure to utilize a dashboard tool to get the most out of your testing.
- Focus on lead nurturing. Instead of honing in on conversion, try to build relationships that will last. Lead nurturing is the process of building trust and relationships with potential customers at every stage of the funnel. This can lead to repeat customers and higher customer retention rates. That is why it is important to incorporate lead nurturing into your marketing funnel.
- Offer value throughout the funnel. Your content should provide value for your customers at every stage of the funnel. This means providing relevant and helpful information that will help them make informed decisions.
- Keep your content fresh. As your customer's needs change, so should your content. The best way to keep up with changing trends is to regularly update your content strategy and test different types of content.
- Be patient. It takes time to optimize a marketing funnel, so don't expect results overnight. The key is to constantly track and analyze your data to see where you can make improvements.
Remember, the goal of a marketing funnel is to help your customers move through the buying process. By using the tips above, you can create a funnel that is aligned with your business goals and will help you achieve success.
There you have it – an introduction to marketing funnels and customer journey mapping! By understanding how your website visitors move through the marketing funnel, you can better understand what steps you need to take to convert them into leads. We hope you found this helpful and that it gives you a better understanding of how to market your business online.