A failure to deploy marketing funnels will result in low conversion rates and poor sales despite having an excellent product.
While the term can be a tad confusing, marketing funnels refers to a refined marketing strategy that breaks down a customer’s journey into stages.
It then uses different marketing tactics to target each of these stages to send the prospect further along their buying journey.
With the help of these funnels, you can draw a prospect to your website, entice them with your products and turn them into paying customers. You get to achieve this feat without an army of sales staff or resorting to pushy sales tactics.
Stages of a Marketing Funnel
Marketers break down a customer’s journey into four starting from the Awareness stage to the Purchasing stage based on the 4-stage AIDA model.
The journey is funnel-shaped because people tend to drop out with each stage, leaving you with a smaller number as you progress down the path.
As the name suggests, the primary goal of the first step is to build awareness of your brand among your target audience. At this stage, all marketing efforts focus on drawing people’s attention to your brand aka making a lot of noise. You want to put your brand name on the lips of everyone in your target audience.
At this stage, you should focus on growing web traffic through SEO, social media channels, publishing whitepapers, online ads, and YouTube.
Use every available platform to raise awareness of the problems your products solve. Then educate the target audience on how to solve the problems. Most importantly, connect your brand to solving this problem and cast your net as wide as possible.
If you’ve done a thorough job in the awareness stage, people will start to show interest in your brand and products.
They’ll want to see how your products measure up against existing brands on the market. To get a complete picture, they’ll look at your product’s features and benefits.
Your primary goal at the second stage is to educate the prospects about the features and benefits of your products. Most importantly, show that your product is superior when compared to the existing brands.
You will have better results if you can reliably demonstrate your product’s superiority as it’ll certainly get people interested. Case studies, video demonstrations, and whitepapers are excellent ways to present this information. Use newsletters, social media, drip campaign emails, and webinars to reach out to people already in your funnel.
During this stage, you’re striving to get the prospect to like your product, which is a precursor for the next step.
Prospect moving to this stage have already checked the “I like it” box, and now it’s time to move them into the “I want it” stage. You’re currently dealing with warm qualified leads with a marked interest in your products.
The prospects are aware of the problems they have and how your products can solve this problem. However, they are at a crossroads because they are also mindful of other products in the market.
You must swoop in and nudge the undecided prospects to give your brand a try. Increase the desirability of your products in the eyes of the prospects for the best results.
Highlight the most salient features about your products such as demos, free trials, training videos, online support, and money-back guarantees. Allay any reservations the prospect might have about trying a new product.
Sometimes the Interest and Desire stage happen concurrently or in close succession. So, you can merge the two steps into a lead nurturing stage.
Getting the prospect to pick your product over the competition is your primary goal.
The result of a marketing funnel depends on the product. If the product is simple, the funnel converts the prospect into a customer. The customer buys the product or signs up for a trial.
On the flip side, if the product is complex or carries custom pricing, a marketing funnel creates a sale opportunity. The prospects are handed to a sales representative who walks them down a sales funnel.
Although used interchangeably, marketing and sales funnels are inherently different in that the latter picks up where the former left off. Sales funnels are useful in the sale of complex products that feature bespoke features or pricing.
Such sales negotiations often require human interactions or a face to face meetings. Some of the products that require a sales funnel include software with multiple licenses, bespoke solutions, or those that need technical support.
Getting Started with Marketing Funnels
If marketing funnels aren’t part of your business process, it’s time to incorporate them. Start with a simple funnel that maps your customers’ entire buying journey.
The funnel will help you identify any shortcomings in your marketing strategy. Fix the issues as they arise and keep an eye out on growth opportunities, especially the quick wins.
Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can expand beyond the simple traditional funnel. You can incorporate additional stages such as Loyalty, Advocacy, or a Customer only community.
Remember, marketing funnels will not only help you close more sales but also build a massive pool of loyal customers.