If you are leading the digital marketing efforts at your company, you are probably seeking innovative strategies that can help you achieve your principal marketing goals and stay one step ahead of the competition. You might seek out important insights about your target audience, new technologies that help you personalize the customer experience, or effective ways to automate otherwise time-consuming tasks.
But no matter how well you understand your audience or leverage the tools that simplify the marketing process, you can’t achieve your goals if you don’t have a way to move prospects seamlessly from their first contact with your business to the first time they buy one of your products or services. Fortunately, there’s an effective way to promote and track prospective customers’ increasing engagement with your business: it’s called a “marketing funnel.”
What Is A Marketing Funnel?
A marketing funnel is the series of actions consumers take (prompted by the ways you communicate with them) from their initial awareness of your business to the time they make their first purchase—and beyond to future purchases. As Sprout Social correctly points out, leveraging a marketing funnel helps businesses make prudent marketing decisions to move prospects from window shoppers to loyal customers and brand advocates.
“A marketing funnel describes your customer’s journey with you. From the initial stages when someone learns about your business, to the purchasing stage, marketing funnels map routes to conversion and beyond. With careful analysis, a marketing funnel lets you know what your company must do to influence consumers at certain stages. By evaluating your funnels, you can potentially drive greater sales, more loyalty and stronger brand awareness.”
What Are The 5 Stages Of The Marketing Funnel?
Marketers typically define the funnel as including 5 key stages:
Awareness: prospective customers usually become aware of your business through word-of-mouth, or through lead generation campaigns that offer helpful content (like blogs and eBooks) in exchange for their contact information.
Consideration: this is the stage in which prospects are comparing your business against your competition. It’s also the stage when you nurture your new leads, demonstrating how your business can answer their questions and help them solve their problems.
Conversion: prospective customers for your business usually “convert” at several points through the “customer journey.” This could include things like downloading content, visiting a product page or making their first purchase.
Loyalty: there are probably as many ways to retain the loyalty of new customers as there are businesses retaining it. Among the more common are offering special discounts for current customers and providing outstanding customer service.
Advocacy: much has been written on the subject of “brand advocates.” These are customers so impressed with your business they’re eager to recommend you to their friends and family. Transforming customers into brand advocates ensures you’ll have a steady stream of new leads entering your marketing funnel.
How Can A Marketing Funnel Help Your Business Grow?
Because marketing funnels clearly define the decisions consumers make from the point they learn about you to the time they become repeat customers, they help marketers fine-tune the strategies they employ to keep them engaged. For example, a new lead will probably want basic information about your business and trust-building content that demonstrates your ability to help them solve their problems. On the other hand, someone nearer the bottom of the funnel will want content that helps them make a purchase decision—things like a demo, free trial, or more detailed information about your products and services.
Equally important, funnels help marketers because they include specific goals that are realistic, attainable, and measurable. This ability to measure the effectiveness of each component of a marketing campaign helps marketers adjust their strategy, doubling down on the things that are working, and eliminating or tweaking tactics that are underperforming.
Creating an effective marketing funnel can help you bring greater precision to the attainment of your principal marketing objectives—but it also can be complicated and confusing, especially if this is your first go at it.
To learn more about the ways my digital marketing, brand strategy, marketing consulting, social media and content strategy services can help you achieve your goals—and take your business to the next level—contact me today.