Now that you’ve got an amazing product, but to sell it effectively, you’re going to need a marketing funnel. Consumers typically go through different stages of psychology when it comes to buying, and it takes different things to walk them through each stage to the final stage of making a purchase. Having a marketing funnel will help you visualize this journey, so that you can know what to do at each stage to attract and convert as many customers as possible. Let’s jump into what a marketing funnel is to start this article.
1. What is a Marketing Funnel
Marketing funnel is a roadmap designed to visualize how you can attract and convert customers. Here’s how it looks like -
The funnel gets narrower and narrower moving towards the deep end because there are people that drop out at each stage of the funnel. This means that your marketing content can reach 100 people at the awareness stage, only 80 of them get interested in your product to find out more about it, then 40 of them lost their interest because your product is not really what they need, only 40 left consider further by making a call to you, and 20 out of the 40 eventually converted. Sounds quite simple right?
Before we jump into how you can build a marketing funnel for your own, keep in mind that if you don’t have a great product/service or there’s no market for your product, a marketing funnel won’t save your business. This funnel acts as a blueprint for developing your business, not a customer converter, so before you create one, make sure that you have a great product and there are people who will buy it.
2. How to build your marketing funnel
2.1. The awareness stage
The funnel starts with the awareness stage. Have you ever booked an Uber? Probably you booked it because that was more convenient than booking a traditional taxi. Uber solves a convenience problem. Your product has to solve a problem too; people buy things to solve problems that they have, so if the product does not do so, chances that no one is going to buy it.
The awareness stage is where people who have the problem that your product solves get to know about your brand and product. This can happen in several ways -
- Your potential customers stumble on one of your articles on Medium.
- They see your ads on Facebook/Instagram/Linkedin/Twitter/YouTube.
- They search for solutions to their problems on Google and find your website.
Whichever way they found out about your existence, now they have known that you exist and have a solution to their problem. If the problem bugs them badly enough, a few of them (likely less than 5%) will make a purchase right away (a.k.a “converted”).
The rest probably won’t do so simply because their need is not strong enough. Keep in mind that consumers want a lot of things, but they tend to hand over their money for what they need (or really need); things that they can’t live without.
Therefore, it’s okay that the majority of the people who have discovered your existence do not convert at once. Good news is now they have a memory that your brand and product are connected to a problem that they have. And this is where marketers jump in.
The job of marketers is to talk more about and raise awareness of the problem. The goal here is to make it clear to potential customers that the problem is affecting their lives and solving it will make them better off. Also, be sure to connect the problem with your brand as a solution provider.
In the awareness stage, you’ll want to deliver your message to as many people as possible. How? Be present across all marketing channels; if this is way out of your budget, make sure you’re present in the main channels where your target customers hang out.
Where do you go to when you have a question? Google most likely right?
Your customers do the same too. If they face a problem, they will google it to look for relevant information or a solution. In fact, Google processes approximately 3.5 billion searches every day and dominates more than 90% of the search engine market.
The following steps are what you can do to establish your presence on the search engine -
Step 1: Create a blog section on your website
Step 2: Do keyword research and find relevant topics that your customers are searching for.
Step 3: Follow SEO techniques to make sure your blog posts have search traffic potential. Also, do use copywriting techniques to improve your content and ranking.
After you publish your content on your blog and get them to rank well on Google, customers who search for relevant terms might find them, read them and know about you, They’ll have a mental note that you have content related to their problem. That means if they want to look for more of this type of content, they’re likely to think of you.
As you might know this, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Although YouTube has been around since 2005, video marketing is being discussed as it is new for marketers. YouTube has over a billion users, and somehow, it is largely neglected by businesses. You gotta be there! For a reference, you can dive into Gary V’s YouTube channel and you’ll have a good understanding of what it is like to execute video marketing on YouTube.
The process of making marketing videos for your YouTube channel is the same as for Google. You can do keyword research to find out what content you should create in your niche, and then go on to produce high-quality, actionable videos and upload them on your channel.
c. Online communities:
While Google and YouTube are great, there is one particular place where people tend to hang out on a frequent basis - online communities.
Online communities (such as Facebook groups, Reddit, Twitter Lists, Quora) are places where people with a common interest hang out. This is where they have discussions about relevant topics, bring up questions, share problems and make friends. There is perhaps a community for every imaginable topic you can think of.
Reddit, for example, has 21 billion visitors per month (yes, that’s a “b”, I’m not mistaken), and you can find any kind of topics being discussed in there with a quick search. Here’s the subreddit for technology.
What you can do with communities to promote your brand and business is joining them, sharing tips and participating in discussions. While there are no fixed strategies when it comes to online communities, here are a few principles that stand the test of time -
- Read the community’s rules and follow them: every community has established its own rules. You should read carefully and follow them otherwise you’ll get kicked out of or, worst, banned from the community.
- Contribute value: Nobody likes a member who only do pitches and selling. What you should do is contribute your perspectives and knowledge for a given topic. If what you say is valuable, people might be interested in knowing who you are and come to see your profile. At that point, make sure that your profile provides as much information about you and your business as possible. People are more likely to buy into what you say when you prove yourself as a valuable member of the community.
- Don’t spam with your website link: you don’t want to do this as you will probably get kicked out of the community before you can drop a third.
Once you’ve become a valuable and trustworthy member of the community, you can gently promote your brand, product or service. People can smell salesy acts very quickly so make sure you stay genuine.
Influencers are those who have built up a large audience of loyal viewers, readers and listeners of their own; they have credibility and trust among their audience, and therefore their product endorsement is likely to be accepted and valued. By partnering with these figures, you can introduce your brand and product to their large audience base.
2.2. The interest stage:
The next stage of the funnel is interest. This is where your customers reach after they have walked through the awareness stage. At this point, your target audience is hooked by your awareness content, and now they want to discover more.
So, what you need to do here is provide content for these more specific information queries and be the expert they want to follow. In short, by showing how your product or service solves their problem, you’ll be able to lead them further down the funnel. Here’s what you can execute for the consideration stage.
a. Rank for topics with high business potential:
In the earlier stage, the problem that you customers have tends to be broad and less defined. For instance, provided that they’re owners who are running businesses, their broad problem might not be “Facebook ads”, but is “how to market their business online.'' So they’re looking for ways in which they can do that; what they’re searching for is digital marketing strategies.
But once they walked through the awareness stage after having read tons of content about marketing strategies, they start to realize that Facebook advertising is the strategy that they can implement. So, they start making searches that are more specific, such as “how to run Facebook ads” or “ultimate guide to running Facebook ads”. Instead of searching for broad marketing strategies, now they want specific Facebook advertising how-tos.
If you’re selling Facebook advertising courses or Facebook advertising tools (Adespresso is an example), these are terms with high business potential as not only they are closely related to your business, they are problems that your business can solve. So your goal should be to rank for them.
The only thing your customers care about is the result which is what they have got after their problem is solved. And if your product can truly solve it for them, not mentioning it means you’re doing them a disservice. So do mention your product, teach your customers how to use your solution to solve their problem, convey clearly how easier your solution can make their lives.
Here’s Adespresso’s guide on how to use their product to solve Facebook advertiser's problems for your reference.)
b. Get your potential audience to follow you:
Now that you’ve done a great job as your potential audience has consumed your content, benefitted from it, and seen you as a valuable source of information. But, while they might become your fans, they are not yet your customers.
There might be some objections about your product that you have not yet to address. The prospects might still not understand how to use your product properly, and you can be sure that until they do, they will not hand over their money. Whatever the reason that keeps them from becoming your customers, you have to solve it. And to do so, you need to get them to follow you as this gives you more opportunities to address their objections,
Where should they follow you? This is completely dependent on your business. If you are more social media-focused, you’ll want them to follow your social media accounts. If you’re producing videos on YouTube exclusively, you’ll want them to subscribe to your channel. If you’re writing a blog, you’ll want them to opt in your email list. Whichever channel you’re running, display call-to-actions that ask them to like, subscribe, follow or opt in.
Here’s an example from one of our sites:
These touchpoints allow us to communicate with our fans and find out what they need or want. It also gives us opportunities to move them along the funnel, and closer towards a sale.
2.3. The consideration stage:
After the interest stage, the customer steps into the third stage which is consideration. At this point, your prospects have become aware of the problem, and they know what the solution is, and they know you are one of the people who can provide them with those solutions.
But, just because you’re one of the solution providers does not mean the prospects will choose you; they have alternatives and they will surely go for the best one. So you next goal is to convince prospects that you’re their best bet. How do you do that?
a. Execute these 2 tips to get prospects to choose you over your competition:
You have provided the prospects with content about their problem and how to solve it. You have explained to them how to execute the solution with the use of your product. But the question is, are you the only person who can provide that solution?
If you are, that means what you’re having is a unique selling proposition (USP) and the prospects don’t have any other option, which means they will just choose you. But in today's market, this is unlikely and you’re probably not the only option that the prospects can go for.
Tip #1: Build up the like, trust and value factor.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. What this means is we all as customers want to do business with people we like, trust and value. And we fall in love with someone’s business because of the way they treat us or they way they make us feel. So, the biggest leverage you can build up to compete with your competitors is the way you make your prospects feel during their interaction with your business. Prospects love it when their frustration and difficulties are understood and when they receive wholehearted support. Make sure that is well reflected in the way you interact with your prospects.
Tip #2: Use testimonials to prove that your product/service truly delivers
People don’t believe what they hear, people believe what they see. Testimonials are the “see” factor that you can use to show your prospects that your product truly delivers. The only thing that prospects is dying to know is whether they will get what they’re promised after having over their money. So, make full use of testimonials from your past customers and put them on your website to show new prospects that they will definitely get what they are promised.
b. Dominate the SERPs for modifier keywords including “best”, “top” and “versus”:
Let’s say you’re about to purchase a Facebook advertising course, without any knowledge about who are trustworthy schools out there, what would you do? You would search for recommendations and read reviews right?
You would turn to Google and type in search terms like “best marketing courses” and see what other people have to say. Your prospects will do the same too. That’s why you should make efforts to dominate the SERPs for search queries that have modifier words including “versus,” “best” and “top.” in them.
2.4. The conversion stage:
The last stage of the funnel is conversion. Your prospects, at this point, are almost convinced that you are the right choice for their problem. All you need to do is to give them a final gentle ‘push’ which is an irresistible reason for them to hit “buy” right now.
The offer can be a discount coupon/a promotion gift for their first purchase, another option can be creating urgency. If a product is going to be out of stock soon, you can gently give them a reminder. (Oh just don’t fake this.)
Also, do make sure the checkout experience is easy to go through. If the buying experience is pleasant, your prospects will happily hand over their money. The Conversion stage is also where you can make upsells. Basically, upselling is selling your customers complementary products to the ones they’re already buying.
When you buy a MacBook from the Apple Store, and they ask you if you need AppleCare. That’s an upsell. When you buy a burger at McDonald’s, and they ask if you want fries, that’s an upsell too.
3. How to make the most out of your marketing funnel:
One problem with every marketing funnel is they are leaky. That means some people aren’t interested, some will never buy, some come to almost buying but for some reason drop. This is the nature of marketing funnels; this is why they have the funnel-shaped form.
It’s okay to a certain level of ‘leakage’, but what you should be concerned about is “excessive leakage.” Excessive leakage occurs when too many people drop out of one of some of the funnel stages. Here’s what that looks like:
It is fortunate that getting this excessive leakage fixed won’t be as difficult as you might think. (Did you notice a clue in the image above?). This is also one of the main objectives for using a funnel; having one makes it easier to diagnose where the excessive leaks are pouring out. Here’s how you can do it -
As you are developing your funnel, you should assign some metrics to each stage.
- Awareness: Number of visitors visiting your site;
- Interest: Number of people opting in your email list;
- Consideration: Click-through-rate (CTR) for your email sequence;
- Conversion: Number of people buying your products.
And then start monitoring them. You can measure and compare these metrics month by month. If there is a noticeable decline in numbers, it means there might be some problem that causes the leakage. While you may not immediately discover what issue is going on, these metrics make it easy for you to recognize the problem at first. From there, you can dive deeper into figuring out what the cause is (For example, seasonality, loss of keyword rankings, etc.). Once you figure out the cause, you can plug the leaks by applying these two broad strategies across all stages of your funnel -
Imagine you’ve just spent $1,000 to drive traffic to your post about “The best digital marketing strategies 2019”. To your horror, these people only read the content and left. They didn’t purchase a thing, and they didn’t even go to download your free eBook “9 Tips for effective Facebook ads”. Well, it looks like the only thing you’re driving here is $1,000... right down the drain… But what if there is another chance that you can take to convert these people? That is exactly what retargeting is for.
Retargeting is a feature of online advertising that enables you to retarget visitors who have come to your website. This provides you with the opportunity to convince these visitors to come back and reconsider an opt-in or a purchase. How does this work?
Knowing and setting up the pixel is the easy part. Knowing what to offer when you retarget is the challenging part. However, the marketing funnel does make that easier. What you can do is find out where in your funnel your prospects are leaving, and then retarget them with an offer based on the next stage of your funnel.
For example, if you’re receiving lots of traffic on your website, but no one is signing up for your email list, you can remarket them with an offer to opt in. You can send them to a landing page where they can download your free eBook as they missed it before.
Once you become familiar with your marketing funnel and retargeting, you can set up retargeting campaigns at every stage of the funnel with a relevant offer for the next stage. This will allow you to reduce as much leakage as possible.
3.2. Live chat:
Lots of times people just leave because they can’t find an answer to their question and they can’t find someone to talk to; they could be reading your content and need clarifications about certain points. Or, they could be having a look at your pricing and have some questions about your product features. If they can’t find an answer to these queries, they will leave for your competition. Live chat can get all of these issues resolved.
It doesn’t matter where the prospect is in your marketing funnel. Live chat allows your prospects to reach out to you at once when they have a question, allows you to answer that question immediately, along as gently guiding the prospects to the next stage.
4. Final words:
I hope this article has given you a clear explanation about what marketing funnels are and how they work. If you have yet to have a marketing funnel of your own, it’s time to start building one. It will take time, so start off with baby steps and concentrate on creating a simple funnel first, then identifying opportunities for growth and fixing issues when they arise.