Marketing is full of buzzwords. If you’ve spent some time looking at digital marketing content and companies, you’ll come across numerous marketing jargon and terminology. One such term is what’s known as a ‘Marketing Funnel’. Is there any substance to Marketing Funnels? Or are they simply just another term thrown around to make a company’s process sound fancy. The truth is that Marketing Funnels are a powerful visual tool that can help businesses measure the status and progress of their campaigns. If you’re serious about increasing lead conversion and customer engagement, keep on reading. In this article, we lay out a brief guide on Marketing Funnels: what they are and how to use them!
What is a Marketing Funnel?
Simply put, a Marketing funnel is a visual tool that is used to measure the process of turning leads into conversion. It’s a comprehensive way of explaining the 4 stages of the customer journey (from initial awareness to final purchase). The concept of a Marketing funnel works in sync with its shape and appearance. Marketers attempt to broaden their initial approach to capture leads, before narrowing down to nurture prospective customers through each subsequent funnel thereafter.
Here’s an example of the funnel in action. Say you’re an online company that sells sunglasses. Out of every 1,000 people who Google ‘sunglasses, say 40% click through to your website. Upon visiting, you offer them a special promo or a discount for their first purchase. Out of the remaining 400 people, 200 accept the offer, but only 100 end up finishing the purchase. As you can see, the number of customers decreased from 1,000 > 400 > 200 > 100. Hence, the tool is shaped like a reverse pyramid, or in this case, a funnel. To illustrate, consider this diagram:
If used correctly, a Marketing funnel can inform your company what you need to do in order to influence and convert customers at each stage.
What are the different stages in a Marketing Funnel?
Now that we know what a Marketing funnel looks like, let’s explore the different stages:
Awareness (Top of the Funnel or TOFU)
The first stage of the Marketing funnel is where you attract people who are unaware of your brand. Here, your goal must be to introduce your products or services to your intended audience. A good way to do so is to address problems or needs. Going back to our examples of sunglasses, a potential problem here could be lack of affordable options, or limited range of sizes, etc. People who want their problem to be addressed are the ones who inevitably will visit your site. This can happen through:
- Articles published on your blog or page
- YouTube videos or infomercials
- Facebook or Instagram ads
- Networking events or podcasts
Most importantly, Google. When someone has a question or a problem, they go to Google. Therefore, linking your website to Google keywords with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is crucial.
This stage is all about showcasing the value that your business can bring to the table. Blogs, videos, cheat sheets, webinars, anything that addresses the audiences’ problems. If you have a flexible budget, paid advertising can raise awareness as well, especially if you have a specific audience.
Interest (Middle of the Funnel or MOFU)
Once converted into leads, prospects move onto the next stage: Interest. This is where these leads begin to learn more about your business, products and services. The interest stage is an opportunity for brands to develop positive relationships with customers and really position themselves. Capitalising in this stage requires nurturing of leads through emails, targeted content, newsletters, messaging, etc. For example, try offering leads with multiple touch-points for them to follow you with call-to-actions such as ‘like, subscribe, follow or sign up’. This will allow you to communicate with them and find out what they need. Once you’ve ‘hooked them in’, you can proceed to moving down the funnel.
It’s important to note that these leads are not yet customers, so you need to be aggressive in your approach to position yourself with content. We recommend doing some keyword research to find out what type of content you should be creating for the MOFU segment. This will help you identify the main search terms in your niche, leading to more content that drives traffic to match those search terms.
Consideration (Middle of the Funnel or MOFU)
Moving down, we arrive to the Consideration stage, still part of MOFU. Once you’ve made potential customers aware about your business, they begin looking for more specific information about your product or service. A main part of this, is checking any alternatives and assessing whether you’re better than your competitors.
At this stage, your prospects are aware of their problem, they know the solution, and that you can provide it for them. It’s all about deciding whether they choose you, over anyone else. Depending on the price and nature of your product, they will evaluate alternatives and question their purchase intent. So how to you make sure you convince them that your business is what they need?
Help them discover why they should choose you:
If your industry has multiple players and the price is high, customers will undergo a careful evaluation process. They’re likely to seek free trials, discounts and online demos with each service provider to ‘test’ the waters before deciding. Remember that interest and desire to hand-in-hand, and can be combined into one lead nurturing stage. So your goal is to engage with potential customers and make them want your product over everyone else.
Be sure to use keywords such as ‘best’ or ‘#1‘ in your product advertisements, and highlight comparisons with other products. Use terms like ‘vs’ because that’s what potential customers will search for. Remember what we mentioned earlier about hooking them in? Use creative email ideas to inform them, make a product update or announcement, showcase value and engage in storytelling. Switch up your communication methods with videos, webinars, blogs and podcasts if needed but show your prospects that you care about them, and not just about the sale.
Conversion (Bottom of the Funnel or BOFU)
Last but not least, we’re at the conversion stage at the BOFU. This is also known as the purchase stage or action stage, because this is where your leads finally decide to buy your product or service. However, it does not mean you can let go just yet.
Imbibing a sense of urgency within customers is useful here. Communicating to them about the product going out of stock, or offering a limited time only discount can speed up the process. You can also Ensure to keep in touch with customers to help with a smooth and easy checkout experience. Keep in mind that a quick and easy purchase experience will not only make them happy, but will incentivise them to return for more.
How to improve your Marketing funnel
It’s common to see Marketers have a ‘slow’ funnel where prospects are either stuck in one stage, or move down too slowly. This may happen for multiple reasons, and must be resolved to stay competitive in the market. Here are some tips on how you can strengthen your funnel processes.
A useful way to improve your funnel is to assign metrics during each stage to help track progress. For eg. during the Awareness stage, measuring the number of people who visit your site can be helpful. Similarly, you can add metrics of number of email sign ups (Interest stage), click-through-rate for automated emails and communication (Consideration stage); and number of sales purchases (Conversion stage). Take a starting point for reference, and compare your numbers between weeks to months. If you notice significant hikes or declines, you can make the necessary changes.
Impeccable customer service:
If you want to get customers to make a purchase, and come back for more purchases in the future, this one’s for you. Customer service and active engagement is a sure-shot way to win prospects’ hearts and keep them returning. Solving customer queries about products, pricing, or anything else will simplify the process for them and lead to more purchases. Consider using efficient live chat features, feedback forms and emails to check in to see how customers are enjoying their experience. The more you show engagement, the faster these customers will move down your Marketing funnel.
Retargeting is another powerful way to remind visitors who left your website without purchasing. Find out where your customers are leaving, and retarget them with an enticing discount or offer to bring them back. Some popular examples include a free ebook, discount voucher, webinar link, and so on.
Marketing funnels are highly useful, visual indicators of how effective your business is at converting prospects into customers. By capitalising on each stage of the funnel, you can speed up the lead conversion process and see your sales increase in no time. Let’s get to funnelling!
What are the stages in a Marketing Funnel?
A traditional Marketing funnel has 4 main stages: Awareness, Interest, Consideration and Conversion. Awareness makes up the top of the funnel (TOFU) and is where prospects are informed about your business. This is full of informative advertising and ‘getting the word out’ about your product offering. Interest and Consideration make up the middle of the funnel (MOFU) and is where prospects develop keenness to assess your brand. Attractive marketing styles and efforts are highly common here. The MOFU is also the stage wherein prospects evaluate alternatives and decide whether or not they want to purchase your product. Lastly, the Conversion stage is where prospects finally decide to make the purchase with your brand. Reassuring them about their decision to keep them hooked is useful here.
What activities to use during each stage?
Here are some of the Marketing activities to use at each stage of the funnel:
- Awareness: News articles, blogs, videos, social media posts, podcasts and advertisements
- Interest & Consideration: Email newsletters, free ebooks, discount vouchers, cheat sheets and online subscriptions. For more information on email marketing, check out our article here on the biggest email marketing mistakes.
- Conversion: Reinforcing a sense of urgency through specific emails such as ‘out-of-stock’. It is also recommended to ease their checkout process to have them return for more.
How to improve the Marketing Funnel?
A good way to measure progress and strengthen a funnel is to assign metrics through each stage. For eg. number of website visitors, email signups, click-through-rate and number of sales. These figures can be measured and compared between weeks or months to assess any increases or declines. Accordingly, changes can be made.’
Another way is to use retargeting to remind prospects who visited the site but left without signing up or making a purchase. Similarly, high quality customer service and assistance is a great way to maintain brand loyalty. Solving customer queries about pricing and product information will better inform them, leading to purchases.
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