The marketing funnel is the journey taken by a customer from the initial awareness of a product (or service), being interested in purchasing it, considering other products, and finally completing a purchase. The term ‘funnel’ is used here because with every single step, more people will bounce, leaving a smaller group of potential buyers funneled through. So, if we put this process into a chart, it will resemble the shape of a funnel.
In the absolute best scenario possible, the ‘funnel’ won’t be shaped like a funnel, but rather a cylinder because every single prospect (or lead) will convert into a customer. Since that won’t ever be the case (even for the best businesses), understanding the concept of the marketing funnel and utilizing it in our marketing strategy is an important job for any marketer.
The Three Steps of the Marketing Funnel
So, what are the steps inside the marketing funnel? There are many different theories describing all the different steps. Yet, we can divide the marketing funnel into three important steps.
- The Lead Generation Stage
What happens in this stage is that your prospects are made aware of your brand, product, or service. People might stumble upon your product by seeing an advertisement. Others might have found your content (and your product) from a Google search. Some might have clicked the link on your email newsletter. Here, random people are made ‘aware’ and becomes a general lead or prospect.
- The Lead Nurturing Stage
Since not everyone who becomes aware of your product, service, or brand will develop interest, our job in this stage is to nurture the lead to maintain – or even better- expand their interest.
- The Conversion
This is the result of your hard work, where the lead finally converts into an actual customer by purchasing your service or product.
So, based on this three important stages, how can we develop a working marketing strategy based on the marketing funnel principle? For the rest of this guide, we will discuss the marketing funnel strategy again in just three key steps.
Three Steps of Marketing Funnel Strategy
When we are discussing ‘marketing funnel strategy’, we are referring to a set of strategy with three main objectives. First, is to keep as many prospects as we can during each stage of the funnel, and second, increasing the possibility of a conversion. Last but not least, we should also be able to understand why prospects drop out at any stage. This way, we can improve our retention strategy in the future.
With that being said, here are the three simple steps of a high-conversion marketing funnel strategy.
- Maximizing Awareness
For the top of the funnel, or the lead generation stage, our main focus is attracting as much awareness as possible. The first, and most important thing we’ll need to do is to understand our prospects and customers.
There are several different approaches and tools to achieve this. For example, developing a buyer persona can help you model your ideal customer. Tools like Google Analytics and others can also help us in gathering customers’ data. Also, if you are planning to do SEO (you should!), you will need to determine the relevant keywords that will be effective for the related audience.
Different niches and industries might have better lead generation results with one specific strategy over the other. For example, if your industry is saturated, you will usually get better results with PPC campaigns over organic SEO, because the main keywords will be so competitive, and there’s a high likelihood other competitors are also utilizing PPC advertising.
However, in general you will always get awareness when you can publish valuable and relevant content regularly. Make sure you have done your competitive analysis homework, learn from your competitors, and perfect your lead generation strategy.
- Starting A Relationship
Once you get people interested in your product, they have successfully been converted into a lead. The next step of a journey is to start your relationship with that prospect, which can be done in several approaches:
- You can engage them on Social Media to start a relationship (well, this can be a tough one),
- You can capture their phone number and start cold calling (if you can get the phone number)
- arguably the most effective and easiest way is to capture an email address.
There are many different techniques in acquiring an email address, and this guide by Optinmonster might help you.
Yet, arguably the best way to get email address is to offer valuables in exchange on your landing page. It can be a valuable downloadable content, it can be a free-trial for your product, or other things depending on your niche.The key here is to give the valuable content in exchange for their email address.
So, the better you understand your prospects, their needs and their problems, the more email addresses you can obtain and use advantageously for your business.
- Nurturing Relationships
Now that you’ve got those valuable email addresses, we can build and nurture relationships through an email marketing campaign, or an automated drip campaign.
There are several key principles you can follow for an effective marketing campaign:
- Building Credibility
Show positive reviews, case studies, testimonials, white papers, etc. Yet, the best and most obvious way to show credibility is to give an excellent service.
- Build Trust
Create a compelling story for your brand and your product.
Be consistent in your branding, messages, content, and every other aspects of your business.
Keep your content well-structured, interesting, and helpful so your prospects can really engage with it.
The most important thing in a marketing funnel is to understand that it is a long-term project. You can work with revenue-driven B2B marketing agency like Maguire Marketing Group to achieve your key objectives: minimizing the loss of prospects in each stage of the buyer’s journey, and maximizing conversion.