Your business needs a marketing funnel.
Ever felt like you have the best product in the world. But for some reasons, no one is buying it?
Or perhaps you have no clue on what you should be doing to get new customers. This is particularly the case when you’re trying to sell your products or services online, amid a crowd of hungry competitors.
Any web expert would advise that you start by generating web traffic. They would suggest that you use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or LinkedIn. Some would be quick to throw in SEO or suggest that you invest in paid ads and get the ball rolling almost instantly.
All these are nice pieces of advice. But there’s one thing that’s missing in the equation, and which is the most important of all – how will you be racking up sales?
Traffic alone isn’t enough. You need to have a solid strategy on how you intend to turn that traffic into sales.
Other than traffic, the next thing you want to burry all your thoughts and resources in is a marketing funnel.
A marketing funnel focuses on only one thing – delivering you a customer. It’s a smorgasbord of everything essential with regards to your online success. It uses strategy, web traffic, processes, content, email automation, and everything else to deliver that one thing your business needs the most, a customer.
These processes don’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, patience, and creativity on your part to set up a marketing funnel that generates results. You have to read this bearing in mind that a marketing funnel isn’t one solid, smooth block.
It comes in stages or steps, each of which serves a specific role that clears the way for the activities to follow. For instance, the first stage of a marketing funnel tries to raise awareness around your business or brand. It’s meant to drive more people to your site. T
he next stage that follows is where you grow the interest of these people. In marketing terms, that’s where you qualify your prospects by letting them do something that conveys interest.
For example, you could make them enter their email address to get a free pdf copy of an eBook you’re offering. It’s the stage where you engage them in their transaction. It’s then that they also graduate from regular site visitors to qualified prospects.
As for the rest of the stages, what you’ll be working on is how to convert these prospects to active customers. And after that, you want to make sure you end up with advocates of your brand. The ones you can be sure will be there to vouch for you and earn you referrals with no heaviness of heart.
Defining Marketing Funnels
A marketing funnel describes a customer’s journey from the point where they learn about your business to the point where they become your loyal customers. It maps all the routes that led to conversion and far beyond.
Through careful analysis, marketing funnels can give you some useful insights on how to influence your prospects at the different stages of the funnel. In other words, a marketing funnel is a strategic tool that you use to plan your campaign and drive even greater sales.
The Evolution of Marketing Funnels
The concept of marketing funnels isn’t new, like some people love to assume. Its history dates back to 1898 when an ad agency executive officer, Elias St. Elmo Lewis came up with the idea.
Lewis would start by breaking down customers buying journey into different distinct stages. These stages included awareness, interest, desire, and action (AIDA).
Lewis would, later on, secure a job with mega B2B companies such as Burroughs. At the time, technology was almost inexistence, save for archaic, hand-crancked calculators that could only compute addition.
Lewis’ concept of marketing funnel remains pretty much the same today. Nothing has changed about it, save for the small variances that the likes of Moz, Hubspot, Forrester, and Bizible have been accentuating over the years.
A simplified Breakdown of Lewis’ AIDA Model
Lewis was able to break down marketing funnel into four distinct stages that would be later on be condensed to the AIDA acronym.
This is where a prospect learns about their problems and discovers a solution for it. It can be accidental or purposeful depending on how they stumbled across this solution.
This is where a prospect develops some interest in a list of products or services. They have several solutions to choose from, and they’re yet to decide on what works best for them. In online marketing, this is where they convert from visitors to prospects.
This is where a prospect narrows down their interest to a particular brand. They have evaluated their options and are on the verge of making up their mind on the brand to choose.
This is where a prospect decides to throw all caution to the wind and make a purchase. In online marketing, it’s where they finally convert from qualified prospects to real customers.
Some people have simplified the funnel further by diving it into three stages instead of four. These stages include top, middle, and bottom.
Some marketers have even thrown in loyalty and brand advocacy, which aims to convert customers into returning customers and brand advocates.
So Why is a Marketing Funnel Important to a Singapore Marketer?
Marketing Funnels simplify customers’ journey. They make it easy for companies to monitor and track them. They’re also able to come up with solutions that map out the different stages of a client’s decision-making process.
The concept of a marketing funnel doesn’t apply to a particular group of customers. But to every customer that will be interacting with your website, regardless of your line of business. It even covers all the key elements of an effective online marketing strategy.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to generate traffic, make more sales, or collect affiliate clicks, a marketing funnel will still address your needs in the best way there is. Another way to look at it is that marketing funnels help to draw visibility to every single stage of connecting with a prospect or customer.
But the most important aspect of a marketing funnel is measurability. The funnel will tell you where the bulk of your prospects or customers are dropping off. By analysing it, you should be able to tell the possible triggers of the fall-offs. For instance, should you lose a visitor before they even get to the second stage of the funnel? That shows that you need to work on brand awareness.
Marketing Funnel and Time
How much time do your prospects dedicate to you or your business?
If we were to illustrate this in a graph, then the shape of the amount of time your prospects dedicate to your business would be a rhombus.
See, a rhombus starts as a point and widens towards the middle, after which it narrows little by little and ends up in a point.
That means, at the beginning of every marketing journey, people have no time to dedicate to you. That’s because you’re just a tiny voice in a noisy, super-competitive world of business. You’re struggling to be heard, and chances are your voice is getting drowned amid all the noises competing for the same attention.
Your prospects will then begin investigating, and that’s when they come across a list of companies offering a solution that they want. They’ll carry out their due diligence, and cull out a list of companies that they believe have the best solutions for them. If you’re lucky to be among them, they’ll start showering you with more attention.
The amount of time they dedicate to your business keeps on increasing the more they get to know you.
Eventually, they’ll begin to trust you after subjecting you through a thorough evaluation process. At this point, the prospects have concluded that you’re legit and that you can be trusted to deliver on the promised you’re making.
They do not need to investigate you further. So the amount of time they dedicate to your business will begin dropping again until they stop paying you any attention completely.
So how does Time Dimension Impact Your Marketing?
Time dimension affects your marketing strategy in a big way. You may be tempted to flood your prospects with all sorts of information the moment they express interest in your product or business. This is one mistake companies make all the time. That’s because they can’t get over the temptation of wanting to showcase what they’re capable of, and there’s no way one can pull this one off with one email message.
This isn’t the direction to take. Instead of flooding a prospect’s mailbox with a huge amount of case studies, why not focus on creating a nice first impression in the few first interactions that you have? It’s after you’ve piqued their interest that you can go ahead and send them more of these materials.
In the first few interactions, concentrate on sending them a bullet point list of some of the things you’ve helped other companies achieve. Keep it brief, something you can be sure won’t be taking your prospects more than 30 seconds to digest.
Once you win them over with these short case studies, your prospects will begin to evaluate you, and that’s where you feed them more information to showcase your capabilities.
Marketing Funnels and Emotions
Another dimension that impacts your marketing funnel in ways you’ve never imagine is emotion and logic. It might be unknown to you, but the great majority of your prospects most likely make their decision based on emotions. And these emotions change with every next step they make in your marketing funnel.
Logic and time function more alike. Emotions, on the other hand, are inversely related to these two. In other words, where a prospect is dedicating less time to your business, don’t expect their decisions to be more logical. Rather, they’ll be making these decisions based on the emotions you arouse in them.
So at the beginning of every marketing process, you have to focus on using emotions to capture their attention. There’s a certain way they feel or maybe they identify with people that evoke these feelings.
It’s after you’ve managed to use their emotions that you can throw in some logic by running them through a list of things you can do for them. You want to find out about the needs they have so you can address them in the best possible way.
Their emotions grow fainter the more they get to know you. Logic peaks up at this point. After you’ve managed to get them to take action, their emotions begin to rise again as you begin to convert them into advocates of your brand. At this point, they’ll be using less logic to determine if you’re a good fit for a long term business relationship.
Real-time Examples To Help You Understand Marketing Funnels Better
Here’s a real-time example to help you understand marketing funnels better.
Online Funnel – Weight-loss
The real-time example of a marketing funnel is a weight-loss firm that relies on Facebook ads for traffic. In this case, the ad they’re posting on Facebook comprises of a man that’s wearing an over-sized T-shirt to signal he’s managed to lose tremendous amounts of weight.
This ad is meant to create some awareness around the brand. Nothing more. It’s trying to capture the attention of their Facebook prospects and perhaps get them to click on it.
Assuming they’re also running a video ad of a man talking about how the weight loss program helped him overcome some things in life. That’s still part of raising awareness about their weight loss program.
At the end of the video, they might decide to include a case study that their prospects are allowed download. These case studies might be telling the story of dozens of customers that are happy with the results they got after enrolling for the program. However, for a user to download these case studies, they have to first enter their email address.
By entering their email address, that means they’re now evaluating the program by comparing it to lots of other programs to find out if it’s got anything special. So expect them to read your case studies. They’ll also browse through the company’s website trying to dig for more information about it and the product or services in its pipeline.
The company has to divert its attention once again start working on building desire. They want to hoard all the attention to themselves. So they’ll send an email to the prospects offering them a one-month free trial or even charge a dollar for it.
They’ll be sure to mention that after that one month, the client will be taken back to their $49 monthly subscription plan. They’ll also mention to the client that he or she is free to cancel the plan any time.
At this point, they’ve succeeded in converting a prospect they made through social media into an active customer. You might have noticed the smooth conversion process. It doesn’t even appear like they were doing much on their part. But from someone who understands marketing funnels, it’s safe to say everything they did was calculated.
Effective Ways of Improving Your Marketing Funnels to Generate Sales
We have already discussed what a marketing funnel is and its significance to your online business. Let us now shift gears and discuss how to generate sales.
Leverage Social Proof
Social proof refers to content that shows your product or service is the best in the industry. It mainly comprises testimonials from satisfied customers sent to you either via text or video. Online customers trust such content as personal recommendations.
Including them in your marketing funnel will help build trust and confirm to customers who are unsure of whether to go ahead and buy that your brand is the best product or service provider.
The customers expect you to provide timely responses to all questions that they may have about your product. Therefore, nurture a habit of promptly responding to messages and comments posted on various platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
You could also go the extra mile to offer behind-the-scenes footage to give them a snip view of your business processes. Flaunt the social proof content on social media platforms and your website to increase sales.
Drive Traffic by Using Ad Campaigns
Relying solely on the free posts you distribute on social networking sites will increase your brand awareness efforts. However, to get more results, you should also invest in ad campaigns such as Pay-Per-Click, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, and Instagram Ads.
The campaigns effectively convert prospects when the ad links to direct them to dedicated landing pages. That means the ad should be 100% related to the content on the landing page.
For example, suppose the ad is about a coffee making machine. In that case, the landing page should offer additional information, such as the unique selling points (USP) of the coffee making machine advertised in the ad.
Concisely, there shouldn’t be any disconnect between the ad and the landing page. Also, make sure that you change the campaign settings to display the ads to the target customers. Change the location, age, demographics, and other factors to target specific groups of customers.
Whistly Use Traditional Marketing Methods
Yes, digital marketing is more effective in increasing sales than traditional marketing methods. However, that doesn’t mean that you should shelf it completely. Television commercials, direct mail, print publications, and live events also effectively encourage potential customers to buy.
Maximise ROI (return on investment) by combining television commercials or any other traditional marketing method with email and social media marketing. Since not all of them will deliver results, monitor the sales numbers achieved from each. Focus on those that drive the most sales.
Call to Actions Must be Clear
The success of any marketing funnel lies in the copy. The content should be clear and concise to effectively deliver the intended message to the target audience. Make sure that the CTA buttons are also clearly visible and functional.
Ensure that the text also tells the prospect what they should do when they visit your landing page or website. Therefore, you need to decide which action you want them to take before you embark on creating the CTA. Otherwise, you will give the customers mixed reactions, hurting your CTR and conversion rate.
Leverage Contact Forms
One of the challenges online businesses encounters is netting the customers’ details such as names and email addresses without seeming too needy or salesy. Jump this hurdle by including a contact form in your marketing funnel.
The form should contain as few fields as possible. If you ask for too much information, the customer will be hesitant and may decide to exit your website.
For instance, you can create a form with only two fields to capture the name and email address. With this information, you can create a personalised email copy to collect the additional information you need for marketing.
The goal is to make it super easy for them to fill out the form and proceed to the next stage of your sales funnel. Initially, don’t make any of the fields mandatory to fill. Monitor the kind of information that the audience offers to optimise the field. If the majority only fill the name and email address fields, leave out the rest, such as the phone number and physical address fields.
Create a Drip Email Marketing Campaign
Email marketing has the highest ROI compared to other digital marketing strategies such as programmatic advertising and social media marketing. However, be careful how you send out the emails to keep the customers engaged and interested in your brand.
One way to achieve this goal is by creating a drip email marketing campaign. This strategy entails sending a series of informative emails to prospects over time. Every email should highlight one or two aspects of your brand, and it’s only after you are sure that the customer is interested that you display a CTA or offering a discount.
Implement such a strategy to move prospects through the marketing funnel stages quickly. Be on the lookout for their responses, especially inquiries about the pricing and features of the product, to help them decide to buy faster.
Embrace a Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)
A customer relationship management software (CRM) will streamline your communication and engagements with the target customers. It provides a pre-qualification system for grouping the customers based on their interests and other factors such as age and social class.
In a nutshell, the software will enable you pre-qualify prospects to know if a particular product to service is a good fit for them. This information will also allow you to decide which marketing channel to use to connect with them.
Use Upselling and Cross-Selling
Upselling and cross-selling have been proven effective in helping online businesses grow.
What is Upselling?
Upselling involves recommending higher value products related to the initial product the customer added to the cart. It helps increase the revenue by increasing the amount of money that customer spends per purchase.
What is cross-selling?
Cross-selling refers to offering products that are different from the product initially purchased. It works best when the additional products are somehow related to what the customer buys.
Customers are bombarded with a ton of information online. It’s easy for them to forget about your upcoming events or promotions.
Please don’t assume that they remember you are launching a particular product in the coming days. Show them that you care and want them to be part of the launch by sending reminders either via email or text. You can also repost banners on social media platforms to remind them.
Track Marketing Funnel
Failing to track the performance of the marketing funnel is equivalent to shooting in the dark and expecting to hit the target. There is absolutely no other way to gauge the performance of a campaign other than tracking the results achieved.
7 Important Sales and Marketing Funnel Metrics You Should Monitor
Take time to track the following seven metrics every chance you get, preferably at each stage of the funnel. Let’s now shift gears and look at the key metrics you should monitor.
Number of Leads
The primary reason for creating a sales funnel is to get leads online. Tracking and analysing leads will enable you to shape every process across both departments (sales and marketing teams).
Well, it’s easy to track the volume of leads entering your marketing funnel. However, it’s imperative to do a deeper analysis to get more data about the customers. For example, instead of focusing on the total number of leads received in the last one month, pay attention to how qualified they are and monitor their cycle time.
Cycle time refers to the amount of time a potential customer takes to move from one stage of the sales funnel. More importantly, monitor the lead sources. Which marketing platforms result in the most leads? Which marketing activities are more successful in generating leads?
The answers to those questions will enable you to pinpoint untapped opportunities to enhance the performance of top-of-funnel marketing activities.
All leads in your marketing funnel are important, but it’s those who go ahead and purchase your product or service that matters the most.
Tracking conversion rates will help you gauge your marketing campaigns’ performance further. Wondering how to calculate conversion rate? Here is the formula:
Strive to improve the conversion rate to grow your business continuously. Take advantage of industry trends to create a buzz about your brand and stay ahead of the competition.
Identify friction points in the funnel that could be hampering you from generating sales. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when analysing the conversion rate.
- Are the leads who enter the marketing funnel qualified?
- Is there a need to train the sales team?
- Is it possible to track the performance of each member of the sales team?
The list above is far from complete, but it’s meant to give you ideas on how to question your marketing funnel and resultant conversion rate.
You may have to make difficult decisions such as retrenching the non-performing marketing teams, eliminating ineffective marketing strategies, and reducing the budget for some marketing channels.
Marketing is all about increasing revenue, but it is also vital to analyse and control costs. Two of the most important expenses that you should evaluate are:
- Lead acquisition cost
- Customer acquisition cost
How to calculate lead acquisition cost?
Lead acquisition cost is calculated by dividing the total acquisition cost by the number of leads achieved within a given period.
How to calculate customer acquisition costs?
Customer acquisition cost is calculated by dividing the total acquisition cost by the number of customers who went ahead and purchased the advertised product or service.
Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
Customer lifetime value (LTV) is one of the important marketing funnel metrics you should continuously monitor to know if your business is headed in the right direction. It gives a clear picture of how the business model performs over a given period by comparing how a customer invests in your product vs. the average customer acquisition cost.
Knowing a new client’s lifetime value will help you set realistic and measurable acquisition cost goals. This metric is super important for businesses whose main source of revenue is cross-selling and up-selling of products during the customer lifetime (customer period of engagement and interest in the brand).
You need to know the average revenue per client to calculate your customer lifetime value accurately. Then, multiply the average income per account by the gross margin. Divide the result by your brand’s churn rate.
Total sales refer to the revenue or income accrued from orders placed within a given period. It converts your total conversions, leads, and other activities done in the funnel into a number.
Calculating it entails summing up all the revenue earned from customer sales in one month or one week. Take note of how the total changes over time to know if your business is going up or down, then make the necessary adjustments to continue growing the brand.
Earlier, we mentioned that cycle time is when a customer takes to move from one stage in the marketing funnel to the next one.
However, it’s important to note that cycle time is a host of metrics that track the time spent in each stage. This metric should be tracked from the first to the final stage when the customer buys or exits the website.
Concisely, it will give you insights on the performance of your sales and marketing teams. That is, how effective the team is in encouraging leads to convert. Any friction point or slow spots should be enhanced with additional resources and techniques to help the prospects move to the next stage quicker and not leave the website.
Average Deal Size
Average deal size is calculated by dividing the total number of deals accrued in a given period by the total dollar amount of the deals.
Monitoring average deal size will let you know whether your deals are getting smaller, increasing, or staying constant. Align them with your goals.
The Final Thought
As you can see, there’s more to a marketing funnel than the hypothetical journey prospects follow before they become loyal customers. The key to understanding how a marketing funnel works is to realise that with every stage a prospect goes through, there’s a high likelihood that they may fall off. And the more they hang in, the more they’re likely to close the deal.
Your business needs a marketing funnel. The least you could do about it is talk to us. Give us a call or drop us a message using the contact box at MediaOne Marketing and let’s have a little chat about marketing funnels and how to take advantage of them.