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. The 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.
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.