Greetings! During the past several episodes, the team has been discussing the ideal buyer and buyer personas. Since we’ve talked about finding important buyer personas for your business, we think it’s time to talk about a related concept that may also be important for your long-term strategies – the marketing funnel.
Once you know a lot about your buyers and your ideal buyer in particular, you can craft a marketing funnel for them….if you need to. We’re talking about what the marketing funnel is, how meaningful it is, and what you can do to create one.
The Marketing Funnel
The marketing funnel is a bit different from a sales funnel. A sales funnel is usually about specific actions and content that lead to a completed sale. The marketing funnel is a bit more theoretical: It describes how a lead turns into a loyal customer. While there are different ways to create a marketing funnel, but it can best be described (at least we think so) in four specific stages:
As you can see, the funnel moves someone from being a researcher or casual shopper toward being a loyal fan that will actually bring other leads to the company – a very desirable outcome!
Do You Need a Marketing Funnel?
Do people even use marketing funnels anymore? Has the sales funnel replaced them? No, especially not when it comes to marketing strategy. The sales funnel ends at a sale. The marketing funnel seeks a long-lasting connection with the buyer, where different stages are needed to put everything into perspective.
This is why the marketing funnel works so well with buyer personas: It allows you to match your personas with key stages of the marketing funnel, and see what you need to do next to continue “converting” them. This can look quite different depend on the company and persona’s own habits, which is why looking at your own situation is so important. But let’s take a moment to go over the marketing funnel stages so we’re all clear what each one is about.
Awareness is when the persona first discovers a brand and its products. This stage has a lot in common with the sales funnel equivalent. Here, all your brand awareness tactics are particularly important: Focus on content that people will find through organic searches and content that answers common questions. At this point, don’t require a CTA to proceed – you need to make things very easy.
Here, the lead is researching productions, narrowing down their options, and deciding what to do. This is the stage where you really want to introduce them to your company, show how high quality your work is, and really explain how your products work. Demo videos, how-to content, and case studies all work extremely well here. You can also offer additional information, like whitepapers, free estimates, and so on, as a way to continue the relationship and gather more information about the lead.
During conversion, customer service and helpful information are particularly important – you really want to impress the customer during the transaction! Make sure you offer discounts and positive review information to help them choose the right products and have faith in your company. Provide them with any helpful guides, show them where they can ask quick questions in chat or via a call, and remember to send follow-up messages thanking them! This is also a great stage to ask people to join an email list or similar CTA.
At this stage, you want to retain the customer for future purchases, make sure they stay happy (follow-up maintenance, etc.) and give them the tools and information they could use to bring in other leads through recommendations and word of mouth. Consider giving them special offers as well, and make sure they know about your social media pages.
Ultimately, you should try to focus your online ads and messaging on the parts of the marketing funnel that you need to improve. Ad targeting with Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites makes this very easy, with ads types and targeting clearly designed to focus on specific parts of the funnel. Where you go from there depends on a variety of factors, especially your current budget and what ROI you are seeing from other marketing activities.
Would you like to learn more, or share something you’ve discovered about your marketing funnel with us? Drop us a line on social media @21handshake and let us know! If you enjoyed the episode, rate us 5 stars and share it with someone else! Thanks!