Virtual Collective

PART 1: WHAT IS A MARKETING FUNNEL?

IN SHORT, A MARKETING FUNNEL IS A BASIC REQUIREMENT OF A SUCCESSFUL ONLINE BUSINESS.

If you have your own business and you’ve been learning best practices on how to market yourself, chances are you’ve heard the term “marketing funnel” quite a bit. But what exactly is it?

When done correctly, a marketing funnel will take your potential customer from first discovering you (via YouTube, your blog, your social media efforts, etc.) all the way to buying your products or services on a regular basis. It helps them go from being aware of your business to being repeat customers.

IN THIS BLOG, WE WILL DISCUSS:

   Who will be going through your funnel stages
   What those stages are
   The four basic steps of a marketing funnel

SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS A MARKETING FUNNEL?

A marketing funnel is a series of steps that a customer needs to go through in order to reach your conversion goal. A conversion is a particular action you want visitors to make on your website. That could mean they make a purchase, add an item to their shopping cart, sign up for a newsletter, fill out a form, etc. Basically, any measurable action that moves potential customers closer to feeling comfortable enough to buy what you’re selling.

Virtual Collective Marketing Funnel Graphic

FUNNEL STAGES

If you were to Google “marketing funnel”, you would find a mixed bag of resources and a variety of marketing funnels that serve different purposes within industries.

We’ve narrowed this post down to focus on a basic funnel that a small business looking to generate more leads and customers would benefit from taking the time to implement.

It’s important to be aware that there are a few hoops that an anonymous user has to jump through before they are interested enough in your brand to become a customer. The marketing funnel stages are not random. They are based on tried-and-true customer behavior patterns that have kept business school professors busy researching for decades. The thinking goes like this:

Just be sure that all that hoop-jumping is worth it! This means you need to be providing a product or service that actually does live up to or exceed their expectations—because once somebody makes it through all those stages, you have more than a customer. You have converted an anonymous user into a believer!
Know Your Data, Know Your Customer

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THE FOUR BASIC STEPS OF A MARKETING FUNNEL

Now that we know who will be going through our funnel stages, let’s talk about the four basic steps that make up a marketing funnel: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
Awareness Title Graphic
This is the very top of the funnel. You’ll reach the most amount of people during this stage, which is why some companies refer to this as your “wide net”. The goal for this step is to turn people into website visitors. You can do this through social media activity, press coverage, local events, word of mouth, third-party partnerships, influencers, etc. During this step, you should be measuring the following:

  Website traffic sources (where are these visitors coming from?)
  The most-visited website pages
  Social media clicks (what posts receive the most engagement?)
  Blog post engagement (are people reading the full blog?)
  Which site links are users clicking on the most?
  What devices are people using to visit your site?
  Where do these visitors live?

Interest Title Graphic
Once you’ve built awareness with your visitors, the next step in the funnel is to generate interest. An easy way to gauge interest is with your email list. You can create email campaigns to get people closer to conversion, or you can produce an email newsletter with different types of content and ways for your leads to interact with your brand. The interest your visitors are showing is measured by the following:

  Email open rates or click-through rates (are your leads opening and reading the emails you’re sending them?)
  Social media click-through rates
  Product views
  Completed contact or intake forms on your website

Desire Title Graphic

As you work your would-be customers through the funnel and closer to conversion, you will be able to see how much desire they have to be converted into paying customers. During this stage, your leads turn into prospects. You will know they are prospects by tracking:

  If they have added items to their checkout cart
  Whether or not they used the promo or discount code when adding items to their checkout cart
  If they have responded to emails in your email series
  If they have shared their contact info with you at a live event

Action Title Graphic

Yay, you have a customer! Your visitor turns into a lead, then a prospect, and now you have a paying customer and new data you can use to create new funnels to increase your profit (or your email list, or your wholesale client list).

Conversion Image

CONVERSIONS

Let’s talk more about conversions. Conversions will look a little different for every company, and even every stage of your company. If you’re just starting out and your main goal is to generate interest, your conversion would probably be to grow your email list. Or if you have a new product coming out and you want to generate traffic and sales for that specific product, your conversion would be the sale of that specific product.

It seems kind of obvious that your conversion goal should be sales, but don’t forget about email signups. Your email list is the most valuable data you can get. Why? Because you have full control over this channel, and you can measure the outcomes of what happens with your email subscribers clearly.

SUMMARY

As you can see, having a marketing funnel is a critical element to any online business. It may seem daunting at first, but once you begin to see what’s working and what needs tweaking, it’s pretty exciting. Why? Because you’ll be seeing your business take shape right in front of your eyes. Having a measurable way to know what makes people want to buy what you’re selling is nothing short of thrilling after all your hard work. Now that you know what Marketing Funnel is, you’ll want to read the next post, Part 2: Why Do You Need a Marketing Funnel? to learn how to collect, track and measure data at each stage in your marketing funnel.

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Marketing Funnel Title Graphic Part 2

PART 2: WHY DO YOU NEED A MARKETING FUNNEL?

Since people are probably not going to just randomly stumble across your website and immediately make a purchase, they will need a bit of nurturing, educating, and convincing before they get to that point. The measurable touchpoints throughout the marketing funnel will let you know what is working and what isn’t so you can adjust and refine your content to give your customers exactly what they want.

READ MORE ➜

PART 1: WHAT IS A MARKETING FUNNEL?

If you have your own business and you’ve been learning best practices on how to market yourself, chances are you’ve heard the term “marketing funnel.” But what exactly is it? When done correctly, a marketing funnel will take your potential customer from first discovering your brand all the way to buying your products or services on a regular basis. Help guide them from being aware of your business to becoming a repeat customer.

READ MORE ➜