Have you heard the term “marketing funnel” before?
Maybe you associate it with those complicated marketing strategies with sophisticated automation and tons of marketing tools?
But, funnels don’t need to be complicated.
Marketing funnels are simply, at their essence, a journey.
Also known as the customer journey, buyers journey or sales funnel - a marketing funnel is a process you can use to attract leads, nurture them into prospects and ultimately convert them into valued clients.
In this post, we’re talking about 3 steps for marketing funnels (made easy!)
Marketing funnels 101: how to build an effective funnel for your business
When we think about the customer journey from our perspective as business owners, there are 3 steps needed to convert prospects into buyers…
STEP 1: ATTRACT
Utilise your branding and marketing message to identify and acknowledge the pain point/ problem your ideal clients are experiencing.From the prospect’s point of view, this is the “AWARENESS” stage of their buying journey where they have become conscious of a problem that they need to solve.
Content ideas for the Awareness stage:
When it comes to creating marketing messages for this “Top of funnel” audience, you need to consider that you’re talking to readers who don’t know you (yet!)
Therefore, we need to highlight our key brand message, educate our prospects and help them move forwards in their buying journey through:
- Social media
- Blogging/ vlogging
- Freebie “lead magnets”, like eBooks and checklists to get prospects onto your email list
At this point, a call-to-action for your content is unlikely to be to “buy” - it’s too early in their purchasing journey for that - instead, you might simply direct them to your website to find more information.
Remember: the average prospect needs to see your message 7 to 10 times before they use your service, so consistency is key at this stage of the funnel!
STEP 2: ENGAGE
At this stage of the funnel, your focus is on converting engaged prospects into enquiries.
From your audience point of view, this stage of the funnel is known as the “CONSIDERATION” stage, where your prospect is weighing up different solutions to their problems.
Content ideas for the “Consideration” stage:
At this stage of the funnel, your prospects are considered to be “warmer” - they’ve been interacting with your content and are aware of your potential solution to their problem.
Therefore, content in this “middle of funnel” stage focuses on persuading leads that your solution is best for their needs, with:
- Email marketing; continuing to engage and educate the prospects who signed up in the “Awareness” stage
- Retargeting ads on social platforms, like Facebook and Instagram
- Case studies which showcase how your solution has benefitted other clients
Your call-to-action at this point of the funnel can be more direct - to book an enquiry call, for example.
STEP 3: CONVERT
At this stage of the funnel, your prospect is ready to purchase and this is known as the “DECISION STAGE” in the customer journey.
Content ideas for the “Decision” stage:
Your prospects are now fully warmed up and have likely interacted with you directly.
Therefore, activity at this “bottom of funnel” stage will focus on converting your leads into buyers.
This could take the form of a short “discovery” call, where you provide plenty of value and show that you understand your prospects' pain points, to convince them to go ahead and book your services.
Your call-to-action at this point of the funnel is, of course, to hire you.
BONUS STEP: DELIGHT
The final part of the funnel is the bit that we often neglect the most - continuing to delight and re-engage our existing clients so that they become loyal customers and advocates of our business.
"Increasingly, customers are associating brand not with a message but with their entire experience surrounding the product or service."
In the “DELIGHT” stage of the funnel, your goal is to add value to your clients and provide an effortless experience that exceeds their expectations.
Content ideas for the “delighting” clients stage could include:
- Email marketing
- Loyalty referral programs
- Exclusive content
Marketing funnels made easy: tips for success
MAKE IT VISUAL
Struggling to see how the customer journey could work for your business? Why not create a marketing funnel diagram so it’s all on paper (or screen!)
A tool I love for this is Whimsical, which helps you to create a visual “map” for your sales funnel.
Or, go old-school and create a flowchart on paper that maps the steps your ideal clients would take to go from discovering you, to engaging with you and, eventually, buying from you.
Here is an example of a sales funnel, to give you some inspiration:
KEEP IT SIMPLE (STUPID!)
The key to making sure your sales funnel actually WORKS is to keep things easy and seamless for your clients.
This means removing any areas of friction, or barriers for your clients in moving through the funnel.
- Keep your FAQs, or any other key information people need, visible on your website, or address the most common questions/ objections in your email automation. This helps to leapfrog your leads towards the “decision” stage.
- Don’t get your leads to jumping through more “hoops” than necessary. For example:
- Keep the number of fields minimal on your opt-in forms
- Use a scheduling app so leads can book a call with you in a couple of clicks (rather than having to email you back and forth on calendar availability) etc.
- Make sure you’re asking leads to take the RIGHT action. Your calls-to-action at each stage of your funnel should be pushing people towards the next step you want them to take. So, resist the urge to ask people to sign-up to your email list AND follow you on LinkedIn AND leave a comment AND…
"Less is more. Keeping it simple takes time and effort."
There you have it - marketing funnels made easy!
There are no one-size-fits-all sales funnel that you can apply to your business. Every business will have a different customer journey, depending on the ideal client and business strategy.
So, it’s worth doing some work to understand the stages YOUR clients go through to find and hire you. And, make it as simple as possible for them to do so!
Need some help getting back to basics on your marketing strategy?
Get all your marketing fundamentals in place (to make sure your sales funnel runs like clockwork!) with my Ultimate Marketing Checklist.