What is the Marketing Funnel?
A marketing funnel is a model showing the way a potential customer goes from becoming aware of your brand to purchasing a good or service. This model contains several stages of customer engagement with a brand. Companies use marketing funnels to understand their customers’ needs at each stage, optimize their marketing efforts, and generate more sales.
With a detailed analysis, a marketing funnel helps you know what your company needs to do to influence consumers at certain stages. Evaluating your funnels supports you to generate greater sales, more loyalty, and strengthening your brand awareness.
Sometimes, there is confusion between marketing funnels and conversion funnels, it’s important to understand the subtle differences between them. Marketing funnels generate leads, attract prospects at the top of the funnel, and help marketers to track efforts to engage and convert prospects in the middle and bottom of the funnel. In contrast, Conversion funnels generate sales, it captures the customer journey from awareness to conversion, which might include buying a product, completing a form, signing up a list, or another type of micro-conversion.
The Stages of the Marketing Funnel
Marketing funnels are commonly based on the AIDA model, which represents Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. However, you can also simplify the funnel into a three-stage model: The top of the funnel represents awareness, the Middle of the funnel represents consideration, and the Bottom of the funnel represents a conversion. In addition, many firms believe that adding “ loyalty “ and “advocacy” stages to the funnel helps them to improve their marketing strategy. This makes the marketing funnel evolve into four stages, which are Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, Loyalty, and Advocacy.
Awareness: The First Stage
This is a crucial stage since it sets the foundation for the following phases. Your brand needs to first create recognition before going after sales, it means making people aware of your brand's existence. You can achieve this goal by generating educational and viral content. You can create blog posts, and videos, or offer educational e-books. No matter which methods or channels you choose, you need to focus on educating the audience and alluring them to want to know more about your brand.
Consideration: The Second Stage
Your brand has now created the initial awareness to have people interested in knowing more about it. Before selling your products to them, you need to make your product more appealing to your customers which drives them to make purchases. First of all, you need to build a relationship or connection with your potential consumers, provide them with information about your products, such as how to use them, and how they are better than other products in the market.
The optimal method to build relationships you can use is through advertising, this helps you to get more clicks to different websites through advertisements. Make sure to offer some product explainer videos, case studies, infographics, and tutorial videos, these are powerful tools to convince your potential customers to trust your brand.
Conversion: The Third Stage
Now, your customers are interested in not only your brand but what your brand is offering. So, at this stage, you will be able to help them to take the final step and convert into paying customers.
To convert your customers from interests to make purchases, it’s time for you to start selling. You need to provide your customers with clear product descriptions focusing on the unique selling proposition which makes your product stand out. Simply selling your products won’t help you to make a huge difference for your brand, you also need to incorporate support with user-generated reviews and testimonials. Because reviews usually increase conversions by a high percentage as consumers always reviews are the most helpful factors that drive their purchase decisions.
Loyalty and Advocacy: The Fourth Stage
This might be the hardest part of all the stages. You have convinced your customers to buy your products, but that is not enough. You need to retain the customers and make them loyal to your brand. Converting a “one-time” customer into a loyal customer can be quite challenging throughout your marketing funnel processes.
You can’t force or require your customers to retain, you need to convince them that the value of your brand is worth their loyalty. Putting your company in your customers’ shoes and understanding what they want is a key step in the retaining process. In addition, you can retain your customers through small things such as providing special offers and gift cards by sending them emails, as well as creating stronger relationships by enhancing your customer service and providing a better user experience. All these actions can help you show them the value of your brand and support you in retaining your customers effectively.
Why the Marketing Funnel is important
A marketing funnel is an important framework to understand. Even if you don’t have a robust marketing team, rich marketing experiences, and a low budget, considering the marketing funnel will help you to generate an effective marketing strategy.
Utilizing a marketing funnel will also help you to raise brand awareness and increase customer retention. Retaining loyal customers are especially crucial for sustainable business growth.
Without a marketing funnel, you will lose money if your potential customers don’t purchase your products immediately. Customers may not be interested in your promotions and offers. However, implementing a marketing funnel can nurture your leads until customers are ready to make purchases. What’s more, knowing your customer journey and having a plan of activities for each stage of the funnel, allows you to automate your marketing efforts and save a lot of time and effort to achieve your desired results. Marketing funnels also enable you to understand your current marketing activities better which benefits you to make predictions of future sales.
Strategies of the Marketing Funnel
The marketing funnel unifies each phase of your marketing as a whole. So every stage of the funnel is connected to the success of your marketing plan. Below are some strategies to help each stage of your funnel to move smoother:
- • Awareness: Brand content strategies advantage your brand to draw larger attention from customers and make them receptive to future interactions.
- • Consideration: As advertising and building brand presence on social media platforms, having brand advocates and social proof will support your customers when they’re comparing your products against your competitors.
- • Conversion: Incorporating an easy-to-use and simple purchasing process will reduce the confusion to customers and enhance their user experience of purchasing from you.
- • Loyalty & Advocacy: Offering loyalty programs such as discounts, giveaways, and email marketing will help you to retain your customers better and increase their loyalty to your brand.
How to build a successful eCommerce marketing funnel
E-commerce marketing funnels may vary depending on the retailer’s sales model. To build a successful eCommerce marketing funnel, optimizing your marketing activities in each stage will ensure you’re having as many customers as possible. Here are a few actionable strategies and techniques to assist you in building a successful marketing funnel for your e-commerce brand.
Utilize ads to get targeted traffic
Nowadays, people spend the majority of their time online, especially on social media. Promoting your brand through social media platforms can help you to create brand awareness for a broader range of customers. For example, Facebook has more than 2.32 billion monthly active users, it supports you to spread word-of-mouth for your brand faster and is more likely to drive your targeted customers to visit your e-commerce site.
Create content to attract visitors with low costs
Consumers usually begin their journey with a problem or idea in mind. Offering solutions or suggestions with content to your customers on your website can become a bonus for your brand. It doesn’t have to be long blog posts or webinars to attract potential customers to your site, it can be a simple guide or how-to videos that you can share with your users to acknowledge them with high value.
Use social proof across channels
Social proof means our assumption that other people’s thoughts and actions are the right behavior in a given situation. It applies to many aspects of everyday life, and e-commerce is no exception. Social proof plays a major role in the e-commerce marketing funnel to convince potential customers about the quality and credibility of your products and brand.
Send behavior-based emails
Email marketing is always a key for eCommerce. You can use the information you gather through cookies about clicks and visits to your websites, which allows you to personalize consumers’ shopping experiences and raise conversion rates. You can create highly targeted emails with email marketing software based on your target consumers’ behavior and provide them with the information that they need or want.
Promote your loyalty program
During the Loyalty and Advocacy Stage of your marketing funnel, building loyalty programs is essential to retain customers. Simply building a loyalty program is not enough, you need to promote your loyalty program to make it powerful and competitive. Make sure your loyalty program incentivizes your customers to move down the funnel and makes them come back for more. Loyalty program promotion is an effective way to give customers a reason to return to your site and increase customer lifetime value.
Keep your customers engaged
You may not be able to turn every one of your customers into a brand loyalist. However, there’s a great chance that your first-time customers will make a second purchase from you. Email marketing is an effective tool to target your existing customers while engaging with new ones, to increase customer engagement and add value to your brand.
Measuring the success of your marketing funnel
After you implement your marketing funnel, it’s important to measure the performance effectiveness of your brand. There are many key quantitative metrics to measure your marketing funnel’s success.
Cost per acquisition (CPA)
CPA measures how much you are spending on marketing to acquire each new customer. Companies usually take this number to analyze their paid advertising, email marketing, social media, and other paid marketing activities.
To calculate CPA, you can divide the entire cost of your marketing campaign by the number of conversions. If your cost outweighs the gain, you might want to end your campaign or test other options.
Customer lifetime value (LTV)
LTV measures the continuous value that a customer brings to your company. This metric helps you to gain retention. However, LTV also provides insight into industries like eCommerce and traditional sales to predict the likelihood of a customer making repeated purchases.
Conversion rates simply measure the frequency of conversions. You can either focus on the final conversion rate of sales or measure each stage's success through micro-conversions or goal conversions. Measuring goal conversion rate helps your company to make more informed decisions about each stage of the funnel rather than just the final result.
Conversion rate per channel
Each marketing channel contains different goals, it’s critical to analyze the success of each of them. Marketing channels may include organic search, referrals and influencers, email, and paid ads. Just like measuring goal conversions, companies that have a clear definition for conversion in each channel will save much time to measure the success of their marketing efforts.
The marketing funnel plays a crucial role in your marketing plan and strategies, it ensures you get the most out of your marketing efforts. By understanding the different stages of the funnel and utilizing the suitable strategies for your business support you reach the outcomes that you desire and move toward success.
We are here to help you and provide you with guidelines when you face challenges and difficulties in creating a marketing funnel. Reach out to us!