Marketing is broken down into several different steps. These steps start out broader and work down to a smaller point, similar to a funnel. This is why many in advertising refer to it as a marketing funnel. To succeed in marketing, it’s necessary to look at every step of the marketing funnel and go over how to perform each, and how to carry out each successfully.
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The Steps to a Marketing Funnel
A traditional marketing funnel, according to Kissmetrics, is broken down into several steps. These steps of a marketing campaign are:
Each portion of the marketing funnel directly leads into the next, with each subsequent step becoming smaller and smaller. In the world of advertising, a term “widen the funnel” may come up. This is in reference to increasing the entire marketing campaign, which in the end ideally leads to an increase in sales and repeat customers. However, the success of each step directly impacts the next step.
The first step of marketing funnel is product/service awareness. The initial purpose of any advertising campaign rests in educating the key demographic and making the target audience aware the product or service even exists.
For this stage to prove successful, a company needs to understand its key demographic. Failure to do so will result in reduced awareness, which in turn affects every other step along the way. The more a company knows about the key demographic and who is likely to buy its products, the easier it becomes to target them. Understanding who buys the products allows a marketing department to directly target crucial advertising avenues (such as social media platforms, kinds of publications and specific television channels).
To build awareness a number of marketing options do exist. These revolve around lead generating to construct awareness in a variety of ways. Some forms of awareness building marketing include search engine optimization, content marketing, inbound marketing, social media marketing, producing online ads, visiting trade shows, offering referrals, whitepapers, videos (on local television, YouTube, and other social media platforms), plus direct email and mail. The right form of marketing to drive up awareness for a company, product or service depends on the target demographic. Some forms of lead generating marketing will perform better on certain audiences than others. Due to this, a firm understanding of the key demographic proves pivotal right out of the gates.
The next step of the marketing funnel is interest. In other words, of those who came in contact with the advertising campaign, which shows interest? Interest is gauged in a few different ways. Perhaps they visited the website, or maybe they selected a particular product on the website itself. They might click on an advertisement on Facebook or arrive on the company site thanks to an ad on Google. However, they arrived on the site, the potential customer took the first step from product awareness to product interest.
The interest stage of a marketing funnel begins the process of lead nurturing. Whereas product awareness hinged on lead generating, lead nurturing is all about cultivating the product awareness and bringing potential customers who have demonstrated some sort of interest into the fold.
This stage does begin the funnel process. Not all who are educated on the product will show interest. However, by increasing product awareness, product interest should also increase as well. Product interest also hinges on identifying the correct target audience. Every step directly relies on the previous step, so a failure of the previous step will stunt the growth and development of the next ring of the funnel.
Studying analytical data is important throughout the entire marketing process. After a customer shows interest, it doesn’t mean they instantly make a purchase. It may take weeks, if not months before a customer comes back around and buys the product. Ideally, the turnaround is quick, but the ultimate goal is to turn product awareness into sales, regardless of the timetable.
Evaluation moves forward with lead nurturing. It takes what the business has learned from what products a potential customer demonstrated an interest in and converting it into further marketing material. For example, the company begins a drip email campaign based on product interest, sending the possible client information on the services offered or products available. Within the drip emails, a company may decide to offer valuable services, including webinars, classes, eBooks or other material (this may depend on the kind of product or service a company offers).
Other steps within the interest to evaluation portion of the marketing funnel include content marketing based on the demonstrated interest, providing case studies, publishing videos to social media platforms and so on. It’s all about cultivating and nurturing the lead, prepping the potential customer for the next ring in the marketing funnel.
The commitment stage in a marketing funnel begins the actual sales portion of the process. At this point of the process, potential customers who are still around have demonstrated their interest in the product and have accepted additional insights through the evaluation stage. It’s now at this point in the process where the company needs to push the potential for commitment.
Additional information and services provided to the possible customer can help propel the customer through the commitment stage to the next stage, which is making a sale.
A company can provide demonstrations and trials to increase the level of education and understanding someone has of their products and services. These demonstrations and trials come about in different ways. Often times this is part of a drip email campaign. This means it’s possible for an email recipient to move from the lead nurturing portion of funnel marketing into the sales portion, simply by what content they click on and respond to.
The last bit of information within the commitment stage is all about locking the recipient in. At this point in time, they know about the product/service, but they may have not yet seen it in action. Trials come in a number of ways. A software company may offer a program for a set period of time. A service provider may do the same. Often times companies display a trial period for testing out a product. Everything from auto manufacturers to mattress companies takes advantage of the trial offer.
Demonstrations help with this step as well. Demonstration videos can be tailor produced to fit a set demographic and to showcase how the product will work in the particular recipient’s life. This is where email segmenting works. Segmenting an email list allows for greater fine-tuning throughout the marketing process. Often times, there are subcategories within a given demographic. For example, someone who lives in the city may use a product differently from someone who lives in the country. In this way, a demonstration video may differ. However, at this point of the funnel, the company should understand a great deal about the potential customer and have the ability to offer finely tuned demonstration material. This increases the chance of pushing the individual to the next step in the marketing funnel. It helps widen the bottom of the funnel as well.
The commitment stage of a marketing funnel demonstrates the importance of segmenting key demographics, email drip campaigns and most other layers of the marketing process. Failure to do so may squeeze tight the bottom layers of a marketing funnel.
The potential customer now has all the information and insights necessary to make a final decision on the product. At this point, they will either continue on and make a purchase or they will abandon the product altogether. It can take time to move from commitment to sale. Depending on the size of the product the customer may need to wait until funds are available for the purchase. Just because a prospective client doesn’t make a purchase right away doesn’t mean they won’t continue on with the sale.
A customer returns to the company if they have enjoyed their service or the product they received. Additionally, happy customers are more likely to refer other customers, which brings these individuals into the marketing funnel.
It is important to remain connected with a customer after they make a sale. From providing new email offers to mail out thank you letters, keeping this line of dialog open both reminders the customer of the company and makes it easier for them (and referrals) to return to the business.
The Marketing Funnel Breakthrough
To see an improvement at the bottom of the marketing funnel it is necessary to expand the top and to fine tune the entire process. The smoother the funnel, the more potential customers will not only make sales but remain active and convert into repeat customers.
Most companies go through years of trial and error, attempting to learn how to best follow this marketing funnel approach. However, as target audiences evolve, this trial and error do not always work. That’s why it’s crucial to have a clearly identified algorithm for improving the function of the marketing funnel is so crucial. This is exactly what the Funnel Breakthrough assists with. The breakthrough advertising funnel improves everything from sales and outreach to how to properly identify not just a target audience, but a target audience interested (and ready) to make a purchase. It’s all about breaking down barriers between layers of the funnel and providing a finely honed and developed ideology for generating a higher return on investment. All of this will, in the end, lead to improved sales, regardless of the company, the products or the services it provides.
A successful marketing campaign breaks down into several steps. These steps, when combined together, create an advertising funnel. From awareness down to sales and repeat customers, each portion of the marketing campaign plays a vital role in the overall success of the campaign and the ability to bring in new customers. By analyzing the individual steps of a marketing funnel, it becomes possible to not only improve its functionality but also widen the funnel and bring in more eventual customers in the end. To do this though, it is essential for a business to improve every step of the marketing campaign. It’s not possible to just increase sales. It’s necessary to boost awareness and, from there, increase every other phase in the marketing funnel along the way. Read through this content and understand all the important steps outlined. Apply them to your business no matter if you’re running an online store using an eCommerce platform or looking to start a business from scratch.