The end goal of every business is to attract customers. After all, the end goal of every business is to make money and turn a profit. So how can they do this? By using something called a ‘Marketing funnel’.
What is a marketing funnel?
A marketing funnel is a method of turning leads into paying customers. It can be best described as a way to turn people who want information into people who want to purchase goods or services so they don’t have to turn to information next time.
Some quick and easy metrics for you to show just how effective marketing funnels are:
As such, it is an inherently powerful tool to create paying customers because it directly influences their thought process. A simple step-by-step flow example of how a potential lead turns into a paying customer is as follows:
1. The top of the funnel – I am searching for some pancake recipes. I found your site (which is focused on cooking and food) on Google and decided to use your recipe. – This is information gathering and the blog post on your site provides me with the information I’m looking for.
2. The middle of the funnel – I find a relevant link on your website that talks about the best pancake pans. I think to myself ‘Why don’t I check some of these pans out since I’ll be making pancakes’. – This is called ‘pushing the lead deeper into the funnel’. From here on out, your main goal should be to turn them into a paying customer.
3. The bottom of the funnel – After reading through the article about the best pancake pans, I decide to purchase one. It just so happens your website sells them and I don’t have to search further for my culinary needs; everything I need is on your site. – This is where you cement the sale and gain a new paying customer.
Provided the product you are selling meets the customer’s needs, they’ll stick with you as long as they’re happy. Meaning, they will pay for more products in the future. The customer will also respect you on a personal level because you have fulfilled their desires and needs.
In short – if they reach the bottom of the funnel, it’s your job to keep them there and earn a constant income.
As a last piece of advice – you don’t have to create a simple 3-step funnel (though it is the most common). Marketing funnels come in all shapes and sizes so decide on one that’s a great fit for your marketing goals.
A breakdown of marketing funnel stages
The first step of every marketing funnel is attracting consumer awareness. This is where leads are generated. Making consumers aware of your brand and business can be daunting but ultimately, all it takes is proper planning and effort.
Once the person is aware of your brand’s existence, it’s time to generate interest from them. This can be done at the same time as creating awareness; if you’re writing an information-rich blog post, you can create awareness and generate interest within the same blog post. Again, careful planning is required.
This step also marks the end of the top of the funnel; from here, consumers move into the middle of the funnel.
Inherently, this is the trickiest part. How can you ensure consumers will consider your brand and business for their purchasing needs? Do you offer what they’re looking for?
People in general want an answer – either through information or by paying for services or products. Unfortunately, providing solely information is not good because you can’t make an income off of that. Instead, the information part should be reserved for the top of the funnel, though it can be mixed and used in the middle as well.
The only way to turn a lead into a paying customer is by establishing consideration and willingness to buy from you.
Intent revolves around what the customer ultimately wants. What’s the reason behind their search and interest? Getting an answer for this question isn’t easy but in most cases, it’s enough if you put yourself in their position.
Take the pancake situation I mentioned previously. They want a pancake recipe so they most likely already own a pancake pan. But if they don’t, it’s best if they purchase it from you. It’s all about the intent and whether or not this intent is aimed at purchasing, or just looking for information.
Users will always evaluate whether or not their purchase is worth it. You’re not in the clear yet but are near your goal – to make profit. This is also where the bottom of the marketing funnel starts.
A potential paying customer might compare your products or service with someone else’s; you have to ensure they don’t even think about this (or if they do, that your product/service comes out on top). If they’re happy with what you’re offering – kaching! You just made bank.
The bottom point of all marketing funnels is making sales. And to make sales, both you and the consumer need to go through some, if not all, of the previously mentioned steps. Once a customer pays for your service – all that’s left is to keep them as paying customers.
How to build an effective marketing funnel
Determine which phases your customers go through
Some customers will be easier to retain and turn into paying customers than others. Another influence on the marketing funnel process is your business type, products, and services that you offer.
Sometimes, evaluation won’t be a necessary step because you’ll look to lock them in as soon as possible (ie. describing a product or service to your utmost ability so they don’t even think whether or not it’s worth it).
Plan accordingly and don’t overthink it; put yourself in the consumer’s shoes.
Leads in each stage need to be treated differently
There are cases where people search for something they want to learn about, learn that, and then decide ‘well, I’m just going to pay for it’. These people don’t want to go through the hassle of doing it themselves but have still learned enough to supervise and understand what they paid for.
Leads are unique in each stage and you must have a specific plan in place for each of these stages. Understand what needs to be done to keep pushing those leads down the funnel.
Determine which communication you can respond to them
Getting in touch with leads, and customers down the line is as important as providing valuable service or products. This is where the brand-consumer connection appears. One of your goals should be to get consumers to feel like you share the same goals and ideals, to form that connection and loyalty. This can be done during any stage of the funnel but again, keep in mind leads are unique within their respective stages.
Someone who’s just found out about your company might want to talk to you – they’re basically at stage 1 which is Awareness.
Someone else might be on the cusp of purchasing from you which is stage 5 – Evaluation.
Communication should be done differently so make sure you plan on how to do that for every stage of the marketing funnel.
Overall, marketing funnels sound like a simple and easy method to get customers to pay for what you offer but it is not. There’s a lot of planning involved; every step needs to be nigh perfect in order for leads to reach the bottom of the funnel. However, marketing funnels are extremely powerful ways of making money – but it does take some time as well as patience.
Do you want to learn more about marketing funnels or get us to create a marketing funnel plan for you? Simply click this link for more information – we would be more than willing to lend a helping hand!