Marketing Funnel

A marketing funnel can help your business convert more leads. Read this to learn what a marketing funnel is and how to build one.

In order to optimize sales and boost profits—especially online—companies must be in tune with the customer journey. As a business owner or marketer, you must understand how to capture an individual’s attention and convince them to make a purchase. But how do you do that?

One way to shape the customer journey is by designing a marketing funnel. A marketing funnel is a tool that can help convert leads and increase sales. In this article, we explain what a marketing funnel is, describe why it’s important, and go over the stages of a marketing funnel. Read on to learn more about marketing funnels.

What is a marketing funnel?

There are a lot of questions surrounding the marketing funnel. Does sales own it? Does marketing own it? Is it still relevant in the current consumer buying process? Keep in mind that there have been many changes and new challenges for marketers. It is important to understand how the marketing funnel can be flipped to have more leads and to learn about nonlinear approaches to the marketing funnel. To better understand today's marketing funnel, let's establish a basic framework for it.

From a marketing and sales position, the marketing funnel is a visualization for knowing the process of turning leads into buying customers. The goal is to capture as many leads as possible and convert those leads into sales. Prospective customers must be cultivated during the purchasing process. Simply put, they must be nurtured. And they must be nurtured during each stage of the marketing funnel process.

In a perfect world, the marketing funnel acts as a marketing cylinder. Leads convert into customers. But, it is not perfect. Marketers must turn prospective customers into customers.

It is important to understand that the marketing funnel is not a magic bullet. There is no one perfect version of it either. Some marketing funnels have many stages, while some only have a few. Different actions need to be taken by the consumer and the business for each stage.

Why is a marketing funnel important?

The marketing funnel is important for a number of reasons. It helps businesses prioritize and execute a productive marketing strategy. Below are some of the benefits of creating a marketing funnel for your business:

  • Streamline the customer journey: By setting out clearly defined steps in the customer journey, it becomes easier for your customers or prospective customers to take a desired action.
  • Easily track analytics: A marketing funnel makes it easier to track and review analytics, as you can see which parts of the customer journey are generating the most conversions and which segments are falling short.
  • Identify areas for improvement within your marketing strategy: With clearly defined stages in a marketing funnel, you can make tweaks and improvements as necessary in order to optimize your company’s marketing strategy.

The stages of a marketing funnel

There are four basic marketing funnel stages. The first stage is awareness. Consumers are drawn into this stage through consumer research, discovery, and marketing campaigns. Thought leadership and trust are created with trade shows, advertising, content, direct mail, viral campaigns, social media, webinars, and more. This is where lead generation takes place. Leads are entered into a lead management system. They are then nurtured down lower in the funnel.

The next stage of the marketing funnel is the interest stage. After the leads are generated, they flow into the interest stage. Here is where prospective buyers learn more about the product and the brand. This stage is an excellent opportunity for brands to create a relationship with prospective buyers. They now have the opportunity to introduce the benefits of their product or service and to introduce that positioning. Marketers can then nurture these leads through content, emails, newsletters, classes, and more.

After the interest stage comes the desire stage. This is the stage where prospective customers must show that they are really interested in purchasing the brand's product or service. This can occur when a product is placed in a shopping cart on an e-commerce site, in a survey or after a product demonstration. The desired stage gives the marketer an opportunity to build a strong case for why their product or service is the best one.

Finally, the last stage in a marketing funnel is the action stage. This is where the prospective buyer has made the final decision to buy either the product or the service. They are now a customer. This is the stage where the purchase takes place. A positive buying experience leads to referrals and fuels the marketing funnel. The process then begins all over again.

Types of marketing funnels

There are many different types of marketing funnels. We'll discuss 5 of them here.

The sales letter funnel is a traditional type of marketing funnel. This particular marketing funnel utilizes a long sales form letter to sell a service or product. It can include upsells and downsells along with the main sell.

The squeeze page funnel is used to pique the curiosity of the prospective buyer. It is a simple page funnel that's designed to get the visitor to give you their email address. There are no fancy pictures or extra links. A curiosity based headline is used to get the readers' attention. The visitor must put in their email address and click submit in order to get an answer to the question. Squeeze pages are very effective for attracting a new audience. A good squeeze page typically has a high conversion rate.

The membership funnel has a membership site. The visitor must actually pay for this. Often, it includes paid newsletters. These memberships can be sold through a webinar, a video, or a sales letter.

The survey funnel has 2 main goals. The first goal is to get your visitor to engage. Questions are asked and there are micro-commitments. The second goal is to determine who your visitor is. That way, different sales pitches can be made based upon who they are.

Products and services can also be marketed with a video sales letter funnel. The video actually makes the sale in this type of marketing funnel. There is also an opportunity for an upsell with a video sales letter.

When to use a marketing funnel

Marketing funnels put a brand on the map. They are a nurturing process to get the buyer to take an action or make a purchase. If you aren't using marketing funnels, your business may be losing out on both new sales and repeat sales. So, if you are wondering when you should use a marketing funnel, the answer is always.

How to create a marketing funnel

You can build your marketing sales funnel by creating a landing page. This is the first opportunity to get your prospective buyers to learn about your business. The landing page should specifically describe your product or service and its benefits. This is the opportunity to impress prospects. Be sure to make the content of your landing page compelling and strong. You have to communicate the value of your product or service.

In order to get a visitor to give you their email address, you must give them something of value. It could be a white paper with information or a free ebook. You then need to nurture the prospect. Keep in communication with them and be sure to give them content that addresses their needs. This will help you overcome any objections that the prospect may have.

After all of this is done, then it is time for you to close the deal. You can use a special discount code, a free trial, or even a product demonstration in order to close the deal. Keep the process going by continuing to educate your visitor on your product or service. This is an important part of building a relationship. Engage with your customer often to build loyalty.

Keep in mind that you must continue to always optimize your marketing sales funnel. You should always be looking for ways to make it better. Below, we’ve outlined the basic steps involved in creating a marketing funnel, which you can customize to create your very own marketing funnel.

Identify your audience

You can create your marketing funnel by first identifying your audience. You can do this by determining your prospect's demographics. You need to know the age, economic bracket, interest, and educational level of your audience. Then you need to determine your customers' needs.

Build your marketing funnel stages

You can build your marketing funnel stages by first analyzing your audience’s behavior. The more you know about your audience, the better. Then, create carefully defined stages for your marketing funnel so that you can get a clear picture of what the ideal customer journey should look like.

Choose relevant marketing tactics

Marketing tactics are strategic actions to get the prospective buyer to take action and purchase a product or service. Some of the most effective marketing tactics include running digital ads, email marketing campaigns, and social media campaigns.

Determine which metrics to track

There are important metrics that you should be tracking in any marketing campaign. These metrics may include conversion rate, customer engagement, brand awareness, click-through rate, cost per lead, marketing qualified leads, and sales qualified leads. It is important to track the metrics. This way, you know what's working and what isn't.

Final notes

Marketing funnels are one of the keys to business success. These are the tools that help you discover who your customer is. Once you learn who your customer is, you can then begin to nurture that prospective customer. Marketing funnels are the means to an end. The goal of any business is to make a profit and, in order to make a profit, you need buying customers.

Keep in mind that with the right tools, you can easily create an effective marketing funnel for your business. With Mailchimp, you get an all-in-one marketing platform that helps you identify and understand your audience, design the customer journey, run digital ad campaigns, set up an online store, and more. Use Mailchimp to build the ideal marketing sales funnel for your business today.

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