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.