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What is a Marketing Funnel? Tips & Best Practices to Follow

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

It is important to be familiar with the different parts of the customer journey, and that is where a digital marketing funnel can be helpful.

If you are wondering, what is a marketing funnel? It is a way to describe the process of moving customers from learning about your business to making a purchase. You need to use different marketing strategies depending on where the lead is in the customer funnel. That is why it is helpful to divide a digital marketing funnel into marketing funnel stages.

If you want to increase your success rate with lead generation, some of the stages you need to think about include:

Awareness stage

Awareness is the first stage of the funnel. This is where potential customers are attracted to your business because of marketing campaigns, product research, and discovery.

There are different ways you can get customers interested in your business. You may want to use digital marketing, you might want to attend trade shows, and you can even throw specific events for certain prospective customers. Some of the digital marketing strategies that could be helpful include blog posts, white papers, and infographics. You may also want to take advantage of social media, search engine optimization, and specific media mentions. Lead generation is important here, as you can collect information about your potential customers and add them to a lead management system. That way, you can move them down the funnel using data tracking.

Interest or consideration stage

Now that you have people who are interested in learning more about your business, they are part of the interest stage.

Now, they want to learn more about your company, your brand, your products, and your services. You might provide your target audience with helpful information related to the details of your products and services, and you could also share important research about what your business does.

This is also an opportunity for your brain to develop a strong relationship with potential customers. You might want to keep track of interactions you have with your leads in a database, and you can figure out where they are positioned in the sales funnel.

You might want to use strategies to nurture leads through email drip campaigns, content that is more targeted around their interests, and mentions that relate to products and services in which they have shown interest in the past. If you develop a strong relationship with customers and clients, you can turn new customers into regulars. This is one of the most important marketing final stages.

Desire stage

If your potential customers reach the desire stage of your digital buying process, they are full-blown prospects. You have grabbed their attention, shared important information about your brand, and convinced them that it might be worth their while to make a purchase.

At the same time, they might not yet be ready to make a purchase. They need to make sure that your products and services are the perfect solutions for their needs. They are going to assess the strength of your offer, compare it to their budget, and decide what type of outcome they should expect from your products and services.

There are important marketing strategies that can help you convince your potential customer to make a purchase. For example, you might want to share testimonials from other customers and clients. You may also want to direct them to various price pages where they can learn more about their options.

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You can even use case studies to convince potential customers that your products and services are worth it. If you really want to close the sale, you might want to provide them with a discount code, particularly if you think it will convince them to come back for future purchases.

These are a few of the most important stages of the digital sales funnel. You need to think about how you structure your marketing efforts around different parts of your customer marketing funnel. That way, you can convince your customers to make a purchase.

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.

B2C vs. B2B marketing funnels

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As you put together your marketing funnel, you need to think carefully about your target market. After all, as you start a business, you need to think about how your marketing funnel can set you up for success. For example, are you trying to target other businesses as your clients? Or, are you trying to target individual consumers?

There are some significant differences between B2B and B2C marketing funnels. Some of the most important points you need to keep in mind include:

  • The sales cycle in the B2B world is significantly longer than the sales cycle in the B2C world. This means that you will have to be more patient as you move your clients down the funnel if you are targeting other businesses.
  • As you set up your funnel, you will generally be targeting an entire group if you want other businesses to become your customers. On the other hand, if you are marketing in the B2C world, you will be targeting individuals.
  • Your social media strategy will also be different in the B2B world when compared to the B2C world. In the B2B world, the most popular social media network is LinkedIn. If you are targeting other consumers, the social media platforms you will use include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Because the sales cycle in the B2B world is longer, these marketing funnels are generally divided into more stages. For example, the B2C funnel is usually divided into awareness, interest, and desire. In the B2B world, the funnel is divided into awareness, interest, consideration, intent, and evaluation.

Funnels are generally divided into stages because marketing strategies will vary depending on the stage your lead is at. Therefore, you need to think carefully about how you structure your digital strategy depending on your target market. You may even want to re-evaluate your funnel from time to time to make sure you are using the right strategy.

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.

Examples of a marketing funnel

If you are interested in how a marketing funnel might work, it could be helpful to take a look at how a marketing funnel is set up for a popular streaming service. Some of the most important parts of the marketing funnel strategy include:

Generate awareness

The first stage is to generate more awareness about upcoming shows. Therefore, the streaming service might conduct a quick blitz of all of the popular social media platforms. Because they are targeting individual consumers, they will use Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. A picture is worth a thousand words, so they will set up the marketing funnel with plenty of images and flips from the show.

Assess interest

Then, they will build more interest in the show. For example, they might include a link where someone can learn more about the cast of the show. They might also take advantage of retargeting on social media, specifically going after people who have expressed an interest in the platform but have not yet signed up for it. They might even include some helpful statistics about the show to convince people it is worth watching.

Focus on desire

Once they understand that people have a strong desire to watch the show, they might provide an offer for a discount on the streaming service. For example, they might include an introductory offer for 12 months, or they might include one month of free streaming to convince people to take a chance on it.

This is only one example of how a marketing funnel can be set up. Depending on your products and services, your marketing funnel might look a bit different. Do not hesitate to reach out to an expert who can help you craft your marketing funnel to meet your specific needs.

Marketing funnels are integral to the buying process

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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