Marketing Funnels explained

A Marketing Funnel is pretty much anything you do that promotes your product or service, your sales process. If done properly, it should lead people to your door. If done well it should all be a profitable exercise. But it does need some planning and measuring, rather than just a spray and pray approach.

It is important to identify your potential or target market, what their pain points are and where do they hang out online. Why would they want to buy your product or service. And why from you? What difference will it make to them? You can create buyer ‘Personas’ to help you focus better on the who and why. Nowadays, it is easier to measure the results of any investment, especially in digital marketing activities. The idea of marketing funnels or sales funnels is to try and create the perfect business generator, which relates to transaction density, increasing sales and margins, plus the lifetime value of a client. Nowadays, funnels are also used to upsell products, during the transaction checkout.

So the big idea is:
1. to increase volume of customers
2. increase the average spend of a customer and
3. increase the lifetime value of a customer, who could buy again and again. And they may recommend you to others!

You want to create initial awareness of your existence, then encourage interest or ‘traffic’ and eventually a conversion or purchase plus repeat purchases from happy customers. Your ‘funnel’ as such, can get lots of people interested, but many will drop off along the way through the process. This happens for a variety of reasons, price, availability of funds, a clunky website or interface, information overload, poor customer service and so on. By the time a person gets to the bottom of the funnel the numbers are considerably lower. And here you need to be consistently optimising the conversion rates, as in helping people decide to contact you or buy something – a result.

Typically in your content marketing, to generate traffic, you will use a website, blogging, SEO, landing or squeeze pages, Google Adwords or PPC, Social Media Marketing, perhaps influencer marketing(see more below) and the old fashioned mediums of TV, Radio and Newspapers or Magazines. It involves creating engaging and useful or interesting content to promote through the various mediums, videos, guest posts etc. Likewise you want to get the technical aspects right, any transaction pages need to be as simple as possible, contact forms, shopping carts and search filters. If you lose people during the process, you can remarket through Facebook and Google, to draw them back.

AIDA –  Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action

Marketing-funnels-explainedIt used to be simply explained in sales training as AIDA, the steps that people take, before they become a customer –  Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. Nothing has changed apart from the mediums we use.
Awareness – this is the top of funnel activity, the content marketing, the advertising and SEO, to help your potential market become aware of you and then make them aware of your product or service.
Interest – then create some interest in what you have to offer, so if someone does a relevant Google search they will get information that you produce. You are looking for people to sign up to your email list or any optin form or like your Facebook page etc
Desire – do something to make people want to buy, send a series of emails, make a special offer, give a guarantee, make a timely offer or limited time deal etc
Action – and ultimately conversion by generating a sale and ideally repeat sales so that you keep the customers you get on board.

You may end up with multiple definitions of a conversion for you, a sale, an enquiry, a sign up for a trial, a click through to a second page etc.

Standard Marketing Funnels

Marketing-Funnels-image-FlickrA standard marketing funnel would usually contain some simple tools, but you do have to create these for your toolkit. So there is content creation involved to get copy and images and landing pages or forms etc. Whilst we use websites as a big part of the marketing funnels we create, you may not necessarily use one. We create a lot of content around the planning for a business website and then the development or build of a business website and then the marketing involved in making it deliver leads.

Here is a typical list of parts in a marketing funnel.
1. An email campaign to launch the service or product offering – typically you could use Mailchimp or Active Campaign.
2. A sales page or sales funnel with all the relevant information about the offer – on your website or using something like Leadpages or even a Facebook page
3. Remarketing – perhaps using the Facebook remarketing pixel or Google Ads
4. An email campaign to move people forward through the process – again you could use Mailchimp or Active Campaign.
5. A sales letter – again you could use Mailchimp or Active Campaign.
6. Product sales page – on your website or using something like Leadpages or a Facebook page explaining the benefits and features of each product or service
7. Two or three videos sales letters – using Youtube or Vimeo and  Mailchimp or Active Campaign.
8. A checkout page with product upsell – on your website or using something like Leadpages or a Facebook page
9. An up-sell page – on your website or using something like Leadpages or a Facebook page
10. A down sell page – on your website or using something like Leadpages or a Facebook page
11. Delivery pages – Realistically you are trying to explain to the client that you can deliver a return way in excess of any investment made by them. On your website or using something like Leadpages or a Facebook page.

More about Marketing Funnels

So your marketing funnel is everything you do to attract customers. It includes every bit of advertising, every touch point, your livery, signage etc. Ideally, you want to plan your funnel, put some structure in to it and also be able to measure results. You can read a lot more about marketing funnels and sales funnels from people like Neil Patel or Mike Killen , where you can learn to create your own bespoke funnels. Mikes big article on the topic is here and well worth a read.
The same guys would also recommend that you always negotiate on deliverables, rather than the investment or the price. So make it clear what you are offering, break it down in to component parts of your offer. When someone says they do not have that budget, ask them which of these parts they want to remove from your offering. If we get a potential website client, we offer to plan the website, to design it, to develop it, market it, train the client and provide support services. So then the client can see the offering in parts and decide what they can do themselves. They may do some of the work in-house themselves or outsource elsewhere. But our rates remain the same.

Conversion Rate Optimisation CRO from your Marketing Funnels

This is simply the process of trying to get people through your marketing funnels to a point where they buy something or engage with you. The aim may be to get to a sale or it may be to get an appointment or some other form of engagement, such as signing up for a trial or completing a survey. We might use Google Ads to attract visitors and then convert by getting them to submit their details to start a dialogue with us. Then we would ask them to complete a short questionnaire, then armed with some relevant information to prepare for a meeting, we can meet, then we send a quote, then they invest. So we have a number of stages and conversion points during the process. Along the way we could lose people because they are not ready to invest or are overawed by the amount of work they will need to do or the amount of the investment required to do a good job, or the amount of time they personally need to commit to produce the required content. Much like having a filter, this helps us get the clients for whom we can definitely deliver value. They get to know us and evaluate us and see how little risk is involved. We would have goals or objectives along the way to help potential clients make small commitments as we go, that lead to a final decision. As you progress through the funnel you can add value or show how you would add value.
The chances are that you are doing this already, but is there any structure to it? Do you have a content library or matrix to use in your promotions? Do you have these emails formatted? Do you have landing pages, squeeze pages and thank you pages created? Is there a flow? Do your YouTube videos back up your mailshots or Facebook adverts? Is it all connected? If not, then it is time to look at creating a proper funnel for your generating the right leads for your business, rather than just hope that business will come in the door.


Influencer Marketing – another way to connect with your potential market

Influencer marketing focuses on people with influence on or over a target market instead of focusing on the target market directly. By identifying the people who influence your potential mass market of customers, you can work at getting these people as showcase customers. They in turn will influence the mass market or at least the segment where they hold sway. This can be done on a professional basis, where you pay an endorsement to the influential person with a fee or a commission per sale, if you you can quantify that influence. In theory you should be able to enter in to an agreement where you pay the commission based on sales only. This is different to paying a celeb to wear your product, in the ‘hope’ that their followers would buy your product, much like Nike and Tiger Woods.
See a great Infographic below from Milkwhale which explains this in detail.

Influencer Marketing Infographic
Courtesy of: Milkwhale