March 14, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
It’s one thing to attract people to your business and brand, it’s another to get them to stay, or better yet, make a purchase. Developing a system that effectively markets your products and services is one of the primary goals that most companies work to fulfill. A great way to accomplish that goal is by developing a marketing funnel. But what exactly is a marketing funnel and how does it work? In this article, we discuss:
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A marketing funnel is a visual roadmap that companies use to convert people into customers. The reason it’s called a funnel is because companies, metaphorically, capture a lot of people at the top, then narrow their focus and content as people move down the funnel, eventually leaving it as a customer. However, people’s behavior isn’t always that predictable. That’s why funnels often look very different between companies and even between marketing campaigns. There’s a lot to take into account when creating a marketing funnel, including customer pain points, marketing channels, and your brand’s current awareness level.
Depending on these and other variables, you might need to focus more resources on different areas of the funnel compared to your competitors. You might even need more than one funnel to focus on different target audiences or services you provide. We’ve done our best in this article to give you a general definition of marketing funnels with examples. But we know that each one is dependent on what a business wants to accomplish. So, as you develop your own funnel, make sure to pair it with your overall goals to find the best results.
As mentioned in the previous section, the marketing funnel works by catching a majority of potential customers at the top. It then works to bring them down to smaller sections of the funnel until they finally reach the end by making a purchase. Unfortunately, the visual metaphor of the funnel isn’t 100% accurate. You see, in a perfect world, the funnel would take every person it catches and eventually work them into becoming a customer. After all, in an actual funnel, there’s no way for the substance to leave the plastic container.
However, for marketing, a more accurate visual metaphor would be a funnel that’s a little beat up and probably has a couple of holes. That’s because people who enter the funnel don’t always stay. It’s possible that you can attract someone at the top of the funnel, but they realize they don’t need your product and leave. That’s a reality that companies face every day. The main goal of their funnel is to limit that number by pulling in potential customers and doing their best to keep them there until the very end.
Though the funnel can change depending on the business and what it offers, most have a few sections in common, and those sections are split between three levels:
The sections in each of those levels include:
Awareness is the stage where companies let people know they exist. It’s about building brand awareness while teaching potential customers about the company and the main product or service it provides. There are several ways to generate awareness for your brand, including simple advertisements, like social media and search engine ads, to effective content marketing, like blogs, white papers, and eBooks.
The goal for this stage of the funnel is to cast a wide net. You want to say “Hey! This is who we are and what we can give you. Look us up to learn more.” This marketing stage can also include calls to action that bring people directly to your website or a designated landing page. These calls to action bring people to your website and straight into the next section of the funnel.
Read more: How To Measure Brand Awareness
In this section, someone might learn about the company and decide to look into it further. For example, let’s say a business that sells umbrellas advertises its company with the question, “Don’t you hate getting wet in the rain?” Someone, who doesn’t like the rain, might want to know more about this product that can help them. So, they click on the ad or search for the company online.
The potential customer moves into this section because they realize a company has something that can solve their problem or provide them with some type of benefit. So, they start their simple research into the business and its products or services. This phase of the marketing funnel might take a customer mere minutes to a couple of weeks or months, as they learn more about business. From here, they might decide they don’t need what the company is offering or they might move into the next section of the funnel.
Here, the potential customer first starts to consider whether or not this product is something they might want to purchase. Notice, we’re still in the second level of the funnel, MOFU. That’s because the person has transitioned from an interested party into a solid lead. Essentially, when a person moves into this section of the funnel, they are more likely to make a purchase, but they’re not yet convinced.
When a potential customer reaches this section, companies generally act like a fisherman who senses a tug. They do their best to highlight their product and entice the person into the final stages of the funnel. The potential customer generally sees that the company and its product or service can help them in some way, they just need to know as much information as possible. Companies can provide this information using product spotlight articles, case studies, customer reviews, and engaging product descriptions.
We’re almost there. During the evaluation period, people might already be ready to commit. They may just want to be sure that they aren’t wasting their money. To do this, they can look into your competitors and see what they offer and for how much. They might also look for information that can calm their hesitancies, like a return policy, free trial, or money-back guarantee. Businesses can provide potential customers with these promotions or answers to help push them into the final stage of the funnel.
It’s also possible that companies might look into their competitors first to see what they’re offering and how they’re attracting their target audience. CopyPress now offers a great content marketing analysis tool that compares your content with your top three competitors. Request your analysis today to see how your competitors are squashing their customer’s hesitancies!
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Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for – a commitment to the purchase. You might wonder why there’s an entire section dedicated to them becoming a customer. That’s because most companies don’t want a customer who just makes a one-time purchase. They want to build a relationship with the customer and keep them loyal to the business and brand. That way, they’re more likely to buy other products or services in the future and recommend your brand to their family and friends.
This section is all about maintaining a positive experience for your customer during and after the purchase, as well as providing them with all the tools and resources they need to succeed. For some companies, like those who sell software, that can include providing customers with training modules or tutorials on the software. For other companies, that might include a customer service representative or an easy place for customers to ask questions, voice concerns, or even process a refund. The better you make this section of your funnel, the more you can improve your customer loyalty.
The marketing funnel for business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) companies can differ because of the buying process. General consumers often navigate the funnel alone. They research the products, understand the benefits, and then make a purchasing decision. On an e-commerce store, almost all of that happens without the need for an additional salesperson. The company can promote its brand through its website and follow every step of the marketing funnel with its content alone.
Businesses that buy from other businesses often have a larger group of people who make the purchasing decision. This group researches the product and determines what the company needs. The reason businesses use a group is because purchasing decisions affect the company as a whole and with that, almost everyone who works for it. People need to know that what they’re purchasing works and benefits everyone who needs it. That’s why funnels for B2B companies almost always include a sales representative who can discuss the product or service and its main benefits. This often helps to finalize the sale.
When working on a marketing funnel for your content marketing campaign, it’s important to understand how different pieces of content work with the different stages of the funnel. As you create your own, it’s helpful to start with the top of the funnel (TOFU) and work your way down, developing content for each section. Here’s a list of steps to help you better understand your marketing funnel and how to pair it with your content:
It’s possible people might not know you exist. Whether your company just started or its been around for awhile, there is never a downfall to improving your brand awareness. There are a couple ways to do this, including placing traditional advertisements, such as billboards, TV, or radio ads. You could also create pay-per-click (PPC) ads that display on search engines and social media. However, a great way to build your awareness while attracting your target audience is through content creation and promotion.
When you create content, such as blogs, research articles, and white papers, you deliver helpful and informative content to your readers. That can help you generate a loyal following while demonstrating an expertise in your industry and field. It’s also a great way to give people useful information while promoting your own products and services through calls to action. Those calls to action can entice people to read additional content, sign up for newsletters, or simply make a purchase. Whatever the case, it brings them into the next section of the funnel.
Landing pages are webpages that you direct consumers to, which encourages them to interact with your company further. For instance, you might have a call to action that leads your readers to a product page on your e-commerce site. This product page is the landing page to which you’re sending them. It’s important that once the customer arrives, they know exactly what the product is and how it can benefit them. That’s why it’s important to optimize your landing pages with excellent, succinct copy that entices customers and pulls them further down the funnel.
Consider the main questions that your consumers might have, such as:
It’s important for every page of your website to have clear and concise content. But when you’re directing consumers to one page more often than others, you need to make sure that everything on there is attractive, informative, and answers any question they might have. It’s also important to make sure that the page loads quickly, and every link on it is functioning properly. You don’t want to give your visitors any reason to click away and leave the funnel.
Read more: 50 Landing Page Templates For All Websites
At this stage, customers might be intrigued in what you’re selling, but they’re still not ready to make a decision. You captured their awareness, created enticing landing pages, and now you need to try to predict what they’ll do next. The best way to do this is to imagine yourself as the consumer. If you found a product or service you liked, but wanted to make sure you weren’t wasting your money, what would you do? You might want to see what others say about the product or service, or maybe what the company’s competitors are selling.
That’s why it’s helpful to develop content at this stage that provides your potential customers with all that information without forcing them to leave your site. If you run an e-commerce store, publish all reviews on the product’s purchasing page. If you’re offering a service to other business, create case studies that people can read and see how your services can benefit them. You can even write blog posts or research articles that compare your products, services, and prices to your competitors. Show consumers how you differ from your competitors and why you’re the better option.
Lastly, give your consumers a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section. Some companies create an entire page dedicated to this, while others add an FAQ section to pages that need them the most. This can include purchasing pages or pages that detail your company’s services. The object of an FAQ section is to predict what your customers want to know and answer their questions right away to curb any hesitancies. It’s also helpful to offer them ways to try your product or service and ensure it meets their satisfaction, including money-back guarantees, free trials, and return policies.
After a customer makes a purchase, it’s important to make sure they keep coming back, or better yet, refer you to their family and friends. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, testimonials and reviews are the some of the best ways to attract new clients and customers to your brand. After the sale is complete, send your customer an email to thank them for the purchase.
It’s also helpful to offer them ways they can continue to interact with the company. This can include a link to leave a review or a phone number or email where they can ask questions or voice concerns. This helps the consumer feel secure in their purchase and allows them to understand you care about their satisfaction. If they bought a product, send them tracking information or remind them of your return policy. All of these tips help you develop stronger relationships with your consumers and encourage them to share your brand with others.
Here are some marketing funnel examples to help you understand how to make your own:
Here’s an example of a B2C marketing funnel:
Here’s an example of a B2B marketing funnel:
The reality of marketing is that no funnel is going to work perfectly. Some potential customers might skip different sections, jump around back-and-forth between sections, or just come in on the last step ready to make a purchase. The business industry is fickle, and not easily predictable. That’s why it’s helpful to have marketing professionals who know how to navigate it. CopyPress has a team of creatives and marketing experts who know the best ways to convert your audience into customers. Schedule a call with us today to see how we can help you boost your content marketing campaign.
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