6 Questions to Optimize Your Marketing Funnel (with template)

Funneling people

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The marketing funnel explained including questions to help diagnose and improve your funnel. Includes a template to build your own.

Do you have a marketing funnel?

Does it work?

Maybe you hesitated in answering either of those questions. Or maybe you’re a bit hazy on what a marketing funnel is. That’s OK. Search the web and you’ll find many definitions, and a lot of variations like purchase funnel or sales funnel.

While there are subtle nuances in terminology, most of the terms you’ll come across are all referring to the same thing: the stages that a customer goes through from knowing nothing about you to being a loyal advocate.

No matter what you call it, it’s always worth taking the time to diagnose your funnel and identify improvements. If you’re a small business and have yet to think this through, now’s a great time to get started. To help you do that, we’ve included six questions you can ask yourself to identity improvements, and at the end you can download a one-page template so you can build/enhance your own funnel.


Before diving into the diagnostic questions, it’s important to understand that every business needs to craft their funnel to match their business. Some have funnels that are only 4 stages long. Others have 8 stages. Neither is wrong.

Instead, set numbers aside and envision what the customer’s journey is. The steps that your customer goes through should be the basis for building your customer acquisition process and tactics.

I like to use a 6-step process (funnel) for illustrative purposes but yours may be simpler or more complex:

  1. Discovery
  2. Interest
  3. Engagement
  4. Consideration
  5. Conversion
  6. Loyalty

Marketing Funnel Customer Journey

The above funnel can be applied to both physical (e.g., retail) businesses, B2B services, and digital/online. You can use it for creating a CRM process, advertising campaign, or annual marketing plan.

Let’s take a closer look, diagnosing and improving each step.


Marketing Funnel Discovery

In the Discovery stage, your customer doesn’t know about you yet. A common goal here is to simply build awareness. Example metrics (how to measure it) include advertising impressions or data from brand awareness surveys.

If you want to increase your awareness, think of all the ways you can put your brand in front of actual people. Examples might be buying advertising (real world or online), posting on social media, PR, sponsorships or attending events.


Marketing Funnel Interest

In the Interest stage, your customer may know about you. But you now want them to come at you. In traditional business this means calling you or walking in the door. In businesses with an online (or even online-only) presence, this means site visits.

Some tactical options for this stage include referrals, blog posting, SEO, flyers/promotions to drive store traffic, or even ebooks to attract web traffic.


Marketing Funnel Engagement

In the Engagement stage, your customers have made an initial contact with you. Your goal is to increase interaction with them and nurture them. You can use metrics such as subscribes, downloads, and repeat visits/views.

Newsletters, videos, email campaigns, webinars and other knowledge resources can help your customers in this stage. And measuring customer interaction is a good way to identify potential leads among your visitors.


Marketing Funnel Consideration

In the Consideration stage, you want to increase your sale opportunities. Metrics might include offer page views, product page views, sales appointments, or even simply placing items in their shopping cart (virtual or physical).

You help customers move through this stage by giving them the remaining information they need to make an informed decision. Example tactics include product reviews, testimonials, samples, demos and free consultation.


Marketing Funnel Conversion

In the Conversion stage, your goal is to get the actual sale. Example metrics include booked sales, signed contracts and % of shopping carts actually checked out.

Your tactics should aim to get customers over the final hump. This is where you create final pitch decks, limited-time offers, final discounts or bonus incentives. They are mentally ready and you are giving them that final nudge to ensure they act.


Marketing Funnel Loyalty

In the Loyalty stage, your goal is to increase retention. You want customers that have bought from you to stay with you. Measure your repeat customers (% repeating, # of repeats, etc.) and/or churn rate. You may also have advocacy as a goal, in which case you should measure how many customers refer their friends.

If you want to cultivate loyalty you have many options. Some ideas include enhanced onboarding, improved customer service/product quality, exclusive member benefits, and even referral incentives.


Here’s a summary of the entire marketing funnel model, including measures and tactical examples:

Marketing Funnel Model Summary

When you put it all together, you begin to see how a business could use the model to create an entire acquisition process.

An online business might have social media ads that drive to blog content, email subscription, videos and ebooks to download, reviews, offer pages and exclusive subscriber benefits.

A traditional B2B services business might have conference attendance, phone call processing, brochures, mailing lists, newsletters, a capabilities presentation, demo, pitch deck and referral incentives.

A traditional brick-and-mortar business might have billboards, local flyer ads, in-store displays, cross-department promotion, buy-one-get-one sales, and a loyalty card with coupons for the next visit.

Download the template below and try writing up your funnel. If the six questions in this article helped you identify gaps, give extra attention to those areas and write down just a few ideas that you can implement soon. There’s no better time than now to help your customers and increase your chances of success.


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Comments 2

  1. Hi Kevin- Thanks for the great content-I just read your article on 6 questions on how to optimize one’s marketing funnel, and think you’re sharp. Mostly because my background is sales consulting and bizdev, and I know that smart marketing is the foundation for easier sales. Anyway, I’m writing you for four reasons:
    1. Your site does not scroll well, it seems to get stuck for a few seconds when I get to the bottom, then work: I’m on an iPad Pro using Brave(made by ex-Firefox creator) as a browser(once you use it you’ll never go back) with a foreign VPN. This has only happend to me 1x before, many months ago-not sure why.
    2. Have you written(or will soon write) an article where a large company screws up on its marketing and sales efforts, and the c-suite believes in their team being incapable of goofing up, and how best to get through or market to the c-suite about the six to seven figure losses they are experiencing with their in-house efforts, without them being defensive, upset, etc.?
    3. Any other marketing tools or sites you recommend-for quality content like yours, that addresses more of the small business going after mediaum-large ones(who are mostly screwing up in advertising, marketing and sales, in numerous ways)?
    4. If I can return the favor, for sales and/or site help, let me know.

    Thanks again for your 6 marketing funnel questions!


    1. Post

      Hi Holden. Glad you found the post helpful and thanks for the feedback.

      I suspect the scrolling issue may be due to pop-blocking within your browser. I’ll do some testing on it.

      I do not yet have an article like the one you described in #2, but will make a note to consider it for a future post. It certainly happens that corporate leaders can become too confident and it gets in the way of more rational thinking/keeps them from pursuing great opportunities. I’ll give it some more thought.

      I also have not run into another site that specifically addresses #3. But it’s a great idea for a new site or consulting business. How to catch a dragon!


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