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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.
YOUR MARKETING FUNNEL SHOULD BE SPECIFIC TO YOU
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:
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.
1) DO PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU?
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.
2) DO PEOPLE CALL/VISIT?
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.
3) DO PEOPLE TAKE ACTION?
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.
4) DO PEOPLE TRUST YOU?
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.
5) DO PEOPLE BUY FROM YOU?
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.
6) DO PEOPLE STAY WITH YOU?
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.
BUILDING OUT YOUR MARKETING FUNNEL
Here’s a summary of the entire marketing funnel model, including measures and tactical examples:
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.
You might also like: 30 Days to a Winning Small Business Marketing Strategy (Coached Course).
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