With the rise of the digital era, the contemporary marketing world has begun to undergo a major paradigm shift. The traditional, resource-intensive methods of cold calling, print advertising and postal mail marketing are steadily losing their sheen. Instead, a variety of new, digitally-powered inbound and outbound marketing tactics have emerged, with the singular aim of driving customer traffic, generating quick leads and triggering long-term conversions.
Over 36% of marketers are currently trying to craft and integrate, innovative digital marketing strategies, into their overall marketing mix!
However, for any digital marketing campaign to succeed, it needs to develop a set of clearly defined objectives and numerically measurable outcomes. This has to be backed by charting buyer personas, nurturing personalized leads and improving buyer intent. Even then, the campaign does not end. It further has to be reassessed and re-optimized regularly, so that targeted and sustainable changes can be brought about, at each appropriate stage.
This is precisely where a digital marketing funnel comes into the picture!
What Is a Digital Marketing Funnel?
Simply put, a digital marketing funnel is a pictorial model which highlights the journey of prospective customers, right from the moment they gain awareness about a specific product/service, to the time when they make an actual purchase. Digital marketing funnels don’t just help businesses map out the entire lead generation to customer conversion route, but they also empower them to gain extensive insights, push better sales and enhance brand value.
Much before the digital age kicked in, the concept of a marketing funnel was devised by St. Elmo Lewis, an American advertising advocate, in 1898. He used the acronym AIDA to delineate various marketing funnel stages, which essentially stood for:
- A – Awareness – Gaining awareness about a particular product or service
- I – Interest – Wanting to know more about these products or services
- D – Decision – Evaluating whether a product/service is worth investing in
- A – Action – Making the final decision of purchasing or letting go
The basic AIDA model continued to dominate the marketing world in its fundamental form until a few more elements like loyalty and advocacy were added to it. Even today, AIDA is considered to be the building block which forms the core of a digital marketing funnel. Some marketers, though, have started replacing the AIDA terminology with –
- Top of the funnel content (TOFU) – Awareness stage
- Middle of the funnel content (MOFU) – Evaluation stage
- Bottom of the funnel content (BOFU) – Decision stage
While no single marketing funnel model is currently accepted across the world, the need for developing marketing funnels and integrating them with digital marketing strategies is recognized universally.
Importance of a Digital Marketing Funnel
In a world where digital marketing is expected to grow from $23.06 billion (2017) to $52.76 billion (2023) in revenue terms, the importance of conceiving and implementing digital marketing funnels cannot be overemphasized.
These digital marketing funnels help organizations achieve their short-term and long-term objectives by:
- Building a comprehensive customer profile and using it to nurture leads
- Devising personalized digital marketing strategies for increasing sales
- Providing in-depth and timely insights into customer’s purchase behaviour
- Saving human and financial resources by focused and active targeting
- Creating brand awareness, building trust and thus, enhancing the value
Collectively, these benefits help businesses save a considerable amount of cost, reduce manual effort and yet optimize their customer-centricity in a highly effective, unique and efficient manner.
Digital Marketing Funnel – Stages
As highlighted above, the primary components of a digital marketing funnel still subscribe to the AIDA model. However, a few additions and subtractions have been made to it, so that the model can adapt to the needs of a modern, digital world.
The present marketing funnel stages include:
As the first stage of a digital marketing funnel, awareness aims to capture the attention of various prospective customers. Its primary intent is to make sure that the customers hear about your product and services, thereby enhancing their knowledge quotient. Such awareness can be created by writing blogs, optimizing search engines, generating viral campaigns, conducting webinars or advertising on social media. Creating awareness helps direct customers towards your official website, thus, driving consistent and regular traffic.
Once the prospective customers have gained awareness about your product/service, they would try to find out more about it. To facilitate their research at this marketing funnel stage, you must provide specific details about the essentials of your offering. Direct them towards a customized product page, organize a free workshop or interact with them via chatbots. Several companies also use this stage to capture customer details like name, phone number, address, e-mail id, etc., to build an elaborate buyer persona.
The preference component is widely considered to be one of the most critical marketing funnel stages throughout the entire digital marketing spectrum. This is because, at this stage, customers finally decide whether they would buy your products/services or not. To aid their decision, you must use the data captured during the previous stage, to craft a personalized conversion approach. So, extend special discounts, provide free trial periods and use limited period offers to entice, allure and influence your prospective customers.
The awareness, consideration and preference stages, eventually lead to the next marketing stage called – action. Action, here, entails the act of making a product/service purchase. It doesn’t just signify that your overall marketing efforts have convinced the customers, but it also provides you with an opportunity to develop a lasting bond with them. Action is the ultimate goal of all revenue-enhancing, consumer-oriented digital marketing strategies.
In a digital marketing funnel, the after-sales stages hold as much importance as the before-sales stages. Once the customers have made their purchase, you need to retain their interest and attention, so that they remain loyal to your brand forever. To do this, you can set up a responsive grievance redressal system coupled with quick customer care, loyalty card programs and frequent shopper discounts. Such targeted measures can trigger customer delight while compelling buyers to make repeat purchases exclusively from your brand.
Last but not least, a digital marketing funnel tends to end with the stage titled – advocacy. This is the stage wherein customers don’t just become loyal to your brand, but they also advocate your products/services to other people in their social circle. Advocacy stems from a feeling of mutual trust and helps spread a positive word about your organization. You can further strengthen it, by sending personalized gifts, providing exclusive offers, maintaining constant communication and giving priority treatment to your loyal customers.
As the digital age begins to cement its grip, the inbound and outbound marketing efforts of various businesses will multiply. This will push them to find specific methods of tracking customer journeys so that focused interventions can be made at each step. In such a scenario, developing digital marketing funnels and using them to drive sales will prove to be the only way of identifying problems, minimizing errors and improving conversions.
If you want to increase your knowledge about digital marketing funnels, you can seek assistance from online platforms like Shaw Academy. Enrolling in their digital marketing course will help you gain valuable professional skills while enabling you to learn more about digital marketing strategies in a unique and optimized manner.
So, what are you waiting for? Click here and chalk out your own digital marketing funnel now!