Marketing funnel is a series of systematic steps intended to convert potential buyers into confirmed customers. It guides the potential buyers down the various stages of the marketing process of a business – awareness consideration conversion – to ultimately convince them to make a purchase. This journey of the potential buyer to a customer goes through a funnel that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. You begin by attracting a huge number of interested visitors but only some of them will move down the various marketing funnel stages and actually buy from your business.
Every business needs and should construct a digital marketing funnel as it automates the marketing process and saves time, energy and efforts. You don’t need to spend hours convincing your prospects over the phone. Rather, you can map out a series of actions to be taken and appropriate information to be shared at each of the marketing funnel stages so that your prospects can slide down smoothly via awareness consideration and conversion stages, resulting in their conversion to paying customers. Being a structured and repeatable automated process makes it the most efficient marketing tool for the growth of your business.
Stages of a Digital Marketing Funnel
A digital marketing funnel has many stages, based on the customer’s specific need. A clear understanding of each of these stages is essential to serve the customer’s needs efficiently.
Stage 1: Awareness
The buyer’s Intent at this stage is to search for information regarding a need or a problem he is looking to solve.
Your objective is to let these potential buyers know that your business exists. You can create this awareness by sharing informational content as blog posts on your website, social media updates, and advertisements. You need to ensure that your content includes keywords that are searched often by your potential visitors.
Middle Of The Funnel (MOFU)
Stage 2: Interest
The buyer is interested in your content but wants to take an informed decision and thus, explores further about your company, its products, and solutions it provides. He is beginning to know and like you and is ready to share his contact information in exchange for your gated content i.e., opt-in offer.
Now that you have the buyer’s interest, this is an opportunity for lead generation and share valuable and actionable content to demonstrate your expertise and build the buyer’s trust in you as a helpful industry expert. This can be done by creating easily consumable lead magnets like a white paper, checklists, cheat sheets or a mini-course over email.
Stage 3: Consideration
Here, the potential buyers have converted into a marketing qualified lead i.e.,
someone who has shown interest in your brand’s offers, has engaged with your content in some manner and is now likely to become a customer. They tend to explore your competitors at this stage to ensure they choose the best solution.
You need to nurture the trust of your leads at the consideration stage and develop a relationship with them. You can do this by sending them targeted content to position yourself as the best choice like case studies, comparative reports, email newsletters, free trials, ongoing or upcoming offers etc to help them ‘consider’ your brand further.
Stage 4: Intent
The prospective customer does some specified activity at this stage like purchase-related queries, putting the product in the shopping cart, etc. which demonstrates that he intends to buy your product.
This is the stage where a conversion can possibly happen, so you need to focus on handling product related doubts and objections effectively. You can also show other related products or add-ons to the buyers to facilitate their decision to purchase your product.
Bottom Of The Funnel (BOFU)
Stage 5: Evaluation
The buyers make a final decision at this stage whether to buy your product or not. They evaluate the product, price, and offer and look for a hassle-free purchase. The customers expect a glitch-free buying experience, secure payment gateways and options to choose from different payment methods.
This is the marketing funnel stage where sales and marketing must work together closely, with sales taking the responsibility to help the customer finally decide to buy your product. Any objection not handled effectively or any glitch faced by the customer at this marketing funnel stage may hinder the conversion.
Stage 6: Purchase
This is the final stage of your digital marketing funnel where a potential buyer has turned into a customer. A positive experience during conversion will result into product recommendations, positive reviews and brand endorsement by him that can further fuel your digital marketing funnel to repeat lead generation and conversions.
Having successfully tickled down the awareness consideration conversion stages, your customer wants to feel that they have made the right choice. You need to nurture their trust in your company with a great post-sales experience. A smooth onboarding process, personalized emails and sharing the resources they might require to use your product efficiently would go a long way to turn them into repeat customers.
On the contrary, if you fail to provide satisfactory customer support post the sale, your customer might feel disappointed and may ask for a refund, share negative reviews about your company or even recommend your competitors to their acquaintances.
Is it a marketing funnel or sales funnel?
The majority of the customers have become internet savvy today and rely heavily on digital content to research the products or services they need before making their buying decisions. As such, the responsibility of nurturing the prospects through various marketing funnel stages up to the bottom of the funnel rests with the marketing team, with sales coming into the picture only after the customer is ready to click the ‘buy’ button.
As we have seen above, a digital marketing funnel is the ultimate marketing tool to systematically automate your marketing process. It can be designed and applied to any business, whether its only online business or a brick and mortar business having an online presence as well. Done rightly, it will not only increase your reach but will also bring more leads and conversions.
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