A marketing funnel describes your customer’s journey with you.
From the initial stages when someone learns about your business, to the purchasing stage, marketing funnels map routes to conversion and beyond
But what exactly is it?
The marketing funnel is a visualization for understanding the process of turning leads into customers, as understood from a marketing (and sales) perspective.
The idea is that, like a funnel, marketers cast a broad net to capture as many leads as possible, and then slowly nurture prospective customers through the purchasing decision, narrowing down these candidates in each stage of the funnel.
Marketing funnel stages and conversions
With careful analysis, a marketing funnel lets you know what your company must do to influence consumers at certain stages. By evaluating your funnels, you can potentially drive greater sales, more loyalty, and stronger brand awareness.
Here's each part, stage by stage, to fully understand how marketing funnels work:
- Awareness: Awareness is the uppermost stage of the marketing funnel. Here, lead generation takes place, as information is collected and leads are pulled into a lead management system for nurturing further down the funnel. Potential customers are drawn into this stage through marketing campaigns and consumer research and discovery. Trust and thought leadership is established with events, advertising, trade shows, content (blog posts, infographics, etc.), webinars, direct mail, viral campaigns, social media, search, media mentions, and more.
- Interest: Once leads are generated, they move on to the interest stage, where they learn more about the company, its products, and any helpful information and research it provides. Here is an opportunity for brands to develop a relationship with the people in its lead database and introduce its positioning. Marketers can nurture leads through emails, content that is more targeted around industries and brands, classes, newsletters, and more.
- Consideration: In the consideration stage, leads have been changed into marketing qualified leads and are seen as prospective customers. Marketers can send prospects more information about products and offers through automated email campaigns, while continuing to nurture them with targeted content, case studies, free trials, and more.
- Intent: To get to the intent stage, prospects must demonstrate that they are interested in buying a brand’s product. This can happen in a survey, after a product demo, or when a product is placed in the shopping cart on an eCommerce website. This is an opportunity for marketers to make a strong case for why their product is the best choice for a buyer.
- Evaluation: In the evaluation stage, buyers are making a final decision about whether or not to buy a brand’s product or services. Typically, marketing and sales work together closely to nurture the decision-making process and convince the buyer that their brand’s product is the best choice.
- Purchase: This is the last stage in the marketing funnel, where a prospect has made the decision to buy and turns into a customer. This is where sales take care of the purchase transaction. A positive experience on the part of the buyer can lead to referrals that fuel the top of the marketing funnel, and the process begins again
Why marketing funnels work
- Marketing funnels simplify the customer journey and make it easier for companies to follow. These solutions map out each stage of their client’s decision process and plan the steps they want to take in each.
- A marketing funnel applies to almost any customer interaction. Whether you’re looking for online sales, generating traffic for your brick and mortar store, or collecting clicks as an affiliate, you need a marketing funnel. The funnel is a powerful way to bring visibility to every stage of connecting with your customer.
- The biggest benefit of marketing funnels is their measurability. Your funnel shows you where you’re losing customers, to help you pivot your strategy. For instance, if you lose customers before they ever get to the second stage, you need a better brand awareness campaign.