Businesses around the world use various marketing strategies to attract customers and generate sales.
A frequently used model is the so-called marketing funnel, which is often used in digital marketing. Marketing funnels create a scientific and measurable approach to converting prospects into lifelong customers and ambassadors for your products.
Specifically, a marketing funnel describes the journey from an unknown to a buyer. This journey is divided into different phases. The journey begins with getting to know your brand and ends with a desired action (e.g. buying a product).
A marketing funnel works through stages, from the wider top of funnel section that attracts a lot of people, to the narrower middle section (middle of funnel) to the even narrower section at the bottom (bottom of funnel) that is passed through only by serious buyers.
The marketing funnel works much like a real funnel, starting with a wide opening and narrowing towards the bottom. Unlike a real funnel, not every prospect makes it to the bottom of the marketing funnel. Since not every prospect will follow your path to conversion. You will lose people at each level of your funnel, so it narrows as you go down.
Your job is to target the right person, with the right marketing effort, at the right time, with the right message, to move them to the next stage in the marketing funnel.
The Stages of the Marketing Funnels
Awareness and Interest (above)
This phase is all about reaching a lot of people in your target audience and making them aware of your brand and your products and arousing their interest.
In practice, the top of the funnel can be someone reading a blog post you wrote or watching one of your YouTube videos. Likewise paid ads, social media, SEO, content marketing and many other channels.
People at this stage aren't ready to buy from you - they're just getting to know you.
The marketing tactics at this stage aim to educate the prospect about the value you offer and what makes you unique. They try to create as much value as possible.
For example, the middle of the funnel can be free content (ebook, webinar, video course,...) that your visitors can access by entering their email address on your website.
In the final stage of the funnel, you have already built enough trust with your prospects that they are willing to purchase your product. Your job at the bottom of the funnel is to present your product in a compelling way that inspires them to take action.
For example, through limited special offers. The product can be, for example, a paid video course, audio course, webinar, service, or access to software.
How to Set up your Marketing Funnel
The first step in building a marketing funnel is to understand how your customers behave online. You have to understand which platforms are used by your target group in order to create awareness there. Strategies that work for one target group do not automatically work for other target groups.
The following measures are good ways of raising awareness:
How to get Awareness
These are great if you already have a list of people interested in your business. For example, existing customers, or people who have attended one of your workshops. With the help of personalized letters, you can refer prospects to your brand and products.
Social Media Platforms:
These are great marketing channels to generate awareness. On the one hand, you can set up your own social media channel, publish and comment on relevant content and thus achieve free awareness. Or you can employ running paid ads on social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Ads can include banner ads as well as activities such as post boosting. You can also promote content such as a white paper or a guide created by your company. In this way, you can increase the reach of your content.
The unique thing about social media ads is low wasted spend. Depending on the platform, you can target audiences based on criteria such as location, age, gender, search history, interests and even factors like employer or job title. The ads are paid for either by clicks or impressions of your ad. Clear target group definition helps you ensure that only relevant people see your ads and thus increases ad profitability.
Write regularly about topics related to your product or a related industry. In this way, users get relevant content and new interested parties can be drawn to your blog through search engines. Starting out as a blogger is difficult due to the large amount of information already available on the Internet. Connect with related bloggers who share your articles on social media, pay attention to the quality of your posts, prioritize thematic niches and interact with your own community.
For example, by responding to comments and questions from your community about an article. The most important core element is quality. If you just paraphrase well-known content from the Internet, it is difficult to get noticed. Great, relevant content is the key to success.
Search engine optimization (SEO):
This describes all measures to improve content visibility on your website/blog in search engines. In concrete terms, this means that you are trying to ensure that your website appears in the search results for relevant search queries. This gives you free website visitors. However, this means exact planning of your website content.
You have to work out the search queries (keywords) for which you want to appear in the search results and optimize your content (website texts) accordingly. For this you can use keyword research tools like Moz, SEMrush or Ahrefs. This tells you what your target audience is looking for in your niche. You should primarily look for keywords with a high search volume (> 800 search queries per month).
Media coverage of your content and products can give your business a big boost, especially in the early stages. To be successful with the media, it is crucial to take their perspective, especially that of journalists, who are constantly looking for new, newsworthy content. If you have an entertaining, exciting story, or if your company is in line with topics in vogue (e.g. sustainability), you have a good chance of getting covered in an article.
Publish articles on external online platforms that are visited by your target group. Guest contributions must be well written, because the demand for quality is increasing. Quality guest posts are shared by readers on social media, driving the spread of your message. In addition to valuable information, guest articles should also contain a link to your website. In this way, you receive relevant website visitors from external online platforms.
LinkedIn is the largest social network for professionals with over 230 million active users. LinkedIn enables you to network with people and professional organizations in your industry. It is particularly suitable for drawing attention to your services and products. For example, you can publish specialist articles on LinkedIn and thus draw attention to yourself. You can also maintain your own profile and thus be found by potential customers. You can also search specifically for your dream customers on LinkedIn and get in contact with them. You also have the option of placing ads on LinkedIn for your target group. LinkedIn offers a wide range of opportunities to create awareness for your brand and products. Use the many possibilities and don't just use your LinkedIn profile as a way to present your CV. On the contrary, expand on your products and services, your vision and goals, your unique selling proposition, create social proof and convince the reader with your personal story.
Paid ads are outreach measures that are subject to a fee but are quickly ready for use and that are available to anyone to convey an advertising message to new customers. Google, Facebook and Instagram are the usual platforms on which so-called paid ads can be placed. Paid ads are basically digital advertising space that can be purchased.
How to establish Desire
In this phase, i.e. in the middle of the funnel, the prospect already knows you. However, he is still not sure whether you are the right contact person for his problem. You can use the following measures to build up the necessary trust.
Show examples of how you have already helped similar customers in the past. If you address different target groups, it is advisable to present a case study for each target group on your website as an example. Ideally by means of a video, as your voice and image would convey a personal touch.
Show reviews from satisfied customers. These independent, objective voices are highly valued when presented authentically.
Newsletter and social media:
Uncertain prospects can follow you on social media or subscribe to your newsletter. This way, they collect further data and information in order to eventually find out if you are the right contact person.
Link to independent product reviews on platforms like YouTube or blogs. Depending on the situation, there may also be unboxing and test videos for your products. All of this leads to social proof and should definitely be used.
Show the prospect that you are actually an expert in the field and enjoy your products at the appropriate level. Offer compact guides as e-books, refer to free videos on YouTube or webinars. If you offer software, free trial periods should be offered to give prospects a risk-free look and increase interest.
How to establish Action
This is the stage where leads with high-intent to purchase are. The prospect has the wallet in their hands and is ready to open it.
The goal at this stage is to convince the lead to buy while also ensuring that they will be successful with your product or service. The customer needs information material and possibly assistance to integrate the new solution. It's not just about making sales at any price. It is important to ensure happy customers. Because happy customers come back and are happy to recommend the product to others.
With the following measures you can transfer convinced leads that are in the middle phase to the final action phase:
a prospective buyer who is already willing to buy is sometimes just waiting for a specific reason to buy. Provide one with a limited time offer. An offer with a limited time creates a sense of urgency. Such offers are not easy to miss.
a tight supply prompts people to take action due to ‘Fear of Missing Out’ (FOMO). If you are planning to release a new item or service, you can create an offer that is only available in a limited quantity. Offers do not necessarily have to be price reductions. It is better to add additional services to the product, i.e. to increase the perceived added value for the interested party. This does not affect overall sales value, but you would have still created an additional incentive for interested parties.
A money-back guarantee helps to minimize last residual risk. Depending on your product, a money-back guarantee may be an option. If in doubt, you can try out how your customers react and how often the guarantee is abused.
Live events and webinars:
Present your services and products in live events and webinars. This will help clear up any remaining concerns. Interested parties can use the chat function to ask you questions and in this way you will also learn what concerns your target group has (in order to then respond to them more intensively on your landing page). You can also host general live events where attendees can ask you questions regarding your area of expertise. In this way they create added value for your community and you can convince attendees with your expertise.
Loyal customers are extremely valuable for your company. On the one hand, loyal customers buy over and over again, on the other hand, they are the best brand ambassadors you could wish for.
Because of this, reconnecting with customers who have had a positive experience with your brand is necessary. This can eventually lead to further purchases or referrals.
How to start
A marketing funnel should be created and monitored for every online business. In order to make the beginning easier, it is advisable to focus on a few measures and to carry them out as thoroughly as possible. Deal intensively with your target group and consider which measures are most promising for your target group and your situation. Start small, measure success, continuously improve your measures based on feedback and try out additional measures bit by bit.
Success is the result of a continuous process.