What Is the Marketing Funnel and How Does It Work

Updated: Apr 27

During this time of social distancing due to COVID-19, we have changed and changing everyday how we communicate and conduct business. I have been focusing on automating the sales system I have. By doing so, customer service improves and conversion rates increase.

As a business owner, you may have put your heart and soul on starting a business and creating a website to offer your services or products, but if the results are not as expected, it’s you, not your customers, who needs to change. Once you are up and running, identify every pain point of the customer journey to figure out where people are losing interest in your offering. Then, you’ll have to come up with an alternative and assess whether the problem is solved. The marketing funnel will give you all the tools and data you need to do so. Read on to learn all about this powerful process and why you should implement it right away.

What is the marketing funnel?

The marketing funnel is a visual representation of all the steps a visitor has to go through before they purchase a product or service. Its origins date back to 1910, when American philosopher John Dewey introduced the five stages consumers go through before, during, and after purchasing a good or service.

This buyer decision process included the following stages: Problem/need-recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior. Over time, this idea evolved into the contemporary marketing funnel, which focuses on the different stages from the moment people first hear about a business to the moment they make a transaction.

But why is it named funnel? Marketing efforts start with as many leads as possible, which are later nurtured through the journey until they purchase a service or product. As people advance through the different stages, many abandon the process and the crowd thins. Thus the resulting visual representation takes the shape of a funnel.

Benefits of the marketing funnel

Now that you know what the marketing funnel is, you’re probably wondering if you should start using this system for your business. Ask yourself the following question: Do I have a service or product I intend customers to purchase? If the answer is yes, then you should definitely do so. As a business, your success does not only depend on the quality of your offering but also on the way in which it’s presented. Everything from your website layout and color scheme to the micro-copy and navigation of your site also plays a huge role on your customer’s journey through the marketing funnel.

Having a clear view of the customer journey will allow you to identify road

blocks and improve your conversion rate. Based on this data, you’ll be able to redesign your website to offer a better user experience, create successful sales campaigns, and find the best places to promote your business.

Stages of the marketing funnel

While the basics of the marketing funnel have remained mostly unchanged for more than a century, there isn’t a global consensus on what the different stages actually are. Below, you’ll find a visual representation of the most commonly used marketing funnel stages, as well as a description of each of them.

Awareness Awareness is the highest-level stage of the marketing funnel. This is the point where customers first learn about your brand through market research and targeted marketing campaigns. Here is where lead generation takes place, as potential customers’ information will be used to guide them through the rest of the marketing funnel and into sales. Discovery Leads who show an interest in your business and services move onto the next stage of the marketing funnel, aptly known as interest. At this point, lead generation turns into lead nurture as brands start working on establishing a connection with all the contacts gathered during the previous stage. Email marketing is one of the most common practices in this stage, as it allows business to reach out directly to leads with relevant, branded content. Leads start getting treated as prospective customers, and at this point, businesses start using marketing automation to send targeted email campaigns with actionable intent. These can include anything from free trials and sales announcements to exclusive access to webinars and forums. Evaluation

Lead nurture meets sales in the evaluation stage of the marketing funnel. This joint effort is meant to convince prospective buyers to take the leap and make a purchase. Much like the previous stage, the focus is kept on positioning the business’ offering as the ideal choice. Intent Once a prospective customer demonstrates a clear intent to purchase a product or service, they move down the marketing funnel to the “intent” stage. Ever left something on your online shopping basket and received an email about it a day or two after? That’s what entering this stage feels like. For businesses, this is the time to prove why their offering is the best option for the prospective customer. Purchase The pot of gold at the end of the marketing funnel rainbow is known as the purchase stage. This is where prospects finally decide to buy the service or product.At this point, sales teams take over to manage transactions.

There are many tools that can be used to create sales funnels in your business. Knowing the concept of a marketing funnel is paramount to be able to include sales funnels at every contact with your business. Automating sales funnels is the easiest way to scale your business. Within your digital marketing campaign, make sure you have automation built in to keep prospects cycling through your funnel and retaining customers. Please reach out for help fine tuning your marketing funnel!


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