Every business has a funnel. Whether you refer to it as a “digital funnel”, “marketing funnel” or “conversion funnel”, these processes exist for businesses looking to retrieve new leads, convert leads to paying customers and get repeat business from these customers. If you haven’t discussed your business’ digital funnel yet, don’t worry – you’re not alone!
Business processes take time, but mistakes can happen if you don’t do your research beforehand. Funnels aren’t one-business fits-all; they’re a multi-step campaign that leads a prospect towards a desired action based on your business goals. Organizations enjoy consistent growth, so crafting a funnel with measurable KPIs and clear targets for conversions, goals and sales. It’s a combination of the various types of funnels available as well as the different stages that make funnels effective for your enterprise.
5 Digital Marketing Funnel Stages You Need to Know
- Exposure – In order to grow your brand, you need to increase your brand’s awareness. As our world becomes increasingly digital, utilizing content marketing strategies to boost your digital public relations tactics can solidify your brand image both on and offline. Word of mouth marketing is great, but with so many consumers living online, you need to optimize your Internet presence.
- Discovery – So you’ve marketed your brand and your target market has landed on your homepage. You’ve nailed the first part of your digital marketing strategy! Great; but now you need to keep your customers on your website until they make a purchasing decision. Think of your web design like Netflix’s recommendations or auto-play features. Just as you’re about to close out of your Chrome browser and call it a night, Netflix counts down the seconds until it starts playing the next episode of the series you’re watching. Or if you’ve completed a series, Netflix will line up a selection of recommended shows that you should watch next. Before you know it, watching one episode turns into a binge-watching marathon into the early hours of the morning. It’s the same thing with your e-commerce store. Once you get people to your site, you want them to have the best customer journey possible and explore what other products you have to offer. Include recommendations for similar products before your customer checks out; have a pop-up inviting consumers to sign up for a monthly email newsletter. The last thing you want is for your customer to browse your website without leaving any info for you.
- Consideration – Believe it or not, most online shoppers are already thinking of buying a product before they get to your store. Essentially, they can serve as brand advocates before they even purchase your product! When a customer lands on your company page, it’s important to address all of the consumer’s concerns to make the path to purchase smooth and pain-free. A smooth funnel is one where you can anticipate the needs of your consumers before they even know what questions they want to ask; this in turn creates better marketing tactics to target your customers correctly. Include an FAQ and product reviews so your customer has everything they need prior to entering their credit card information.
- Conversion – The ultimate end-goal for all businesses who sell a consumer product is a high conversion rate. Once someone is ready to buy, you want to make the process of completing a transaction as easy as possible for them. As you build your digital marketing conversion funnel, it’s important to examine possible “leaks” in your funnel, or points where prospects change their minds and leave your site, thereby breaking your sales process. True conversions don’t simply end at the point of sale; you want to retain your customers and turn them into loyal shoppers who come back to your business again and again. Your conversion funnel should help you grow both your customer base and your sales team to constantly be looking to improve the product or services you provide to meet their needs every time.
- Customer Relationship – Relationships are important if you plan on growing your business. If your customer isn’t getting value or what they want from you, they’ll likely leave your business. Limit the amount of email marketing you send your customers so you’re not spamming their inbox and always be ready to answer questions with top-notch customer service. Developing a productive customer relationship may be costly and time-consuming in the beginning, but it’s much more difficult to replace customers who leave you than to retain your existing customers.
Each stage of the digital funnel builds on the one that comes before it, so strengthening each area of your process can contribute to your business’ overall growth. In addition to checking every stage of your business funnel, you need to be aware of the various types of funnels that a digital business needs.
Types of Digital Funnels
Conversion Funnels – According to Digital Marketer, a conversion funnel is simply a multi-step, versatile campaign that brings a prospective customer to a desired result. We can even break this definition down further, examining how a conversion funnel fits into three specific categories: acquisition, activation and monetization.
Your business needs to employ all three of these conversion funnels but you’ll need each one at different times in your business. Each one meets a particular goal; your monetization funnel isn’t meeting the goals of your activation funnel and vice versa. Focus on building the funnel your business needs today.
If you need to acquire new customers, create an acquisition funnel like offering market research white papers to help generate new lead prospects. Once you have your leads, you want to activate your buyers and get as many of these leads to convert. This leads into the monetization funnel, which is where you can snag your leads and turn them into paying customers.
Of course, you’ll want to track every step of your business journey so setting up your conversion funnel Google Analytics is a must. Start by defining your lead goals prior to creating your funnel as this will help you identify any problems at any point of your consumer’s paths.
Digital Sales Funnels – Sales funnels guide customers through the path of purchase with, hopefully, an end result of a sales transaction. Especially for e-commerce shops, you want to structure your digital sales steps in such a way that you offer customers something first before they actually make a purchase.
Business2Community outlines the ideal steps your digital sales funnel should take. It begins with keeping the lines of communication between you and your customer open; consider offering a freebie service like downloading a white paper in exchange for an email address. Pick something that a visitor to your website considers valuable enough that they would give up their contact information in exchange. Once you get visitors to sign up, redirect them to a page that not only thanks them but offers a special deal on a product you’re selling or is an extension of the free product you gave visitors. The big end goal is to redirect your visitor to a final sales page that offers you the product you ultimately are trying to sell.
Don’t panic if customers choose to not make the final big purchase – not all is lost when a visitor leaves your page. If they’ve traveled through the first two parts of your sales funnel, you still have their contact information in your database so you can contact them via email at a later date. And digital sales funnels aren’t only for online businesses. Suppose you’re in the business of selling bicycles. You could offer a freebie on the best bike trails or easy bike maintenance on your website for customers to download.
Facebook Funnels – Facebook and other social media platforms are great for engaging with your target market, considering how many people are constantly checking their social media profiles. If your company is on Facebook, that’s great for brand awareness and creating an open line of dialogue between you and your customers. But you could be making several mistakes when it comes to effectively implementing a digital sales funnel on your social media.
Fact: “At most decision points, more than 50% of your audience opts out.” – Brian Carter Group
For starters, take a good look at your sales funnel on Facebook. Are you spending a huge amount of money on ads and seeing little return? If you have thousands of likes on your page but are only getting minimal sales then you might be implementing too many steps from discovery to purchase. Your social content might not be shareable or engaging, resulting in a lack of shares and retweets. If the numbers aren’t promising, thoroughly comb through all of your social pages and see what needs fixing. It may mean revamping your landing pages and launching an A/B test to see what content users are engaging with the most.
At the end of the day, don’t be afraid to delve into customer research and figure out what it will take to sell your product. As a business your job is to sell so there are times you’ll have to be pushy and a little salesy if you want to remain in business. Figure out what is keeping people from clicking on your ads and making a purchase. Close the sale before your competitors take your potential customers.
The funnel marketing approach is the journey your customers take from the time they first discover your brand to the ultimate end goal of making a final purchase. There are a number of steps and types of funnels that contribute to your business growth and it depends on what stage your business is at and what type of industry you would classify your enterprise.
A customer’s online journey is complex, so your digital funnel will be different from everyone else’s. Focus on what your customers and what your business needs are today; you can build off of existing funnels and optimize channels that affect customer purchasing decisions. Your digital marketing funnel is a series of steps that takes time to properly develop. Before you launch your funnel, thoroughly research your target market and plan your strategy with analytics and a way to measure your progress. Create A/B tests to discover what customers are positively responding to and what isn’t working. You’ll need a little bit of luck and a ton of patience, but if you’re willing to work for it your digital sales funnel could skyrocket your business potential.