Marketing Funnel: discover how to implement it in your company

The term Marketing funnel refers to that path formed by the different steps taken by users before being converted into customers. Many steps can be automated with a marketing automation software. The shorter the funnel, the less chances are that the user will get lost.

Are you wondering what “funnel” means? Simple! Think about the last time you bought something online and the steps you had to take before deciding to finalize the purchase:

  • You have probably done some preliminary research to know the product, understand its characteristics, and take an interest in it;
  • You might have also viewed some e-commerce sites of different suppliers;
  • Once you understand that the product meets your needs, you will proceed to choose the supplier;
  • The last step is to do all the steps on the platform to buy it.

To further clarify the concept, we shall explore a practical example on the phases of the funnel. Let’s say you want to buy tennis balls.

  • Through a Google search, you came across an e-commerce specialized in sports equipment. You took a look, then left the site and visited 5 others selling similar products;
  • The next day, you are reading an online newspaper, completely forgetting the search done the day before, until you see the banner of the site with those same tennis balls that you had spotted with an additional 10% discount and you have considered the purchase;
  • You clicked on the banner, returned to the site, left your data to receive the discount code by email, filled out the payment form, then received your product 3 days later;
  • In the following days, the company contacts you to make sure that its article has satisfied you. After reassuring them, they asked you to leave a comment on the product;
  • About a month later, they contact you again to offer you a beautiful tennis racket with the same balls you bought the month before.

Well! You’ve just gone through a possible marketing funnel of an e-commerce that sells sporting goods.

marketing funnel in digital online

Before analyzing the steps of Marketing Funnel and understanding their importance within a digital funnel strategy, we must first take a step back. It is necessary to define the context in which this inverted pyramid path is conceived and created. The goal is to find new customers and increase the turnover of online businesses.

Without going into specifics, it is rightful to mention an important declination of Funnel Marketing that is Growth Marketing. It is a methodology that works not on a specific part of the conversion funnel but on the whole funnel in order to bring a growth result.

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Marketing Funnel: what is Inbound Marketing and Lead Generation

Inbound Marketing is a digital marketing discipline concerned with studying strategies capable of attracting potential customers to itself, rather than following them and interrupting them while they do something else. So, what is funnel marketing? It is the process that applies this strategy: the marketing funnel.

The goal is to propose to a specific group of targeted users at the right time, with the right channel, and a content of interest to attract and convert them into customers through a process divided into several phases. Unlike traditional marketing, this way of operating is intended to offer useful advertising for those who receive it.

The consumer’s mind follows a principle of selective attention, that is, it pays attention only to what interests it at that precise stage of life, unconsciously ignoring everything else.

If a user does not have young children, why propose a banner advertising diapers? This content is not only uninteresting to him, but even disturbs him, constituting a waste of economic resources for the company.

In technical jargon, the potential customer is called Lead. More specifically, the Lead is the personal data of a potential buyer. Lead Generation is the activity aimed at acquiring these data (name, email, telephone number of people who have characteristics suitable for the products / services offered by the company). It is an intermediate phase of inbound marketing in which the focus is on collecting new profiles.

To build an effective web marketing funnel strategy, it is necessary to first understand who our interlocutors are. Potential customers before becoming such are simple online users and only a small part of these will turn into Leads. The first step is to try to understand what the typical behaviors of online users are during their decision-making process and how they use different channels during their journey towards purchase (Customer Journey).

Through this analysis, we can make a prediction on how and when a channel can be more or less useful than another, then study their use in an integrated way to optimize our web marketing funnel. It is essential to be present in all fields: with SEO on search engines, with advertising on social networks and on the web. This is especially true in the initial phase.

People use social media, search engines, and the web in general without precise rules based on their preferences, their needs, and their possibilities. Someone uses the PC more and someone else the smartphone more; one user spends 90% of his time on social media while another spends it on search engines.

From this, we deduce that the Customer Journey is not the same for everyone. On the contrary, each user is unique and has their own way of reasoning and their journey will never be perfectly equal to that of another user.

However, there are occurrences in many of them. The company’s task is to try to cover all possible scenarios, building a strategy that makes it have as much control over users as possible, rather than losing them or leaving them to chance.

To increase the chances of success, we must learn to predict how our typical customer will behave in the future. Predict scenarios and try as much as possible to control them. This is the goal of inbound marketing. Define a strategy in which we will use those same channels in a systematic and forecasting way to ensure that, in most cases, the acquisition process takes place on the means which we have focused on and that we can control.

From a purely theoretical point of view, the actions to be carried out are well-defined but, in reality, their application is not so simple and immediate. The company clashes daily with obstacles that should not be underestimated such as the lack of human resources, the little time to devote to individual activities, and the lack of skills.

A good inbound marketing strategy allows us to optimize all our resources by playing the game according to our rules and our strengths.

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3 questions to ask yourself before building a perfect marketing funnel strategy

Who are our best customers (Buyer Personas)?

Our current customers bring with them precise characteristics that we must take care to learn and analyze. On this source of reliable data, we can hypothesize and build the typical profile of our best customer. Of the Buyer Persona, it is necessary to know their age, gender, where they live, what profession they have, what needs and problems they encounter, what objectives they have in relation to our products, where they look for information before buying, what are their objections to the product / service, etc.

From this information, we must study the best way to present our proposal to them. Each company should have an average of 2 to 6 Buyer Personas. Although the data may describe more, it is good to group them into a few categories so as to facilitate their management. In this way, we can get to choose our customers and not have to consider them all in the same way by dedicating the same resources to them.

What needs can we meet?

For our product to be successful, it must be useful, it must be able to solve a real problem or, else, the user will never consider us as a possible solution. Once we have identified the problem we want to solve, we must study how to solve it best and in the shortest possible time. What technologies do we need? How many resources? What skills?

What problems, difficulties, and prejudices do they have? What could stop them before deciding that we are the solution to their problem?

In order to eliminate the obstacles that the potential customer may encounter before making the final decision, it is necessary to work with all possible means to know these limits and solve them.

Understanding the scenarios we are about to deal with, we can start building an optimal inbound marketing process.

funnel marketing trends and evidences

 

Here is an example of a possible optimal funnel marketing process

  1. Choice of channels through which to intercept the typical user (SEO, SEM, website, blog, social media, email).
  2. Generation of visits to the portal that will increase if you have chosen the right channels.
  3. Acquisition of personal data by filling out a registration form (Lead Generation).
  4. Insertion of these master data in a database / CRM (software that serves to store in an orderly manner all the data that are collected by the form).
  5. Immediate sending of a confirmation email with the required materials attached. This is possible as the CRM is tied to another email marketing software.
  6. Telephone contact. A staff member who has access to the database contacts the user by phone to immediately eliminate the “digital barrier” by offering human contact.
  7. Automatic follow-up and/or managed by people. After you are reached by phone, a member of staff or software will send you information.
  8. Live meeting or via video call. For example, let’s say that I have to buy a custom-made kitchen, it is likely that the person on the phone proposes to me to have one of their employees come home to take measurements or make an appointment with an interior architect to understand what the optimal arrangement of the furniture is.
  9. Further understanding of specific needs/limitations/difficulties of the potential customer. The staff will have to understand the obstacles to the user’s purchase decision and will work to eliminate them. Finally, the definition of a proposal for an offer is laid out.
  10. Recall from a person or automatic follow-up. After proposing the offer, if the user does not call back, it is good to have them contacted by an employee or through automatic follow-up; For example, with an email reminding them that they received a quote 3 days ago.
  11. Closing. After successfully passing all these steps, the user decides to become a customer by finalizing the purchase.
  12. Post Purchase. This step is very important in digital marketing because it can favor or hinder the acquisition of a customer.

The post-purchase phases:

  • Optimal management of the service provided and customer satisfaction.
  • Detection of any other needs to be met.
  • Cross selling/upselling. If the customer is satisfied with the service, after some time, we can offer them other complementary products to the one they have already purchased (cross selling) or a larger product (upselling) that could be useful for them.
  • Customer loyalty.
  • Acquire positive reviews and give visibility on social media to satisfied customers. It is particularly important to have good reviews online. It is on the basis of these that the user could decide whether or not to include us in his list of possible suppliers.
  • Generation of new leads that are already positively conditioned. A positively conditioned lead is one that requires more information, precisely because it has read a positive review of a former customer, perhaps belonging to their circle of social friends. These are leads with a high probability of conversion.

In this process we went through all the phases of the inbound marketing funnel.

4 macro phases of the Marketing Funnel

 1- Awareness

It is the awareness of being there. The awareness of the existence of a solution to my problem and the awareness of the existence of suppliers who can solve it.

 2- Interest

I know that there is a technology that can solve my problem. I begin to be interested. I start to take information online, deepening my interest in this product / service to understand all the advantages, prices, and if it is really the best solution for my specific case.

 3- Consideration

After discovering that there is a technology that can solve my problem, understanding the benefits and discovering that it is within my initial budget, then I start to consider buying. I’m not just inquiring about the solutions viable for me, but I’m already at the next step. I am considering from which supplier to conclude the purchase.

 4- Purchase

I decided who will be my supplier and I concluded the purchase.

This funnel path necessarily starts wide because we must make all our buyer personas aware of our existence and the product / service we offer, then transform some of these into customers.

We saw this process from the customer’s side. Now let’s try to examine it from the side of the company.

During the customer journey, the company must be able to reach them with the right channels at every single stage.

For example, in the Awareness phase, we have to affect many people, so we will use massive channels such as Display Advertising, Email Marketing, and Social Advertising. In the final stages, we will use more targeted channels that work best on small numbers such as: phone call, video conference, or live meeting. It starts by hitting a very large number of people to be able to skim them along the way and dedicate the resources and energies of the staff only to those who have shown to have a real interest in buying.

Funnel Marketing: 7 phases of the user journey

  1. User of the site
  2. Registered user
  3. Lead
  4. Prospect
  5. Customer
  6. Loyal customer
  7. Fan/Promoter

The job of those who build a marketing funnel is to transform what is initially a potential visitor to the site, with whom you still have a very detached and cold relationship, into a registered user starting to warm up this relationship.

marketing funnel pyramid

If this registered user has not only subscribed to the newsletter but has requested information, he becomes a Lead – a potential customer. If after having more info also requires a precise quote, the Lead becomes a Prospect. For the company, at each stage, this person becomes more and more relevant because he comes close to becoming a customer.

The customer, if satisfied, can become loyal and buy repeatedly. At best, they can become a fan / promoter of the company and the product / service they purchased, recommending it to other people on social networks, triggering the much-coveted word of mouth.

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How to increase marketing funnel conversions with the “Psych Framework”

The Psych Framework is a systematic method of detecting and improving the way an experience affects the user’s emotional energy, which is called Psych. This structure was developed by Darius Contractor (Growth at Dropbox, prev CTO @FWDus, VP Eng Bebo) to help the growth of companies such as Tickle, Bebo, and Dropbox.

Why can one change made on one page improve conversions, while cause a decrease in another page? For two reasons:

  • Every element of the page adds or subtracts emotional energy
  • The motivation of the user is equally important to conclude the action

The secret to improving conversion rate is to think of each User Experience (UX) interaction as an emotional event. These interactions do not have to be random, but induced so that they can be controlled.

Emotionally driven interactions can be divided into multiple components, which, in turn, can be optimized at each step and replicated to achieve better results both in terms of navigation and conversions.

Each interaction during the UX can increase or decrease the Psych, (the emotional energy of the user), which, in this case, is used as a unit of measurement (ranging from 0 to 100) to calculate the motivation with which a user completes an action. The elements of a page, especially the main ones, are:

  • Arrival on site
  • Trust signals (Logo, payment methods, reviews)
  • The headlines presenting the offer
  • The more or less captivating design
  • Entering your email address and credit card details (is the number of fields excessive?

 

These are mainly responsible for the oscillation of this unit of measurement. Decreasing the user’s cognitive load will increase the chances that they will reach the end of the marketing funnel process. Once you understand what elements are adding or subtracting motivation from users, they can be managed to help the prospect complete the conversion. It’s all about being aware of the state of Psych that your site is in, what makes it soar high, and what causes it to fall into the abyss when navigated.

We have said that to increase the conversion rate the motivation of the user is just as important as the optimization of the elements described above.

A user at 100 “Psych” is totally immersed in his experience, the motivation is maximum; So, it will not need more stimulation and will overcome most of the obstacles to carry out the action. For example, if a person has only one hour to book the latest model of his favorite smartphone on a website and take advantage of the 30% discount, we are sure that an unknown platform or the process to recover a forgotten password will not stop him.

Conversely, a user at 0 “Psych” is completely disinterested, and a fascinating design or a nice presentation of the offer will not be enough to motivate them to continue the path. For example, if a person randomly clicks on an ad that advertises dog food, but they don’t have a dog, then they won’t be motivated to get to the end of the marketing funnel.

How is the starting psych determined?

To find out how much “emotional energy” a user has when they enter your site, consider how they got there. For example, people who come to Google have a high Psych score (about 60 P), as they have an intrinsic motivation that drove them to type the query on the search engine. On the contrary, visits from clicks on banners will probably have a low score (around 30 P), because the visit came from a stimulus external to the site.

Check out these examples to understand how to evaluate the entire Psych score of a web page.

Conclusion

As we have seen, the user surfing the web unconsciously performs actions. These actions are not always the result of the randomness of events, but are guided by inputs. These inputs are nothing more than the baits that digital marketing professionals have included in their strategy to make the unaware navigator cross their marketing funnel, trying to push it as far as possible towards the final phase of the process, i.e., transformation into a customer.

Without careful analysis and construction of this process, online companies, instead of attracting the most interested users, would lose most of their economic resources in inconclusive digital actions, risking being invasive towards users, attracting their dislike, and thus putting the reputation of the brand at risk. Our school does not specifically offer a course on what marketing funnel is, but it will still be covered in full detail in many of our course offerings. One of them is the Inbound Marketing & Lead Generation course.

If it’s still unclear to you how to make a successful Marketing Funnel, we recommend contacting an expert. Our experts are more than glad to guide you step by step in acquiring the necessary skills

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