One of the quintessential parts of the sales journey is the marketing funnel.
A marketing funnel breaks down and describes your customer’s journey with you from the early moments when they first learn about your business, through the purchasing stage and beyond.
It is designed to improve both your ability to attract and to convert consumers to your business.
In order to create a proper marketing funnel, it is essential to break down the customer journey. This allows you to understand and better optimize your customer experience. In doing so, you will ensure that credible leads turn into actual clients for your business.
What is the Hourglass?
Instead of thinking of the marketing funnel in the traditional cone shape, wherein the ingredients are squeezed towards the bottom, you should think of it more like an hourglass.
This means that, once you reach conversion your marketing work is not finished. You should then re-open the funnel to build customer loyalty.
If you can identify what the customer journey is after conversion, you will not only deepen your relationship with your consumers but also create advocates for your business.
In addition, according to the Harvard Business Review, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits 25% to 95%.
Stages of the Marketing Funnel
The marketing funnel can be broken down into the following five stages:
The first action item is ensuring consumers understand your brand; who you are, what you offer, and what you stand for. This is where content marketing plays in.
To create awareness, you need to develop strategic branded content that will attract your target market and break the ice with them so that they are more amenable to future correspondence.
Building a strong social media presence and blogging are each strong options. Both provide you the opportunity to market your industry expertise.
Remember, awareness works best when consumers don’t feel like they are being marketed to. Develop great content that people actually care to read, see, and watch. Doing so will bring a more subconscious awareness of your business and improve the likelihood of your content getting shared.
In previous posts, we have discussed SEO and PPC advertising. Both strategies are fantastic ways to attract eyes to your business through the power of search engine results pages. Of course, there is always the more traditional route: fliers, commercials, marketing events, and mailers.
This is the make or break point, the key to the marketing funnel. When a consumer is in the consideration stage, you must figure out how to convert them.
There are a few different strategies to sway people stuck on the fence.
The most powerful is often social proof; that might mean utilizing testimonials and customer reviews, or brand advocates. It’s up to you but when consumers know other people trust you, they’re more likely to trust you too.
Lead magnets are also extremely beneficial. For example, make sure you have a clear landing page on your website with a persuasive call to action. Think Spotify’s, “Try Premium free for 30 days”.
Developing a monthly newsletter that consumers opt into can also support the conversion process over time.
Time to bread the butter! Now that your lead is set to be converted, you can largely rely on your product or service to do the work for you. Largely, but not entirely. You need to walk the consumer through to conversion.
First, that means guaranteeing a simple check-out process, so consumers do not feel risk when buying. By verifying that your purchasing process is as streamlined as possible, you’ll stave off consumer anxiety.
But wait! They committed to our service, but never signed the contract! They put items in their cart, but never hit submit!
Now you must entice them back in. If you have their contact information, you can offer a discount or free shipping through email. If not, you can utilize remarketing ads and target consumers who’ve browsed your site with a discount offer.
Simplicity and persuasion will ensure you convert your leads.
How do you build consumer loyalty? A rewards program is a perfect place to start. You can offer discounts or exclusive member access. Don’t forget to offer rewards for a referral to your company.
Remarketing products through email that your customer enjoyed is another smart tactic. Most consumers will re-purchase an item they were satisfied with when reminded.
Without a doubt, the most important step in the loyalty stage is to send an appreciation email after a purchase is made. Communicating your gratitude is a sure-fire way to blossom a long-term customer relationship. Plus, in the future, they will be more receptive to emails from you.
You achieve advocacy when your customers evolve from your clients into your fans. At this point, they’ve probably purchased from your business multiple times and are likely to continue doing so. You’ve built a connection with them and now they love your brand and want to rave about you.
Leading consumers to the advocacy stage is the most invaluable output of the marketing funnel. That’s because no type of marketing is more effective or inexpensive than referral marketing.
Be sure to continue to show your appreciation to your advocates, they are like employees working on your marketing team for free!
Reach out to people who mention your business or leave positive feedback on third-party sites and social media to thank them. Consider offering them another incentive to continue to use your business.
Other people online or on social media will notice your generosity and appreciate your grateful and thankful brand persona.
Benefits of the Marketing Funnel
Not only do marketing funnels describe your customer journey, they also simplify it. By doing a deep-dive into the customer acquisition, conversion, and loyalty process you’ll ensure you notice any roadblocks to a smooth purchasing journey.
In addition, marketing funnels also make business simpler for you. Because they are measurable, you can identify where in the funnel you are failing to engage consumers and change your approach.
If returning consumers don’t wax lyrical about you on social media, you should re-evaluate how you encourage and show thanks for customer advocacy.
Now that you understand the ins and outs of the hourglass marketing funnel, you are well on your way to improving your customer journey.
Executing Your Hourglass
If you’re looking for help implementing your marketing funnel you’re in the right place. Whether you want to build greater awareness of your business, identify strategies to convert consumers, or develop a custom CRM for a loyalty program, DataDay can help you.
We specialize in helping businesses improve their online presence from the awareness stage all the way through advocacy. If you’d like to learn more about how DataDay can help you attract and retain more customers, you can schedule a free consultation below.