In today’s digital age, online businesses rely heavily on marketing funnels to attract new customers, make sales, and develop ongoing relationships with their consumer base. But what is a marketing funnel and what role does it play in your digital marketing strategy?
At its core, a marketing funnel is a system designed to attract, nurture, convert, and retain customers. When used in tandem with a strong digital marketing strategy (as opposed to a traditional marketing strategy), a funnel allows you to create an automated system for leads.
This is a digital version of something we experience constantly in the offline world. We become aware of a new store, say, a new restaurant in town. After passing the new sign a half dozen times, reading a handful of reviews, and realizing they serve up one of your favorite dishes, you decide to try it out. Your experience, good or bad, will determine whether you return, leave a good review, or tell all your friends to eat there.
The same basic premise exists online. When you open a digital storefront, you need to make sure your customers know you’re open for business, offer something they want, and able to deliver as promised.
The different phases of a marketing funnel
A well-executed funnel is designed to take your prospective customer on a journey where they become more familiar with your brand. There are several stops along the way:
Stop #1: Raise Awareness
The first piece of a marketing funnel is gathering leads. This is akin to finding out that a new restaurant has opened its doors. In this phase, potential clients first become aware of your business, what it does, and how it could potentially help them. Our personal philosophy around web development relies on simple and effective methods to make this happen. Strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and paid advertising can all play into an effective awareness campaign.
The goal in this phase isn’t necessarily to make a sale; it’s to ensure your target client knows you exist.
Stop #2: Nurture Your Lead
In the second phase of your marketing funnel, we recommend nurturing your new lead. Now that your ideal client knows you exist, it’s time to make sure you stand out as the right business for the job. The more you stand out as a trustworthy, knowledgeable resource, the more likely it is that your lead will be willing to buy your product or service.
To do this, revisit your digital marketing strategy. Now that you’ve attracted your new leads, does the content deliver on its promise? Is it relevant to the questions your audience members are asking? This is also a point in the funnel where elements of social proof become important. Just like a restaurant collects reviews, your business collects testimonials, case studies, and personal anecdotes. A combination of solid content and the positive experiences of others will help you transition seamlessly from new lead to nurtured lead.
Stop #3: Convert Your Lead
Now that your new lead knows you and trusts you, it’s time to make an offer that aligns with their needs. At this point, your goal is to turn your lead into a paying client. Your offer, whether it’s a product or a service, should be a direct answer to your potential clients’ needs. Up until this point, the content you produce has been helping your business shine. But for your lead to see real results, they will need to invest in your services.
We recommend taking a look at our conversion rate optimization blog.
Stop #4: Create Ongoing Loyalty
Most businesses thrive not only on new sales, but on a healthy number of repeat customers. This final phase of your marketing funnel is frequently forgotten, but it may be the most important. We all know someone who swears by a single brand over any other when it comes to a specific product or service. Mac and PC computers are a classic example. Most computer users fall firmly into one of the two camps and couldn’t imagine owning a product from the competing brand.
This same fierce brand loyalty is your goal, and it comes through high-quality customer service and the continued delivery of content that addresses your customers’ needs.
Why a marketing funnel is important
Without a marketing funnel in place, your job becomes far more difficult. When you don’t have a lead generation system in place, potential buyers will have difficulty finding you. When you aren’t nurturing new leads, they will struggle to trust you. And when you fail to convert those leads, or keep them returning for more, your business will struggle to survive.
On the other hand, a well-thought-out marketing funnel complemented by a strategic digital marketing strategy allows business owners to focus on the quality of their service and delivery, rather than scrambling to keep their virtual doors open.
Here at Neon Rain we use proven marketing processes and strategies to ensure that your website is optimized for a strong marketing funnel that will continue to bring you customers.
Give us a call today for more information on how we can help you and your business!