How Marketing Funnels Work – Your Playbook

Marketing funnels are designed to draw in customers and ferry them through the sales process until they make a purchase or take some other desired action. Funnels are a far cry from other, more traditional forms of marketing sales like cold calling or putting up a poster in a subway. Modern marketing has made funnels one of the most efficient marketing channels available to owners and managers at companies across the world.

One of the main focuses of a good marketing funnel is automation. You want to build a system that works for you without needing constant attention. With some traditional marketing channels, there is a lot of ongoing effort required. Whether you’re recruiting and retaining employees, meeting with customers, or calling prospects, it requires heavy lifting. Funnels, on the other hand, aim to make inbound marketing and sales easy.

Let’s explore how you and your organization can start using marketing funnels more effectively and automate more of what you’re doing for bigger rewards.

Creating an Online Marketing Funnel System

Funnels live online, so they’re available for customers 24/7. All of the work you do is upfront. Once a funnel is set up, then all you have to do is wait and adjust your targeting of potential customers accordingly.

A good online funnel moves someone further along the sales cycle in a positive, enjoyable experience. For example, companies use funnels to target people who are strangers to their brand or products. This funnel is used to inform people about the benefits of a certain company or service and get them engaged. Here are some of the most common stages of a good marketing funnel says Ross Kernez of Hpone.

  1. Strangers (People who don’t know about what you’re marketing)

At this phase, you’re dealing with people who know practically nothing about you or your company. They may be familiar that you’re out there, but there’s no reason to think they would need anything you have to offer. What you want to do with this stage is to generate demand or interest. Presenting your brand or a product in a way that’s relatable to their needs is a good start. You want advertising that gets a lead to click on a social media ad or visit your company website after viewing some video content.

  • Visitors (People who click an ad or visit your site)

Once people click that ad or visit your website, what then? Well, you want to turn those people into leads, if possible. That’s done by offering something in exchange for an email address or other contact information. Some people use free-plus shipping offers to get people’s contact information and others use surveys. There are a lot of ways to do it. The question you have to ask yourself is, “Is what you’re offering attractive enough for people to give you their info?”

  • Leads (People who know what you’re about)

Leads are where you’re going to start generating sales. These people have been to your site, read about your products, and happily offering you their information. A lot of the time, these leads will make a purchase right then and there. If they don’t, though, you can retarget them with email campaigns or social media ads.

  • Customers (People who have bought something from you before)

Don’t make the mistake of always looking for sales from strangers. That can be done, but it’s a lot more work than retaining and retargeting existing customers. People who have had a positive experience with your company in the past now have positive brand impressions. That can cost a lot of money to create, so capitalize on it when you have it.

Keep these people engaged with regular content, sending them promo codes, and alerting them to events or new product launches. This stage of the marketing funnel is where the magic happens.

  • Promoters (Customers who market your products for you)

Incredible things happen when your customers turn into promoters. They’re online sharing about how great your service is or talking to their friends about what a good deal they got on one of your products. This is the best type of marketing. Some people call it “free marketing”, but this is a mistake. A creative marketing funnel is designed to make this happen. You can increase customers promoting your products with things like referral bonuses and other offers that incentivize them to tell their friends.

Creating Marketing Funnels with High-Quality Web Copy

Marketers can talk about funnels broadly in terms of an overall strategy, but the stages of a marketing funnel and what makes them effective can be shrunk down into the granular level as well. Thousands of small businesses create marketing and sales funnels on a single web page. You click a Facebook ad that takes you to a landing page where you go through the stages that leads to a purchase.

Even large companies use funnels to turn people from strangers or leads into customers. Think about those reminders at the checkout page or the offers that tell you that if you buy $50 more, you’ll get 10% off. Those are all components of a marketing funnel that want you to spend more money or spend more time on a website.

Using marketing funnels in your online campaigns is a great measuring stick. It keeps you accountable to what it is you’re supposed to be doing. It makes you think about whether that blog post you’re putting up is good enough to move people from lead to customer or from customer to promoter. How do you get more people promoting your products organically? What can you do to improve the rate at which you bring traffic to your sites?

These are all questions even the best marketers are always asking themselves. Even if you’re outsourcing different aspects of your marketing efforts, you should know about marketing funnels and how to use online tools available to drive sales and give customers the sort of experiences they’re looking for as they browse sites and look for products.