Marketing funnels are considered by some to be the very essence of building and growing your business, especially an online business. A marketing funnel is essentially a collection of “levels” that prospective clients progress through. Developed in 1898 by American advertising advocate, E. St. Elmo Lewis, they were originally designed with just four main objectives: awareness, interest, desire, and action. Ultimately, the purpose of these funnels is to drive prospective business through a series of conversions.
Marketing funnels are deliberately designed to go in line with your specific business model. They keep track of results, automates the process, and reduces the amount of your own time you spend investing in the process. There are many different formats and templates for these marketing funnels, but no matter how you go about it, you need to have a system that gets people to know who you are, provides value and builds trust, convert them into buyers, delivers a great customer experience, and converts them into loyal repeat buyers. They are beneficial because you can see the weak points and where you are losing potential customers, at which point you can make any necessary adjustments to gain more business. These funnels take your client on a “journey”, all the way from discovering your business to purchasing your products, and even to a post-purchase phase that brings customer loyalty and repeats business. The data collected is also measurable at any given point in the entire process. The better a funnel keeps track of this customer data, and the more automated it is, the more successful it will be at getting you the results you want.
Funnels are more beneficial for subscription-based e-commerce businesses, but not as much for transactional, one-time-service businesses, such as a medical practice, auto dealer, or larger purchases, like real estate. In our business, we have taken concepts from what other templates for these funnels are like, and we have tailored them to fit our clients’ needs and the goals that they are trying to achieve.
Awareness, research, intent, and purchase are the main ideas in the templates we use. We create a plan that is more focused on the intent and purchase. Research is more used in a search or a social platform, and awareness is plugged into social, as well as programmatic. We have been able to take steps into not just generating leads, but also filtering out those individuals who are truly in the market for a specific product or service and eliminating those who are not ready for that purchase. There are steps that you can take to create that “filtering” process, but it is unique to each individual client. You could take that same concept and it would work well for one brand, but you could try and copy it to someone else and it doesn’t work. That’s the problem that a lot of companies that offer lead generation through a funnel process; they just copy and paste those funnels. They don’t focus on results, or the purchase or intent. They just focus on generating as many leads as possible, but those leads fall through because they are still in the research and awareness phase. You are wasting your time, money, and marketing efforts at the top of the funnel.
They shouldn’t even be called “funnels” anymore. They are customer digital journeys inside communities of fans, shoppers, explorers of all walks of life.