Used in the beginning for the sales sector, funnel marketing is a model designed to retrace the entire the buying experience of average consumers in both B2C and B2B environments. Specifically, it is a funnel model that studies all the steps in the evolution from user to customer.
Simply put, the funnel analyzes the steps that lead a user to the conversion, that is, the journey that people take starting from the first information about the offer to the purchase.
Funnel models are the basis of traditional marketing, but experts believe that this methodology can still be applied to the digital marketing. So let's try to get a good understanding of what funnel marketing consists of, how it is structured and how it can help you win new customers.
What is funnel marketing?
The word funnel means. funnel and refers to the flow that allows you to visualize all the steps consumers go through before buying a service or product. Thus, funnel marketing is used to make the buying process schematic and highlight the various steps that make up the process.
Visualization of each stage is crucial in companies and marketing departments to be able to understand the customer journey and take action to intercept it. Such a multi-segment pathway is actually not a properly recent invention since it was introduced in 1910 by John Dewey.
Today, the great success and effectiveness of funnel marketing and associated models is due to the ability to extract measurable data for each of its stages. In fact, the image of the funnel fits like a glove in that inbound users do not then correspond to outbound users, that is, those who eventually become customers.
In the course of the different steps of the funnel, some people leave the path, without turning into customers. For that reason, the final stage is at the very bottom where the funnel narrows. So, the goal of funnel experts is to attract as many users as possible in the initial part and increase leads that then convert into customers in the terminal part.
The funnal marketing model is very adaptable and flexible because it can be applied to any measurable process. For example, when handing out flyers on the street, it is not possible to quantify how many people you were able to reach and how many came to the store because of the flyer you received.
The lack of data makes it difficult to make any corrections in one's marketing strategy, and that is where funnel marketing represents a huge opportunity. Currently, funnel is especially valid for the online scope (websites, e-commerce, and landing pages), where you can track user movement to have metrics you can analyze.
The pillars of funnel marketing
The goals of funnel marketing are mainly 3:
- Win new customers (leads) and prospects (people interested in the offer);
- Convert these leads into customers, urging them toward purchase
- Push customers to increase the number of purchases and their value to produce more revenue
So let us see what are the cornerstones on which funnel marketing that is effective is based:
- Awareness: All funnel models have the awareness or knowledge stage as the funnel entrance (largest part), which indicates engagement toward the brand. In traditional marketing this is mostly done through advertising. In contrast, in digital marketing, direct user engagement occurs through online word of mouth. The goal is to push those who visit sites to share content while trying to boost search engine rankings. So the exposure strategy must make use of a combination of SEO and content marketing activities to increase content sharing and make it go viral;
- Discovery: When the prospect arrives on the home page of the site, the goal of funnel marketing is retention, that is, the ability to keep visitors on the Web portal, enticing them to return. Suggested content is a great way to achieve this goal. It is simply a matter of pointing out services or products bought by those whose tastes are similar to ours. This feature can be enabled with software such as Taboola and Outbrain;
- Consideration: most online customers reach the decision to buy before exploring the physical site or store. This is when it becomes of enormous importance to clarify any of their inquiries or doubts on the company's official website;
- Conversation: The marketing funnel process should end with the purchase. In fact, during the customer journey prospects should only be asked for the information strictly necessary to complete the sale. Everything else can wait. At this stage, it is essential to monitor KPIs such as Conversation Rate and CRO (Convertion Rate Optimization) activities;
- Customer relationship: To establish a lasting relationship with your customers, it is important to generate value throughout the funnel process. Of course, this also means finding the correct balance between providing value and being intrusive to the customer with aggressive messages and proposals;
- Retention: retention are the activities carried out by the company to retain the customer over time. Retaining a customer is vital, especially since replacing a consumer who leaves the funnel is 5 times more expensive than winning a new one. That's why you can't overdo it with newsletters and e-mails, but it's good to create a trade-off between marketing needs and customer willingness to receive offers;
- Advocacy: if the customer reaches this stage of the funnel, it means that the company has succeeded in making the consumer a brand ambassador. The latter will begin to develop a strong sense of brand loyalty that is evident in retention, making new purchases, and suggesting the product to others.
The stages that make up funnel marketing
Over time, 3 categories of funnels have been defined, divided according to their specific purpose:
- Acquisition: are designed to create interest in your business and win more and more contacts (lead generation);
- Activation: are designed to entice a large number of prospects or inactive users to become active buyers;
- Monetization: funnels of this kind are designed to generate the greatest possible amount of revenue through particular actions performed toward active buyers.
However, the funnel funnel can be divided into many portions, each corresponding to the marketing actions essential to induce the customer to take a certain action.
In theory, however, each funnel can be divided into 3 general macroareas or sections:
- TOFU (Top of the Funnel): this segment of the funnel represents the time when a person understands that he or she has a problem or a need to satisfy. The time the consumer spends at this stage depends on the purchase he or she needs to make. This is the most challenging time for funnel marketing as one will have to collect all the data on the target audience, including online interests and behaviors. It is necessary to understand how users act in performing searches, and it is important to make use of specific strategies, campaigns, and SEO activities. The information gained will be very useful in defining the marketing approach in the next steps;
- MOFU (Middle of the Funnel).: is the central part of the funnel and it is here that the potential consumer performs two fundamental actions of the purchase path: the search for information and the evaluation of alternatives. Again, permanence is related to the category of purchase to be made. In the research phase, users can be intercepted simply by helping them and giving them what they need. Preventive research can be done to anticipate their questions. Understanding what people are looking for allows one to authoritatively propose oneself among possible alternatives.
- BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel).: This is the final stage of channeling. Here the customer, after understanding what he needs and getting informed, decides to buy. To finally win over the consumer, one can work with feedback, reviews and study cases that go to prove the satisfaction of previous customers. However, among the feedback and reviews can be negative feedbak and therefore it is important to give attention to the post-sale phase. In fact, the final part of the marketing funnel does not end with the purchase, but is a process also composed of the post-purchase experience. To avoid bad reviews, it is incumbent to improve the post-sales segment by offering customer support, FAQs, and personalized communications.
How to convert leads into customers with funnel marketing
The question then arises: how can we reach potential customers? Traditional funnel marketing over the years has evolved as customers themselves have changed their behavior and way of searching for information about products to buy. Consumers are now increasingly experienced and conscious, they know their way around and they do it in a studied way. Today, everything revolves around the Internet, especially in the bid evaluation stage because people go in search of reviews, news and recommendations.
The voice of the user and their level of satisfaction are central to any company's business strategy. People seek information from those who have already bought an item, and especially positive feedback contributes to the brand reputation.
This means that the work of funnel marketers must continue in the post-purchase phase, as the customer must feel the company's attention even after the sale is over.
Nowadays it is the consumer himself who becomes an advertising vehicle, precisely through reviews and word of mouth. Such testimonials are an authoritative voice for gaining new leads and converting them into customers.
For this reason, the greatest effort is made not only at the initial stage of the funnel, but also after the purchase is completed, considering then it is that easier to keep an already acquired customer than to affiliate a new one.
But how to get a customer to return to the brand? Currently, there are so many loyalty techniques, but the most effective way is always to focus on the customization. Not surprisingly, modern users prefer to hear themselves called by name and receive tailored offers based on previous interaction with the company.