“Marketing funnel” is a savvy buzzword in widespread use by digital marketing agencies…but what exactly does it mean? As a consumer, right from discovering a brand to purchasing its products, you have traversed through this proverbial ‘sales funnel’ too.
Sales funnels are omnipresent – when you hear about a brand from someone or discover it through an advertisement or when you inquire about a product or services or when you initiate a conversation with brand executives – all these activities are part of the marketing funnel that ultimately help a business in improving services and sales.
This article explains all there is to know about marketing funnels that a digital marketing agency employs to help drive sales into profits for a business.
What is a Marketing Funnel?
A sales funnel is an analogy employed to depict the stages of marketing that a potential customer moves through in the consumer’s journey towards making the final purchase.
The nature of the marketing funnel changes as a consumer moves further down because interactions between the brand and the consumer start to evolve. At the top of the funnel, from being “aware” of the brand, a consumer moves downwards, showing an increased interest in the brand’s services or products. When the consumer reaches the bottom of the sales funnel, there is a high potential of completing a sale.
Since a sales funnel is dynamic, a singular, static marketing strategy would never have the efficacy to drive enough sales. Effective marketing strategies evolve with the funnel stages, so it is essential to understand how to create a great sales funnel and design marketing campaigns that synchronise with the needs of particular sales stages throughout the funnel.
What a Consumer Expects
The belief that having a sales funnel in place alone helps boost sales is a myth. Each lead a business generates needs different kinds of attention – and different kinds of information at various marketing funnel stages. A consumer who is unaware of your brand and is at the top of the sales funnel would have no use for your membership discounts; similarly, a consumer on the verge of conversion would not need promotional pamphlets or emails.
It is essential to design marketing campaigns that speak to a consumer directly with relevant information that helps them move further into a sales funnel. The trick of the trade is to lead a consumer on with breadcrumbs with the correct information at opportune times.
Knowing when to divulge which promotions or campaign material to a lead helps generate more interested leads and ultimately improve sales.
Marketing Funnel Stages
A sales funnel has four major stages, which require different kinds of focus points and marketing campaigns.
1. Awareness Stage
The very top of your sales funnels captures new consumers – the leads who don’t yet know your brand exists. In this stage, it should be your effort to educate your brand about the solutions you offer to solve the consumers’ problems.
No new consumer begins their journey with a brand ready to make purchases; your marketing campaign, therefore, should be oriented towards education and information for the leads in the awareness stage. Also, it is important to target the right audience that has use for your services and products, instead of blindly advertising to the whole world.
2. Consideration Stage
This stage of a sales funnel is where leads are in the market looking for available solutions to their problems. This is a highly competitive environment where a brand needs to actively pitch to the leads and advocate why their products and services have the edge over the competition.
Since the leads here would be looking at multiple brands to find the best fit for them, it is vital to study their requirements and pitch accordingly. Infographics, webinars, FAQs, and case studies are good material to publish for leads in this stage.
3. Decision Stage
This stage of a sales funnel is highly critical for a brand – if the marketing campaign is aligned perfectly with consumer demand here, there is a high likelihood of sales.
In this stage, the leads usually have a shortlist of two or three solutions for their problems, and your brand is one of them. Augmenting your products and services with positive customer reviews, authoritative accreditations, awards, and other accolades helps sway consumer opinion favouring your brand.
Show the consumers why associating with your brand has long-term benefits.
When a consumer decides to buy your product, the last stage is where you can genuinely let your colours shine. Offers such as first-buy discounts, early-bird discounts, on-boarding freebies and privileges work to satisfy the consumers and turn them into brand loyalists.
It isn’t surprising that 79% of leads in the funnel never make it to sales. Every lead is unique; it is imperative to treat the needs of each one with attention. Educating, nurturing and finally converting a lead is what a sales funnel is about. Amura, a digital marketing agency in Mumbai, provides holistic solutions in digital marketing – strategies, analytics, experience design, e-commerce and content – that help in improving your bottom line significantly.