Maybe you’ve heard of marketing funnels before or wondered how they work. If you’ve ever bought any type of product or service online or signed up for an email newsletter, chances are you’ve been a part of a marketing funnel without even realizing it.
Marketing funnels are a tool used by businesses large and small to reach new customers.
Whether you have a marketing team or you are the marketing team, using funnels can help you gain more customers and more business without being too “salesy.” Many of those consumers may become your company’s biggest fans with the right marketing funnel strategy. Let’s walk through the basics of a marketing funnel and how using them can benefit your business.
What are Marketing Funnels?
A marketing funnel is a system for turning sales leads into loyal customers. It’s called a funnel because the process starts with a wider pool of potential customers that eventually grows smaller as you move through the funnel, filtering out people who aren’t interested or a good fit.
Through a marketing funnel, your company uses marketing strategies to reach a wider audience. As those potential customers move through the funnel, they are nurtured through the various steps, ending with a desired action, such as buying a product or signing up for an email list.
While several marketing funnels exist, the most common is a four-step marketing funnel:
- Attention — In this step, the prospective customer becomes aware of your company or product, typically through an advertisement, social media, word-of-mouth, or another marketing method.
- Interest — During the interest phase, the prospective customer becomes aware that you can solve a problem and want more information.
- Desire — At this point, the prospective customer has done their research and is ready to take action to become a customer.
- Action — In the action step, the prospective customer takes whatever action you wanted them to take. This could be making a purchase, downloading an app, signing up for a trial offer, subscribing to an email list, or several other actions.
When the customer takes action, it’s called a conversion. They’ve successfully moved through your marketing funnel from seeing an ad to taking whatever action you desired.
Why Using Marketing Funnels is Beneficial
Implementing marketing funnels into your overall business strategy provides invaluable data you might not see any other way.
For instance, if your ads are being viewed, but your sales numbers don’t seem to add up, tracking data can help you find the holes in your funnel. Perhaps people love your ads but are confused about how your product or service works during the interest phase. By having marketing funnel data, you can work on solutions to address customer confusion, potentially leading to more people traveling further through your funnel.
Or it could be that your email newsletter signup is buried on your homepage under endless copy. Or customers add items to their online shopping cart but never pull the trigger. Knowing where in the funnel you’re losing people can help you pinpoint and fix any issues.
The reality is that your marketing funnel will have holes and leak. You’ll never fix all the issues because some people will never be interested or make a purchase. This is normal since no ad or marketing campaign will ever convert 100% of your prospective customers. However, using marketing funnels and tracking data will help you determine what is normal and what you can do to move people to the next phase.
Types of Marketing Funnels
Of course, not every marketing funnel looks the same depending on your end goal or the methods you prefer to use to convert customers. Some of the types of marketing funnels you may use include:
- Email marketing funnels
- Home page funnels
- Lead magnet funnels
- List building funnels
- Sales funnels
- Social media marketing funnels
- Video funnels
- Webinar funnels
The sky’s the limit when it comes to marketing funnels. Regardless of the type you use, they all have the same goal in mind — moving prospective customers towards conversion.
What Are Your Marketing Goals?
Having a clear understanding of your business goals will help you create a better overall marketing strategy. Once you have a clear plan, build a marketing funnel that aligns with your plan and leads potential customers towards conversion.
Kevin Payne is a personal finance and travel writer. His work has appeared on websites like Forbes Advisor, Investopedia, Credit Karma, and FinanceBuzz. He is the family travel and budget expert behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. Kevin lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids.