Filter Out the Time-Wasters, Focus on the Moneymakers
Many businesses see the value in digital marketing. However, when creating a marketing funnel, the focus is often on conversion and not the stages in between. There are several stages that a customer goes through before making a purchase, and these need to be a consideration. The focus needs to be on the customer's journey and their experience with a brand before committing to a purchase. Although conversions are a primary goal, it's important not to neglect what comes before.
What Is a Marketing Funnel?
A marketing funnel bases marketing strategies on the stages a customer takes before making a purchase. Most customers buy a product once they have moved through specific steps. An example of a marketing funnel is one following the AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) model. The AIDA model centers on the idea that a customer must know a brand/ product, develop an interest in it and feel an emotional connection and desire for it before deciding to take action. This is just one example of a marketing funnel, there are many other examples that marketers use, but they all follow the same principles.
Marketing a product using funnels means using a range of strategies. These may include utilizing paid search, paid media, and paid social posts and ads that concentrate on different stages of the customer's journey.
Where Most Businesses Fail
Many businesses focus solely on conversions and build their marketing strategy around this. However, it's essential to recognize the different stages of the customer journey and create a plan that can convert at every step. Some marketers target the last stage of the funnel for conversions, but attempting to gain conversions at all stages ensures you leave no stone unturned.
It's also essential to recognize that "conversions" can mean several things depending on your brand. For an e-commerce site, a conversion can be a customer taking various actions. These may include adding an item to their cart, to their wishlist, or proceeding to checkout. Companies offering services may define their "conversions" as leads or page views. Defining what a conversion means to a specific business is key to ensuring their funnels work effectively.
The best way to gain leads and conversions at several funnel stages is to create a multi-channel strategy that evokes interest and desire through various verticals, touch-points, and even tailored experiences. If a customer can learn about a brand and feel passion for their product simultaneously, conversions can happen at different stages.
Analyzing data created by paid search and paid social ads can help better understand the target customer but isn't the end all be all. Data from brand awareness, blogging, public relations, influencer/community initiatives, and consideration stages can give valuable insights and help develop future marketing strategies that lead to conversions.
Focusing on brand awareness is a great way to start the funnel process and introduce a new brand/product to a target market. Paid search experiments can help ensure that the target audience is correctly targeted and money isn't wasted on targeting the wrong people. However, when it comes to brand building, the focus shouldn't be on the ROI. Brand awareness is crucial to the future of a business, and a company should invest in brand building to create a solid foundation that will help increase conversions further down the line.
If a company builds followers or leads on social media or through an email list, it can then nurture these. This means focusing on ensuring the potential customer feels connected with the brand, potentially offering discounts, and attempting to move them into the next stage of the funnel.
Plan, Analyze, Tweak and Plan Again
To summarize, the stages of a marketing funnel are complex, and it is paramount that businesses understand each step of the funnel they build their strategies around. Brand awareness is crucial in the early stages, but a company should give each stage consideration based on data they collect from paid ads. They should tweak strategies based on data, and different funnel stages should be a focal point depending on the data collected. Data from brand awareness and consideration stages can help companies build better marketing funnels and generate quality leads.