DIGITAL MARKETING FUNNELS BROKEN DOWN (EXPLAINED)

Digital marketing funnel

If you want to learn everything about digital marketing funnels – what they are, how they work, how relevant they are to your business, and most importantly, how to set up a profitable digital marketing funnel, then you are in the right place.

Fun fact!

Did you know that about 96% of people who visit your website are not ready to purchase anything? This is probably why 65% of marketers and businesses say that their number 1 marketing challenge is getting conversions and more leads.

But it does not have to be so. Generating qualified leads for your business should be one of the easiest things to accomplish in your overall marketing strategy. The problem lies in nurturing your leads so that they end up buying your products/services and become loyal customers.

Digital marketing funnels are one of the hottest topics in the world of business and marketing and this is for a very good reason. What is a digital marketing funnel and how can you utilize this tool to grow your business?

Today, I am going to show you how to use digital marketing sales funnels to acquire and grow your customer base. Let’s get started.

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WHAT IS A DIGITAL MARKETING FUNNEL?

confused about digital marketing funnel?

A digital marketing funnel (sometimes called Sales funnel or just Marketing funnel) is a system that allows you to track your customers’ journey from when they do not know anything about you or your company till when they become loyal, raving fans of your business and every step in between.

These steps include whatever you do to make the customer:

  • Become aware of your business,
  • Gain interest in your products or services
  • Purchase your products or services
  • And any other post-purchase activity such as up and cross-sells, follow-ups which all increase your retention rate and ROI.

The beauty of the funnel is that it provides a graphical representation of this journey so that the whole concept is easy to grasp, visualize, and implement.

digital marketing funnel picture

The concept of digital marketing funnels has changed the marketing environment for modern-day businesses. Traditional marketing strategies are declining and becoming more and more ineffective. This is due to the abundant internet opportunities and distractions that exist today.

REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE OF A DIGITAL MARKETING FUNNEL 

Here is a real-life example to buttress this concept – 

EXAMPLE 1 – 

Mr. A. is in the fitness industry and sells weight loss products that cost between $500 and $1000. His customer acquisition strategy includes; running Facebook and Instagram ads that drive customers ‘directly to his products’ page.

This simply means that as soon as anyone sees his ads on the social media platforms and clicks it, they are taken to a sales page where he tries to pitch his products and what they can do.

Now 3 things can happen after he launches his ad campaigns

Firstly, someone might end up buying any or all of his weight loss products. Of course, since it is a high ticket item that costs hundreds of dollars, the conversion rate will be lower. Anyone that wants to purchase will have to input their details such as; email address, phone number, etc. This is how Mr. A gets his customers.

Secondly, someone might click the ad which will take them to the sales page for his products. The person reads it and is interested but does not have the money to pay instantly. So, he/she closes the page and moves onto other things. A lead has just been lost.

Lastly, someone clicks on the Facebook or Instagram ad and they are redirected to the sales page. They read all the well-written copies and videos. Suddenly, their newly born baby begins to cry and they head over to breastfeed. A couple of minutes later, they return and forget that they ever saw your business. Another lead lost.

Anything could have taken them away from Mr. A’s sales page. Maybe they couldn’t find their credit card, or a call came in or they were in their car when they saw it and forgot that they were reading something upon reaching the house.

What is the point?

Anything can take your potential customer away from your sales page and you end up losing a lead with no means of contacting them EVER AGAIN.

EXAMPLE 2 –

Mrs. B also operates the same type of business as Mr. A but her marketing strategies are NOT SIMILAR. She also relies on Facebook and Instagram ads but instead of linking them directly to her sales page, she first offers a free weight loss drink recipe on her ad.

As soon as her prospective customers see the ad and click on it, they are taken to a landing page where they have to fill in their email address to get this free recipe guide. This page is called a landing page/squeeze page. They input their details and are sent the recipe afterward.

Throughout the week, Mrs. B sends them emails (because she has collected their email addresses). These emails provide more valuable content and tips on how to lose weight or keep fit etc.

weight loss

She also introduces her business and what they do to help women lose weight. On the 8th day, she pitches her product via email to her customers.

END OF STORY.

Now just like in Mr. A’s case, 3 things can also happen in this scenario.

Firstly, the customer may have read all her emails and become a warm lead. So when he/she sees the products being offered on the 8th day, they are more receptive and inclined to purchase (assuming the previous emails contained really useful content),

Secondly, the customer may not purchase the product probably because the price is too high and they would not want to risk it. In this case, Mrs. B can offer lower-priced products if she has any and gradually build trust and relationship. After a couple of weeks or months, she can repitch the high ticket offer.

Lastly, the customer may open the email and get distracted while reading the sales page, so they end up not buying. Mrs. B can resend an email reminding them of her offer or even start a retargeting ad campaign.

So who do you think will have a higher client retention rate and ROI in Mr. A or Mrs. B?

Mrs. B right? And why is this so?

This is because she had the opportunity to engage more and establish herself as an authority to her customer. This makes it easier to sell anything (especially high ticket products) to clients.

So how does this all relate to the digital marketing funnel?

All the strategies involved by both parties in making the sale possible is represented as a funnel. Remember I told you earlier that a digital marketing funnel/sales funnel is a graphical representation of the customers’ journey.

So if we were to depict the funnels of both Mr. A and Mrs. B, they would look like this:

Mr A and Mrs B digital marketing funnel template
Mr A and Mrs B digital marketing funnel templates

Both Mr. A and Mrs. B used online ads to create awareness.  In Mr. A’s case, he tried to make the sale too early. So his conversion rate will be very low especially if it is a high ticket item.

Mrs. B took the time to engage and tell her customer why they needed to buy from her using her 7-day, email campaign. This is called Lead nurturing and it can skyrocket your conversion rate.

HOW DOES A DIGITAL MARKETING FUNNEL WORK?

So let me explain this concept using the digital marketing funnel diagram below. I will explain each stage of the process.

digital marketing funnel stages

AWARENESS STAGE – This is the first stage and just as the name implies, you want to make your target customers aware that you or your business exist. They have never come across your business before. This is also the Lead generation stage. It is at this stage you collect their contact e.g email address, phone number, and any other info you intend to use to get in touch with them later on as you nurture them to become your customers.

You can create awareness/generate leads using several means. Some of these ways are; 

  • Using online ads –  This includes social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc), google ads/PPC, etc to generate your leads. 
  • Direct email marketing –  Sending emails directly to the target audience
  • Social media posts, mentions, subscriptions, following, etc
  • Podcasts
  • Networking events 
  • Content marketing
generate leads for digital marketing funnel

Just think of any medium you would normally use to get fresh leads for your business. It is advisable to collect contact info at this stage so you can nurture these leads into prospects. By collecting their info, they have entered your digital marketing funnel. It is your job to guide them into becoming prospects and then customers.

This brings us to the next stage of the digital marketing funnel/sales funnel.

INTEREST STAGE – Once you have collected their contact info and leads have been generated, it is time to tell/show them who you are or what you and your business stand for. This is the interest stage. In order words, you make them have an interest in you or what you have to offer.

For example,

Let’s say you are a digital marketing agency that targets brick and mortar businesses such as grocery stores, bakeries, flower shops, etc. After getting your leads, you begin to feed them with materials that will interest them.

You can send them emails that take them to posts on your website/blog or send them downloadables or videos on how they can acquire more customers.

When you speak the language of your audience, then they are more likely to take notice and consider your brand as a possible solution to their problem(s). You can nurture your leads using:

  • Email campaigns
  • Tailored content marketing
  • Newsletters
  • Video tutorials
  • Webinars
  • Social media etc

CONSIDERATION STAGE – So you are feeding and nurturing these young lead pups to become customers. They have seen your brand and are aware that something like that exists. The next thing they will do is to go out and search for your competitors.

Is there anyone out there like you? Are there people with cheaper products and/or services? Are you actually who you say you are? 

These and many more are questions that may be going on in their minds. So they begin to search for alternatives to your business so that they can make a good decision. This stage is called the Consideration stage. This is because they are considering multiple brands before they decide which is right for them.

So what is your job at this stage?

standing out of competition

As part of your digital marketing funnel campaign, you should create content that will put you in a better position than your competitors. In order words, what is your Unique Selling Point (USP)? What can you offer that is unique to you and cannot be given by your competitors? This is what you have to let your customers know and there are several ways you can do this. You can :

  • Send them more information about products and services through automated email campaigns,
  • Show them positive customer reviews on social media, blogs, etc
  • Send video testimonials from past clients
  • Interviews and features in industry publications
  • Give them free trials of some of your products etc

Anything to make them know that you understand their challenges better than any other business out there and that you can provide the required solution better than anyone else.

INTENT STAGE – At this stage, prospects must show you that they are interested in what you have to offer. This can happen through several events.

It could be through a survey, a high rate of engagement with your emails or content, an abandoned shopping cart, ordering for a product demo, etc.

This shows you that they might want to purchase from you. Now what you have to do is to make a strong case why you are their best bet. The tools employed in the consideration stage can still be used in this stage. Your job is to convince your prospects.

EVALUATION STAGE – At this stage, prospects may have visited your sites multiple times to determine if you are the right choice and they are making a final decision whether to buy or not.

What you should do now is to remove any obstacle that may delay the purchase process such as requiring them to create an account before they buy, or having a slow loading payment gateway. You should do everything to ensure the purchase process is quick and as painless as possible.

This is when the marketing and sales team have to work together to ensure you smoothen the purchase path.

PURCHASE STAGE – This is the second to the last stage (although not shown in the diagram) of your digital marketing funnel. Your prospect has finally decided to become a customer.

purchasing and becoming a customer

Your sales team just has to make the process as smooth and pleasurable as possible.

RELATIONSHIP MAINTENANCE STAGE – Although this stage is not represented in the diagram, it is very crucial to making loyal customers out of strangers and having your customers refer their friends and families too. This stage is important because some customers may buy from you once just to test and see if your product gives what it claims.

Some may purchase a low ticket item first to see if it works before ordering in bulk or buying a high ticket offer. So what should you do to ensure your one-time-buyers becoming raving fans? Ideally, you should:

  • thank any buyer for trusting you.
  • reassure them of your commitment to ensuring their success.
  • tell them that you are available to answer any question or complaint they might have while using your product.

If you notice some inquiries or questions keep coming up by several customers, then create an FAQ section on your website where you address these.

Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks said, “If people believe they share values with your company, they will stay loyal to the brand”.

Did you know that the cost of retaining a customer is 5x lower than the cost of acquiring a new one? What this means is that increasing your customer retention rate by as little as 5% can increase your profits by as much as 25%.

A high retention rate ensures you continually have raving fans and referrals pouring in from existing customers.

NEW VS OLD DIGITAL MARKETING FUNNEL MODEL (AIDA vs FLIPPED FUNNEL)

Let’s take a brief walk down memory lane.

THE OLD DIGITAL MARKETING FUNNEL MODEL (AIDA)

The whole concept of digital marketing funnels dates back to 1898 when E. St. Elmo Lewis developed a marketing model that should represent the customer’s journey from the moment of attraction/awareness till the purchase point.

Since then, it’s been given different names (i.e. purchase funnel, sales funnel, marketing funnel, conversion funnel) but the model stays the same, which means that it’s:

  • universal: it can be applied to virtually any business in any industry
  • timeless: times change but the idea stays relevant
old digital marketing funnel

If you were around as a marketer back in the late 1800s, you should probably be familiar with the popular acronym – AIDA. This stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. Just as I have explained earlier,

Awareness – the customer becomes aware of the business or product

Interest – He/she then takes up an interest in it.

Desire – then there is desire/intent to get it

Action – the purchase action

This model sufficed and stood the test of time. At least, until now when we have rapidly evolving marketing strategies, multiple businesses springing up, and customers with the shortest attention span in history. 

So modern-day marketers, academicians, and consultants began seeking a better way to adapt to this change. This, in essence, is what brought about the modern-day digital marketing funnel which addresses, not only the pre-purchase process of the customer but also the post-purchase process.

THE NEW DIGITAL MARKETING FUNNEL (FLIPPED FUNNEL)

The great acute changes in the new digital marketing funnel model arose primarily due to the non-linear way customers are beginning to approach shopping and purchase of items.

This sales funnel model consists of a 10 step process. The first 6 steps address the customers’ pre-purchase actions up to the point of the purchase while the last 4 steps cater to the post-purchase experience of the customer. Note that the number of steps may vary but the idea is generally the same.

The expansion in this model was made to accommodate the many different kinds of marketing strategies that should be employed by businesses if they intend to succeed in modern-day marketing warfare.

PRE-PURCHASE STAGES (From the point of being a total stranger till when they make their first purchase).

ENGAGEMENT – This is the first stage of the modern-day digital marketing funnel and it all begins with finding your target audience and showing them that you exist. So you could go online, on social media, run some paid ads to get traffic to your site. The whole aim is to find a bunch of people and send industry-specific messages that will help you to filter your target audience from the rest of the masses. This stage is also known as the ‘brand awareness stage’.

EDUCATION – You have successfully collected the contacts of your target audience. Now you have to identify their pain points and give them insight on how to solve them. This stage is also called the problem identification stage. You can discover specific challenges via emails, surveys, their engagement with specific content on your site, etc.

RESEARCH – Here, your leads are trying to investigate the best solution for their challenge. Before a customer buys, he/she has to perform market research for similar brands that have something to offer. They read more blogs, check out more websites to see your competitors. What you need to do is to distinguish yourself and give them reasons why you are the best choice.

EVALUATION – At this point, it is time to present a solution to their specific problem. They are now aware that your competitors exist and also offer similar solutions. It is your job to tell them why your product will best address their needs. You could do this by cost comparison with your competitors, highlighting the unique benefit of your product, showing them bonuses associated with purchasing from you, etc

JUSTIFICATION – Most times, customers still find a way to avoid buying from your brand. They may come up with objections and excuses as to why they cannot do this. You should try to answer as many objections they may throw at you. Give them strong reasons why they should justify the purchase and pull the trigger.

PURCHASE – So at this point, they make the purchase. You or your sales team should try to make the process as smooth and seamless as possible.

POST-PURCHASE STAGES (From the point of purchase till when they become loyal fans of your brand)

ADOPTION – You must keep on communicating with customers even after they have made the purchase. Send them educational materials on how to use the product and any other FAQ that is usually associated with the product. Show them that you value their trust. This is the first step to improving your chances of recurring sales. 

RETENTION – Converting a prospect to become a customer is a huge success as a business or a marketer. You must not take this opportunity lightly. Continue to build the relationship by offering high-value communication and support.

retention vs acquisition of new customers

EXPANSION – One time purchases are not enough. As a business, your goal should be to transform all your customers into repeat customers. This is done by cross and/or upselling them on more related products. This shouldn’t be a difficult thing to do once you have proven the reliability of your brand in the first purchase.

ADVOCACY – As I stated earlier, it is 5x more costly to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. Brand advocacy is often overlooked by marketers. Loyal customers can spread the word to their sphere of influence- families, friends, peers, etc. This should be the final aim of any brand, business, or marketer.

WHAT CAUSED THE CHANGE FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW MODEL)?  

The old digital marketing funnel has become ineffective because of the non-linear and more custom paths users take. They also have an immense amount of information available to them. 

Consumers can browse articles, read reviews on social media, watch videos on YouTube, and more. All these opportunities have allowed users to create a custom, non-linear shopping experience which the old digital marketing funnel cannot cater for.

Multiple businesses are springing up regularly which creates rising competitors from all angles. This puts the burden on you not just to acquire customers but to make them loyal and patriotic to your brand. 

TYPES OF DIGITAL MARKETING FUNNELS

There are many different types of funnels. Sales funnels vary depending on the purpose they are created for. So you can have funnels for automated webinars, funnels for brick and mortar businesses to attract local clients, funnels for lead generation, funnels for surveys, etc. The list is virtually endless.

But for convenience, I have categorized funnels into 3 broad groups based on their purpose. Funnels to – 

  • Generate leads
  • Sell a product
  • Create an event
  1. FUNNELS TO GENERATE LEADS

Lead generation funnels provide you with a systematic approach to generate leads or potential clients for your business. It involves processes which help you funnel your targets through stages to make a sale, or add them to your email list.

Lead generation funnels can range from surprisingly simple to extremely complex funnel models depending on the industry you are in. 

You might create a lead generation funnel to obtain contact info of your target audience, have people apply to work with you, find out who your visitors are first before you send them into the right funnel, or find out what your customers want exactly before you create it for them. Let us take a look at some common examples of lead generation funnels,

  • Lead magnet funnel – Here you ‘’ethically’’ bribe people (offer something valuable) in exchange for their email address.
  • Live demo product funnel – You simply show a demo on how to use your product or how it works.
  • Application funnel – have people apply to work with or for you using this type of funnel.
  • Survey funnel – You find out who your visitors are before sending them into the right funnel.
  • Product Campaign funnel – Find out what your target audience wants so that you can create it for them.
  • And so on.
  1. FUNNELS TO SELL A PRODUCT
funnels to sella product

This is the typical funnel that everyone is accustomed to. This funnel aims to make sales and get customers. Such a product could be a low ticket (below $40), mid ticket ($40 – $300), or a high ticket product (above $300). You could also involve multiple backend offers, upsells, and cross-sells into the overall funnel strategy.

Some common examples of sales funnels include:

  • Product launch funnels – You build excitement for a new product that you are about to launch.
  • 2 step tripwire funnel – include upsells into your funnels to increase your ROI.
  • Video sales letter funnel – involves the use of videos primarily to sell your products.
  • Sales letter funnel – use of a sales letter to sell your products.
  • Auto webinar sales funnel – Using webinars to sell your products round the clock.
  • And so on.
  1. FUNNELS TO CREATE AN EVENT
funnels to create an event

These are funnels tailored for a custom event that you want to achieve. Traffic coming into such funnels are directed towards your end goal automatically. Some examples of events where you might want to use funnels are:

  • Summit funnel – You can grow your list and build your following by running a summit funnel
  • Invisible funnel – You simply sell access to your event and then charge them as soon as the event is over.
  • Organic content marketing funnel – If you don’t want to run Facebook ads, you can still generate traffic and build your email list using this type of funnel.
  • Discovery call funnel – The goal here is to get your leads to apply for a call as soon as they sign up to your email list. This type of funnel works effectively.
  • And so on.

DIGITAL MARKETING FUNNEL STAGES (TOFU, MOFU, BOFU)

digital marketing funnel tofu, mofu, bofu

Many sales and marketing professionals are confused about the meaning of ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu when it comes to inbound marketing. They sound a bit like health food products, but in fact, they represent the different stages of the buyer’s journey (top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, the bottom of the funnel), each of which requires the right content to be delivered at the right time to move the prospect through the funnel.

What is ToFu, MoFu & BoFu?

These are the acronyms for the 3 different stages of a digital marketing funnel. Each stage contains traffic with different temperatures and therefore, will each require a new approach to lead nurturing.

Top of the Funnel (ToFu)

This is the very top of the funnel and consists of people that never knew you existed. This is their first contact with you and the best thing you can do is to create a good impression. How do you do this?

ToFu is all about educating your traffic. Mind you, this is cold traffic. This means they have never heard about you or your company so there are a gazillion reasons why they shouldn’t trust you. Do not try to push any product or close a deal at this point. It is equivalent to the brand awareness stage I talked about earlier.

Your goal should be to gradually convert the leads into prospects using authoritative and highly valuable content. Get them to sign up to your email list in exchange for a lead magnet which could be a template, to-do list, checklist, free video training, an ebook, etc.

TYPE OF CONTENT FOR TOFU

So what type of content should you drive to this cold traffic? Here is a list of some content types you can use to grab attention and inspire curiosity.

  • Blog posts – create blog posts around the problem your buyers are facing.
  • Quiz – ask the right questions to learn more about them.
  • Video training – videos should be short and should address the problem. You can use the solution as a lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
  • Social Media posts – Join the right social media platforms and engage with your target audience via posts, comments, and mentions.
  • Infographics – offer visual formats to help your audience identify their problems and the solutions they require.
  • White papers – create in-depth content around the challenges your buyers are facing.
  • Product reviews – review similar products that could help your buyers make the best choice. 
  • How-tos – tutorials like these position you as an authority easily
  • E-books
  • Case studies
  • Listicles – 
  • Contests
  • Podcasts
  • Interviews
  • Research statistics 

The most common types of content used are blog posts and video training. These inspire curiosity and make them want to learn more. You can grab their attention quickly and then offer a lead magnet in exchange for their email address. 

Sending valuable emails that are non-salesy or promotional will quickly convert cold to warm traffic. Not only will you be perceived as an authority in your niche but the chances that your customers will be receptive to your future offers are higher. Some sources of cold traffic are:

Middle of the Funnel (MoFu)

No. MoFu is not a dirty word.

The MoFu stage is where you begin to tell your prospects why you are the best choice for them. You now position your product as the best cure to their problem. The MoFu stage is equivalent to the Interest and Consideration stages in a typical digital marketing funnel model.

You can show these using video testimonials, case studies, comparisons, testimonials from past clients, interviews, demonstrations, tutorials, webinars, etc. All of these are MoFu activities.

This is also the Evaluation and Research stage (in the modern-day digital marketing funnel) where your prospects are searching for alternatives. The more relevant information you provide, the higher your chances of converting your prospects into customers.

Here are some ideas you can use in your MoFu content marketing strategy:

  • Blog: Answer a specific question that relates directly to your product or service.
  • Case study: Help buyers see your product or service in action by showing them how it has benefitted your clients.
  • Whitepaper: Include detailed information on a topic to establish why your solution is the best option.
  • Webinar: Provide training on a topic, and be sure to leave time for questions.
  • Email drip: Create a flow of nurturing emails offering top-notch content to the buyer. (Pro tip: You can use Lucidchart to map out your email nurture flow.)
  • Guide/How-to content: Offer step-by-step instructions on how to solve a problem.
  • Template: Let buyers see for themselves how your product or service can solve their problem.
  • Comparisons: Compare solutions, not vendors, at this stage.

Bottom of Funnel (BoFu)

This is the business end of the funnel. At this stage, the prospects are low in number but should be highly qualified hot traffic already whipping out their wallets. Most of them will have done their research at this stage and are ready to purchase while some others will still be searching for alternatives. You just need to nudge them a little with the right offer.

At this level, you should be reiterating the benefits of using your products, how to use it, how it will solve your customers’ pain points, and how you will be available to help them if they have any inquiries post-purchase. Some content ideas for BoFu traffic include:

  • Product demo: Let buyers see how your product works. Whether on-site or in a video, showcase features and relate them to benefits, and show how you outperform the competition.
  • Product comparisons: Help buyers understand where your product or service wins by clearly outlining the differences between you and the competitors.
  • Free trial: You don’t know ’til you try. Let buyers test your product out without making a big commitment.
  • Testimonials and case studies: Customer stories are also valuable in this final stage, as they are content that converts and provides third-party validation of your offering.

RELEVANCE OF A DIGITAL MARKETING FUNNEL TO ANY BUSINESS

  1. Predictability of your conversion rates and other important metrics

You create a Facebook ad that reaches 50,000 people in your target audience. 10,000 people signed up to your email list and got free video training. So you currently have 10,000 leads. You then launch a 2-week email campaign to move interested leads into a funnel to sell a high ticket product. 1,500 leads signed up and have now become prospects. You finally create a webinar funnel to get the prospects to buy. 15 people purchase your product at the end of the webinar. That is a conversion rate of 0.03%. (15/50,000)

This means that if you leave the Facebook ad running (all factors being equal) and another 10,000 people sign up to the same email list and pass through the same process, you should have a 0.03% conversion rate at the end because nothing has changed. This is the predictability that using a sales funnel has to offer.

  1. It helps you improve on the ways you can grow your business.

No business in this modern-day can become successful without testing its strategies. Sales funnels make the whole process of testing more strategic and focused. For example, if you notice that you have good traffic coming into your funnel but at the BoFu/purchase level, the number of customers that get converted is quite lower than expected, you can tweak some aspects of your funnel and redeploy it to discover the problem. By doing these, you optimize your sales funnel and get the maximum ROI per lead.

  1. It gives you an edge over newbie competitors.

One of the biggest challenges that newbie entrepreneurs have is the lack of a tried and tested strategy to get things going. Using your sales funnel and constantly optimizing it to get the best results, you separate yourself from the masses and give your business a head start.

  1. It gives you more control over your marketing strategy.

As you pick your overall marketing strategy and continuously implement them, you begin to know what works and what doesn’t. You get to understand your customers better and know what pushes them to take action. Once you have mastered the art of setting up and testing sales funnels, you can set up a funnel to achieve any desired income.

  1. Better visualization of the customer journey.

When you have a sales funnel in place, you would have an accurate view of how many leads entered your funnel as opposed to the ones that finally converts. This way you can reverse calculate how much more leads need to enter your funnel for you to achieve your targets. You can then wisely invest your money on the sources or platforms that offer more returns.

Imagine you go about promoting your products without a funnel? No idea of how many people might be interested in your product, what stage your customers are in, the type of content they need, what you can do to generate more sales, etc. With the help of a sales funnel, you can visualize the customer experience from the point of awareness down to when they make the purchase and craft tailored content for each stage.

HOW TO BUILD A DIGITAL MARKETING FUNNEL FOR YOUR BUSINESS

build a profitable digital marketing funnel

Contrary to what many believe, creating a sales funnel is not as difficult as it seems.

Step 1 – Know your target audience

You are not marketing everybody. You are only marketing to the handful of people who will most likely be interested in your product. To do this, you need to understand everything about your target audience. How is this possible? You can achieve this through the use of a buyer persona.

Write down some important questions which are peculiar to your audience and that distinguishes them from the crowd.

  • Why will they buy your product?
  • What are the things that influence them into buying a product?
  • How are they going to use the product after purchasing it?
  • Where do they congregate?
  • What interests them most?
  • What age bracket, gender are they? (demographics)

Step 2 – Create attention-grabbing content

attention grabbing content

Creating attention-grabbing content is neither rocket science nor magic. An attention-grabbing content simply means it can make a passive reader stop to read it at a glance.

To do this, you need to ensure your headlines, images, videos, and other elements of your ad or post are relevant and different from surrounding content. Take for instance a Facebook ad displayed on the newsfeed. Your images should be brightly colored and videos should preferably be captioned so that as users scroll down the feed, they can easily notice these and pause to read what you have to say.

Step 3 – Build your landing page

Now you need to design your landing page. This is where those who click through your ad or post will end up and input their email address. It is also where you display what you are willing to give to them(email address) in exchange for their email address.

Want to learn how to design a highly converting landing page? Then check out this post by Neil Patel.

Step 4 – Drive traffic to your offer

600

‘’If you build it, they will come’’. This is a popular saying that does not hold water in the marketing world. Building a funnel – no matter how good it is – will not attract traffic by itself. You need to drive traffic to your funnel. Here are a couple of ways that you can do this:

Step 5 – Create Email drip campaigns

You can introduce your brand and business to your leads via emails. Educate them with amazing content. 3-4 emails per week should suffice.

Discover their pain points using surveys, answer FAQs, show them that you are knowledgeable in your niche and then you can pitch your product. Your emails should also address any objection they might have.

Step 6 – Engage your audience with top-notch content

Remember that they can unsubscribe from your email list at any time and nobody likes a salesperson. So do not pitch products every time. Continually provide them with quality content and articles and give opportunity to get their feedbacks. This will ensure they keep on buying from you and even refer others to your business. Remember that post-purchase experience is crucial to maintaining customer relationships

HOW TO MEASURE THE SUCCESS OF YOUR FUNNEL (DIGITAL MARKETING FUNNEL METRICS & KPI)

measuring success of your digital marketing funnel

Many businesses and marketers do not understand the difference between metrics and KPI so, let me begin by clarifying these 2 terms.

A KPI (key performance indicator) shows you the overall success or performance of your funnel strategy. It is the most important number that you need to ascertain to know if your funnel is doing great or not. The main KPI that businesses should be using is the Cost per Acquisition(CPA) of a customer. This is how much it takes to acquire one customer. The higher it is, the lower your profits in the long run.

A metric simply shows the progress of your funnel. They determine if your KPI is good or bad. For example, what are the parameters that could affect your CPA (which should be your KPI)? 

  • Traffic quantity – how many people do you feed into your funnel?
  • How many people successfully go through your funnel to the last stage?
  • The conversion rate of each stage of your funnel
  • Click through rates of your ads
  • Click through rates of your emails etc

All these are metrics that, in the long run, will determine how much you spend in acquiring a customer. Optimizing each of these will help you reduce your CPA and increase your revenue. That is the goal.

Okay. It is time for me to introduce you to the metrics you should be taking note of at each of the 3 stages of your funnel (ToFu, MoFu & BoFu). 

Top of the Funnel metrics (Awareness and Discovery stages)

At this stage, your prospective customers are new and do not know anything about you. They are just becoming aware of your business so, the relevant metrics to track are:

  • Traffic
  • Opt-in rates
  • Other Landing page metrics

Traffic

You should know the amount of traffic coming to your website, blog, or page at any given interval. Not only does this help with determining the CPA, but it also gives you insight into the traffic source that is bringing the most people so that you can focus on it.

Each traffic source has its metrics that you need to track and they should be treated as separate acquisition channels. For example, traffic from your search engine ads or optimization is more targeted than those from Facebook shares or posts.

Now that you know the people that see your website, you also need to measure how much of them enter your sales funnel. This metric is known as the Opt-in rate.

Opt-in rates

The opt-in rate or conversion rate is the most important metric to consider for your landing pages. It can be calculated as the number of signups you have divided by the total number of visitors to your site. 

An opt-in rate of 2.5% – 5% is great for small and medium-sized businesses. Optimizing your landing page by A/B testing its different features will give you a good idea of what you need to change to get a higher conversion rate.

You can test different Call-To-Action(CTA) buttons, background colors, headlines, words, your lead magnet, your images/videos, etc Doing all these will ensure you get the maximum conversion rate possible for your landing page.

Other landing page metrics

Here are more landing page metrics that you can pay attention to. They can be useful indicators of the efficiency of your landing pages.

  • Click Hotspots – This is a heat map showing the areas in your landing pages that visitors clicked the most. It is a more advanced metric and can be useful for your website’s homepage.
  • Dwell rate – How long do people stay on your site/landing page from when they arrive till they sign up or bounce out? 
  • Bounce rate – A bounce occurs when someone visits your landing page and leaves without interacting further with it. It is the percentage of visitors to your page that leave as soon as they get there.

Middle of the Funnel metrics (Evaluation and Intent stages)

This stage of the funnel contains warm traffic. Your leads know you but are trying to decide if you are the best fit or if your content is quality. It is also at this stage that they begin to develop intent and search for alternatives to what you’re offering.

You will most likely be communicating with your prospects by email so, here are the necessary email metrics to take note of.

  • Email open rates,
  • Email click-through rates, and 
  • Lead scores.

Email Open Rates

This is the number of people that open your emails. There is no use sending emails that people are not going to see. If your email open rate is low, this could either mean that your subject line is not enticing enough or fake email addresses were used to sign up to your list.

To curb the latter, you could use a double confirmation feature when people are signing up. This means that when they input their email address, you send them a confirmation email. They will have to open the email and click a link or perform an action before they are successfully added to your email list. 

Email Click-Through Rates

This metric shows you how many people click the link you put in your email. If your click-through-rate is low, this means that people do not find your email content persuasive enough to want to know what you have to offer.

This is where persuasive writing comes into play. To have a high click-through-rate, you must know how to craft enticing copies around their pain point such that they would have no other option than to know what you have to give them.

Of course, your solution must be genuine and worth their time and effort.  Do not sell what you would not use to your customers because that will be bad for your business and your customer retention rate will decline faster than you ever expected. 

Lead Scores

Most email marketing providers now give points/scores to your subscribers. These scores are affected by the level of engagement with your emails, open rates, and some other aggregated factors from emails that you have sent over time.

The lead score is an indicator of the quality of your sales funnel and your class as a marketer. Most people think that a subscriber with a higher lead score is more qualified than another but this is not necessarily so. If your email content and subject lines are in order, then all leads would score better.

Before we look at the BoFu metrics, it is important to point out that all the metrics discussed above are critical to know the efficiency of your sales funnel. One weak or poorly optimized link and it will affect your overall result/ Cost per Acquisition. You must tweak and test to ensure traffic moves smoothly from cold to warm and then hot in your funnel.

Bottom of the Funnel metrics (Purchase and Loyalty stages)

The bottom of your funnel metrics is concerned with the overall conversion rate because this is where the purchase is made and strangers become customers. But it is by no means more important than the previous 2 stages.

The important metrics to be tracking here are:

  • Overall conversion rate
  • Conversion rate by Acquisition channel
  • Length of the marketing cycle

Overall Conversion Rate

Your overall conversion rate is the number of people who end up becoming paying customers divided by the total number of leads who entered your funnel over a given period.

This is dependent on how well other metrics perform. If you are not using paid methods to get traffic, then your goal should be to ensure maximum conversion rate. There is no point in looking at the Cost per Acquisition because you are not spending any money to acquire leads.

If you want to improve the overall conversion rate, then you have to improve all the other metrics that I have mentioned earlier.

Conversion Rate by Acquisition Channel

If you own a website or a blog and you also have a social media presence, then your traffic sources will likely be from these platforms. You need to segment your leads according to where they came from (acquisition channel). 

This will help you to know which channel performs best, has a lower CPA, and brings more qualified leads into your funnel.

Length of Marketing Cycle

This is the time it takes for a new lead to become a paying customer. Your aim should be to shorten this span as much as possible. If your cycle is too long, then it is an indication that your sales funnel is too long and you may need to shorten it or add some sense of urgency.

A short cycle may not allow leads to properly learn about your business and you may come off as being salesy. So, you must find the sweet spot that will make your leads move naturally down your funnel.

FAQS ABOUT DIGITAL MARKETING FUNNELS

Do sales funnels really work?

Of course. Sales funnels work well and should be an integral part of your marketing strategy.

What is a funnel used for in marketing?

A funnel is used to represent your customers’ journey from the moment they sign up to your email list to when they make their first purchase and even beyond. It helps the sales team to visualize the whole process.

What is a product funnel?

This is a sales funnel designed to sell a product or service. Such products may be physical or digital. These funnels are built with the intent to convert leads into buyers.

What is the difference between Marketing funnel vs Sales funnel?

A marketing funnel generates awareness and nurtures the prospect to the point where they are ready to make a purchasing decision. The marketing funnel ends in a sales opportunity. A sales funnel picks up the sales opportunity and follow it through to a transaction. A sales funnel always follows on from a marketing funnel.

What is a Social media sales funnel?

This is when you incorporate social media strategies into your overall digital marketing funnel to boost engagement.

What is a B2b sales funnel?

A sales funnel designed to capture businesses as leads and move them down the funnel so that they become paying customers.

How can a marketer benefit from data in digital marketing and digital funnels?

The data from digital marketing funnel analytics can help a business to not just understand their customer but also improve how they market to them. This can help improve the success rate and efficiency of the funnel in converting leads.

How do I build a sales funnel from scratch?

What are digital marketing metrics?

Digital marketing metrics are the parameters and indicators that are used to track the performance and progress of digital marketing campaigns.

How can I increase my funnel conversion rate?

Here are 10 tips you can optimize your sales funnel and boost conversion rate:

  • Test multiple lead acquisition channels
  • Use attention-grabbing ads
  • Craft curiosity headlines for your landing pages
  • Create a sense of urgency 
  • Make your CTA buttons stand out
  • Test your email subject lines
  • Write persuasive and valuable emails
  • Create thank you pages for sign-ups and purchases
  • Include upsells and cross-sells on your payment portals
  • You should always be testing
conclusion of digital marketing funnel post

Remember that building and optimizing your digital marketing funnels is an ongoing process. The needs of your customers are always evolving and your marketing strategies too should evolve with them.

The number 1 question you should always be asking is “how do I make my customer experience unbeatable?” Answering this and implementing will ensure you stay on top of your game.

P.S – Do you think there is any aspect of digital marketing funnels that I haven’t covered in this post? Do you have, experience with funnels that you would like to share? Kindly say in the comment section. I would love to hear it.

14 thoughts on “DIGITAL MARKETING FUNNELS BROKEN DOWN (EXPLAINED)”

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    Reply
  5. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

    Reply
  6. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

    Reply
  7. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

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