12 Oct How to Define Your Marketing Funnel and Increase Sales
The marketing funnel follows a structure that applies to all industries. It also provides a framework for thinking about how you engage different segments of your primary audience through your content strategy. The easiest way to define your marketing funnel is to take a look at your current analytics. By following your customer journey through the pages, products, and posts on your website (or by monitoring how customers navigate your physical store), you’ll start to understand how content in different parts of the marketing funnel engage different segments of your customer base. From there, you can optimize the content, and be able to more effectively nurture potential customers towards making a purchase.
At each stage of the marketing funnel, your audience will be looking for different types of content. We’ll define each phase of the funnel below, alongside high-level examples of the types of content under each phase that nurture customers towards conversion and advocacy.
Awareness is the first phase of the marketing funnel, which occurs when people are first introduced to your brand. Awareness can be the effect of word-of-mouth, paid media or earned media. This is the most broad phase of the funnel, and translates to wanting a larger reach in terms of the content you promote. Google Ads, promoted posts on Facebook and Instagram, and PR efforts from article features to billboards are all examples of content in the awareness phase of the marketing funnel. Advocates, or past-purchasers, can also influence the number of new potential customers that enter your funnel.
Consideration is the second phase of the marketing funnel, when people who are aware of your brand are deciding whether or not they want to make a purchase. The content in this phase of the funnel is arguably the most important because it translates to sales in the next phase of the funnel. You want to give people in the consideration phase many ways to digest your content, depending on how they prefer to experience it (whether it’s writing, images, or video). You also want to give customers all the information you can to convince them to purchase, and you want to keep messaging consistent across channels. It’s not enough to put out one piece of stellar content every five years – audiences like to see up-to-date content that’s relevant to their lives and the times.
Conversion, the third phase of the marketing funnel, is a purchase. Real dollars. Consistency is key in this phase as well because you want to stay top of mind while the customer waits for their package or final deliverable. Customer experience plays a role in this phase too, whether that means providing excellent customer service, account management, or including surprising elements in the packaging.
Loyalty, the fourth phase of the marketing funnel, occurs when a customer comes back and makes a second, third, fourth (etc.) purchase. This could be the customer repurchasing the same product or branching out to other products in your range. In this phase, new content is especially relevant because you want to add value by showing existing customers new ways to use products they already love, or introduce new products that would also interest existing customers.
Advocacy is the fifth and final phase of the marketing funnel, and only the most loyal customers reach it. When someone becomes an advocate, they tell others about your brand and the great experiences they’ve had with your products or services. Customers enter the advocacy phase of the funnel when they love a product or brand so much that they tell others about it. If the people they tell are new to the brand, then they enter the top of the funnel in the awareness phase. In this phase, introduce easy ways to share content, and incentives for doing so.
Let’s use a story to exemplify the different parts of the funnel.
Sarah sees a paid ad on Instagram from your brand. She’s curious and decides to click through to your Instagram profile to see more posts. She checks out your website, reads a blog post, and sees a couple of products that interest her. This is the awareness phase. Sarah then goes back to your website at a later time or date and reads a few more blog posts, signs up for your newsletter, and follows your brand on social media channels. This is the consideration phase.
Sarah gets an email announcing a sale or new product launch, and decides to make a purchase. This is the conversion phase. Once she receives the product she bought, she loves it and decides to repurchase or buy something else from your brand. This second purchase can occur days, weeks, or months later. This is the loyalty phase. Sarah runs into a friend and starts telling them about her great experience using your product or service. The friend decides to check out your website. This is the advocacy phase, leading the friend into the awareness phase of your marketing funnel.
The goal of nurturing customers through the marketing funnel is to primarily increase sales, and secondarily to create a community of advocates that love your brand. The more you optimize content to engage customers in your marketing funnel, the more likely they are to make an initial purchase and eventually become advocates for your brand, introducing new customers and sales. The more you can optimize, the more sales you can capture. While this may seem like a lot of information, we’re here to help!